The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a strange little story late last week about an unknown man's photo being associated online with hundreds of arrest records in DeKalb County, Georgia. The AJC says that "... the same man’s photograph is posted on most inmate records for anyone booked in the jail prior to 2000."
The AJC says that the man's photo is found on arrest records for both men and woman going back to at least 1983.
The error was found by the AJC when it was searching for an inmate's picture.
The DeKalb Country sheriff says his IT staff is looking into the error, and he says it wasn't deliberate. More likely it was that this man was the first person booked in jail when the sheriff's department's web site first went up, he says.
Of course, this does beg the question of why this photo is apparently on most, but not all, inmate records prior to 2000, and why it took so long - and a newspaper - to discover it.
I surmise also that no one bothered to verify the arrest reports before making them available online, since I doubt the web site existed way back in 1983.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.