Sunday, July 27, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Mfone sentenced to 2.5 years in prison
Pittsburgh's so-called graffiti king was sentenced today to 2.5 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution and perform community service after pleading guilty to causing nearly $300,000 in property damage.
Daniel J. Montano, 22, of Highland Park pleaded guilty May 16 to 79 counts of criminal mischief for an 18-month graffiti vandalism spree that plagued Lawrenceville, East Liberty, Bloomfield, Shadyside and Oakland.
Montano also was sentenced to five years' probation, and ordered to perform 2,500 hours of community service in the city and pay $232,584 in restitution. Montano is best known by the tags "MFONE" and "MF."
City police have described Montano as the country's most prolific graffiti artist. They said he has caused nearly $750,000 in property damage from Pittsburgh to San Francisco, where his mother lives.
The claim that he's the city's or the country's most prolific graffiti writer is probably sensationalism designed to create a tougher sentence for him in court, but no doubt Mfone is up, and now he's up the river as well. This is a cruel and unusual sentence for a nonviolent property offender, so let's hope that he gets out on parole quickly or has an effective appeal down the road.
This is the latest in a series of big time jail sentences for writers in the US since GK set the pace. It would be a mistake to think at this point that a first offender would get off with a warning, so be careful out there, and pay for the lawyer if you get popped. The UK and Czech Republic also have a track record of putting writers away for years at a time. The Czech penalty is 5 years.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
How posting online can get you busted UPDATE
UPDATE: Burning Black says that with a little work you can change your computer's MAC address as needed.
Recently, writers have been arrested for:
* showing throwups and tags on MySpace
* showing videos of their illegal actions on YouTube
* posting bombing photos to forums
* other people posting their trains on forums
The way this generally works is that everything you do online technically requires that the IP (internet protocol) address of your computer be recorded by the web servers at the sites you visit. Sometimes the IP address simply points at your ISP (internet service provider, for example: AOL, Comcast, BT etc.), but those companies can figure out who was doing what at a particular time, and web servers also record the time. So together, quite often, the webserver info and the ISP info lead straight to your bedroom. So if you have a local cop or reporter who hates you, s/he may do the work to track you down over the net.
Sites that care about your privacy, like Art Crimes, do not keep logs of user activity. Unfortunately most sites want to keep that information so they can count visitors and sell more advertising or simply have some way to ban some people temporarily from a forum. Some sites keep webserver logs forever and others dump them after some amount of time.
Google tracks everyone's search terms, for example, but now they say they will throw the IP addresses away after 18 months. But they have been forced to give massive amounts of YouTube logs to Viacom in a copyright dispute and this week won the right to anonymize them first. If those logs had been stored in an anonymized state they would not have posed the risk to millions of people that they did.
Posting copyrighted materials is illegal (expensively) and yet digging through everyone's records in order to find out who uploaded what is the wrong way to address it. Terrorism is terrible, but spying on everyone's phone calls in order to find the dirty dozen is not an acceptable solution either. Unfortunately the US Congress thinks this is fine and passed a law about that this month (FISA).)
My point here is that we all are being tracked by governments and media giants routinely, and that your favorite little forums can give you up by accident or through being forced to give up those logs they save. Your own equipment can leak information that's dangerous to you.
To get a bit more anonymity online, you need to use public computers or free wifi that you don't have to sign up for, but if you use your own computer or phone, it can still leave its own unique ID number behind (MAC address). Even your camera or camera phone can give up important info such as the exact location (GPS) and time and date you took the photo, camera type, etc., if you don't erase that info (EXIF) before you upload.
The best policy is not to incriminate yourself by posting your own illegal acts online, because technically, you may not be able to delete them, ever. Even then it's possible that someone else's posting of your illegal stuff will get you in trouble, so it's best to try to control what you've got out there and how it represents you, by restricting access to or usage of your photos. Same advice goes for those drunken orgy photos, of course.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Slick, Extended Conversation
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
New Orleans' Insane Anti-Graffiti Law
Interesting article in general, with lots of pictures ... Near the end it reveals this:
"In the recently ended session of the Legislature, state Rep. Anthony Ligi of Metairie successfully sponsored a bill that skyrockets the penalties for graffiti. Currently the maximum fine in New Orleans is $500, plus community service, restitution and a possible six months in jail. Beginning Aug. 15, the maximum fine increases to $10,000 with a prison term of up to 10 years. Ligi, a lawyer and real estate title insurance agent, said he believes that Louisiana judges will be able to apply looser local penalties or the more stringent state penalties as they see fit.
"If it's a kid who's written his girlfriend's name on a wall, a judge will see it one way," Ligi said. "If it's somebody who's marked up an office wall and done thousands (of dollars) in damage, it gives the judge more options."
So not only do they have a stupid law, but they plan to enforce it selectively depending on who does it and what's written? That sounds like poor, minority kids going to jail, as usual in the South. I hope some heroic lawyer and judge step up to strike this for the cruel and unusual - and potentially racist - punishment that it is. New Orleans needs community service and community art, not more young people in jail for nonviolent property crimes.
When will the government in Louisiana get a clue and join the civilized world? This is the same state that recently decided to teach wishful thinking instead of science.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
the restless debt of third world beauty
New Web development course - Free
The best thing about this is that it's put out by Opera so it's committed to the standards. If your site is built on standards, it just works for everyone. It's been a long time since some good courseware appeared, and this is new, so check it out.
Graffiti Practice Book - Free PDF
Catalog from the Street Art show at Tate Modern
Book publishing: the lowdown, by Mark Hurst
Mare139: Day 5
Carnivalesque Dreams of Os Gemeos
Video interview with the twins at their NYC show going on right now at Deitch Projects
New York: June 28 - August 9, 2008
Os Gemeos: Too Far Too Close
212 343 7300
Open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 12PM to 6PM
Deitch Projects - 18 Wooster St, New York NY
Friday, July 11, 2008
Graffiti on stuff
Seattle's new train
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Mare139 in the UK
Tom14 and Martha Cooper Interviews
Friday, July 04, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
"Zon is an unique interactive massively multiplayer online role playing game for learning Mandarin Chinese.
"By interacting in the Zon environment you will be exposed to Chinese language and cultural knowledge in a new and exciting way. Everything that you do in the game is another chance to learn new words, phrases and cultural info about China. Never before has learning Chinese been more fun.
"The nice part about Zon is it is all browser based. No client applications are required, so you can log in and play from school, work or home. Zon is a persistant environment, so when you log off, the world still keeps going.
"As you progress through the game, your character graduates from the tourist class, to a resident of Zon and then finally a citizen, where you can own businesses and create new content for the world. "
[The website is coy about pricing, but it seems to be free for a while anyway. It's in beta still. A university project of some kind. - Susan]