Phantom of Google Docs

Phantom of Google Docs

Last night I was just thinking to myself how I’ll probably never get to solve a big mystery like Sherlock Holmes. I am pretty sure that most police investigations are rather mundane, and, because most criminals are stupid, there are no clever clues to figure out. So it is interesting to note that I now have my very own puzzle. We’ll call it the “Phantom of Google Docs!”

It started last night at about 9 p.m. I was reading student submissions on our shared Google Drive space. I created a folder that we all have full editing access to. Each student has a folder within these folders for their own writing. The system is all on-your-honor because anyone can hack into anyone else’s work. I always figure that the saving grace is that we will know who hacked when because you have to be logged in to cause any mischief. The evidence would be right there.

You can see Matthew has copies of Callies work.
You can see Matthew has copies of Callies work.

Now imagine my surprise and confusion when I went to one student’s folder only to find several documents owned by another student. To further baffle me, the student had simply copied several documents in his name. What was going on?

The simplest solution is usual the best solution, right? Ockum’s Razor. So today, I asked the student what happened, and he had no clue. He doesn’t know and claims that he wasn’t even online at the time. I believe him. This student is very courteous and honest. And why would anyone just go in and start copying files and folders into other people’s folders? It makes no sense. If he wanted to cause some trouble, he could do that much more easily.

The people affected seem random. The events seem random. I have no clue. I have reached the limit of my understanding.

My cure was to have the student change his password and add the double-super-secret text code to his account so he can’t get hacked.

I’m hoping that this will solve the problem… but the mystery remains!

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