The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'flash mobs'
The street finds its own uses for crowdsourcing:
One of the more interesting developments in crowdsourced offenses has been the birth of the crime “flash mob.” The practice of crime flash mobs has become so common that the media have now coined a term “flash robs” to describe the ensuing theft and violence. In these cases groups of individual criminals, who may or may not even know each other, are organizing themselves online and suddenly descending into unsuspecting stores to steal all that they can in a flash. The unsuspecting merchant has little he can do when 40 unruly strangers suddenly run into his shop and run off with all his merchandise. Dozens of these cases have occurred, including one in which co-conspirators planned an attack via Facebook and Twitter that lead to the pillaging of a Victoria’s Secret store in London.The article also mentions fraud gangs using pornographic web sites to get rubes to solve CAPTCHAs, helping them setup bogus email accounts, and the ingenious bank robber who used a fake Craigslist ad, recruiting workers ostensibly for a road maintenance project, to serve as decoys:
The robber instructed all those showing up for the promise of work to wear their own yellow vest, safety goggles, respirator mask and blue shirt — the criminal’s exact outfit the day of the robbery. After overpowering the armored car driver with pepper spray, the suspect grabbed a duffel bag filled with cash, ran past a dozen or so similarly dressed innocents and made his escape 100 yards away to a local creek where he floated away in a pre-positioned inner tube. 911 calls reporting the robbery described the suspect as being a construction worker in a yellow vest. When police arrived on seen, they had numerous robbery suspects from which to choose.
This is ingenious: a bank robber in Washington state made his escape after putting an ad on Craigslist for people to (unwittingly) act as decoys:
"I came across the ad that was for a prevailing wage job for $28.50 an hour," said Mike, who saw a Craigslist ad last week looking for workers for a road maintenance project in Monroe.
He said he inquired and was e-mailed back with instructions to meet near the Bank of America in Monroe at 11 a.m. Tuesday. He also was told to wear certain work clothing. "Yellow vest, safety goggles, a respirator mask… and, if possible, a blue shirt," he said.
Mike showed up along with about a dozen other men dressed like him, but there was no contractor and no road work to be done. He thought they had been stood up until he heard about the bank robbery and the suspect who wore the same attire.I wonder whether they'll catch him. Or, indeed, whether others will adapt such an idea. Perhaps we'll see a rash of robberies and heists, using spontaneous zombie flashmobs, "secret" rock concerts, Anonymous-style masked protests or other such pretexts as smokescreens.
According to WIRED News, flash mobs are taking off, with flash mob groups popping up in San Francisco, Minneapolis and soon in London too. The groups organise over the Internet, pick an appointed time and place and then spontaneously gather, do something and dissipate.
Sean Savage, a 31-year-old San Francisco designer and weblogger who has followed flash mobs, said these kinds of semi-anarchic gatherings have roots that go at least as far back as the late 1970s. Savage said San Francisco groups like the Suicide Club and the Cacophony Society have been staging group pranks in the city for decades, while Santa Rampage has been an annual San Francisco tradition for nearly a decade and has spread to more than 15 cities worldwide.
Hmmm... I wonder whether this would transplant well to Melbourne. (Wasn't the "SPONTANEOUS CHOIR" graffiti one sees around from time to time connected to some similar phenomenon?)
An outfit in New York are organising spontaneous flash crowds by email and mobile phone, as a performance art event of sorts. This works by large numbers of participants meeting around a preordained location at a specified time, hanging around for 10 minutes and then disappearing, whilst bystanders try to figure out what happened. Except that last time, one do-gooder dobbed them in to the police, who decided to intervene (you never know, this sort of thing could be cover for a terrorist atrocity or a jewel heist or something). (via bOING bOING)
The street finds its own uses for social technologies, it seems: tourists in Brazil are targeted by swarm crime, where, upon emerging from their hotels, they are stripped of valuables by hordes of young children who suddenly appear and disappear just as suddenly. The children operate in fluid teams, coordinated with stolen (and thus untraceable) mobile phones by a teenaged recruiter/intermediary working for the organiser, who provides the phones and takes most of the proceeds.
If a law enforcement officer sees the crime and catches a child, the child can only talk about Neil. The mobile phone is not traceable. If the police catch Neil, he can only provide a mobile phone number. The adult allows Neill to collect the money ad jewelry, pay the kids, and then meet to pass over the loot to the adult. The adult is effectively "cut out" of the actual crime. Although some of the intermediaries like Neil or the children performing the crime may keep the money and jewelry for themselves, the adult repeats the process.
New problems for law enforcement officers to address: [a] fluidity of the crime and perpetrators, [b] spontaneous nature of the crimes, and [c] dealing with the children who commit the crime in the criminal justice system.
(via Die Puny Humans)