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We searched for Porn. We found you (incautious.org)
75 points by napolux 1473 days ago | hide | past | web | 91 comments | favorite

5 bucks says that searching for your phone number actually adds you to the list

Those were my thoughts too. If you click on the "paintings" tab, they only show you three of them, (not the 100,000 claimed), and it looks like they dressed them up manually.

Also, by paying them 10 Euro to search for your phone number, you've already self-identified as a sucker, so the unscrupulous people running this site will I'm sure be happy to take advantage of that.

While I certainly wouldn't advocate sending these guys a cent, hypothetically if enough people were to credibly add to this betting pool it would be enough to compensate whoever actually tried it either way. (Like a sort of self fulfilling prediction market.)

I think the primary point of this site is not to blackmail or make money, but make a point; 'art'. I don't see any of the offerings appealing to anyone (while they'll take your money, i'm not sure they are intended to), and the charge to search the database serves as a privacy guard (which isn't present on equally-functional google).

About artIsOpenSource;

AOS, Art is Open Source, is an international informal network exploring the mutation of human beings with the wide and ubiquitous accessibility and availability of digital technologies and networks. We move across arts and sciences, using technology, communication, performance, art and design, to instantiate emotional actions and processes that are able to expose the dynamics of our contemporary world. We do this in academic, artistic, business and activist domains and, actually, we are focused on moving fluidly among each of these spaces.

If this is art, and "Art is Open Source", then I want to see some damn source code. Either that or something to reassure me that this isn't somebody co-opting positive terms like "art" and "open source" to add an air of legitimacy to what looks a lot like a very seedy act of passive mass blackmail.

I think you're missing the "point". I doubt that they are actually trying to blackmail anyone.

Hell I would be surprised if there is even a database.

I think they built a polished site around a theoretical concept in order to provoke an emotional response.

It would appear that they have succeeded.

Of course, this is simply my interpretation.

If they really are trying to build a business around distributed extortion, this is not a sustainable MVP.

I'm going to murder your family.

Don't worry, I'm probably just provoking a response from you, but to be sure, you can send me $1,000 and I promise I won't murder you, if I was going to.

you know, i wrote a slightly sarcastic response to this, but then i deleted it because i can't be sure you're not serious. now i'm seriously considering calling the police, just to make sure you're not actually a crazy person. i'm not sure what point you were trying to make, but i am sure there's a more effective way to make it.

    i can't be sure you're not serious


can you?

From AOS homepage

"Art is Open Source, is an international informal network exploring the mutation of human beings with the wide and ubiquitous accessibility and availability of digital technologies and networks."

What the chuff has this to do with Open Source? This trashy commercial nonsense weakens the branding.

Yeah. They have a litte bit more information on their own blog about it: http://www.artisopensource.net/2013/03/17/incautious-porn-a-...

From your link, it's quite clear they intend a political statement — about privacy in the age of search engines and social networks and the economic underpinnings of same.

Why is Google free? Because you are only the user, not the customer. The customers are the advertisers who pay Google to show you targeted ads. Of course, Google has to please both its users and its customers, or else it won't have enough of the former to satisfy the latter. Same for social networks, media sites, and pretty much everybody else who publishes free content or offers free services that cost money to produce. That's how the internet is paid for.

I get the impression AOS is less than pleased with that arrangement. Clearly, it frustrate them that so many users are pleased with how the internet has evolved to work. They're hoping their outrageous offer will wake up, er, raise the consciousnesses of those users. "Users of the world, unite: you have nothing to gain but your privacy!" Or something like that.

If it's art, it is performance art, where the performance consists solely of the business proposition.

How the fuck is this ethically any different from those webcam/revenge porn blackmail sites?

Hypothetical question, by the way.

This sounds about as close to art as SugarApe (in Nathan Barley) is to publishing.

They're just being assholes, not ironic or artful.

This has nothing to do with open source...

It has. With the older meaning of the term http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_intelligence

I'm more curious who actually buys these as paintings. Because it's kind of like a reverse version of those Who's Who scam's: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who%27s_Who_scam

And the point there is you're an idiot if you buy a membership to be listed because nobody else is buying it. Except here you'd only pay to be removed if you thoughts thousands of people were buying the "paintings."

No one buys these paintings. The whole point is the extortion link to remove you from the database. The paintings are just dressup to make an extortion site look like not an extortion site.


Your link is broken.[0]

Heres a working one:


[0]: At the time of writing.

Thanks, I didn't realize HN was removing the single quote.

I wanna call shenanigans but it goes to paypal... Also 10 euro to search the database and 1000 to remove someone? This is possibly the best blackmail scam ever, even better is to post a friend's number to a porn site with some deliciously scandalous line and hope they find it.

The best/worst part about this is that spending 1000 euros doesn't remove the comment from the internet, it just removes it from the little private list they have. But that's not publicly visible because they're charging 10 euros to check if your number is in this list, so paying 1000 euros essentially gets you nothing. As poor of a "scam" as this is, I'd bet somebody out there has already paid 1000 to remove it from their list.

Despite what all of those reputation management services promise you, I don't think that you can remove stuff from online like this. Between normal social networks where people post private information unaware of what they are doing, things like http://www.dirtyphonebook.com that are designed to destroy privacy, and Google caching everything and making it permanently available for anybody in search, you really have to be smart about what you put online before you put it online. Personally I'd recommend giving up on social networks altogether and just using throwaway accounts and pseudonames, but thats just my personal thing.

This is the tip of the iceberg. My mode of operation is to assume that anything I post on the internet will eventually if not immediately become public. And remember it stays there forever. I think a lot of people who are in their 20s now will learn this to their dismay when they try to do something like run for public office in another 10 or 20 years time and everything they posted on social networks while they were in college comes back to haunt them.

I'm thinking that in 10 or 20 years time nobody will care - because we'll all be equally guilty.

That, or nobody will run for office anyway, just purchase it.

The issue of running for public office comes up a lot, but what about kids seeing all of their parents social network activity 20-30 years down the line?

> EWww, people used to be HETEROsexual?

There is actually a short sci-fi story about a future where homosexual relationships are the norm and people are grown artificially. I can't remember the title or author and apart from the premise, there wasn't anything interesting in it.

Possibly you're thinking of The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21611.The_Forever_War)?

almost certainly not - that's a novel, and one of the all time greats of the genre.

Yes, but aside from the word 'short', it fits perfectly. If parent can't remember any details, it's possible they misremembered the length.

You can probably google your phone number and avoid paying the 10E

Of course, people were idiots to post their phone number in a porn site in the first place. Like the "Oh, ok, they need my CC number but only for checking I'm not a minor"

Funny that so many are taking this so seriously. I thought it was a brilliant reflection on Internet privacy.

Yes! The whole point is listed in the About section:

"After all, just like they say at Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and all the other social networks whenever they sell your profile hundreds of times each day: It's only business!"

Best line: "After all, just like they say at Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and all the other social networks whenever they sell your profile hundreds of times each day: It's only business!"

After doing a WHOIS and looking at the links in the site looks like an art initiative from a (not so smart, name and phone number are in the WHOIS) Italian guy.

Salvatore Iaconesi is the guy that was on HN in the last few months for his "Open Sourcing a cure to brain cancer."


They aren't exactly hiding that: http://www.artisopensource.net/#team

Nice haircuts.

Sounds straight up illegal to me

What laws do you think it violates?

Blackmail, extortion, defamation, libel

How would they proof that the original comment wasn't libel? I doubt the have cross refrenced commenters IP addresses with the numbers listed. And if you relay libel (especially with malicious intent) it is still libel or maybe even blackmail.

it would appear that they are attempting to hide behind free speech (creating an "artwork"). i'm certainly not a lawyer but this seems pretty transparent

Here is another "artist" who claimed free speech[1] so calling yourself an artist is not blanket protection against prosecution. Also libel is not covered under free speech although I too ANAL.

[1] http://betabeat.com/2013/01/2-girls-1-cup-creator-sentenced-...

maybe they want to be taken to court, and that's part of the performance? i like art, but i don't understand postmodernism

What if their database is empty?

Well, then charging $10 to view it would clearly match the definition of fraud.

Yes, but it's hard to prove. And they could stuff it with a few fake numbers so it's not technically empty.

aren't they charging 10$ to check for you whether your number is in the database, not 10$ for full database acess?

That's the point - they can safely pocket the 10$ and return "this number is not in our database".

Well, i assume they at least run a database query for giggles. I mean 10$ for a database query...SELECT Cash FROM USERS WHERE USERGULLIBILITY > 5 GO There's my 10$.

The owner seems to be based in EU; so the local data protection laws, at minimum, would require removing user personal info (phone info) at their request, free of charge (not the $1000).

And if I recall correctly, they might even be required to prove that they have opt-in permission from the actual users for storing&processing their personal info (phone numbers) even if they obtain it from a third party such as other websites; they obviously don't have this so they can face fines for improper treatment of personal data.

I would accept this as artistic expression if and only if they don't actually accept any money. If they wanted to make a statement about internet privacy then they chose the douchiest possible way of going about it.

These guys are going to be sued out of business, or worse..


Seems to be similar to the "Remove Your Mugshot" scams that are floating around online.

What about people who frequently leave their neighbour's/coworker's/ex partner's/employer's/... phone numbers on porn sites?

People do that frequently?

Well, most people do it only one or two times. :)

Constructive criticism: When people want to buy a painting, have them pay the $50 upfront to look through the database of available comments minus the phone numbers and let them choose the comment they want printed to canvas as art.

Aside from that, I don't understand what there is to be upset about. First off, who cares if someone has your number on their physical wall? If you posted your phone number to a public site, it will receive a lot more exposure there than hanging on some persons wall. Also, they claim to only produce one piece of art per comment so really they are only adding one more venue for viewing the number to an infinite amount of exposure via the web. And most likely, the people that the phone number is being publicly displayed to on porn sites are the people you wouldn't want to have your number. So how about... if you don't want people to have free access to your number in connection with some dirty thing you said online, don't post your flipping number on a porn site with your dirty comment, you silly goose!

With regard to this being extortion, the "erase a number from our database for 1000€" thing is a joke, whether intentional or not. The certificate of Unicity (the hell?) stipulates that they will sell a painting of your number only once. So if somebody ever buys a painting with the number: they just erased your number from the database. And if I plug the number of comments in their database, the number of people willing to buy one of these painting, and the number of places you and all of your aquaintences go that might publicly display the art in to my handy probability calculator, the odds that you or anyone you know would ever see the painting containing your phone number are 25 jagillion to 1. Not to mention that if you live in the US or anywhere outside of Italy really, the cost of shipping a 70x100cm canvas would be prohibitively expensive for many. So the only people being extorted are going to be the extremely gullible.

Anyway, it's time to get off the computer and party like an Irishman. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

I wonder how many people's ISPs are still inserting their mobile numbers into the HTTP request headers? (remember https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3508857 ?)

If someone did pay the €10 or the €1000, I'm pretty sure they would get a very memorable and expensive lesson in online privacy.

I just hope that that's what this is about and not just a get-rich-quick scheme. That would be just sad...

At times like these I feel the urge to check that my passport is still valid.

I really want one of these paintings now. I wonder if I can get the exclusive distribution rights to sell them in Brooklyn and the Mission district. I'd be willing to bet they'd sell like hotcakes

Is this satirical? Or are they seriously trying to blackmail people

Looks like "art" that want you to think about your online privacy

This is a totally brilliant way of illustrating the cost of social media. It's interesting how many people are calling this blackmail and completely missing the point.

Reminds me of SafeShepherd since they delete data like this. The data brokers still have the data, it's not like they're going to remove it from their system.

Extortion. How lame.

This is amazing! Ahahahah, very good.

Awesome ... but if I'm so stupid to left my acutal phone then I deserve public Ludibrium :)

Extortion is always a solid business plan.

How do you certify a screenshot?

What a bunch of pricks.

Blackmail. Moving on.

up there with the mugshot sites and their paid removal.

Uh, extortion.

i don't think this is legal


Alright, so I wanted to see how this played out. So I paid to see if my number was in the "database". I got to the checkout, paid, and dead ended.

No return link, no anything. No instructions on the site how to continue.

So, for anyone else wondering, that's what happens when you search.

You are a gentleman and a scholar. Next question: did the process feel like "art" to you?

I firmly believe that art is subjective. However, I also think that art should be a communication of a thought to others through a non-standard medium.

The only thing that was communicated during this process was a loud, unsurprised sigh when nothing came to fruition, as many had predicted.

Remember folks, There is no better way to over power a trickle of doubt than a flood of naked truth.

Scams like this are the source of my support for vigilante justice.

I hope that whomever just scammed you out of ten euros gets swift, repeated hits to the knees by baseball bats.

People like you are the reason we need the rule of law. I am not defending the scammers, but vigilantes are insidious. You may claim you were being ironic, but a mob with its passion inflamed by a sense of righteousness has no time for subtlety. Please tone it down before innocent people get hurt.

Receipt from PayPal: http://ss.vim.ae/r3Vgx.png

I'd like to see the Ven diagram of people who post their cell phone number and porn sites... cross.... people who will ever stumble across this site, let alone pay 10 euro to search, let alone pay 1000 euro to remove their name/number.

For €1000 I would have expected them to include at least one kitten in a bottle.

Well, a single customer might be enough to cover the costs, and the second would bring profit.

Isn't this direct blackmailing?

Seems so. (this is not a service of mine, I've found it on the Internet)

conceptual stuff, nice.

a note: this idea of buying paintings of porn comments actually seems pretty good(despite the phone numbers part), I mean, it makes a good gag gift... I know plenty of people who would gift this type of thing and some that would actually put it on their walls, given it's not absolutely gross...

- what the hell is this on your wall? - internet comments art. - :¬| ... :¬o cool

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