For Wired UK‘s latest edition on privacy, they’ve created a handful of custom covers featuring detailed information about selected subscribers (presumably those with high-profile jobs in the media).
The information seems to have been hand-compiled from digital sources – Benjamin Cohen, for example, seems surprised to see his parents’ new address written on the cover, as well as the fact that he had coffee recently with his ex-boyfriend.
The fact that this information is all out there isn’t so unexpected – what’s more shocking is to see it in this context, written up and printed on the ostensibly public-facing magazine cover, under a famous masthead, all prepared by a group of strangers.
It’s a great idea – though of course not the first time that digital printing has been used to create personalized covers to make this point.
Right-leaning liberarian mag Reason did something similar with satellite images of subscribers’ houses seven years ago, back in the days before Google Maps made such privacy boundaries seem laughable.
And, four years ago, a kind-of-similar thing was also done by the American flavour of Wired, though it seems to have been a far more upbeat affair, designed to discuss ideas of personalized mapping.
The technology isn’t anything special, but when applied intelligently, seeing yourself and your information in an unexpected context associated with public display can give its message a lot of power. Information certainly isn’t what it used to be.