credibility: its about security not character

After being weirded out by a LifeLock advertisement on TV, I did a Google search on the company and found a great article on Wired. It turns out that one of the company’s founders is suspected of identity theft and customers of a former business he ran ended up having their identity stolen. LifeLock is a company which claims to “protect your good name” by preventing identity theft for $100 a year. To the right is the LifeLock logo, note the human-pad lock and the byline.


What I find most fascinating / terrifying about LifeLock is its marketing strategy, that “your good name” can be protected through security. Credibility, according to this company, is about preventing your identity from being stolen – about securing your identity. Of course to sign up you must turn your identity over to LifeLock by providing them with your First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, E-mail Address, Mobile Phone, Home Phone, Address, Credit Card #, Birthday, Social Security Number and so on…

Did I mention they have a special deal for kids? No joke

A word from the Reverend Billy…

From The Statement of Belief:

The corporations want us to have experiences only through their products.

field notes | union sq | 072707

I’ve finally gotten around to posting some footage from the Critical Mass at Union Square on 07.27.07. Below the fold you’ll find two videos and a slide show of pictures. The first video documents the organization of Critical Mass in Union Square North from 6:45 PM (15 minutes prior to their 7:00 PM scheduled meeting time) until 7:45. The second video documents an officer confronting a biker and the crowd’s reaction.

Video One: This footage documents the organization of Critical Mass in Union Square North from 6:45 PM (15 minutes prior to their 7:00 PM scheduled meeting time) until 7:45. This Critical Mass was organized by Times Up! with an appearance by the Reverend Billy. The hour-long footage has been sped-up so that the crowd’s movement over time within this space could be better realized for analytical purposes.

Video Two: An officer confronts a biker for failing to respond when spoken to (occurs in the left side of screen with downward movement). The crowd reacts by refocusing on the interaction and within minutes are surrounding the police and the biker. This video footage was originally 3 minutes in length. However, time has been manipulated – slowing the footage of the officer confronting the biker and speeding up the footage of the crowd reorganizing – to draw attention to the shifts in movement which occur in this space.

Photos from throughout the night:

privatizing txt

Its official – txt space is private space. From the ny times:

Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program…

legal experts said private companies like Verizon probably have the legal right to decide which messages to carry. The laws that forbid common carriers from interfering with voice transmissions on ordinary phone lines do not apply to text messages…

So when will these laws be updated? net neutrality.

Update 09.27.07 @ 3:02 PM : : : From today’s ny times – “Verizon Reverses Itself on Abortion Messages“:

Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless last week rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.

Of course the problem remains. While Naral is now being allowed to distribute their message, Verizon is still reserving the right to block text messages at their discretion…


Couldn’t help but notice these two stories about facebook today: Facebook investigated on child safety and Microsoft Is Said to Consider a Stake in Facebook. While I discovered social networking on friendster, moved to myspace and flirted with orkut – my favorite social networking service these days has been facebook. Its clean interface, minimal advertisement, panoptic social feeds and its open-source platform won me over. Facebook has been my most updated and frequented social profile for months now. However I may have to reevaluate my long term commitment to facebook in light of these two stories, they certainly echo the headlines which circled myspace prior to its acquisition by News Corp. Msnbc even referenced Rupert Murdoch in their article:

Facebook, the fast-growing social networking group, has come under investigation by Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney-general, who said on Monday that the company did not do enough to protect children from sexual predators on its website...

The attorney-general’s investigation comes days after Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp and owner of MySpace, a rival social network, predicted Facebook would run into problems over child safety…

Good thing there are giant corporations waiting in the wings to save social networks like myspace and facebook from child safety problems…

Geosniff (v.)

From Jonathon Keats, Wired 15.09:

To search the web by location, delivering regionally pertinent information to users and regionally pertinent users to advertisers.

Connectile Dysfunction (CD)

“You know the feeling” the empathic male voiceover announces, “you can’t take care of business the way others do.” You can’t, because you have what’s called “Connectile Dysfunction” or “CD” which the voiceover explains as “a condition caused by inadequate broadband coverage.” The denizens of New Orleans know this feeling all too well, that is to say they “can’t take care of business the way others do.” When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the city’s communicative infrastructure was badly damaged except for a wireless network covering the downtown business district and the French Quarter.

This wireless network, originally implemented to support surveillance cameras in the area, was quickly repurposed by emergency personnel in the wake of the hurricane and later converted by the city into a free public Wi-Fi service. BellSouth is now challenging the legality of this public cyberspace, a lifeline that the city intends to make part of its “indigenous infrastructure.” Thanks to powerful corporate interests, Louisiana state laws ban the free distribution of broadband services and while New Orleans was able to circumvent these laws because of its declared state of emergency that state of emergency has now been lifted. The denizens of New Orleans battle a bad bout of Connectile Dysfunction.“The cure” for CD, our empathic male voiceover informs us, is “Sprint Mobile Broadband” because “it works in twice the cities as Cingular’s Broadband Connect so you can be you again.” At $49.99 a month (not including the startup and hardware costs), this advertisement doesn’t appear to remedy the situation so New Orleans can be New Orleans again

Silicon Spaces and the city of “”

This post has been imported from the NML Research Blog…

On the flight to Oregon I read Michael Indegaard’s Silicon Alley: the Rise and Fall of a New Media District. “Silicon Alley” mostly runs along Broadway from the Flatiron to the Financial District (see map below). Indegaard makes two important points in his book: 1) that the backers of these ‘new’ media companies were hardly new – realestate interests and wallstreet venture capitalists. And 2) how the physical location of ‘’ companies shaped them – and visa versa. Rather than minimize the importance of place, the new media companies tended to locate themselves within ‘new media districts’ – drawing their resources from and providing content for the local (physical) industry.

NYC has Silicon Alley; Boston has the Cyber District (and the state of MA has invested money in a PR campaign to re-brand the state as the “.commonwealth” – emphasis on the ‘dot’); San Fransisco has Multimedia Gulch; LA and San Diego share the Digital Coast & Detroit has Automation Alley. And of course there is Silicon Valley…

After whitewater rafting in Hell’s Canyon Oregon, some friends and I decided to stop for dinner in the city of Halfway Oregon. The city, with a little more than 300 residents, sounded familar but I couldn’t figure out why – until Michael (my partner, not the author) informed me that Halfway, in a deal with (a Philadelphia based internet company), was the city that changed its name to

Yes its true… Halfway changed its name to in 2000 for 1 year for a reported $73,000 and computers for their schools. The “World’s First Internet City” apparently returned to its gold-rush-roots and saw the name change as a much needed boast to their tourism and economy. After the deal was made the town used their new riches and the riches they expected to make in the future, due to their new found ‘fame,’ to build a new Fairground. Needless to say, the town’s fame didn’t last very long and their contract with was not renewed – leaving Halfway with no way to pay for their $400,000 Fairground. As one member of the Halfway community put it (according to AP) “Apparently, they were counting their chickens before they were hatched.” Meanwhile, after literally ‘putting itself on the map’ (the company) was sold to eBay for $300m.

Reflecting on the city of and other silicon spaces that populate the country, I wonder what effect being in NYC has on the new media we are all making and what effect our new media creations will have on NYC and other places?

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