You are reading a personal data guardianship code on a Sunday afternoon, on the sofa. You are also listening to Bob Dylan’s Modern Times. The code describes itself as a Highway Code for good data protection practice, and you are struck by this analogy. But gradually your eyelids begin to droop, in the way they do when reading data protection guidance. You fall asleep, and dream a dream.
Suddenly you find yourself on Highway 61. There are giant articulated lorries full of everyone’s personal data being driven at crushing speed down all the available lanes. You are in your Micro, in the recovery lane. Your wife has just lost it with the children. It feels like you have taken the wrong turn, but there is no way back.
Then as another datatruck sways alongside and the turbulence pushes the Micro out of the lane and up the grass embankment, you see, on the side as it passes, a vast poster of your family, only they are happy.
The dreamscape shifts. You are complaining to a man who looks like an official, but you don’t feel he is on your side. He is looking at you strangely. Maybe he is from the DVLA. You are saying that this morning you got in your car, and then you gave it to someone else. He said he was a friend. He had a copy of the Code. He drove it away, and in the dream you can see that your car is being permanently driven up and down Highway 61, even though there are static tailbacks everywhere. The verges are littered with discarded cars, and bits of cars.
You say to the official looking man that you are worried, but he says – look, you’ll get something in return, won’t you? You know he thinks you are whining. Maybe he is your father. Then you realise, as sometimes you do in dream, with complete certainty, that the person you gave your car to has so many cars he can’t possibly pay much attention to the one that is preciously yours.
The official changes into a robust woman, who is without any doubt your mother. She is consoling. She is saying, don’t worry, why worry, you had no choice, it’s a car, it’s a currency, it’s what you do, it’s what God said to Abraham. Get over it. GET OVER IT.
Then, with a start, you wake up. You clutch at the data protection guidance with relief, something you have never done before. It was all just a bad dream.