We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect. – Henry David Thoreau
Picture this. It is 11 am and I have 2 free hours before my next lecture. I am in a computer room writing up a bit of the introduction for my latest assignment and doing a bit of research. Looking up journals via PubMed, some Wikipedia articles for background knowledge that kind of thing. There’s quite a few people in the computer room but it’s not packed and there’s a computer or 4 free. This particular computer room (of which there are many scattered around my uni) happens to also be where the office of the head IT guys for all the computers in my university are at and they come in the computer room now and again as people sometimes have questions to ask them and what not about technical related computer stuff.
Anyway I am typing along minding my own business when an older individual happens to walk in. I pretend I am looking at something on my screen when I notice he begins to look around. He stares at me and goes on to give a big glance at the rest of the room, before he decides to place his laptop like bag on a computer next to me. He heads of back to this big machine where you are able to purchase credit for printing and stuff. I hear the distinct sound the machine makes when it’s printing out a temporary visitor/guest card. These are used for people of the general public to be able to walk in and use the facilities by purchasing cards as such and then being able to use the computers for whatever printing/scanning etc.
Quite similar to this actually.
So he has purchased a temporary printing/general access card and he then went on to put some money in the card. He places a certain note and he then takes a seat next to me and logs on his computer. I continue to read up on the journal, pretending to be doing work. He clicks around the computer after it logs on and he is up and running on the net. I tune out from him and continue on with my work at this point. I did notice though he was anxious and kept looking at me and people around him. Damn it I know he is up to something. After a few minutes you hear one of the printers (of which there are 3 massive printers in that particulat computer room go of ready to do their job. Suddenly this old guy gets up and goes of to collect his prints. It is at that point I saw what he was printing…
What a typical printing card looks like.
NO not porn(that would have been funny), but rather pictures of ladies. You know ladies in their 30’s late 20’s and such. The website was some dating/social website (I presume you need to be a member of those dating services to view other members photos) and what was this guy doing? PRINTING OUT multiple (the printer went of at least 20 times per picture) copies of random ladies in their late 20’s and 30’s. I say random because he repeated the entire process with different women. Several times. He browsed through several profiles, opened up the picture gallery, went of to print of the pictures. Profile after profile after profile, each at 15 (if not more) copies per individual. May I remind you that guests that come out of the university to print are charged a bit more. This did not stop him though as I noticed him insert notes several times into the printing machine.
While this pic is funny in it’s own right it clearly depicts the age bracket of what he was printing.
By this point I could no longer resist and I glanced when he wasn’t looking at his web screen and saw the profile in more detail. When he came back after a batch of prints you can clearly see one of the photos revealing the individual with the photo in an A4 sized sheet of paper. When he sat down on the computer he placed all the prints in his laptop like bag and repeated the cycle. After about 15 or so individuals and many pages later he had all of those prints in his bag and by 12.15 he was out of there. I maintained my composure throughout the event to ward of suspicion. He walked out less nervous than coming in. It wasn’t long before the computer was taken by another individual from the university of to do their work.
So what the hell just happened?
Did an old guy just come in from the streets, out of nowhere, log on the university computers, jump on some social dating website, print 200+ pages of pictures of random ladies, placed them in his bag and then walked right out like it was nothing? Was I the only person that noticed? There were people around but everyone went of doing their thing. No one said anything or looked perplexed and the IT guy walked by our computers several times with out a moment’s pause.
What a typical dating website might look like. Thank you google images.
Am I exaggerating? Was it a simple misunderstanding. I know for a fact that it did occur (I did not imagine or make any of this up for fun) and what I wrote down here is the whole truth, but maybe I misinterpreted what he was doing? Maybe people do this often? Maybe one of the ladies he was printing out happened to be his girlfriend? Relative? Sister in law? Daughter? Maybe he was printing them out for a special function and that individual requested the prints. Did all 15 request them though? From the one old guy?
Right now I am thinking of the worst. I mean seriously, you hear about it all the time in news and such. Stalkers, psychopaths, obsessive compulsive, people coming out of parole, doing their research online. Finding out about his victims. Getting ID. Using them for his own pleasure? Does he stick them up his room? His basement? I know it all sounds absolutely ridiculous and it’s easy to laugh at and joke about it but damn, the whole one hour event did not feel right.
It’s no laughing matter. These guys are whacked.
Should I have said anything? ‘Hey man, computers are for study purposes only’. But isn’t that where the ‘mind your own business comes in though’? Privacy law blah blah blah. Worth contacting the police over? Sounds like I am making a big deal out of it.
Whatever the case may be, it teaches me one very valuable lesson. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can access the Internet and if you have just uploaded your ‘family pics from Thailand’, do consider setting the pictures with your family on private and make so it’s only accessible to family and friends and people you can generally trust. Pics of dogs and randoms riding surfboards or a sunset and stuff is cool to show of to the world, but don’t be so free to post all your pics of family and friends for everyone to see. You don’t know what freakazoid across the world will be printing them out and pinning them to his wall to look at every day…
PS. Check this out. It’s a bit old, but it relates to what I was saying above. Note that these were found only because the sexual predators used their real names. Imagine all the ones that use a fake name/pseudonym.