As English 10 teacher Brian Reed arrived to his home from an English meeting, he placed his computer in his car and did not take it out. The next morning, though, he was in for a surprise. The window in his car was broken and the Ánimo Pat Brown Acer computer was gone.
Reed then called Principal Joshua Hartford to inform him of the incident and to tell him that he was not coming in for work that day. He called the police.“They came out, took a police report and I told them about the security features,” Reed said.
The computer belonging to the school had security features that, if activated, allowed the owner to estimate where the computer was located and the webcam would take random pictures of the current user. Through this system, information can also be displayed on what types of activity the user is doing.
“Mr. Hartford activated the security system,” Reed said and then a few weeks later, “Mr. Hartford e-mailed me that the computer was turned on and activated.” The computer then took pictures of the man who had taken the computer and Hartford began receiving information about his activities.
To Reed’s surprise the man in possession of the laptop was found to be located in his own neighborhood, a couple of houses away. The security system in the computer also informed Hartford of the heinous activities the man is committing. “It looks like he’s committing other crimes, opening credit cards and stealing money over the internet without people knowing,” Reed explained, and “We know where he is, his name and the cops haven’t done anything.”
Reed expressed his frustration with the lack of concern from the Long Beach police. “The cops seemed confused; they said I had to talk to a detective, and that they couldn’t go to the house because they needed an exact address.” The police was unsure about their own proceeding actions.
Because Hartford activated the security system, he receives information constantly and he sends any new activity to the detective working on Reed’s case. “We keep getting stuff from the computer, but the detective says they are busy and they can’t do anything, like my case isn’t first priority,” Reed said. So, with all the extra evidence being given to the detective, nothing is yet being done.
Reed would not sit around and wait for Long Beach police to act so he contacted a secret service agent. The secret service agent has now taken over the case but the agent is focused directly on stopping illegal activities rather than the laptop. He is worried about the criminal doing illegal actions and is working on tracking his every moment to avoid more illegal actions. The secret service agent has also contacted the people whose credit cards are being used but has not touched the computer subject.
The Long Beach Post has also started to report on Reed’s story. They are focusing on the poor job the police are doing on getting back the computer stolen from Ánimo Pat Brown. Reed said, “I’m losing hope that we will get the computer back” and he is concerned because it was not just a computer stolen from him, but a computer stolen from the entire student body, which he believes will affect all of us financially and morally.
Reed said this is a perfect example of the famous novel, 1984 written by George Orwell, the advance technology of looking into everyone’s lives at all times. He says that the technology in the computer may look like an invasion of privacy, but it is also meant to help the people.
“Green Dot has this advanced technology, but the cops aren’t finishing the big brothers job,” Reed lamented. They are not following up with the opportunity to help and do something about these crimes being committed.
The case is still open and the computer remains in the hands of a complete stranger.