Monday, June 22, 2009

Accused of File Sharing at College

Five years ago, I was a film student at De Anza College. I used my Gateway laptop in the film computer room. Many of the students used to connect their laptop to the ports to check their e-mail accounts and to surf on the Internet. I decided to do the same exact thing.

Thirty minutes before my 16mm Advanced Film course, a San Jose police officer told me to step aside from the computer and leave the room. He questioned me outside of the room. Students passed by and were staring at me. I had no clue what was going on. 

The police officer entered the room. He told me to follow him and to sit down. I was instructed not to touch my computer. 

Outside of the room, an IT technical supervisor talked with the police officer. A few students asked me what was going on. At that exact moment, I was still lost for words.  One student told me to make sure they didn't take my computer. It was best to allow the police officer to take the hard drive. 

The police officer took a report. He questioned me about why I plugged in my computer and if i was conducting illegal activity. I told him that I was checking my e-mails because I was in a film group. My class was currently in session. 

The police officer wrote down the serial numbers to my computer. He told me that the IT technical supervisor said I was trying to release a virus into their system and that I was also file sharing, which were false claims. The IT could've walked up to me and asked me to disconnect.

I felt like one of those drivers that was pulled over for speeding. The slowest car always seems to receive the ticket while others coast by without experiencing any problems. 

Essentially, the police officer suggested that I should avoid connecting to the college's network system again. He told me that I may be contacted by the Dean about the situation. Though, I was contacted about the incident. 

What did I learn from this situation? I should never connect to another network system. People should buy their own Internet USB stick and avoid borrowing other connections. In a span of 6 months, I was accused of stealing my own car and of file sharing and downloading a virus. 

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