When I first got my drivers licence way back in the late 1970’s, or as Zach and Sam would say the “olden days”… I spelt my name the way my parents had told it was spelt.

In those days providing your name was based on an honour system. Not that I had any other form of ID to identify myself.

It just didn’t seem that important.

However, when I got my birth certificate in the early 1980’s in preparation for obtaining my first passport I noted that in fact my name was spelt quite differently.

At that point in time I wasn’t particularly concerned that my drivers licence was different from my passport…why sweat the small stuff. Right? 🙂

Well, that was until last week!

What I realized was that moving back to your country of birth after an extended period much has changed.

When I visited the Post office to finalize my Australian Tax number (ATN) they noted the discrepancy between my passport and my Victorian Drivers licence.

Clearly the photos were the same on each, but with a different spelling…

Unfortunately none of my other ID’s including my Canadian drivers license or Health card were acceptable forms of ID…

Therefore, until I could resolve the spelling differences between my drivers licence and passport they were unable to finalize my paperwork.

Oi vey!

After all these years the spelling of my name on a single piece of ID had come back to bite my in the bum!

I headed over to the Queensland Department of Transportation office to see if I could sort it out.

Fortunately their office wasn’t too far away.

After much hand wringing and whispered conversations with a colleague behind the counter the verdict was that they would have to contact the Victorian department of Roads.

Victoria would have to change their records before Queensland could issue me a new license.

Even though they had my Australian passport, and my Canadian driver’s license as back up evidence with the correct spelling.

From their body language I could see that they thought something was a little fishy with all this and definitely not to their liking.

You could just tell they were on the fence…

First they had to confiscate my old Victorian licence to ensure it checked out.

Although they did provide me with a letter that stated this would serve as my licence for the next 28 days.

Now to be fair, they said they would follow up with the Victorian Roads Board on my behalf.

Fingers crossed that two different state government departments can sort this out in a timely manner…. Eek!

What do you think my chances are – especially over the Christmas/New Year break???

Now the silver lining in this is they will honor my Heavy Truck/Bus licence which I had with my Victorian license. Fortunately without having to retake my driving test. 🙂

Thank goodness! As this would have been an expensive and painful exercise.

As I reflect back on my birth certificate inaccuracies (there were more than one by the way) all I can say is that times were different then.

Record keeping was not a huge priority, nor was legibility. My original birth certificate is in cursive long hand so some of it is a bit tricky to read.

Today every aspect of our lives is governed by data. Clearly the accuracy of this data is critical but I’m sure I’m not alone in trying to right past mistakes.

However, it does make me wonder how we survived for millenia without a data trail that ensures every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed…

It also enables organizations and particularly governments to monitor us in ways that we perhaps don’t even realize. Yes, I’m talking on a global scale.

In some ways it would be awesome to go “off the grid” and be anonymous, but realistically this is virtually an impossibility today.

Our personal data has been gathered and accumulated from every aspect of our lives for decades. Until the last few years this information generally stayed with the company or organization gathering the information.

However, with the prevalence of social media and our penchant for sharing every aspect of our lives this information has been gathered, stored and shared on a scale we can’t even imagine.

I’m sort of surprised that given my social media activity someone hadn’t figured out this gap and fixed it already…. Lol!!!

Perhaps I am old fashioned in some ways but I didn’t mind that there were anomalies like my drivers licence and life still went on just fine…

Until next week