So, linking tickets to IDs was too hard, because that would restrict
farmers gifting. However, if you want to buy tickets for Burning Man, you need to create a “Burner Profile“. Which means, if they don’t like you, they can shut you out forever. The World’s Biggest Guest List has now been taken to the ultimate extreme – no doubt a power trip for whoever fills the implied slot of The World’s Biggest Door Bitch.
“Q: What’s a Burner Profile?
A: The Burner Profile stores information about you and your activities as a member of the Burning Man community, so that it can be used to streamline processes that require us to collect information from you as you do things and create projects for Burning Man.”
…or – “as you gift things to our party at your own expense, we want to remind you that you’re in our service and creating for our benefit, and we want to keep our eyes on you as much as we can. We have a lot of bureaucracy that you will need to engage with”. We’ll see if this new data structure facilitates interactions with the BMOrg’s endless string of questionnaires, surveys, censuses (censi?), forms, licenses, tickets and other inventions of the centralized governing apparatus in any way. Or if it’s just another bunch of red tape getting between us and our party in the desert. ‘Scuse me for being skeptical, but no-one has ever tried this before as far as I know. The answer to 1984 is 1776, nothing good comes from secrecy…
Is this truly the solution to the Lottery horrors of 2012? In the face of declining population numbers, does implementing a more detailed profiling of the community, lead to growth and education of our community, and the easing of red tape and rules? Does this really need to happen behind “black box” computer systems that don’t have a great track record of performance, but get to decide if the Burners ends up being allowed in to buy a ticket or rejected by a computer error?
I am reminded of Machiavelli’s strategy of the Black Prince:
….where the king sends in a prince who is just terrible, all the people hate him, when the king kicks him out he’s seen as a hero and the new prince is welcomed as a savior, he gets to implement the original agenda of the king with the full support of the people. “Sure it’s bad, but it’s not as bad as what we had before, so we’re better off”.
“A: If you want to participate in one of our ticket sales, you must have a Burner Profile.”
Pretty goddamn clear. Rave-cial profiling?
“Over time, as we add more functionality to the system, you’ll be offered the opportunity to provide more information that will help facilitate your Burning Man activities that require you to provide us with information (project registration questionnaires and the like). The more you put into your profile, the more you’ll get out of the system, and the more we’ll know how to connect with you“
Corporate speak. What does that even mean? “In the future, you will get more out of this, we don’t know what but we promise it will be something, just give us as much data as possible now”. The data will not be available to the Burner community, only the BMOrg and whoever they decide is on their team.
Burning Man has had clashes with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Burner community before, over their overly onerous legal stances on intellectual property and other intangible goods they claim to own: that is, your information, photos, videos, observations, and more. In this case, any data you put on the Burner profile, although it is not searchable on the Internet, can be published anywhere on the Burning Man site at their absolute discretion. I see nothing to suggest that it wouldn’t then be searchable there. Here’s the clause:
“whenever you submit expressive content to the Image Gallery, Playa Artifacts, Tales from the Playa, or ePlaya, you understand that the submission will be made public on the web site, and that such submission may contain personal information. We are not responsible for the personal information that you or others choose to post in this manner. You may be identified as the author of any posted expressive content unless you tell us otherwise.”
We use the personal information that we receive to operate the web site, produce the Burning Man event, and for Burning Man-related projects. Your personal information may be stored on our system and shared among Burning Man affiliates, including but not limited to the Burning Man Project, Black Rock City, LLC, and Black Rock Arts Foundation. We do not rent, sell, or share your personal information with any other entity, except when:
- We have your permission; or
- We respond to subpoenas, court orders, or other legal process; or when we must exercise our legal rights, protect our property, defend against legal claims, or otherwise comply with the law; or
Not only that, if ANYONE affiliated with the BMOrg suspects you of doing anything that is either a) illegal or b) against their web site policies, they can sell your data to anyone they want. That’s what this clause says.
The other clause that concerns me is this:
Q: Can I change my Username in my profile?
A: No. Your username is permanent. If you need to change your username, you will need to delete your account and create a new one with your desired username.
Q: Can I change my First Name, Last Name and/or Email Address in my profile?
A: These are very difficult to change, but it can be done if necessary … and we have to do it for you. If you absolutely must change your first name, last name or email address, use theContact Us form to request the change. (Legitimate reasons for changing your name include: you misspelled your name when you created your account, you got married, or you legallychanged your name to DJ SparklePants.)
Q: If I’m pre-registered for a ticket sale, then I delete my account and create a new one, will that kill my pre-registration for that ticket sale?
A: Yes. So if you’re currently pre-registered for a particular ticket sale, don’t do that. If you did it by accident, and you now realize you’re screwed, use the Contact Us form to let us know your plight as soon as possible.
At least whoever wrote this is honest to acknowledge that in implementing this policy change the way they have, they’re already led to many Burners being screwed. At the time of writing this post, it’s only 3 weeks old! This was announced on January 11 [sorry for the delay on this story – I blame the beaches of Los Cabos: ed]. Was this part of the game theory they spent so much time and effort on?