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Did You Know...? Laptop Follies

Did you know... that travelers leave 12,000 laptops in American airports every single week and only 30% of them are ever recovered?

Wow! 12,000 laptops adds up to 624,000 machines a year! That's a lot of freaking laptops being left behind! I'm having a really hard time trying to understand how that many people would be so careless. But then again, it's really just another piece of luggage, and luggage is lost from time to time, although I've never be so unlucky.

And how is it that only 30% are ever recovered? If I get to my destination and eventually realize that I don't have my laptop, especially if I know I had it when I was at the airport in the city I left, I would immediately call that airport's lost and found department with the hopes of getting the damn thing back.

The article states that "most of the airports said they generally keep the laptops for some period of times, then destroy them if they are unclaimed." Really? Do they really destroy them? All of them? 12,000 laptops every week, with 30% going unclaimed, or about 3600 laptops? That's 187,200 unclaimed laptops every single year. And they really expect us to believe that all 187,200 of them are being destroyed! Come on! I'd bet a few of those babies are finding their way into the homes of some of the airport staff!

Actually, instead of destroying them, maybe they should be donated to those who could really use them, and who likely won't forget them at airports! Yes, I know, there's the privacy issue. As the article states, "Sixty-five percent of the business travelers admit that they do not take steps to protect the confidential information contained on their laptops when traveling on business." So, donating would first require a complete formatting of each machine, wiping each hard drive clean, in order to protect the privacy of the previous owners.

But even the erasure process requires that someone, likely an employee of the airport, or the FAA, would have to gain access to the hard drive within the laptop, which could mean a violation of the original owners privacy anyway.

If all 187,200 laptops are indeed being destroyed, that just seems like a waste to me. I'm sure the parts are being recycled, which is a good thing, but I'd like to see them (at least some) donated to those people who can't afford computers, especially since they have become so much a part of our everyday lives.



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