Real-Life Problems in the Government
I had a training at Region XIII (the government agency that interfaces between schools and the Texas Education Agency) today and the guy leading the training asked us, as a subset of the thousands of people who can edit student data in the state-wide database to voluntarily adopt a policy that would help prevent what is apparently a real, actually-occurring problem: EDIT WARS of STUDENT RECORDS in the STATE-WIDE DATABASE--specifically of their STATE-WIDE STUDENT IDs (that's THE PRIMARY KEY), but also of their names.
We also discussed 'Hey, this student's Birth Certificate and Passport disagree. What do we do?' (Throw one away--it's illegal for anyone to have two legal identities.) And 'We have a record of this student's name being changed upon adoption, but now he's with his biological father who is providing us with the birth certificate and asking us to use that name. What do we do?' (Go with the most recent date.) And 'We don't know this student's SSN. What do we do?' (Answer: Start an edit war in the state-wide database. No, wait. How about the twenty of us DON'T do that and just hope that everyone else in the state follows our lead.)
I know privacy is an issue, but DATABASES CAN ENFORCE REFERENTIAL INTEGRITY.