Showing posts with label privacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label privacy. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Premature Humor at the Bnei Zion Medical Center in Haifa

Premature Humor at the Bnei Zion Medical Center in Haifa

Israel's most widely circulated paper Yedioth Ahronoth has amazed the country last Sunday with a huge photograph on its cover, showing a senior Neonatal nurse smiling to the camera with, well, a premature baby inside her uniform pocket. Apparently the photograph was taken as a "humorous gesture" during a hospital teaching presentation at the Bnei Zion Medical Center in Haifa. Here is a closer look:

Premature Humor: detail

Furthermore - believe it or not - senior management of Bnei Zion Medical Center confirmed that the photos, were also published on the hospital's intranet website. The nurse, in case you wonder, now faces disciplinary action for her somewhat premature sense of humor.

Original story on Yedioth's website (Hebrew)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Two-edged Media Sword: 10 Examples of Counteradvertising, Commerce Jamming and Propaganda Remixes

A plan to allow "domestic view" of data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can "see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers" has been recently approved by the USA government. For the good and bad of it, Information age enhances the ability of states to control citizens and of business corporations to enlarge leverage our privacy into profit: better security means more information in corporate hands and less privacy. Furthermore, Information age allows business corporations and states to deliver their message more efficiently than ever before. This means more products, more advertisements and less free public space. Yet, Information age also allows activist groups and their counter messages to be heard by millions. Following is a fresh collection of popular and particularly interesting strategies, case studies and resources demonstrating the two-edged sword face of new media - where counteradvertising, commerce jamming and propaganda remixes make a stand.

1. The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

According to AdBusters Media Foundation, publishers of the most popular subvertising magazine in the world and a leading activist group based in Vancouver Canada, well made subvertisments need to efficiently "mimic the look and feel of the targeted ad, promoting the classic 'double-take' as viewers suddenly realize they have been duped". With a list successful media projects such as the TV Turnoff Week which was aired on CNN, the Buy Nothing Day videos of 2006 and 2007 and a series of viral TV subvertisments titled The Product Is You, AdBusters continue to demonstrate how TV commercial language can be altered and manipulated to "cut through the hype and glitz of our mediated reality" and reveal "a deeper truth within."

The Blackspot Sneaker: Cutting Through the Hype of Mediated Reality

The Blackspot sneaker, designed by John Fluevog, is Adbusters' recent Commerce Jamming project, a first Anti-Brand and your chance to "unswoosh Nike's tired old swoosh and own one of the most Earth-friendly shoes in the world": 100% organic hemp upper, recycled tire sole, made by Vegetarian Shoes in a European union shop including a hand drawn (!) logo plus.

2. Busting Phillip Morris: Why are you buying your food from a tobacco company?

In fact, some culture jamming ads carry indisputable facts about their targets making some disturbing unfamiliar truths to be a little more familiar to the public. "Why are you buying your food from a tobacco company?" showcased a list of popular food products owned by Phillip Morris, the world's largest cigarette company: "...Chances are that you've been helping to promote Marlboro cigarettes without even knowing it. You can withdraw that support by personally boycotting these products" the ad said. "It's like giving money to a health organization that is working to find a cure for cancer - but in this case you are taking money from a corporation that causes it. So next time you go buy food- try it. You'll like it."

3. The Reality of War: Vertigo vs. Australia's Department of Defence

In March 2003 Australia's Department of Defence has withdrawn advertising from all student media across the continent in response to a controversial full-page parody of Defence recruitment advertising published on Vertigo, a student newspaper at the University of Technology, Sydney. The spoof ad satirically portrayed the Department of Defence as "a political tool of an Australian government intent on participating in an unsanctioned invasion of Iraq" and was followed up and reprinted by other student publications.

This act of solidarity was like a golden medal to the Vertigo activists who saw the fact "students are no longer being inundated with inaccurate representations of the Defence Force" as a great victory. Vertigo spokesperson, Jano Gibson argued that "the 'exciting', 'inspiring' and 'feel good' Army ads that appear in uni diaries, on billboards and television differs extremely from the reality of participating in a war" and that Vertigo's parody "simply corrects the omissions of the Department of Defence." For a larger version download the pdf here.

4. Volkswagen vs. a Sick Joke: The Suicide Bomber Polo Driver

Sometimes facts are not the issue neither is the spoofer's opinion and the busted ad is made either "for" a non-existent product, or with a real one simply as parody of advertisements. Rarely, a familiar brand language is mimicked so well that the entire world is successfully fooled. In January 2005, managers at German car manufacturer Volkswagen found themselves in the center of a global row after a meme hack sick video joke featuring a Palestinian suicide bomber in a Polo car was virally distributed across the world via the internet.

The spoof TV advert showed an "oriental" looking man stepping into a Polo car wearing a keffiyeh scarf, known as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. After driving around the city for a while the driver stops near a resonant populated with lots of innocent civilians and detonates, yet leaving the car intact.

The video was punched-lined with the familiar style slogan announcing "Polo: small but tough". Check it out and see for yourself: Even though it is not very clear which "deeper truth" is actually being revealed here, this culture jammer was mimicking the familiar Volkswagen language so well it simply got people to believe it’s a real one.

5. Excuse me - Is that blood in your gas tank? Dave Ward vs. Hammer

"Please download the large version and pass it along to forums, websites and other people who might appreciate it. Spread the meme!" – Those were the words of Dave Ward, a professional photographer who in 2005 created two anti-Hummer spoof ad campaigns. Suggesting the real reason behind the ongoing blood shed in Iraq is to support America's oil demand fueled by manly Tofu hater ego-driven cars of the Hammer type, Ward's anti-war eco-friendly spoof ad became almost as popular as the originals and were massively and virally distributed on Internet.

In July 2006 the second Hummer ad titled "Excuse me - Is that blood in your gas tank?" showed up on Ads of the World, a commercial advertising archive for the best and most interesting creative work worldwide. I bet they didn't like this so much at Hammer's headquarters but in light of recent developments in America's approach to international global climate responsibility you might say this culture jamming attempt might have had some part in making a change.

6. The Madeleine Spoof: Extremely Hurtful and Not Funny

Not all ad spoofs are made with humanitarian causes in mind and some are made for profit or publicity and leave a very bad taste behind. An 'advertising' spoof published in a German satirical magazine named The Titanic included an allegedly double-spread ad for a supermarket, depicting a number of products promoted with the image and name of Madeleine McCann's. This poor-taste parody was later described by Madeleine's parent's spokesman as "extremely hurtful". Not much to say about this one. Perhaps just that it's a good example for a 'not very funny' spoof.

7. Doctors Ought to Care: I smoke for smell

Other spoofs can be very funny and can hardly defined as unjustified by anyone, that is unless you are a lung cancer tycoon. The idea to sabotage the interest of cigarette corporations using their own media weapons is far from being new and came up almost 30 years ago when the Doctors Ought to Care (DOC) organization was pioneered countered development and jamming tobacco ads. In a 1980 paper published in JAMA, DOC founder Alan Blum, MD, wrote that "humor can be an effective tool" in this war. Thus, in one of its poster series, the DOC parodies the classic I smoke for taste advertisement with a picture of a similarly defiant, macho character with a cigarette dangling from one nostril and the caption I smoke for smell.

8. Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

A very popular form of adbusting, sometimes referred to as Billboard Modification or Billboard Liberation, takes the form of alternation of public space commercials and billboards to make a spoof or parody of the original corporate or political message. Usually it is the company that pays for the advertisement that is being under the attack. In some cases, however, the target can be the medium itself.

Constitutions Matter: Billboard Liberation Campaign

It was August 1, 2007, when the deadline for all billboards in the city of Tacoma, Washington to comply with a (ten years old) law requiring the removal of all (well defined) disruptive billboards. Three days later Pranks, a popular blog by Joey Skaggs dedicated to culture jamming and reality hacking published this follow up about hundreds of billboards in Tacoma which "have sprouted a scary blue and red message reading "Constitutions Matter". All adbusted billboards were left carrying the name "Clear Channel Outdoor", a company of Clear Channel Communications and one of the world's largest outdoor advertising corporations. Photos are taken by Pranks from a local city blog named

9. The Li Peng Story: Step Down to Appease the People’s Anger!

Politics, anti-war and freedom fighting were always of the most inviting countermessage battlefields for artists and writers. The story of the Li Peng poem is an extraordinary example of how mass media can be hacked to deliver political counter-messages even under extreme media control standards as practiced by Chinese government. In March of 1991 the overseas edition of the People’s Daily - China’s Communist Party newspaper - featured the following patriotic homesick poem, written by a graduate student from Los Angeles aliased Zhu Haihong. Apparently the poem was a brilliant "qianzi shi" also known as "inlaid-character" poem. Thus, when read diagonally from upper right to lower left the words "Li Peng must step down to appease the people’s anger!" could be interpreted. Li Peng, for those who don't know, was the Premier of China between 1987 and 1998 and the "chief architect" of the 1989 Tiananmen square massacre.

10. The Propaganda Remix Project: YOU Back The Attack! WE'LL Bomb Who We Want!

Lastly, and with no intentions of getting into any blue-red American politics, here is another great example for political counter messages targeting war propaganda: Micah Ian Wright is an American author who works in film and television and also the person behind YOU Back The Attack! WE'LL Bomb Who We Want!, a compilation of his Remixed War Propaganda with introductions by Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut.

Other books from Wright include If You’re Not a Terrorist... Then Stop Asking Questions! and Surveillance Means Security! and hundreds of posters are available on his site The Propaganda Remix Project. When you are there, make sure you don't miss Wright's amazing collection of Hate Mail. All typos, errors, odd word choices, logic leaps, ad hominem attacks, homophobia, and delusions are claimed to be "quoted verbatim". I've found myself spending some time reading there. It's nice to see some folks know how to take some criticism :-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

iMedix: New Social Network to Help You Feel Better

Want to know more about your headaches or caffeine addiction? Searching for symptoms, diseases, treatments, or any other health related info? How about collaborating your efforts together with many other folks interested with the very same stuff?

iMedix is new social network helping people finding and sharing health related information. Members of the iMedix community use a spacial search engine that mixes results from the open Internet with user profiles, tags and recommendations and thus, assist each other by sharing their experiences and ranking medical content. According to iMedix their patent-pending search technology provides highly relevant results in response to health related queries. The engine "analyzes users’ feedback against millions of medical articles, pictures and videos in order to provide the best answers for health questions and concerns."

Concerned about your privacy? Uploaded content including text and images is of course accessible to other users and may appear in search results on iMedix. Yet, claiming for a 100% security and privacy procedures, iMedix enables you to upload your content and share it with other users without revealing your identity.

iMedix was co-founded in Israel by Amir Leitersdorf - and avid entrepreneur with strong Internet technology background who also co-founded and held the position of VP of Technology at Movota, which was sold to Bertelsmann Group in 2005. The iMedix start-up was just reported to raise $2M from private investors.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Magicmirror: Enhanced consumer experience

As Internet begins to fulfill the expectations it failed to answer prior to the dot com crisis of 2000, brick-and-mortar retailers feel threatened, not say pushed to the wall. Thus, after long years of "easy life" retailers need to consider some new ideas such as this Magicmirror for example, from an RFID retail installations company in Italy named Thebigspace.

Expected to appear in a select group of retailers’ stores early next year, this hi-tec mirror provides "an enhanced consumer experience” by playing tunes and displaying "promotional graphics" for the particular item in try, product information and suggestions for matching items. Put your finger on the touch-sensitive glass and a salesperson will be right at your service with a different size or color.

I agree with that there might be some privacy issues and concerns here but also that people will get used to it. I remember when visiting Japan in 2004 it looked funny how things were talking to me everywhere I go... People will get used to it. Via

Monday, July 16, 2007

WikiYou: The people's Wiki

Recently launched WikiYou is a website dedicated to "the unauthorized biography of every person on earth". According to Mashable!, a leading blog focused exclusively on social networks, the most active members on the site are invited to become editors and are promised to get prominent placement for stories they include about a person. Mashable! highlights a few interesting comments about how this system work:

The actual “stories” about a person show up in speech bubbles that resemble the updates you’ll see on Twitter, and tend to be rather short. You can include links, images and flash embeddable media into a “story” as well.
These are pretty cool features, helping in fueling the social aspects of the process. Yet, this type of service has obvious potential problems within the privacy and identity theft areas:

There are absolutely no privacy settings, so anyone can edit anyone’s biography. WikiYou also has a separate section for Celebs. There are of course, privacy and security issues that can come about as a result, but the wiki nature of this service means that, even if content is revised, it’s not deleted.

For the good and the bad of it, ever since Internet came into our life, there is very little most of us can practically do about what other people say about us and this is not just problem of celebrities anymore. Wikipedia already has many articles about ordinary people so my advice is for you to "be there" for your own name before the bad guys will.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

TorrentSpy ordered to start tracking visitors

TorrentSpy, a popular BitTorrent search engine, was ordered on May 29 by a federal judge in the Central District of California in Los Angeles to create logs detailing users' activities on the site. The judge, Jacqueline Chooljian, however, granted a stay of the order on Friday to allow TorrentSpy to file an appeal.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Google's Street View stirs debate over privacy

The New York Times published an article saying "Google Photos Stir a Debate Over Privacy" (Google Zooms In Too Close for Some). Kevin Bankston, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group says he “think that this product illustrates a tension between our First Amendment right to document public spaces around us, and the privacy interests people have as they go about their day” and that "Google could have avoided privacy concerns by blurring people’s faces".

I always thought that the whole world should be photographed all the time and be seen by everyone. people should learn how to close their curtains. please don't limit my freedom for information to allow you enjoying a better view.