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Magazine Eyeballs Its Subscribers

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the we-know-where-you-live dept.

Privacy 301

No_Weak_Heart writes "Talk about 'know your customers' -- the NY Times has an interesting article about Reason Magazine's upcoming June issue. Each of the print magazine's 40,000 subscribers will receive a copy of the mag with their name and a satellite photo of their home on the cover!" Although described as a "cover stunt", the magazine's editor "said that the parlor trick could have profound implications as database and printing capabilities grow."

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301 comments

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Wouldn't it be better... (3, Funny)

Nea Ciupala (581705) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772673)

If they sent it directly to your gmail account?

Whizbang! (4, Funny)

cshark (673578) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772726)

Neat!
Now all I need is my cardboard mooning man cut out to put in my window. Hoo ha!

I doubt that ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772840)

... BSD is anything but dead.

I am sorry. Please run you gay hardcore servers on SCO Unices or Windows XP Server Edition.

slow news day? (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772675)

This is your rights online? I guess it must be a slow newsday. It might be useful for showing John Q. Public exactly how powerful these systems have become but somehow I doubt that will happen. The article even states this:

In some respects, Reason's cover stunt is less Big Brother than one more demonstration that micromarketing is here to stay. "My son gets sports catalogs where his name is imprinted on the jerseys that are on the cover," Mr. Rotenberg said. "He thinks that's very cool."

On the flipside I suppose this justifies my paranoia in continuing to use a P.O. Box for all my mail. And to think I only got the P.O. Box because I was worried about my neighbors stealing my mail. I wonder if my copy would have the Post Office circled?

Re:slow news day? (4, Interesting)

BlewScreen (159261) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772739)

I'll let you know - I've been using a Mailboxes Etc. (now the UPS Store) address for the past six years and that's the address my issue of Reason will be sent to...

As for showing John Q. Public how powerful these systems are... You should try reading some of the stuff on privacy at Reason's website [reason.com] . Often times, the stuff there is (believe it or not) more insightful than the stuff posted here!!!

I don't think the average Reason subscriber will be all that surprised that their house is on the cover. I'll even bet that a good portion DO have the post office or a PMB or other mail drop circled.

-bs

Re:slow news day? (2, Troll)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772757)

It might be useful for showing John Q. Public exactly how powerful these systems have become

Except it's only happening on the cover of Reason.

It's a libertarian magazine. Nobody of any significance to the American political process would be caught dead reading it. Sorry to be the troller of bad news, but there just isn't enough support between the donkeys and the elephants to make any difference at all.

Re:slow news day? (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772799)

Except it's only happening on the cover of Reason.

A good point but all that needs to happen is for enough people to take notice. Then the mainstream press will pick up on it. This happens all the time for good or bad. The mainstream press ignores stories until the niche press (for lack of a better word) picks up on it and broadcasts it in everybody's face... then the mainstream is "forced" to follow it.

Fox News will break a story like this and "force" the more mainstream media outlets (CNN, CBS, etc) to carry a story. At least this time it would presumably be doing some good.

Re:slow news day? (1)

LittleBigLui (304739) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772950)

Except it's only happening on the cover of Reason.


And we all know that all the important decisions in the world are made without even the most miniscule trace of reason.

Re:slow news day? (4, Informative)

BlewScreen (159261) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772878)

Also - from Reason's hit and run section [reason.com] :

Most subscribers will receive an issue that features four cover pages of intensely personalized information, a demonstration of bleeding-edge technology that may one day allow for mass-customized and hyper-individualized print publications (btw, pace the Times' headline, our monthly print circulation totals about 55,000).

So it's not just the cover...

-bs

Re:slow news day? (-1, Troll)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772892)

Michael Sims is clearly too bored with hijacking domain names [sethf.com] to do any real work. How typical of him.

Sincerely,
Seth Finklestein
Advocate

usually, I am paranoid, this though? no. (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772679)

BFD. I routinely get the coordinates for addresses (usually geocaches [geocaching.com] but sometimes business addressses and residences) and make both standard Mapquest maps and aerial/topo maps of the location. Terraserver [terraserver.com] is quick and easy to use if you don't have access to some of the scripts out there for this...

How does this have far reaching implications? The information is freely and easily accessible. As databases grow? The information is out there now... It's not exactly as if magazines selling your name/address to others is a new/novel idea. It's been going on for ages.

Perhaps if they had your name and your CURRENT, exact, location on file I would be more concerned...

Re:usually, I am paranoid, this though? no. (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772723)

I think the point is some people don't think about/realize that the ability to integrate information like that is so easy.

Plus its pretty damn cool they can demand print the magazine covers.

Obviously its a stunt, though... anyone who subscribes to a libertarian magazine probably understands those issues anyway... its a rallying call for them.

Re:usually, I am paranoid, this though? no. (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772735)

Plus its pretty damn cool they can demand print the magazine covers.

How much do you suppose that cost them?

Re:usually, I am paranoid, this though? no. (2, Interesting)

klang (27062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772918)

...you got a mobile phone?

Is "Current Location" down to a couple of meters considered exact enough?

Re:usually, I am paranoid, this though? no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8773000)

OK, tell me where I am. My phone number is 312-259-7809.

Let down (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772683)

Why didn't the Slashdot summary text warn me that a free registration is needed to read this New York times article? I had no idea this would be required.

Re:Let down (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772848)

Maybe it's because the link provided was a Google partner link - no registration!

Joke's on someone. At least it's not me.

That's a great idea (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772684)

I'd pay 50 cents to get my picture on Slashdot's front page for a day.

That would be ever better than when I posed for goatse.cx.

Re:That's a great idea (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772733)

Actually, no registration is required as the link is a Google partner link.

Either:

a. Slashdot is wilfully defrauding NYT of their free registrations; or

b. Slashdot has been taken over by Google in a deal under which the existing VA Software shareholders each get one GMail account per previously held share.

Re:That's a great idea (1, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772767)

a. Slashdot is wilfully defrauding NYT of their free registrations; or

More likely then not the person who submitted the article submitted it with that URL and the editors didn't notice it.

Not cool because I really don't want the New York Times to take this feature away from us. I suppose it's only a matter of time and we can all blame /. when it happens. At least we'll have a scapegoat ;)

Two Plus Two Is Fear (1)

monstroyer (748389) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772688)

It is a totally legit fear. But they make our lives unbelievably easier as well, in terms of commercial transactions, credit, you name it [...] Rodger Cosgrove, president of Entremedia, a direct marketing firm and a member of Reason's board, assisted in coming up with a program that allows the subscriber list to be integrated with satellite photographs.

Direct Marketers thinking this is a good idea, nice one. Conveniently enough, they are *gasp* direct marketers!

Give me a break. PR Stunt to get on the front page of slashdot maybe. This is only a good idea for those who plague humanity with the title of marketer.

Visual representation (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772693)

Of course the data itself is not new and there is nothing controversial about this per se. The real issue is in the visual representation of your geographic data which demonstrates to you specifically that your home location is *known*. Of course the magazine has always *known* where you live because they mail the periodical to your house. But for some reason, showing folks information in a graphical or visual format makes it more real. Therefore, I would not say this is a gimmick, but that it would enforce the idea to those who may not think as much in their daily lives the issues of privacy and information customization and product dissemination to consumers.

Re:Visual representation (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772824)

The real issue is in the visual representation of your geographic data which demonstrates to you specifically that your home location is *known*.

Well, I should hope so. I do have an address that anyone can use to get there.

Re:Visual representation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772914)

pssst.. hey lazy mods..

Why is this insightful? Do the *MODS* even RTFA?! This guy just paraphrased the second paragraph of the FA and he's "insightful"?

I don't doubt that Bryan could come up with this on his own as he's clearly a bright guy, but I'm just pointing out that the mods should pay more attention.

In Soviet Union... (-1, Troll)

Dorf on Perl (738169) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772694)

aw, nevermind.

Re:In Soviet Union... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772802)

maps magazine you!

Re:In Soviet Union... (-1, Troll)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772956)

... magazines look at YOU! :-)

article text (NYTimes requires reg) (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772700)

Putting 40,000 Readers, One by One, on a Cover DAVID CARR

Published: April 5, 2004

When the 40,000 subscribers to Reason, the monthly libertarian magazine, receive a copy of the June issue, they will see on the cover a satellite photo of a neighborhood - their own neighborhood. And their house will be graphically circled.

On one level, the project, sort of the ultimate in customized publishing, is unsurprising: of course a magazine knows where its subscribers live. But it is still a remarkable demonstration of the growing number of ways databases can be harnessed. Apart from the cover image, several advertisements are customized to reflect the recipient's particulars.

Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of Reason, said the magazine, with an editorial mission of "Free Minds, Free Markets,'' used the stunt to illustrate the cover article about the power and importance of databases.

"Our story is man bites dog," Mr. Gillespie said. "Everybody, including our magazine, has been harping on the erosion of privacy and the fears of a database nation. It is a totally legit fear. But they make our lives unbelievably easier as well, in terms of commercial transactions, credit, you name it."

Rodger Cosgrove, president of Entremedia, a direct marketing firm and a member of Reason's board, assisted in coming up with a program that allows the subscriber list to be integrated with satellite photographs. He also worked with Xeikon, the manufacturer of the printer that made the endless customization possible.

"They were interested in showing what this technology could do," he said, "and we were interested in demonstrating the power of databases to customize information."

The cover article, written by Declan McCullagh, suggests that while databases can lead to breaches in privacy, it allows Dell to provide instant credit to computer buyers, grocery stores to stock goods that their customers want, and mortgage lenders to keep their rates down.

"It's obvious that databases provide enormous benefits to modern life," said Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "We could no more operate without computer databases than we could without electricity."

"That doesn't mean that there aren't still some serious debates to have about government databases," he added, "including the monitoring of the general American public under John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness program and the passenger profiling that has gone on."

In some respects, Reason's cover stunt is less Big Brother than one more demonstration that micromarketing is here to stay. "My son gets sports catalogs where his name is imprinted on the jerseys that are on the cover," Mr. Rotenberg said. "He thinks that's very cool."

In his editor's note describing the magazine's database package, Mr. Gillispie left open three spots - commuting time, educational attainment and percentage of children living with grandparents - so he could adapt his message to individual readers. Mr. Gillespie said that the parlor trick could have profound implications as database and printing capabilities grow.

"What if you received a magazine that only had stories and ads that you were interested in and pertained to you?" he asked. "That would be a magazine that everyone would want to read." -DAVID CARR

Re:article text (NYTimes requires reg) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772732)

"What if you received a magazine that only had stories and ads that you were interested in and pertained to you?" he asked. "That would be a magazine that everyone would want to read." -DAVID CARR


If slashdot would allow me to filter every comment higher than -1, like they do for lower comments, this would exist now!

Re:article text (NYTimes requires reg) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772777)

Too bad they posted the google link. Idiot.

GREAT that they posted the Google link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772789)

It saves us the hassle of creating a "Roger Rabbit at zip code 12345" registration ID just to look at it.

Re:article text (NYTimes requires reg) (1)

Xaroth (67516) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772855)

"It's obvious that databases provide enormous benefits to modern life," said Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "We could no more operate without computer databases than we could without electricity."

Well, duh... You're the Electronic Privacy Information Center. :P

Re:article text (NYTimes requires reg) (1)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772963)

I know it's been said before...

But seriously, stop posting copyrighted articles to the NY Times on Slashdot. You're begging for Slashdot to get sued.

newstand copies? (5, Funny)

guacamolefoo (577448) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772703)

What cover will they put on newstands? The home of the person who buys the magazine? That would be impressive.

GF.

Re:newstand copies? (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772749)

Clearly a photo of the newstand itself would be technically correct. :)

Re:newstand copies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772778)

It is most likely they have aerial photos of the newsstand.

Re:newstand copies? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772779)

If I see a copy with my home at the newsstand, I'll buy it :)

PO Box? (1)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772921)

also..
Can you get a magazine to a PO Box? Its not like its sent fedex. Whats it going to have on the cover, a top view of the post office maybe?

Re:newstand copies? (2, Funny)

Saeger (456549) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772934)

FYI: Most newstands in 2011 are RFID-ready - that means that when you walk by the stand in your hip new RFID-laden clothing, your info is cross-ref'd and used to dynamically set the price and update the e-Ink covers for maximum purchase probability. If the newstand detects a human presence, but NO RFID, then it will assume you're an anonymous terrorist and report your location to the Ministry of Bush.

--

oh noes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772705)

will my tinfoil hat cause problems for teh camera?

It's a rather easy magic trick to pull off... (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772710)

The magazine's trick here really isn't that hard... in that for every subscriber they of course have an address, and adresseses can be converted to geographic coordinates using the same technology MapQuest [mapquest.com] has had for years. It's just a matter of getting a satellite photo that shows that coordinate as the center point, and applying the circling to the image. After that, it's just a typical variable printing job.

Modern printing technologies make it very easy for a 40,000-subscriber magazine to send out a different cover to each and every subscriber. It's just a matter of doing a 40,000 page run of each of the "customized" sets of pages with the image database available, and then the common pages can be wrapped around after printing them the typical way. Here's the homepage for VIPP [xerox.com] , Xerox's technology for doign such "variable data" printing jobs on its industrial class printing products.

Re:It's a rather easy magic trick to pull off... (4, Insightful)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772768)

This may be "easy" technically, but in practice it is a very large job. Digital printing has been able to do this for a while but the logistics has been difficult. Putting a sticker with the address on it after the run and during the shipping process has been the norm since the subscription idea started. A major magazine doing it with a 40,000 person database is a big deal. This may be the start of all the pipe dreams of personalized one-to-one advertising that have been around the printing industry for years.

Re:It's a rather easy magic trick to pull off... (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772858)

One-to-one advertising has existed for years. During the dot-com bubble I worked for a company that specialized in doing it. [fluenttech.com] Really, it's just a matter that you don't usually realize that something you're reading has been customized to you because you don't have somebody else's copy to hold next to it, and the changing of content often subtile enough not to scare you, unlike this one where the customization screams out that it's just for you.

Re:It's a rather easy magic trick to pull off... (2, Insightful)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772943)

I will aggree that localised (?) one-to-one has been around a while, but the size of this project is the where it gets interesting. How many Indigo presses get used for this type of project as opposed to the 5-10 split runs out of a 50,000 run that are more of the norm. This is a leap in that each issue is a separate image and has to be treated as such instead of "the run for X region and the run for Y region". Publishers should and will take notice and start to demand the same treatment for their own magazines. It just seems to me that a real world application like this is what will make the marketing people take note of the ability of the printing equipment and how they can use it to their benefit. In the printing world, this is the hot thing but outside of the printing world it is not very exiciting until this type of stunt wakes people up to the possibilities.

OMG (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772713)

You mean when I subscribe to a magazine they know where I live????

Re:OMG (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772781)

Even worse, they know your name!!!!!!

Re:OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772982)

Yep, you are Ms. Chanandler Bong.

A-ha! (3, Funny)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772715)

So that's why the NYT wants us to register! But I'm way ahead of them... the way I've polished my tin foil hat lately all they'll pick up from my location is their own flash! Hah!

... whaddayamean satellites don't use flash photography..?

Cusomized (4, Informative)

shystershep (643874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772716)

"What if you received a magazine that only had stories and ads that you were interested in and pertained to you?"

They already have this. It's called the internet.

Personally, the fact that this is cheap enough to be feasible for a print medium is far more impressive to me than the fact that it is technically possible.

Re:Cusomized (5, Funny)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772922)


You must not be using the same internet I'm using! :-)

Streisand wouldn't approve (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772717)

Seems something like this happened not so long ago in California and somebody [siliconvalley.com] got upset.

When will... (3, Funny)

tds67 (670584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772718)

...the satellite image be taken? I want to do some nude sunbathing in the backyard when it happens.

Hate to burst your bubble (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772800)

But probably all they're doing is going to Terraserver [microsoft.com] and punching in addresses for each subscriber in bulk somehow. So unless you've already been photographed sunbathing nude when that satellite whizzed overhead, you're probably not gonna be able to pull that stunt.

However, yeah I'd want to know to if they're doing a fresh satellite pass, tho I'd probably do that with my arse in the air instead, go ahead and moon them (and ultimately myself) :-)

Re:Hate to burst your bubble (4, Funny)

RY (98479) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772852)

That could explain all the email I receive about suntan oil and penis enlargement......

Re:Hate to burst your bubble (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772991)

What would be even more shocking would be if you were female!

Next... (1)

Knight Thrasher (766792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772719)

Next, we'll send you free family portraits you never posed for! What a magazine, huh?!

What if... (3, Funny)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772720)

What if I live underground like the Mole People?

Facilitation of voyeurism (4, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772724)

they will see on the cover a satellite photo of a neighborhood - their own neighborhood. And their house will be graphically circled.

Hopefully some of the subscribers live in neighborhoods with a lot of rooftop pools--and pool parties.

Re:Facilitation of voyeurism (1)

guacamolefoo (577448) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772758)

Hopefully some of the subscribers live in neighborhoods with a lot of rooftop pools--and pool parties.

Naked pool parties.

Re:Facilitation of voyeurism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772912)

Yeah, because single flesh colored pixels get me horny.

It'll get ugly... (0, Funny)

JBG667 (690404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772725)


...if the toilet paper manufacturers get the same idea...

PO Box (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772731)

My mailing address is a PO Box. Heh. Go get'em, Reason.

I can see her house from here! (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772736)

"Hey! I can see that cute chick's house from here! Hey, what's she doing to the fireplace?"
- Some Architect Dude

The slippery slope (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772737)

The reason this is a big deal is not because they have a satellite photo of your house. Everyone with a brain knows that information is out there on terraserver and a dozen other services.

The problem with this stunt is that it is a harbinger of things to come. When marketers are able to fully customize each page of a magazine to appeal to a particular consumer, they will acquire a lot of personal information from tens or hundreds of different marketing databases in order to do so.

In essence, the improvements in printing technology that made this possible will contribute to the proliferation of your personal information.

The only way to solve this is to implement EU-style privacy protections at the Federal level. We need to ask ourselves - who's looking out for you? It's obviously not our government.

There is no Right to Privacy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772740)

There is Constitutional "right to privacy". Some try to conjure one out of the Ninth Amendment, but the same tactic can be used to conjure a "right to security" or something else that cancels it out. Some try to conjure it out of the 4th Amendment, but it is a real stretch to apply this to information that is hundreds of miles from your house and person.

I think there should be a "right to privacy", but it just isn't there in the Constitution. Judges who conjure one out of thin air can just as easily make it go away. For such things, we should rely on the amendment process, not the fickle imagination of judges.

Easier than a zip code? (2, Funny)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772743)

Maybe they just have a lot of problems with the Postal Service delivering their magazine to the wrong address.

I HATE THE CRAPPLE CRAPTINTOSH (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772746)

It sucks

Printing? (2, Interesting)

jhaberman (246905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772754)

I wonder if they will use an HP/Indigo DigitalPress. These things are monster offset printers that can do huge jobs, but are able to print a different image/source on each successive page.

They are really quite amazing.

Check them here: HP.com [hp.com]

Re:Printing? (3, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772798)

RTFA.

"Rodger Cosgrove, president of Entremedia, a direct marketing firm and a member of Reason's board, assisted in coming up with a program that allows the subscriber list to be integrated with satellite photographs. He also worked with Xeikon, the manufacturer of the printer that made the endless customization possible."

Xiekon's are old hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772916)

now iGen's are a different story.

Do it yourself... (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772762)

If you're in the USA, you can see your own address plotted for yourself by TerraServer at this page here. [terraserver.com] The version that the magazine is using is likely a higher resolution source that they had to pay for. These guys even have pictures over "Area 51" [terraserver.com] .

Re:Do it yourself... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772954)

Feh, I entered my dad's address and all it gave me was a 1995 photo of an empty field, a few years b4 his house was built. My office building shows up in a 1996 photo, but more buildings have gone up since then.

I have the picture of your house from space (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772763)

...if you live in Missouri [terraserver.com] (microscope not included).

Re:I have the picture of your house from space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772775)

please tell me you have the picture of the little, home-made tollbooth that the fuckers set up in the middle of 218? to charge people crossing over the bridge...

The signs were hand-written. It was scary.

I would love to find that place and burn it.

Yawn. (1)

James A. M. Joyce (764379) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772780)

Do you honestly think that the quality from an orbiting satellite several hundred miles away is going to be particularly great? It's already been said that the picture displays the entire neighbourhood and surrounding area of the person's house, so I'm not exactly concerned by this technology. Its application, maybe, but it's just not high-resolution enough to be particularly important.

Re:Yawn. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772832)

This is just a civillian use of it. The satellite *can* take a picture from several hundred miles away that's detailed enough to recognize people on the ground.

This is not paranoid conspiracy thoery, the government freely admits it can do that but of course they won't share the images.

Re:Yawn. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772876)

There are still things visible at that resolution that can cause problems. We used to have photo radar devices, which snap a picture of a speeding car's licence plate and mail it to the registered address with a ticket to be paid. Part of the public outcry against these involved the privacy aspect - the driver and front passenger were typically visible in the photo, so what if it catches a picture of you with someone else in the car, and you're not the one who opens the envelope? What if you're having an affair, or not out of the closet, or for that matter carrying a big stuffed panda as a surprise birthday present?

So in this case, what if the photo was taken during the day while spouse A was at work and spouse B was supposed to be, but spouse B's car is pictured parked in the driveway with spouse A's best friend's car beside it?

It's not a question of the severity or whether you ought to be doing those things anyway, it's whether it's ok to be mailing around photos that may contain information you didn't want revealed. Over a 40,000 subscriber sample, do you think this won't happen at least once?

As for the photo radar devices, they went away amid a flurry of political posturing, then I think they quietly returned. But the people behind the windscreen are now obscured or the picture is taken from the rear of the car so as not to disclose people's private business.

I hope (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772795)

I hope they didnt take the photo of my home while I was sunbathing in the nude on the roof-deck!

There's NO excuse... (0)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772801)

There's now no excuse if the mailman delivers this to the wrong house.

I suppose this might also help with collecting overdue payments (we know _exactly_ where you live...).

(I know they obviously have the address, but it's different when they also have a picture.)

Any subscriber in Seattle? (1, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772822)

Post your address so I can come over to your house and paint a giant goatse on your roof.

This highlights the absence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772826)

...of anti-ballistic missile defense for the individual.

Dated photographs reduce the shock effect (4, Funny)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772827)

You mean it will be interesting for the people whose houses are more than 10 years old. The satellite photos on the public databases are so dated it's ridiculous. Wow look, I got a magazine with a picture of a corn field on the cover!

Reason is the Best (1)

the0ther (720331) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772845)

And their brilliance shows through with this cover.

Customized Home & Garden's Magazine (4, Funny)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772850)

The real killer app will be when Home & Garden's magazine zooms in on your home and analyzes your landscaping and house. Different people might get different covers and articles on rejuvenating dead lawns, trimming overgrown trees, or xeriscaping. You might even discover you've won the contest for most beautiful garden with an aerial view.

And they could even analyze your house & land for marketing opportunities. If the satellite veiw is oblique and the paint is peeling, they could forward your name to the local aluminum siding company or house painters.

Time to get a PO box!

I'll really be scared in the future... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8772856)

...when the cover is updating in real time showing me taking a dump. So will you.

Costs somewhat offset... (3, Funny)

tbase (666607) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772859)

...by the discount the post office gives them for the thoughtfully included map to the delivery address on the cover.

And what if... (2, Funny)

hussar (87373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772880)

...you live in Area 51?

Are their intentions menat to be ironic or not? (3, Insightful)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772887)

Ostensibly, the main idea was to make readers more aware of the realities of living life as a row in a database. But then there's Chief Editor Gillispie's closing quote: "What if you received a magazine that only had stories and ads that you were interested in and pertained to you? That would be a magazine that everyone would want to read." This seems to indicate a conflict of interests; that Reason recognizes the peril, but can't help but consider the possibilities of catering to individual readers by exploiting personal data.

Of course, this attempt at pandering generally fails in my experience. My being interested in 'Gardening' or 'Outdoor Life' is lightyears away from wanting a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens or Sports Illustrated, personalization or no. This is due to the critical distinction between essence and product.

The phrase "Free Minds, Free Markets" also seems to me to be a contradiction in terms, although "Free Markets" leaves room for interpretation. I guess I'm reading this wrong, because to my mind, the notion of individuality resists the concept of demographic marketing, no matter how "free."

Wow. (1)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772890)

This has to be one of the coolest magazine stunts I've ever seen in a long time.

If you're really concerned about them being able to get satalite photos of your house by knowing your address, you should also surf under a proxy on the internet at all times. An IP can be traced, as well.

Where will this take us? (1)

coopaq (601975) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772894)

On a related note will Coca-cola pay me for billboards on my roof that face the sky?

Can anyone think of more possibilities when satelite photography/videography become pretty common to the public a few years or decades from now?

The military uses have been in effect for years.
As always business is now getting a peice.

Will the public get a useful peice of this?

My Mailman (4, Funny)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772895)

My mailman will still manage to deliver it to the neighbor's house by accident.

Reason (4, Interesting)

Tlosk (761023) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772910)

I love the magazine personally, but I ended up stopping my subscription and just picking up a copy on the newstand whenever I happened to catch it.

Ironically, for a magazine that runs so many good articles on privacy issues, they whored my address to anyone and everyone. I never got so much crap junkmail as after I started a subscription. And tenacious bulkmailers, sending thick wads every other month or so for years.

While I can understand the reasoning behind the stunt, they might want to take a long hard look in the mirror first before preaching.

Glad I'm not a subscriber... (4, Funny)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772911)

My apartment's a shit hole.

My magazine cover would feature the goatse guy.

Targeted ads (1)

kettch (40676) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772926)

A couple of the magazines that I subscribe to have ads in them (*gasp*) that are targeted at me. Somewhere on the ad there will by my name, and, for example, the address of the Napa Autoparts store closest to my house, or something similar depending on the ad. However it has never been something that is this well done. It is always low resolution sloppy text squirted reasonably close to where they meant it to be on the ad.

Hey! Whose truck is that... (1)

bobsled (70901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772932)

...parked in my driveway?!

Go Reason!

(I've actually found 'current' sattelite photos of my neighborhood on the 'Net from several years ago - with the previous owners cars parked out front - at least I thought they were from before we moved in...

"narrowcasting" in print (2, Interesting)

bbdd (733681) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772958)

from the article:

"What if you received a magazine that only had stories and ads that you were interested in and pertained to you?" he asked. "That would be a magazine that everyone would want to read."

wasn't this one of the promises of the web? is "narrowcasting" in print form really economically feasible?

CmdrTaco (1)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772974)

Why is this article a News ??
For example, this is what I did:
(1) Find on Google. Look at first phonebook result [google.com] . Took 30 seconds.
(2) Find address on terraserver [terraserver-usa.com] Took a minute.
Now before you flame, all this is public information. It takes less than 2 minutes to obtain...so what's the big deal about the magazine's offer other than that they are printing it and mailing to you...

Prior to this, mapquest was providing free aerial views as well...

Oh I can see it now... (3, Funny)

Coltman (623132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772987)

-wife- Hey hun we just got the customized Magazine in the mail. OH kewl it even has a picture of the whole neighborhood! What quality even!
-looks closer- Hey hun is that you? What are doing with the neighbors wife? Why is she naked??

Wolrd Viewer (0, Troll)

glenrm (640773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8772992)

Wow. Somebody bought Keyholw - Earth Viewer [keyhole.com] and ad space on slashdot. whoop whoop. I guess I should customize out the your rights online, the constant privacygasms aren't that fun either. I know use the tools so you don't have to list to the tools...

More scary (4, Funny)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8773001)

They've been printing my ADDRESS on the cover for months.

John.
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