(apologies to Jonathan Swift)
Please take this as only half-joking. While it is eminently do-able, the
question is would it be ethical? Other than stirring things up on a Monday
morning, I'd also love to hear alternative solutions others have brought to
bear on this problem.
We circulate laptops bundled with hotspots, and as expected we've seen too
many of them fail to return. Of course, we disable the hotspot when it
fails to return, but that doesn't always result in the return of the
bundle. What makes matters worse is that in the spirit of combating
digital inequity, we do our best to accommodate those who are homeless, who
have no permanent address other than a shelter, who have no cellphone and
have no credit card.
Other than Scalefusion MDM software which we're evaluating, I had a
wonderful, deliciously evil thought: suppose, upon checkout, we started a
clock ticking on the laptop. Three days after the due date, our very own
branded ransomware kicks in. The patron sees a message: to recover your
files, return the laptop. It'd be like a prisoner exchange; they return
the laptop and we return their files. Of course, this only works with
those who actually create data files that they value.
So who's in on this (he asks tongue in cheek)?
Coordinator of Computer Systems
100 Martine Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
*“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that
can’t be questioned.”*
— Richard Feynman
theoretical physicist and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965