How Dare the Marriage equality Campaign Intrude on People's Lives

The campaign for marriage equality took things up a notch by sending hundreds of thousands of text messages encouraging people to vote Yes:


It was a moment's irritation and possibly not the best use of resources, but not really more of a big deal than that.

At least it shouldn't have been a bigger deal. A bunch of people were outraged over the supposed breach of privacy:

[N]ot everyone – regardless of their view on same-sex marriage – was happy to receive an SMS, with some expressing concern about how their phone numbers were obtained.

I have never contacted, donated or been involved with either side of this campaign," Michael, who asked that his surname not be used, told Fairfax Media on Saturday.

 "How did they get my unlisted mobile number? Why is my privacy being breached in the hope that I'll respond to a survey in a particular way ... What's the point of lobbying for extending some rights by ignoring others that are already legislated?" 

The Yes campaign claimed the numbers were randomly generated, but even if they did purchase access to phone numbers, consider this. Your phone number isn't legally yours. It's legally belongs to the phone company, and they can do with it as they wish (this was a surprise to me after carting my number around for over a decade to every telco in Australia, but it is in fact true). And who ends up with your "unlisted" number, anyway? Unless you've never, ever, joined a loyalty program, had a credit card, entered a competition, put your business card in the draw to win a free lunch at the end of the month, joined a website that uses phone numbers for verification, ordered food online,  joined a gym...unless you've never, ever done any of these things...or if you have, you've carefully checked all the terms and conditions to make sure your info won't be sold or forwarded to marketing companies (have you? I haven't)...then someone has got your phone number for marketing and research.

But some people were even angrier than all that. Some were driven to fury and death threats - you can find them at the usual Facebook groups I won't link to. But other people - a few - claimed they had been going to vote yes, but the ten seconds of irritation at the invasion of privacy moved them to decide to vote no.

So. People were angry the randomly generated string of binaries they think of as their phone number was used to send a text message of moments' duration. So angry, that they decided to join one of the millions of people who want to affect the entire lives of other people, people they have never met, by deciding they cannot get legally married in Australia. All because of a survey no one asked for or wanted, requesting that Australian voters intrude on the privacy of every same sex attracted person by deciding if they have equal rights to every one else.

All because of a text message, huh. You must be furious, to think its worth intruding on so many other people's lives.

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