Thursday, April 25, 2013

Your Hard drive is a snitch

Article first published as Your Hard Drive is a Snitch on Technorati.

About a year ago a case involving a Colorado woman , Ramona Fricosu, made tech news when the judge overseeing a mortgage fraud case forced her to decrypt her hard drive.  Apparently the prosecution was tipped off that the drive contained incriminating evidence that only she could provide access to.

The Internet went wild when it seemed the 5th amendment had apparently gone out the window.      Now before you go running off to Wikipedia, it's the one that says you don't have to incriminate yourself in a court case against you.

This week we had another example of the 5th amendment running headlong into an encrypted hard drive but this time things went a little differently.  It seems Judge William E. Callahan wasn't going to force a defendant in a child pornography case to decrypt several of his hard drives. 

The judge wrote, "ordering Feldman to decrypt the storage devices would be in violation of his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination."

The difference between the two cases seems like nothing more than semantics but there was one critical difference.  In the Fricosu case, investigators had prior information that the contents of her hard drive contained evidence.  In this week's case, investigators were only guessing when it came to the contents of the defendant's multiple hard drives. 

If you've ever watched Law and Order or CSI with any regularity you've probably seen at least one episode where the bad guy's lawyer tells the cops, "You're on a fishing expedition."  It usually comes up  when the defendants lawyer discovers that the police have no proof and are trying to trick the bad guy into incriminating himself.

That's exactly what was going on in Judge Callahan's court this week and the lesson learned was simple.  If you've got something to hide don't tell anyone what it is or where it's located.  Otherwise, don't bother encrypting your hard drives.

For some, this week's ruling may seem like nothing more than a question of semantics and to some extent it is.  Then again, that's what the entire legal profession is built upon.  Most criminal law deals with the concept of "intent" and intent is all about semantics.  

While the possibility that an accused child pornographer may evade justice due to a technicality we can't forget the importance OF that technicality.

The 5th amendment ensures that anyone who accuses you of breaking the law has the burden of proof.  It's the foundation of "Innocent until proven guilty" and law enforcement shouldn't be allowed to take shortcuts because it's convenient.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Defiance, not so much

If you've been waiting for a TV series that looks like the redheaded stepchild of a trist between Babylon 5 and Halo then I may have something that fits the bill.

Monday April 15th saw the premiere of Defiance on the SYFY network following on the heels of the companion video game of the same name that launched 2 weeks earlier.  It's set in a near future where the Earth is besieged by bad guy aliens plunging the world into a Mad Max style post apocalyptic landscape with a few familiar features like a battered St. Louis' gateway arch thrown in for realism.

There's a few other alien races besides the big ugly bad guy aliens that live alongside the human survivors in a somewhat tenuous allegiance.  After all, the old adage of the enemy of my enemy and such and such applies here.  Thus we're presented with yet another Sci-Fi story using aliens and a post apocalyptic world as a metaphor for the human condition.

The video game is supposed to follow the storyline of the television series albeit in another location and is designed from the onset to be an MMO.  That means graphics are passable at best but acceptable if you buy into the whole media convergence thing that SYFY is trying to push with Defiance.

From the 2 hour pilot it appears we're going to spend a lot of time watching a multitude of antagonists scheming toward their own ends.  Somewhere toward the end of the episode, however, everyone will put aside their differences and come together in one giant Kumbaya  moment .  The result of which will be to repel yet another invasion by the big, ugly bad guy aliens that look like escapees from MechWarrior and an fantasy RPG.

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During scenes depicting vistas in space or Aliens on the march the trademark SYFY production values shone through.  By that I mean cheap.  They looked like scenes out of a video game and considering the tie-in with Trion's game it's really no surprise that there's some cross-pollination. 

The most interesting thing about the whole franchise is trying to figure out whether the game supports the television series or vice versa.  From what I see it's the latter as the whole premise is tired and has been done better.  The only thing that makes Defiance different is the overt tie in with a video game.

The characters have no more depth than any other NPC in a video game in spite of how hard the writers try to make us care about them.  There's not a lot of room for plot development either unless they start getting wonky and unearth the Starship Enterprise under the Lincoln Memorial or something like that. 

I mean c'mon, let's face it, your plot is going to boil down to 4 things.

1. Racial tension (Babylon 5 copycat)
2. Exploring relationships between characters (kinda tough when they're basically just NPC's)
2. Finding the big super uber weapon to get rid of all those pesky big bad guy aliens 
3. Beating up on the big bad ugly aliens

MiniInTheBoxI sincerely hope that Syfy isn't pinning their hopes on the fact that the series has a companion video game.  Cable stations have been doing companion web apps for a few years with series like Breaking Bad.  Thing is, apps don't make a bad series good and neither will a video game. 

By this time next year I doubt we'll remember Defiance in the same way we remember Babylon 5 or  Star Trek the Next Generation if we remember it at all.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Your Anonymity is showing

There is no anonymity, at least not on the Internet.  Or at least that's how Google and Facebook want it.  It's likely that just like me you have multiple Google accounts and now the parent company of anything that matters on the Internet wants to you to come clean.

Log into YouTube and you're constantly prodded to use your real name on your YouTube channel.  Want to log in using your channel alias?  Forget it, they want the email address you used to sign up with.  Just like Facebook, Google Plus doesn't allow aliases either.  In fact they want more information than I provided the bank to finance my car. 

Want to start a Facebook page for your business?  Be prepared to provide everything short of your articles of incorporation and 5 years of tax returns to do it. 

Contingent on using any of these services is the requirement to reveal more information about yourself than anyone should be comfortable with.  Thing is, for most, it's no big deal.  For the generations that came after mine it's nothing to "Broadcast Yourself" for all the world to see.  As some have found, to their own peril when that party video posted to your Facebook page gets in front of a potential employer.

It's gotten so easy to lay ourselves bare (in some cases literally) that many don't even think about the consequences of our cavalier attitude toward online privacy.   That is, until something happens that makes you regret clicking "I Agree" to the 10000 word terms of service.

It's not simply a question of privacy, for the most part that's gone if you leave your house.  It's a question of giving away the power of your own predestination.  I have no doubt that being a private investigator is no longer as lucrative as it once was.  What used to take them weeks is offered up freely under the guise of being "social"

Just ask the unfaithful spouse who found out just how much power they'd given away when their Facebook exploits were admitted as evidence in the legal proceedings that followed.

You may feel that it's a good thing that it's harder for those with something to hide to retreat behind anonymity.  Well Mr. Public Parts, we all have something to hide even if we haven't broken any laws.  Nobody should demand we reveal it just to be online.

What happens, for example,  when an author can no longer write under a pen name?  What about the  corporate whistle blower exposed by a change in some online service's privacy policy?  Should they have to sacrifice a career because an entire industry can now blackball them for it?

If you're Jeff Jarvis I suppose everything's a Public Part so it shouldn't matter what gets revealed.  In the real world where people can't afford to have their every action judged it becomes a problem.  I'm not in favor of the merging of private and public and stay off of services like Facebook and increasingly Google because of it.

Now, I may be running contrary to the Internet punditry proclaiming the glories of the new social construct that's arisen out of our constant connectivity in what I'm about to say. 

In short, I think it's Bull. 

I'd rather not be sitting in a job interview at 40 years of age having to explain something stupid I did in my teens to a potential employer.  It'd be nice if the world was populated only by the open minded with no personal agendas but that's just not how it works.  Experience has taught me the better parts of human nature rarely come into play in a job interview.

Think about the now common practice of job applicants having to submit to a credit check at the application stage.  I usually give them the "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" response in which I agree to allow the check only if I can have the same information from every member of the executive staff and the board. 
People usually just think I'm being a wiseacre and look at me as though I should be wearing a straightjacket when they find out I'm being serious.  Funny, I feel the same about them.

I think more people need to do that, actually.  In fact, I suggest it be the basis of a new movement.  A friend of mine is fond of saying corporations will keep pushing the boundaries until someone pushes back.  This can be where it starts.  After all, nobody has any right to know how timely I pay my debts unless they're loaning me money or I'm in charge of the keys to the bank vault.

It's exactly because of how the world works that we need to retain control of our own personas.  Making your new job contingent on a good credit score is just one symptom of the problem.

Look at it this way.  Do I really want to find out that my trusted mechanic of decades is a cross dresser on the weekends? 

Now I can care less if he is or not but some people might which could have consequences to his livelihood. 

The reality is that it's not critical information to know if he's just fixing my car.  If you think it is you're just being nosy and bigoted.    

That's what I mean by public and private.  I don't want to know any more about you than I need to know and what I need to know has limits. 

Say my mechanic is going to get married soon, I'd fully expect his potential bride (or groom) may want to know about such things but I don't.  If he's installing a supercharger on my Mustang, I could care less about his fashion adventures.

He shouldn't be required to expose that information and I shouldn't have the opportunity to pass any judgment on anything not directly related to him fixing my car.

That also means he should have the freedom to indulge in a private online existence apart from his public one.   Being online shouldn't have to mean that you abdicate your right to withhold information people don't need to know about you. 

In fact, knowing too much about a person can lead to even more discrimination simply because it becomes easier to apply our own personal biases based on irrelevant information.   Even if what we find has nothing to do with why we were interested in the first place the damage is done and our world grows a little colder.

We're all so concerned about safety these days and it's sure to come up whenever someone's abdicating the requirement to vomit up even more private information.  

Someone will always bring up the child molester, terrorist or bank robber that might have been stopped if we just had more information about them earlier.  Perhaps so but is it worth the whole of humanity living under a microscope to prevent it?  At what point does civilized society fall victim to Orwell's "thoughtcrime" ?

 The question you have to ask is if everyone's going to eventually be required to lay themselves bare online then who's qualified to sit in ultimate judgment of your actions?  You're tried, convicted and sentenced before you even realize you've done something wrong.

That sounds a bit "Minority Report" to me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Waiting

Have a good job?  Don't mind getting up early or going the extra mile now and then? Then I can understand why someone who  doesn't constantly search the want ads, hit up friends and relatives for leads and find more doors closed than open can regurgitate unkind words on a career forum.

There's a different mindset when things are going right compared to when they're not.  If everything's worked out for you it's hard to understand why all these people are whining about no jobs, ageism, abuse, and discrimination.

The times when things are going well can blind us to an uncertain future.  Most of us would rather not think about the possibility that things won't always be the same no matter how hard we try.  Perhaps the less fortunate have more insight than those who've never experienced real hardship in their lives. 
Never forget, there's always more people suffering in the world than not.  Remember that callous comment posters, we outnumber you.

To know how truly bad things can get allows you to appreciate how good things are. 

It also gives you compassion which is something sorely lacking in contemporary recruiting practices.  Resume scanning software, discrimination,  job boards full of spammed listings and recruiters more interested in punch lists than ability are just a few of the failings of the "new" way to find work.

Even if you're fortunate enough to navigate this minefield of uncertainty and land a job interview the contest doesn't end there.  Often you're left wondering and waiting for weeks, maybe months to hear something, anything about your starring performance.

We're told the wait isn't necessarily their fault.  Job interviews are a low priority in an otherwise busy day and depending on what's going on may postpone a decision for weeks.   It makes you wonder how much your contribution would really matter when you think of it.

Send a follow up email or letter, make a phone call, do anything to stay in the front of their mind you're told.  That's impossible and we know it.  Those who've sat on the other side of the interview table  more often than not ignore such overtures like spam in their junk email folder.

So we wait and as time passes become more dejected over our prospects.  We continue to apply and interview (if we're lucky) but in the end, we just wait.
The problem is real and the cause sits squarely in the lap of a corporate culture that treats the "Human Resource" as little more than cattle.  Selected, groomed and ultimately led to slaughter.

It's easy to advise we lost souls of the unemployed to seek alternatives like consulting or a home based business.  Hell, I got so tired of this sick game that I went out and actually took their advice and it worked for awhile.  Problem is, eventually most of your clients end up in the same boat you are.  A vicious circle is revealed.  If we help each other we can ultimately help ourselves but we, all of us, have lost our power.

We've lost it to the employer who hires illegal immigrants to avoid paying a fair wage or the corporation abusing H1B visas for the same reason.  We've lost it to offshore outsourcing and cheap products produced by laborers in faraway lands where worker's rights and safety are only of marginal concern.   
It's good for the bottom line but you, dear reader, are not part of it. 

Small businesses are usually made up of dedicated people offering a unique product or service found nowhere else.  In the past decade we've seen millions of them fail not because they did anything wrong but rather just the opposite. 

They did their jobs too well and found themselves driven out of business by a cheap pale imitation of their offerings.  Again, a vicious cycle.  If there are fewer small businesses there is less work spread among the now desperate independents that support them as they scrounge for every scrap.

So much for going into business for yourself.  Trust me, corporations don't hire anything but other corporations when they need something done.  I can guarantee "You.INC" isn't on their list unless you happen to be the only one in your field.

So what do we do? Revolt? How? we can't even afford the bullets. 

The only hope, try to be unique and offer something vital but impossible to replicate.  That's a tall order but unless you want to just accept the way things are, it's your only hope of rising above the morass of the job hunt. 

My final bit of advice, don't spend too much time commenting on the bad advice of headhunter columns.  Misery loves company and always travels in groups.  Offer something constructive, ignore the moronic comments of the uneducated and move on.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fixing the lie of "for profit" schools (revised and angrier!)

After my last article about the lie of for profit schools a friend of mine wrote to me saying that while he agreed with most of my take on the Devry's of the world he couldn't completely agree with it. 

Of course this sparked a larger discussion when I saw him a few days later.  Briefly, his position was that while for profit schools may be more apt to focus on their bank account than the curriculum it didn't necessarily elevate public universities to Mother Theresa status.

He related a few key points in his argument. 

  •      Nobody's forced to attend a post-secondary school.
  •      Non-profit doesn't necessarily mean eligible for sainthood.
  •   Schools aren't completely responsible for the success or failure of a student. 

Let's take a look at these...

Yes, education after high school is completely voluntary  but I'd argue completely necessary.  That is unless you think cashiering at your local fast food joint is a career path.  Considering I could barely count change when I graduated from high school, a little extra classroom time was beneficial.

When we're talking about non-profits it's a given that anything touched by humanity is by default corrupted by its ambitions.  Even the Bible couldn't escape that truth and neither does a non-profit school.

He pointed to how non-profits may not offer stocks traded on the NYSE but it never stopped them from wasting millions on something other than their stated reason for being. Admittedly, it's hard to frame the building of a new football stadium at "(Insert State here) University" as a catalyst for advancing education.
Still, at least the money went back into advancing something other than a quarterly dividend to some shareholder.  I'd also remind you that there are plenty of non-profits that don't have their own football stadium. 

His last point goes without saying, we are to at least some degree in control of our own destiny.  If in the pursuit of it we're mislead into making a poor decision, however, somebody needs to be held accountable.  It's the reason we have the Federal Trade Commission.  If you mislead the public about your product expect to pay the consequences.  That's the set of rules you have to accept if you're in the "business" of selling education like Oscar Mayer sells hot dogs. 

Yes, public universities also suffer the sin of selling unnecessary classes too but they're a damned sight cheaper and at least the credits transfer.  Oh yeah, and they're not setting up the curriculum based on a revenue projection.

That's really the crux of the argument.  As I said in the last article, if you're going to just sell education as a product then your focus isn't on advancing knowledge.  Rather it's advancing your bottom line.
So here's the part where my friend agreed with me.

I hold the belief that any educational institution that operates as a profit entity shouldn't have access to public funds.  Yes, I'm suggesting that taxpayer backed student loans and grants shouldn't be given to institutions whose reason for being is the make money. 

I see no reason to provide public funding to someone's private venture with virtually no oversight and dubious value to society.  It's not unlike the uproar over the AIG bailout or the furor over saving domestic automakers.  The difference here is that there's even less oversight of public monies in for-profit schools than there was for the billions we gave to banks and insurance companies. 

If your school is in it for the money then put it where your mouth is.  The Devry's and ITT's of the world  shouldn't be getting the bulk of their revenues from government backed student loans and grants.  If they want to offer financing they should be providing it themselves and not passing it on to taxpayers.

That means your education may still cost $50k for a Bachelor's degree but if it doesn't live up to the hype and you go broke because of it at least there's always bankruptcy. 

It's not that I'm against private schools or even alternative education, on the contrary.  I myself was attracted to ITT Tech and then the University of Phoenix exactly because I didn't want to waste time on classes that had nothing to do with my chosen course of study. 

That's been a failing of public universities in the past and it caused a drop in enrollment which ultimately benefitted alternatives like the for-profit schools.  A problem, by the way,  that's only recently been addressed by many universities adopting a similar program structure to the for-profit schools.

So if the Not for profit schools have been able to adjust their programs to match the profit schools and still be 2 to 4 times cheaper for the same degree then where's the justification for the extra cost? 

As much as I may have enjoyed my time at ITT Tech nobody holds that degree in the same regard as say a year of study at M.I.T.  So how can you justify charging almost the same money for a year of education at an IVY league school ?

The simple answer goes back to that old marketing adage, Sell benefits not features.  Advertising a benefit is essentially selling an intangible product that's almost impossible to challenge.  Where features like power windows, cruise control or Air conditioning are tangible.  Looking Cool, being admired and improving your station in life are not. 

They're the warm fuzzies that you can't quite put your finger on and if you can't define what it is that's motivating you then you can't challenge their value either.   Convincing me that I'm going to be just as valuable to the world as an M.I.T. graduate based on a bare bones"heat and serve" boilerplate curriculum is just a lie.

That, my friends, is exactly what for-profit schools are selling.  Not the quality of their programs but the promise of improving your condition for a premium price.  Whether or not it's justified is entirely subjective but I'd rather not be putting taxpayers on the line for it. 

If you're a for-profit school and your programs fail to deliver you still have the taxpayer's money no matter how successful the students are.  You've effectively conned the government into supporting your corporate bottom line. 

Perhaps it's the biggest con game of all when you can get public money to support private enterprise that by its very nature is set up to only enrich itself.  

I mean at least Boeing has to deliver helicopters that don't crash in the desert for the billions they get from the Department of Defense.  Where's the accountability for the University of Phoenix and Devry's of the world who take billions in public education money? 

Does it make any sense that government financing has turned these schools into multibillion dollar corporations whose only reason for existence is to keep the public money pump primed and flowing?  They can't deny it, their "business" model is set up to support a revenue stream no matter how much it degrades the product.  It really is that simple.  If you're a corporation, you're in it for the money anything else is just marketing.

This actually speaks to the flawed logic of people who believe that government should be run like a business.  It just doesn't work simply because where business exists for the enrichment of itself, government exists for the public good (or at least it used to).

Government that exists for the betterment of itself usually has a dictator at the helm and that's not good for anybody. 

The logic fits for education as well.  Hopefully my point is a bit clearer now.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Where the rich white men go

It's spring in Palm Beach again and just as has happened for the previous decade Barrett Jackson's parade of rolling dreams is underway. 

The differences between the Scottsdale and Florida events are minimal but noticeable.  For one thing, you're not going to see any 4.2 million dollar original Batmobiles roll under the palm trees.  This is an auction more in line with the well heeled collector looking for a sharp daily driver than a 1 of 1 rarity.

Oh, the feature cars are there but they're mixed in with somebody's 10 year old cast off Mercedes 500 SL.  You don't see as many of the heavy hitter bidders at this auction either mostly because the pickings aren't as choice.  That 70 Challenger RT is more likely to be a one-off custom than a build sheet matching original. 
You do see more examples of Lamborghini's, Ferrari's and the like mostly due to their popularity in the region and of course the concentration of wealth on the Right coast.  The mix of offerings reflects a different attitude toward collectible automobiles in the region. 

Where a 60's muscle car may bring six figures at Scottsdale the same car could bring much less at the spring event.  A smaller consignment pool and more variety has a lot to do with it.  At Scottsdale a featured original Hemi 'Cuda will likely have at least a dozen other customs that will benefit from a strong sale. 

If it's stuck between a couple of Lamborghini's and Charity customs it will likely suffer unless it's got a very strong provenance.  In other words the buyers have to know about it before it ever goes on sale. 

Jet powered Semi Trucks  aside, the offerings tend to be more practical than whimsical.  Emotion plays a much smaller role and the prices reflect that.  In short, the event is probably your best bet for getting a reasonable price on a collector vehicle at a Barrett-Jackson auction.

Still, if you can stomach Speed channel's coverage of the event you'll notice many of the lots being  sold to the same buyers.  Most of which happen to be well heeled old white men that have made Craig Jackson a millionaire in the past 15+ years of his control of the auction.

If Scottsdale is the example of wretched excess and you want to find an example of what the 1% consider a discount store, the Palm Beach event is a good place to start.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The lie of "for profit" schools

I've had more time than I'd like to watch TV lately which also affords me more time to analyze its content. 

For Example, Have you seen the latest Devry university commercial?

It has all the right elements to properly position the "product."  Stirring music played at a subtle volume, young adults happily traversing an idyllic campus setting and a resolute spokesman delivering a somber message. 

"By 2025 there will be 20 million new jobs and not enough graduates to fill them.."  or something like that, forgive me if I paraphrase.  I'm sure of this much, the statistic comes from the United States Department of Labor in a March 2012 publication.

What they fail to mention is who or where these jobs are going to be located.  In spite of the rhetoric, business is still outsourcing most of its technical work overseas or abusing work visas to suppress wages.

Remember, this is Devry which fancies itself as a "University" now.  Perhaps you aren't old enough to remember when they were just a vocational school producing entry level techs to staff the assembly lines of Motorola, Honeywell and the like. 

A great foot in the door but nobody was ever going to give you a seat at the CEO's conference room table over it.  They were no better than schools like ITT Technical Institute or the Ron Bailey School of Broadcasting.  

They claim to be more than that now but they can't hide from their humble beginnings.   

In fact the term "diploma mill" was coined because of these types of schools.  That was because their programs were usually not accredited by the same governing body as traditional universities.  The admission requirements were more relaxed as well so long as you had at least a GED and the ability to pay.

That allowed them flexibility in their curriculums not to mention the ability to commoditize their programs of study but made almost none of the credits transferrable to a regular university program.  Needless to say, nobody ever asked about your SAT scores.   

In the end you had the equivalent of very expensive vocational training and a piece of paper few took seriously.

Were they diploma mills?  That was entirely dependent on the school.  Sadly, you often had little more than a slick advertising campaign to judge them by.  Most fell by the wayside when the promise fell short of the reality and the law suits starting rolling in.

Your education at any of these institutions would likely be financed by government  grants and student loans.  The exact composition of which was of no matter because the loan payments would be excessive no matter what the amount owed.  Especially true when you could expect to spend the first few years of your career pulling down about  as much money as an assistant manager at Mickey D's.

There's no debating the value of a quality education whether it comes from a University or a vocational school. The broadening of your knowledge base will always pay a dividend even if it isn't in the form of a bigger paycheck.  It's about having options and the more you have the better off you'll be.

If it sounds like I'm contradicting myself I'm not.  I'm a strong proponent of education in all its forms.  What I'm not in favor of is the whole concept of a "for profit" school.

Which is why I have a problem with schools like Devry and the University of Phoenix making promises they can't keep. 

Going to a "for-profit" school changes the education dynamic.  Instead of being about imparting knowledge, it's about selling a product and its value diminishes with every shareholder meeting. 

Oh? You didn't realize that Devry was publicly traded corporation?  Their ticker symbol is DV on the NYSE.  They closed at a bit over $31 a share at this writing.  Down a bit since its $60 average a few years ago.  So what does a company do when it's revenue numbers are down?

Sell more product of course!

When your product is education and you're charging a premium price for it your angle better be good.  
The usual sales pitch is the chance for a better job.  Of course they never emphasize that word "chance" unless you can read that tiny type flying by at 60 milliseconds on your TV.
It's all about the "benefits" of their product.

It's no different than a commercial for hot dogs.  I mean does anyone really think about just what part of the beef is in "100% pure beef" hot dogs? 

Of course not, instead they portray family and friends gathered around the perfect suburban backyard relishing in the perfect summer day with perfectly plump weenies sizzling on the grill.

Trouble is, we're talking about people's futures not weenies.

If your motivation is profit you do whatever you can to protect it.  Capitalism has no conscience.

It shows up in the form of overpriced books, obsolete equipment, instructors with questionable qualifications (which is why most are referred to as "facilitators") and an inadequate curriculum.  Don't even get me started on the "Financial Aid" department...

 The result is a graduating student with tens of thousands in debt and an education that doesn't match what their chosen career demands. 

So if we're going to treat education like hot dogs then there should be some recourse when the product doesn't deliver.  After all, if you get sick from a bad batch of hot dogs the least you can expect is a refund.  Try to get a 50K refund for a useless Bachelor's degree, yeah, good luck with that.

Meanwhile, millions of people have been sold a bill of goods with nothing to show for it but a piece of paper and decades of payments  that rival most people's monthly mortgage.  The final injustice, those loans are backed by the U.S. government which means you can't get rid of them even if you go broke.
There's only one fix for all of this...

Get rid of the "for profit" schools unless they guarantee placement equal to their advertising.  If they refuse then they either need to shut down or be forced to change their ways. 

If they complain, remind them that compared to their "product" hot dogs have a better guarantee and that's just bad business.