The action, though, around EveryBlock.com is hot and heavy. A means of painting a portrait of your own neighborhood by delving into the site’s constantly updated databases-crimes, housing inspections, news stories and many more-it’s got big media companies vying to partner up and the tech community heralding its achievement.
Yet when it began in January, the site staged none of those extravagant Internet launch parties designed to herald its arrival and, one suspects, to let computer geeks impress preternaturally buff singles with all the money their industry attracts.
In a daring mood? Apparently bloggers around the world are willing to do the time if they commit a ‘crime.’
According to a University of Washington annual report, since 2003, 64 people have been arrested for things they wrote on a blog. And the numbers are on the rise. 2007 saw three times as many people arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006.
The largest concentration of ‘crimes’ took place in China, Egypt and Iran. However, regardless of where you are a citizen, no blogger is truly above the law.
The university cites the “growing” political importance of blogging as a cause for the uptick.
It also should be noted that the Committee to Protect Bloggers has have identified 344 people arrested – in Burma alone – potentially for blogging.
Whatever the number currently is, If I were a betting man, I’d place a wager that the number will be MUCH higher in 2008.
We’ve all heard of services like Lojack, a service that allows police (and the rightful owner) to track down a vehicle after it has been stolen – but many have probably never seen a story where an online forum of car enthusiasts uses the internet, cell phones, text messaging, video cameras, and other tools to help other car enthusiasts recover their vehicles once they are stolen.
Today’s New York Times profiles how online collaboration through services like online forums enabled one car enthusiast/dealer was able to recover a rare & valuable stolen car:
One of the men had been to the dealership a week earlier for a ride, but he and Mr. Ironside didn’t get far. The car, with an engine modified for extra horsepower, began to act up. When the man returned with a friend for another try, Mr. Ironside was juggling two customers, so he just handed them the keys, explaining that there was only enough gas in the tank for a drive around the block.
But 15 minutes later Mr. Ironside noticed that the Skyline still hadn’t returned — and that the car that the two men had arrived in was gone. A bad feeling swelled in his gut; still, he reasoned, sometimes a buyer will take a car to have it inspected.
“It’s kind of hard to report a vehicle stolen 15 minutes after it’s not come back from a test drive,” he said in a telephone interview last Sunday.
The car never returned. That night, after reporting its disappearance to the police, Mr. Ironside posted a message on Beyond.ca, a Web site for Canadian auto enthusiasts, to spread the word.
Auto theft isn’t a crime that you see police spending much time on nowadays – though from time to time we hear of a prominent case – perhaps this is a more efficient manner of getting the job done?