Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Citi Bike Surveillance "Hoax"

I'm not a reporter.

The guy who called from the New York Post was a reporter. His name was Matt Nestel. He questioned me for 20 minutes about my CitiBike Surveillance article and then he and his boss went outside to take a bike apart. He called back to beg for an exclusive, insisting that I agree to let him break the story. When I said not to write the story, he asked if I was trying to protect my identity like Edward Snowden from the NSA. Metro NY also reached out to me and Gothamist got in on the action with an article that did not prove my story true or false. In one day, more than 125,000 people saw this article. Thousands hit the retweet button before realizing the site they were looking at was not a legitimate news source.

I can't help but question modern reporting. Less than 50 years ago there was one nightly report that covered all of that day's stories. Today the 24-hour news cycle has people glued to their technology looking for the latest. Everything is breaking news. Go ahead, check. Flip on any news channel right now and there will be a bright red flashing ticker on the bottom of the screen with some crap that doesn't have any impact on your life.

This article was satire, along the same lines as the Onion and the Chive. Nobody minds when they put out an article like this because they are known to be fake news. If anyone bothered to look at any of my other posts they would've seen I'm a comedian. I didn't attempt to hide that.

...but I'm not just a comedian. I'm a New Yorker and I share many of the privacy concerns people expressed after reading this article. It's scary to think how easy it would be for the City of New York to unroll this type of surveillance program. Although Citi Bike is annoying to pedestrians and taxis, it is not the real problem. The real problem is we have a mayor who wants to control everything and a mayoral candidate who can't stop texting pictures of his genitals.

People said my article was not funny. I agree. It wasn't meant to be funny. It's scary. The NSA is monitoring my every move and Google is showing me ads for dildos because I recently bought a vibrating massage chair. The people in charge don't give a damn about the 99% and the peasants are not shocked that there might be a secret spy program.

Are there two secret, hidden, mini spy cameras on all the bikes? Maybe. There are definitely tracking devices of some kind. Some guy commented that he assembled the bikes and didn't see anything that looked like a camera. Maybe they put the cameras in on his day off. Or maybe instead of looking at the bikes you should all look inside yourselves. Stop looking at the internet and start look at your families. Look for a deeper meaning that you won't find on any news channel.

... go for a nice, long bike ride.

- John Powers

© 2013 - All rights reserved

1 comment:

  1. I think what's most troubling, though, is that thousands upon thousands of people who had never been to your site before and knew nothing of you and what you do chose to share this article as though it was fact, despite the poor photoshop, zero corroboration, and no other media sources reporting it.

    We now live in a world where someone can post anything on the Internet, no matter how untrue, and it will spread like wildfire. And while some of those thousands of people will see this follow-up - or another somewhere else on the Internet - showing it was a hoax, there will be thousands more who will walk around the streets of New York paranoid every day because they couldn't take a few seconds to think for themselves.

    Not a criticism of you at all... just a criticism of the world we now live in.


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