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Friday, 22 March 2019 12:05

Want e-bills from Manningham Council? Say yes to this 2467-word agreement

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Want e-bills from Manningham Council? Say yes to this 2467-word agreement Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Companies switched to sending bills in digital form to their customers a good many years back, but Victoria's Manningham Council appears to have just woken up and discovered that such a thing exists.

Residents who come within the area of the council have to agree to the equivalent of the end user licence agreement that comes with software – and in the case of the Manningham Council it runs to 2467 words!

There are two bills I normally get from the council each year – one for the annual rates for the house in which I reside and the other for the licence fee for my dog.

This year, the council included a separate sheet of paper about sending bills in digital form along with the bill for my dog's licence – but provided the code for signing up on the bill itself.

Once one visits the site mentioned and enters the code and an email address, one gets sent that amazing EULA or agreement.

It includes text that indicates that the council can sell any data that is provided to it and also text that says it will not be liable for any digital nasties that invade the website. Presumably, the council still uses Microsoft Windows, the operating system that plays host to a veritable army of malware.

The 2467-word agreement appears to indicate that people who work at the council — which loves to erect gargantuan buildings and put up unsightly sculptures here and there — have a lot of time on their hands.

But then that is nothing new. A few years ago, I was visited by one of the worthies who works there and told to remove a basketball ring that was on the front of my car port. Reason? The man said someone had committed suicide by hanging themselves from a similar ring and hence they all had to be taken down.

My response was to ask him to send me an order on a council letterhead to that effect. But nothing came of it and I have never heard back from him.

Perhaps he has been busy all these years writing that 2467-word agreement.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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