Friday, March 30, 2007

Fill Out Or Fail

I am taking a class at a local college. Not for grades or a degree, but to better get the hang of a piece of software I've never been friends with. The bureaucracy involved with taking the class has been a long, tedious, ultra-bloated process -- this comment being from a frog who grew up with bureaucracy, et ce n'est pas peu dire.
This week, we were requested to fill out yet another form, cryptically called "General Purpose Data Sheet II." Where it would go to, and for what purpose, was unclear. The form includes some personal questions whose relevance to a computer class escapes me, e.g. marital status, household size, income, or job situation. Unless it's simple Big Bro statistical lust.

When I inquired about this, I was told that filling out the form is mandatory to pass the class. Meaning: you refuse, you fail; or rather, you're failed. Since I don't care about grades and credits, I don't care about "failing," but other "students" may not have that choice.

We live in an "information age" where the notion of privacy has become almost irrelevant -- especially in this country where anyone can access your personal data if they want to. Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy once said, "You have no privacy. Get over it." Denying it would be futile but still, one can resist it. And I really don't like having my knickers exposed to the unknown, so I will keep pulling my skirt down as much as I can. Credit or no credit.
scan of form [part]