put some respeck on my name

Hacking the Drug Test

From our correspondant Inside Jobber (IJ)

Some time has passed now and this incident can be written up. Inside Jobber landed a contract to exercise quality assurance on a scientific instrument designed to analyze human fluids and assist physcians with making a diagnosis.

An interesting piece of kit, one might say, and to perform QA on this up to FDA Computer Systems Validation (CSV) standards, is no light task. It required a great deal of background reading on immunoassays, bodily functions, and the incredible array of chemical differences between adult female and male bodies.

We learned why pee is yellow (waste blood serum) and poop is brown (oxidization of hemoglobin, otherwise known as “rust”). Blood rusts. That’s why it’s red – the colour of iron. Until it oxidizes, when it turns brown and can no longer deliver oxygen to the organs that require it.

We learned that men – chemically men that is – simply have to give Doctor a sample, whereas women have to complete an entire questionnaire to go along with it.

When we learned that the most profitable tests on this instrument were nothing to do with health-care and were in fact those designed to detect drug use, you can imagine our shock.

Very, very sensitive tests these. Biased towards giving a positive result just by dint of their sensitivity. They can detect if you merely entered a room where marijuana was smoked a week ago – and you can be punished for this.

It’s a typical “public private partnership” affair wherein the tax-payer is foreced to finance privately-produced “tests” that will lead them to being ordered to pay a finanical penalty sufficient to cover the exhoribant cost of the tests.

What we on the streets would call “a scam”.

What To Do

IJ had two options, so he took the third.

Option 1 – False Negatives
Adjust the software so that random positive tests show up negative.

Option 2 – False Positives
Adjust the software so that random negative tests show up positive.

IJ’s first thought was to take option 1. Inject code into the system that will give a negative result to marijuana tests when performed on real fluids, but give a positive only when being run through QA and Validation.

But there’s a problem with this. As conviction rates drop the funds spent on the tests will not be recovered from fines and penalites imposed on the testees. This will raise questions about the efficacy of the tests, investigations with follow.

Option 2, on the other hand, presents a splendid opportunity to create chaos. An ordinary smoker getting a test back saying she was clear is going to be over-joyed yet keep very, very, schtumm about it.

An innocent person testing positive, on the other hand, will likely raise hell. At a minimum filling the courts with not guilty pleas and bringing the entire system to a halt. With enough innocent people experiening the power of the state as it is applied to stoners change will follow.

A nice thought, but there was always Option 3 to consider: Quit the damn job and let some other fuck work on this shit.

Option 3