Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Of The Worst Ideas Ever



Some things are just inexplicable to me. I mean, I can understand how one person can screw something up. That's easy enough. It's only one person. One person might not see right away that something is a horrible idea. But it's when something is an absolutely horrible idea and there is more than one individual involved in the decision making process that it just really confuses me. How is it that more than one person can think that something is a good idea when it so clearly is not?

Here's the scoop: Over at the
AP we learn about a practice that went on at the Lower Merion School District in Philadelphia. See, they issued laptops to their students. (There's a high school that issues laptops to students? That alone was news to me. Don't get me wrong. I think it's a fine idea. I was just a little surprised by it is all.) But in the past couple of years, about 80 of the laptops had gone missing. It's unclear exactly how many laptops were issued to begin with, but what is clear is that they couldn't find 80 of them and they needed to figure out where they were. But that's OK because the computers all had a tracking program in them that was activated and the webcams in the laptops took over 56,000 pictures. Wait. What now?

Correct. In some desperate attempt to locate these 80 missing laptops, this tracking program was activated. When activated, wherever the laptops were, as long as they were on I'm assuming, they would take a picture once every fifteen minutes. Now, where are the laptops going to be the majority of the time? I'm guessing that they're going to be where the kids spend most of their time. Like in their house. In their rooms. Places where there really shouldn't be secret tracking programs taking pictures of them, I'm guessing!

Seriously, how many people had to have been aware that this was a program and a procedure that were going to be implemented with the intention of being used at some point? Clearly, there had to have been several people involved in this process. In fact, the AP article said that there were TEN people who were authorized to request that the programs be activated. TEN?! How did they all think that this was a good idea? I mean, one person can come up with the idea. I get that. But do you mean to tell me that NO ONE else ever said anything like, "Uh, I don't know if we can even legally do that."? Really?! That would probably be the first thing that I would think. OK, it'd be second. It'd be the second thing right after "Oh, hell no!"

And that's the part I don't get. It's such an unbelievably bad idea. That seems obvious. But yet, somehow, some way, it got done. Who are these people? Who thought that this was going to be OK? All at least of them? The school district is claiming that none of the photos taken were inappropriate, meaning that no one was fully undressed in any of the photos. But if you're asking me, just taking the photos at all is inappropriate, so it's really hard to define that to mean something that is really pretty much after the fact. We're just surrounded by stupidity, that's all there is to it. But it still scares the hell out of me.

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1 comment:

Edge said...

While this practice is highly unacceptable in the real world, one must remember two things here:

1) It is a school, and therefore personal freedoms (including privacy) don't extend here AND
2) The laptops were the property of the school, signed for by the students with a legally binding contract regarding their use, and if the school needs to track down their lost property, so be it.

It's not a bad thing, it's just heads up.