There is a tidal wave of stupid security rules all over the place these days. Most of them I don't mind since they don't affect me much. If malls insist on looking at my belt bag (fanny pack, to americans) and checking my lower back to see if there's a gun in there, I don't mind as long as it doesn't waste my time, or not much anyway. And mall searches only cost me maybe 3 seconds everytime.
MetroRail searches tend to cost more, but it's usually only 5-10 seconds (if there's someone ahead of me), so I don't care much either.
Of course, ideally, this stupidity should be stopped anyway since, really, if anyone with half a brain wanted to bring explosives or a small gun or dangerous chemicals anywhere, it's pretty much impossible to stop. Well, OK, so maybe it takes more than half a brain. But really, it would be trivial to smuggle in something dangerous (that's not perfume in that perfume container, that's alcohol, or, in combination with a lighter, that perfume works as a small flamethrower. how about that kerosene (or some other flammable but not so strong smelling liquid) in the shaving cream container? how about just that lighter. a terrorist could break five bottles of vodka in the wine shop, set it all on fire, and then start throwing more bottles of alcohol in there. five seconds, tops.
Those searches don't increase security (i'd link to schneier or someone, but I'm too lazy, Oh, ok, Bruce Schneier's site, they just inject inefficiency into everyday life.
But again, I don't mind them too much. Stupidities that cost me almost nothing I ignore. Sometimes (as with the cell phones or CD players on airplanes thing, now how dumb can an airline (or another, or maybe it's just the civil aviation board [can't find the website with a quick search and not interested enough to spend 30 minutes on it] be to not revoke the ban on CD players when there's no reasonable way for CD players to be a threat to avionics or control systems?) I flout them if they're sufficiently inconvenient.
On the other hand, yesterday I was at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and the guard wanted me to leave my laptop. Now my laptop is my other life. I'm not leaving it ANYWHERE. So I said no. He said to leave the power supply then. I wouldn't leave that either. If it gets lost, it would take months to get a replacement from overseas (it's a Winbook, not a common brand in the Philippines). Finally I left the cable (detachable) that connects the power supply to wall power.
I don't see what the deal is with laptops though. Are they concerned about the wifi or the CD player interfering with avionics, I mean, hospital equipment? All the cell phones in the building are already doing that and I don't see people dying every second due to GSM and bluetooth and maybe even the occasional IR and (Lord forbid), laser light from a leaky CD-ROM player interfering with avion...hospital equipment. So maybe they're concerned about people connecting to an unprotected LAN connections and sniffing the network? they should use switches then! or, no, there aren't any LAN connections, this is an old building. No Lan connections anywhere.
So the only thing that comes to mind is that they're concerned about people stealing electricity. But that's yet another stupidity. This is a hospital where they have airconditioners everywhere. That's where they need to be saving electricity. Pissing off paying customers (what does it cost to be confined in a room there, maybe PHP 2000-4000 a day?) is counterproductive. I had a similar experience at Clinica Manila in SM Megamall. I was there with Sol and while waiting, I wanted to plug in. They're against electricity theft too. But the way I see it, anyone with a laptop who wants to plug in is a potential customer who could afford a laptop. They should be *encouraging* those people to plug in, so that they'll feel comfortable and warm and fuzzy and will keep coming back for health services. As it is, I'm not going to Clinica Manila for anything.
I couldn't do much about UST Hospital, but I can write this blog and castigate them in public. Maybe if enough people ask them about it they'll rescind that rule and maybe even bend over backwards and offer free wifi throughout their hospital. I rather doubt it, but wishes are free.
Maybe someone in there is smart enough to understand what a marketing coup that would be, free wifi in the hospital, on a budget of maybe PHP 5000 a month for the bandwidth and less than PHP 250,000 for the access points, wiring and router (and maybe another PHP 50,000 for the services of the company that would install all that, although they've got a computer science and engineering college in there, they could do it for free with student labor).