Sophistries and Dataveillance

Methinks the cure is worse than the disease: Use Social Security to Seal the Border

Political pressure from this coalition has for years prevented the government from deploying the enforcement system that is already in place. If it wanted to, here is how the Social Security Administration could run an employee verification system right now.

Under current employment law, every legal permanent resident of the United States is required to have a Social Security number. Further, employers must register their employees’ status and Social Security numbers with the Social Security Administration and make contributions to the system on their behalf. These two features together can serve as a dragnet for identifying all illegal workers.

[…] Social Security administrators assert, erroneously, that they are not permitted to aid immigration law enforcement or to share data with the Department of Homeland Security. The real reason for their reticence is their fear that more aggressive electronic enforcement might invite political outrage. […]

I might have believed that once, but in the wake of recent events [pdf] (and the lack of public uproar), I am sure that we’re not going to have to wait long to see something like this made a part of our daily lives.

Architectures of Control

China Unicom Tests Music Servicepdf

The trial service, called Xuan Qu in Chinese, allows subscribers to download songs to mobile phones for 39 cents to 66 cents each, said Tong Xiaoyu, China Unicom’s general manager for value-added services.

The service protects copyrights by preventing users from transferring the music to other mobile phones or computers, he said.

Record companies offering songs on the download service include EMI Group PLC, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. and Universal Music Group, Tong said.

Oh, Boy (Real Blipverts?)

Is it illegal subliminal advertising [44 FCC 2d 1016, 1017 (1974); 44 CFR 73.4250 Subliminal perception; cited, for example, here] when the customer makes it subliminal herself using the Fast-Forward button? What if you design an ad that happens to work that way during Fast-Forward? Engaging at Any Speed? Commercials Put to Test

So far, the findings have been just what NBC hoped: judging from the biological reactions, the test subjects were just as engaged while watching fast-forwarded advertisements as they were while viewing opening scenes from the NBC show “Heroes” at regular speed.

And that conclusion — which is still preliminary — could have big implications for NBC and other networks as they negotiate rates for air time with advertisers. Although advertisers have steadfastly refused to pay the networks for viewers who fast-forward commercials, as more households buy digital video recorders like TiVo, the networks may one day argue that this system should change.

When it comes to fast-forward advertisements, “the assumption has always been that they have no economic value, that they have no communication value,” said Alan Wurtzel, president for research at NBC Universal. “But the fact of the matter is we’re learning that they are valuable.”

[…] Innerscope is working on a second study for NBC that will try to pin down which types of commercials generate the most engagement in fast-forward mode. Innerscope will monitor things like how often brands are shown during the advertisement, how quickly the camera cuts to new images, and whether audio is important in the storyline.

From there, NBC may be able to offer tips on how to make commercials stand out, even at rapid speeds.

It took me until lunchtime to remember the blipvert.

Related: Two seconds are all an advertiser needspdf

Making It One Way Or Another

If you can’t make money from the CD sales [pdf], you have to start thinking about other ways to ensure loyalty: Concert ticket prices amp uppdf

Not many people can afford the price Harris paid. And that could be enough to alienate fans and consign Prince to a pop has-been.

But Prince still has the cachet that can pack them in, whether at a small hotel lounge or Staples Center. The Hollywood Roosevelt concert, however, shows how artists are searching for ways to offset lagging album sales as more fans turn to the Internet for their music. In addition, artists such as Prince are increasing their revenue by dealing more with corporate sponsors and using other marketing tricks to draw mainstream audiences.

Prince, who performed last year on American Idol, has teamed up with Verizon Wireless to promote its new V Cast phones, which enable customers to download songs and videos including his new single, “Guitar.” Verizon is sponsoring his seven-night concert-and-dinner shows at the Hollywood Roosevelt, which accommodates only 200 people. The intimate performances have generated a great deal of buzz from pop critics and in the blogosphere.

“In the past, artists have been more sensitive to not wanting to be perceived as charging high ticket prices,” said Don Passman, a Los Angeles attorney and author of “All You Need to Know About the Music Business.”

“The stigma on that has changed.”

[…] Even with high ticket prices at a limited-seating venue, it’s not about the cash, Bongiovanni said. “If [Prince] wanted to make money, he’d be playing at Staples.”

Neither the Hollywood Roosevelt nor Bulldog Entertainment are disclosing financial terms of the deals, including how much the artists are getting paid. Hotelier Jason Pomeranc, whose Thompson Hotels operates the Hollywood Roosevelt, said that although the deal was profitable, it was also about the intangibles.

“It was to create a special event and to send a really nice branding message for Prince’s album, for the hotel and for Verizon,” Pomeranc said.

Why Should Search Have All The Fun?

Seeking to lift ad dollars, Sony to track user datapdf

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. yesterday disclosed a data-sharing agreement with Nielsen Co. designed to attract advertising revenue and bring life back to sluggish PlayStation 3 sales.

Dave Karraker, spokesman for Sony, said Nielsen will have access to data from the PlayStation 3 systems as well as the PlayStation Network, which enables users to play against one another online. The data will allow measurement of gamers’ behavior patterns, the effectiveness of advertisements in games, and some basic demographic information such as the user’s age.

“This gives us the measurement statistics that we need to go out and sell advertising,” he said.

See also the LATimes’ Nielsen to track video game usepdf

Introducing the Video Game Lobbyist

A Player of Video Games and Politics

Michael D. Gallagher does not make video games. He doesn’t review them. He doesn’t sell them. But recently he became one of the most important people in the video-game industry and, by extension, a powerful shaper of the digital entertainment consumed by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

On June 1, Mr. Gallagher, 43, took office as president of the Entertainment Software Association, becoming the game industry’s chief lobbyist in Washington. […]

[…] In that sense he reflects the political and cultural maturation of gaming. Three decades ago, when digital entertainment was in its infancy, games were played mostly by boys and young men. Many never stopped playing, and they now form a vanguard of lifelong gamers, some of whom are assuming positions of influence and power. Someday soon the United States might have a president who grew up playing video games.

A Change of Venue

And a typically anti-Lessig, pro-unfettered-copyright position by The New York Times: Taking the Copyright Fight Into a New Arena

AFTER 10 years, four books, a high-profile appeal to the Supreme Court, countless lectures and slide shows, Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School, announced last month on his blog ( that he would no longer lead the fight to ease copyright restrictions in the Internet age.

Instead, Mr. Lessig plans to focus on something not quite so intractable — corruption in the American political system. And then, presumably, a good five-cent cigar.