Monday, 21 November 2011INDEX

I hate passwords and so should you. I just signed up to pay my electricity bills online and EDF, the French nuclear power company that runs the old London electricity board, required a password from me. Why?

I can understand that some people might not want their electricity bills widely known but can't those who have a fetish about these things simply get the option of password protecting their account? The rest (the sane people) could simply have an account area that is not available from any kind of search (you can only go to it if you have a link).

Now it may be objected that EDF is storing confidential information about me and doesn't want to divulge this to anyone. Well again why?

Not why should they keep confidential information confidential. Why should they have confidential information online at all!

I probably have dozens of passwords. Sometimes the organisation sends you a password and you have no choice about it. Sometimes I can enter whatever password I want. But usually I get to enter a password but there are strange rules (it has to include a capital as well as lower case letters, there must be at least one number or some such thing). As a result it is quite impossible to have the same password for everything and so you have to be a memory specialist to be able to recall every password.

OK, it's usually (though not invariably) possible to get them to email you a link to a place where you can create a new password. But this is often a very tedious process so by the time it arrives I may have completely forgotten why I wanted it.

No I am not losing my marbles. I have quite a good memory, but I'm also very busy and it's easy for me to get preoccupied with something more important than a bloody password.

OK it's not a mater of life and death but it is just another one of those things that makes the internet slower and less useful than it could be.

Posted by Jonathan Brind at 09:50
Monday, 21 November 2011INDEX