Wednesday, 18 April 2007

A MySpace party and a wrecked home

It's long been conventional wisdom that a major benefit of programming computers is that this allows you to do a task many times over with ease. It's also been noted that if this task isn't well thought through, any bug is repeated many times over. The computer does what it is told, and the result may be much less or much more than desired. Networking on the internet can probably be said to escalate this effect by distributing the result far and wide.

In this case, we have a simple task: "Invite people to a party", that contained a small error of judgment "the party was unsanctioned by the parents and uncontrolled by the teenage host", and led to a disastrous result of "more party than desired".

Web revellers wreck family home

About 200 youngsters caused damage put at £20,000 to a family home after a party organised on a website.

Police said a teenage girl used the social networking site MySpace to advertise the party while her parents were away from home on Easter Monday.

The full article is available here.

So what does this have to do with AlertMe?

Well, our service monitors activity in the home. It could easily be set to report unusual volumes of activity, for instance the front door opening 200 times in an evening and ceaseless motion in the lounge, kitchen, or any other room. If the parents were alerted of this unexpected and abnormal circumstance, perhaps they could have responded in time to avoid the result, even calling the police to break up the party if necessary.