Good Old Data Protection Act

Someone recalled a book I really need. It’s a really good book called “Controlled Diffusion Processes” by N.V. Krylov and I’m using it a reference book on stochastic control.

Someone from our repartment decided they need the book and so they recalled it trough the library system. I can’t imagine it’s anyone doing very much work on stochastic control; me and my supervisor are the only ones. Hence it’s someone, probably MSc. student writing his thesis, who needs something like two pages from the book. I’m going away for a month or so and I wanted to take the book with me.

I thought, well, that’s easy, I’ll go to the library, ask who’s the person who needs the book, let him have it for a few days and then I’ll have it back in no time. I was even thinking I can do the photocopying for them. So I wen’t down to the library to ask for the person’s name. And thanks to the “Data Protection Act, the librarian couln’t tell me the persons name and I had to return the book.

And the librarian couldn’t tell me the person’s name, because of Data Protection Act. Now I’m all for privacy and everything, but isn’t this taking it a bit too far? Why would anyone care that someone knows that they want to read a book about stochastic control? Sometimes I get the feeling that common sense should come first. But then I guess that my common sense isn’t everyone’s and that’s why we need all these annoying laws.

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