It’s not surprising that Kathryn Jones, the alleged winner of a recent $50 million lottery prize, wouldn’t be pressing for an investigation into her highly “unusual” winnings. I wouldn’t either, but given the circumstances, I also wouldn’t be surprised.
If you’re familiar with the story, you’ll recall that the Ontario Lottery Gaming corporation, instead of rolling an unclaimed $50 million from 2012 into future prizes, decided to track down and declare the winner, a woman who had no idea she’d won. In fact, she had no ticket and no tangible evidence that she had bought the ticket — one of two that the OLG had reminded Ontarians was about to expire. According to the OLG’s own rules, here’s what should’ve happened:
MANDATORY: To claim a prize of $1,000 or more, you must complete a Lottery Prize Claim Declaration Form. This applies to both single and group play wins.
OLG requires that you write or print your name on your lottery ticket before a retailer can check it. This is for your own protection. Signing the ticket is an easy way to identify it as yours. And that makes it difficult for someone else to claim your prize if your ticket is a winner. It also helps protect you if you were ever to lose it. Retailers cannot validate tickets that are not signed.
To claim a larger prize, the OLG demands that you put your name on a ticket before handing it over to a retailer for verification, which makes sense. However, in the case of this bizarre $50 million win, not only was a signature not needed, the ticket itself wasn’t even required, neither was a claim or even the knowledge of prize winner herself.
To counter this, the OLG has claimed that it was able to go through video security footage, credit card details, and other information to prove that Kathryn had indeed won the ticket, after which they contacted her to let her know she’d won. While I don’t doubt that these were solid identifiers, the rest of the details are beyond disconcerting.
First of all, it’s incredibly suspicious that the OLG would decide of their own volition to arbitrarily choose solely this one woman to track down while leaving literally all other lottery winners to their own devices. Keep in mind that Kathryn’s $50 million prize was one of two unclaimed ones for the same period, and nothing was done about the other prize. Any claim that this was done in the name of fairness is verifiable nonsense.
Second, and perhaps worse, is the fact that the OLG — again without any prior prodding — decided to seize security camera footage and credit / debit card records from the lottery retailer under the false pretense (see above) that they were trying to maintain fairness in the gaming system.
Gathering video security footage from gaming locations is iffy enough — most are corner stores where many people don’t even approach the lottery kiosk let alone play — but the Ontario Lottery and Gaming corporation should have absolutely NO access to citizen’s private data — unless of course that citizen approaches them claiming to have won something. Yet in this case, without a warrant, court order, judicial oversight, etc., the OLG has managed to gather the personal data of unknown numbers’ of customers, security footage of private premises, etc.
While the organization takes up to a decade to use the very same technology to investigate issues of fraud and have never awarded a prize like this (even while many are concurrently unclaimed), we are led to believe that this breach of Canadians’ privacy is fantastic news because one of us might just have won (doesn’t matter if you don’t pay the fool’s tax). You may remember that similar arguments were made by Vic Toews, then Harper’s “Public Safety Minister”, spy-state architect, and top apologist; according to Vic, the government needs to spy on everyone at all times in order to protect the children (and if you don’t agree, it’s obviously because you side with the pedophiles).
There’s a section on the OLG’s site where they describe when, where, how, and what types of personal data they gather:
We may collect personal information from you in person, over the telephone, by mail, fax or through the internet.
In general, we collect customer personal information to provide service, to promote our products and services and to operate a responsible gaming business in accordance with legal requirements.
We regularly inform you of the specific principal purpose or purposes for which we collect personal information at the time of collection. We often collect personal information:
- To identify you
- To deliver service and improve how we communicate with you
- To administer program and product benefits
- To promote our products and services
- To engage in market research
- To maintain lottery security
- To comply with legal requirements
- To promote responsible gaming
- To receive and respond to inquiries
Examples of the common types of personal information we ask customers to provide are as follows:
- Telephone Number
- Date of Birth
- E-mail address
- Language preference,
- Transactional data,
- Credit card information
- Video images and photographs
- Customer inquiries Information
Note that nowhere does it state: “we may preemptorily and without your knowledge or consent gather personally identifying information such as your credit or debit card purchases, as well as private video surveillance footage, among other pieces of information, to identify you and track you down (at our random discretion) should you happen to have forgotten you won. We may also gather this information incidentally should we believe you may be associated with a winning, or if you just happen to be in the area of a lottery retailer.”
There’s nothing implied or stated that the OLG can and will do this whenever you play a lottery game, and yet they’re now doing it to both players and bystanders alike. I’m entirely certain that, despite claiming that it’s their policy, all of the other people that entered the same lottery retailer as Kathryn Jones have not been contacted by the OLG in order to be informed that their personal data has been seized for analysis.
Even the cops, at least under current laws (which Stephen Harper is constantly itching to change), must inform the targets of their wiretaps after 90 days that they’re being spied on. But supporters — no doubt the same voraciously ignorant clique that continues to believe that repeat public liar, druggie, criminal, and all-around asshole Rob Ford is a bastion of honesty and virtue — won’t be satisfied until we’re all toiling under absolute subjugation (which is, of course, the height of evil unless it’s being imposed on us by their beloved leader). And all of it, from those exemplifying the very worst in humanity to those who demand that we all bow down to such depravity, all do so under the twisted, deranged, ignorant, sociopathic banner of vast corporate profits and unchecked greed (or as Rob Ford so fondly and lovingly put it, “I don’t care if you’re 2 years old, 20 years old or 200 years old, you’re not going to live for free.”)
In other words, it’s just fine for the OLG to operate like this (and we definitely needn’t be in any way critical), because history has clearly shown that deception and corruption, especially when there are tens of millions of dollars at stake, are never a problem — you and I are the real criminals for having the audacity to claim that we’re human beings with rights to privacy and fairness and believing that we’re entitled to live off the avails of our labours.