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UK Government To Spy On Computers of the Jobless 278

An anonymous reader writes "Jobseekers will be offered the chance to look for work through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which automatically pairs them up with opportunities that suit their skills after scanning their CVs. It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews. However, their activities may also be tracked using cookies, so their Job Centre advisers know how many searches they have been doing and whether they are turning down viable opportunities. Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would 'revolutionize' the process of looking for work. He said anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination.'"
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UK Government To Spy On Computers of the Jobless

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  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:28AM (#42357789)
    I appreciate that the headline just copies that of the original article, but I really do expect better of Slashdot. (I know, I know, I must be new here.)
  • overly dramatic. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agendi ( 684385 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:35AM (#42357815)
    Is this using a new definition of spying that I'm not aware of? Tracking sure but spying is a bit dramatic.
  • by Ckwop ( 707653 ) <> on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:39AM (#42357843) Homepage

    There's an opinion on-line that the UK is turning in to some sort oppressive totalitarian state. It seems like this summary was written with this view in mind. It makes a number of errors of omission.

    The article says it's opt-in! It only applies to that web-site too. That's obviously a huge omission to make from the summary. The summary seems to imply that the government would snoop on all traffic of a job-seeker and it was mandatory.

    Finally, people who are claiming Job Seekers allowance are requesting support from the government while they look for a job. It's not totalitarian to suggest that we ensure that they are actually looking for a job!

    As a taxpayer and a liberal democrat, it's something I support!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:44AM (#42357871)

    TFA says "remotely monitored" which is sensationalist but at least moderately accurate.

    Slashdot says "spy on computers" which is sensationalist and inaccurate.

    Also TFA points out the elephant in the room. Cookies cannot be used without consent in the EU. So, just say "no".

  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:45AM (#42357877)
    If you read the article it's barely even that - they're tracking their use of that site, not their computer (or web) use in general. It really is a complete non-story.
  • Re:Germany... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:50AM (#42357921) Homepage

    in Germany jobless people have to report any application for a job to the agency and they have to apply for a certain amount of jobs per month or they get no welfare. Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-

    Sounds like common sense to me. I just wish governments had enough backbone to actually do stuff like that.

    Whenever you create a system which covers people's basic needs without asking anything in return you'll create a bunch of people who'll take what's offered then dedicate their free time to wheeling and dealing for beer money (usually doing 'easy money' stuff which is detrimental to society...)

    Why would anybody try to get a proper job when they can live like that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:57AM (#42357963)

    Also TFA points out the elephant in the room. Cookies cannot be used without consent in the EU. So, just say "no".

    And then get called into the job centre to sit in front of a feckless bureaucrat, who explains that he is awfully "concerned" about your "failure to play the game" as their tracking system has been unable to detect your participation.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:30AM (#42358103) Homepage

    So, the Benefits Agency want to get people to apply for jobs through a website they run, and grind through some analytics to see who is applying for what - or even applying at all.

    Come on, Samzenpus, I know you fell for the tabloid sensationalism and all, but I'd expect better than that from you.

  • Re:Germany... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coisiche ( 2000870 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:33AM (#42358113)

    It can sound like common sense but as with many thing the devil is in the detail.

    Consider cleaning parks for example. That's going to be a local council responsibility in the UK but in many cases the council probably contract it out to a private company. So within the current framework, if people on benefits are made to do the work then the private enterprise is getting the money for the contract but has lower labour costs. Who becomes the parasite then?

    In principle I have no objection to people on benefits having to carry out some civic function but I am very opposed to any private enterprise profiting as a result. That's why I am opposed to the current UK Workfare scheme. It's not creating jobs; it's just allowing private enterprise to get free labour, in effect making them government subsidised. If they're getting taxpayer funded labour, then I as a taxpayer should get a vote at their AGM.

  • Re:Germany... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:37AM (#42358139)

    If you are let's say nuclear physicist and you apply to work as auto-mechanic, they tell you "you should find a job suited for you background, money has been invested in your education" Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

    The problem is that a nuclear physicist can't get hired anywhere. Human resources tend to have the policy that they should hire only people who qualify precisely for the job. If they are too good, then it's assumed they will get bored and leave in no time.

    I read about some guy in the newspaper. He owned a company which died due to the financial situation. After that he applied for more than 4000 jobs and has been rejected for everything. He asked quite a number of those places to give a reason for the rejection and they all stated he was overqualified.

  • by JosKarith ( 757063 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:50AM (#42358193)
    And then you have a prima facie case to drag the whole sorry mess before an ECHR court whose judges just love to piss from a great height on national policies...
  • Re:Germany... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:52AM (#42358207)

    Because you paid into it when you were working. That was money that you didn't get paid while you worked. Now, you can argue the semantics about when the money was transferred to the fund, but either way it's money you could have been making.

    And for people like HR reps, it would be better for everybody if we paid them to do nothing. Fucking nazis.

  • Re:Germany... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JosKarith ( 757063 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:54AM (#42358213)
    When I was unemployed there were so many companies using New Deal to get basically slave labour. Such delights as a 26-week "training course" that involved 35 hours a week of night shifts for £10 a week on top of your JSA... to qualify to be a forecourt attendant... Basically the company getting someone to do the graveyard shifts for a pittance who couldn't afford to quit or they'd be reported for non-compliance and lose ALL their benefits.
  • Re:idiocy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Friday December 21, 2012 @08:00AM (#42358249) Homepage

    Fair enough if you don't want to be a street cleaner or janitor... But why then should the government (ie the rest of us taxpayers) give you free money?

    If you don't want to do an unpleasant job, then you should find yourself a better one, you should have no right to simply sit on your ass at the expense of everyone else until the perfect job comes along. Instead work hard at your unpleasant job and perhaps study part time so you can learn something better.

    People in other countries have it far worse, in many places the government won't do anything for you at all if you haven't got a job, so your choice is between picking up trash from the street or having to sleep among that trash.

    Incidentally, picking up trash isn't that bad of a job... You get gloves, a stick with a grabbing claw on the end, brushes etc so it's not like you actually have to get covered in filth. You just walk around pushing a trashcan on wheels, and any trash you see you pick up with your claw and put in the trashcan. You even get a sense of satisfaction because the streets look a lot better when they aren't covered in trash.

  • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @08:30AM (#42358417)

    Not only is it not totalitarian to expect people out of work claiming Job Seekers allowance to be looking for work, it is actually a requirement to receive the benefit.

    Yes, looking for work is a requirement. A stupid totalitarian declares formal rules. A clever totalitarian creates a reasonable rule, then adds various dubious caveats. If IDS says that "anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination,'" then we're talking about the reasonable rule "jobseekers allowance only for those seeking work" backed up with the caveat that "if you're unemployed, it's your own fault," despite the fact that we're in a recession and unemployment is quite high.

    He's ignoring that indolence is not the only cause of unemployment.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @08:48AM (#42358503)

    You do? Since when is it your human right to be given benefits by your government? I mean, I consider it a pretty valuable social policy, but it's far from a human right. If the government attaches strings to getting your benefits, like "you must let us see what you're doing to try and stop needing the benefits" I see no problem at all with that, let alone a human rights violation.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:20AM (#42358653)
    I would go so far as to say that it is absolutely your human right to die homeless if you are unwilling to work to support yourself. Welfare is great for those who are faced with a bad situation and need help to get out of it, but it's not meant to be a lifestyle choice.

    It's nice to have a system where the least fortunate can afford basic living most of the time, but I wouldn't have a problem if it became much harder to claim benefits in the UK.
  • Re:Germany... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ironhandx ( 1762146 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:28AM (#42358695)

    This isn't quite true.

    Over-QUALIFIED people are just fine, most of the time.

    Over-EDUCATED people are not. Where the two groups intersect, the Over-education takes the priority for being unemployable.

    The second group thinks the world owes them something. The first group has worked their way up and have enough life experience to know that the world doesn't owe them jack shit, and they should do their best at whatever task they are given.

  • Re:Germany... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:07AM (#42359013)

    If you apply to a job which YOU KNOW you are overqualified for, then way send that resume? You don't go to an auto garage and apply for a job stating you have a PHD in mechanical engineering. You go there and tell them you can turn a wrench, replace a head gasket and rebuild a transmission, or are willing to learn those things. It like the time I went to CompUSA out of high school for a summer gig and filled in the application stating my prior computer knowledge was Linux/Unix, C/C++, Assembler, Networking bla bla bla. Of course I wasn't hired, I was overqualified. Or maybe they already picked someone else, who knows. I sure didn't realize my mistake back then.

    Bottom line is you put just enough credentials to get yourself the job.

  • Re:Germany... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) * on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:24AM (#42359165) Journal

    You don't get money for no labor on any job, why should a guaranteed safety net be labor-free?

    Because it is cheaper to pay them a pittance to keep them out of trouble than it is to lock them in prison if they start trying to steal food.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:53AM (#42359489) Journal

    Most EU countries got two systems, unemployment (typically limited in time and only available to the previously employed) and welfare (typically lower in amount but available to all who qualify by their need). It is NOT that easy to get kicked out of wellfare because it is after all meant to be a safety net to prevent people from sliding into absolute poverty.

    The whole getting the unemployed to work is however a bit of a sham. For instance it has been revealed that programs to get mothers working COST more then they deliver. If it costs 100k to get a person to work for 40k, that is just pointless really. It looks nice in employment statistics but basically the state is subsidizing the employer and the state is you the taxpayer.

    And if moms who work can't volunteer anymore at school and the school now has to hire people to do those tasks, you are even deeper in the red. And if they got to send their kids to subsidized daycare so they can work, that is even more money down the drain.

    Always suspect government figures on this subject. The idea to get the unemployed cleaning parks for instance sounds fun. Who is going to pay for all the hardware needed? Transportation? Supervising?

    It is often just really cheaper to have people sit at home on a minimum income. Not nice but if you want nice, stay out of politics.

  • Re:Germany... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @11:20AM (#42359781)

    "What was your last job? What did you do there? How about the job before that?"

    What do credentials have to do with it? Or were you proposing lying about your employment history? Or perhaps lying about both your age and your employment history? 'cause yeah, that'll help...

  • Re:Germany... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CadentOrange ( 2429626 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:40PM (#42360655)
    If that's going to be your argument, why not argue that it's cheaper to put a bullet through them than it is to pay them to keep out of trouble, which is in turn cheaper than locking them away in prison? After all, what you're saying is that they're effectively holding you to ransom.

    "Gimme money or I'll start causing trouble."

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger