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28 January 2008

Ageism is illegal. So why do the media make it such a focus?

On 1st October 2006, the UK enacted a law to make ageism illegal. This is only for employment but nonetheless, despite privacy concerns, many employment related websites still ask for it or some equivalent field such as "career start" under the guise of data de-duplication. Today being data privacy day it might be a good time to remind them to get their unique numbers another way.

Anyway, for those sites and application forms that still request it, they claim that it is to ensure compliance with the new legislation. Funny that, before the legislation you didn't have to supply such information, now some agencies ask for it and cite the legislation as the reason. Furthermore, as I blogged in 2006 you are now forced to reveal your age for ID purposes when applying for a job.

So that's the background. Age when applying for a job should just be recorded for "checking purposes" and to ensure that recruiters are playing fairly. In that regard, it is no different to race, religion and other profiling characteristics that are illegal (and immoral) to discriminate on. Yet, the rest of society hasn't really caught up.

Let's take a typical news story from today where the people's ages have no relevance.

The original text:


By Andrew Hough and Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Five men were found guilty on Monday of kidnap and robbery in the country's biggest ever heist, a daring, 53 million pound raid on a cash depot in Kent.

The robbers, some dressed as policemen and most wearing prosthetic disguises, snatched the record haul after getting past tight security by kidnapping the depot's manager, his wife and son at gunpoint.

They were also helped by an "inside man", who not only provided details of the building's interior layout and security protocols, but also secretly filmed it using a tiny camera hidden on his belt.

Despite the elaborate planning, the gang was rounded up by police within days of the February 2006 raid at the Securitas Depot in Tonbridge, after detectives received a tip-off.

Stuart Royle, 49, Jetmir Bucpapa, 26, Lea Rusha, 35, Ermir Hysenaj, 28, and Roger Coutts, 30, were convicted at the Old Bailey of conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to possess firearms.

Another defendant, John Fowler, 59, was cleared of those charges while Keith Borer, 54, was found not guilty of handling stolen goods.


The text if we removed the profiling information and replaced it with ethnic origin (these are made up)



LONDON (Reuters) - Five men were found guilty on Monday of kidnap and robbery in the country's biggest ever heist, a daring, 53 million pound raid on a cash depot in Kent.

...

Stuart Royle, black, Jetmir Bucpapa, white, Lea Rusha, asian, Ermir Hysenaj, black , and Roger Coutts, white, were convicted at the Old Bailey of conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to possess firearms.

Another defendant, John Fowler, white, was cleared of those charges while Keith Borer, middle-eastern, was found not guilty of handling stolen goods.


Completely irrelevant, pointless and bordering on racist.


Maybe you could have an alternate version using other profiling information such as religion


LONDON (Reuters) - Five men were found guilty on Monday of kidnap and robbery in the country's biggest ever heist, a daring, 53 million pound raid on a cash depot in Kent.
...

Stuart Royle, catholic, Jetmir Bucpapa, muslim, Lea Rusha, protestant, Ermir Hysenaj, moslem, and Roger Coutts, athiest, were convicted at the Old Bailey of conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to possess firearms.

Another defendant, John Fowler, Jew, was cleared of those charges while Keith Borer, protestant, was found not guilty of handling stolen goods.


Again, fairly offensive, pointless and quite irrelevant.

So why do we continue to accept the pointless and irrelevant reporting of the number of birthdays someone has had when it has no relevance to the story? It is just as offensive and wrong as other profiling information that it is illegal to discriminate on.

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