Recently I joined 1,804,381 others by going online to register my signature on a petition against the government's proposed vehicle-tracking and road-pricing policy. Don't worry, I'm not here to launch into a diatribe about Tony Blair's attempts to persuade us he's the new Mother Earth. No, I'm here to tell you that I've been duped.
This article appears in the May 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.
I'm usually cautious about providing my details online. But as the request was from the government, I didn't really give it a second thought. I'm now part of a massive distribution list of people who oppose Tony Blair, or at least certain government policies. We're prime fodder for an electronic election campaign.
It's started already. Hours before the petition closed the government released a statement saying that Tony Blair would personally (personally?) email a reply to all those who had signed this petition.
Clearly I missed the 'please tick here if you do not want to be contacted with politically related rubbish' box.
I take this as an intrusion on my privacy. I used the proper facility to air my opinions on a government policy. Should this give the Cabinet the right to use my personal details to try to sway my decisions? My mind is made up on this matter. I don't want a debate and I certainly didn't freely enter into one.
What's next? Is Tony about to start emailing me funny jokes about Gordon in accounts? Can I expect to be forwarded lucky chain letters, that I need to send on to 'only 1 million friends'?
More seriously - and worryingly - can the government pass this information on to third parties? I just checked and guess what... 'Your personal details will not normally be disclosed to third parties'. Not normally? Now that's a cast-iron guarantee.
I'm now waiting to be spammed by car salesmen offering me 'good deals' on petrol-guzzling Chelsea tractors. And to add insult to injury, I haven't even received Tony's email yet. I can feel a petition coming on.