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Plus Kanye West is the first artist to have an album go Platinum on streams alone.

Living in Glass Houses

The Glass Room is a collection of art pieces designed to make you think of how you're selling yourself.

The National Security Agency can read your email. Verizon knows where you are at all times. Amazon is confident you're in the market for a new printer. We know these things about the weird world we live in, but few of us ever stop to think about what they really mean. Recently, a group of artists got together in New York City to change that.

Apple doesn't have a retail store on Mulberry Street in New York City, but at a glance, you might think it does. The Glass Room exhibit borrows heavily from the Apple Store design aesthetic: white walls, white ceiling, white podium, and even helpful "inGenious" staffers in matching white hoodies (see the photo below). But nothing is for sale in The Glass Room. It's a collection of art pieces designed to make you think of how you're selling yourself, maybe without even knowing it.

The exhibit is curated by Tactical Technology Collective along with The Mozilla Foundation, maker of the Firefox browser. The subjects addressed in The Glass Room are digital: online privacy, location tracking, psychographic profiling, the gamification of security, and so on. But the pieces themselves are grounded in the real world; you can see them, touch them, and in one case, smell them. Here are a few that stood out to me.

Forgot Your Password? (Aram Bartholl): We're so used to massive password hacks that we barely even notice them. In fact, Yahoo recently disclosed that it had compromised at least 1 billion more of its users' passwords. Back in 2012, LinkedIn held the record for the biggest password hack—a paltry 4.6 million. For this exhibit, Bartholl printed all 4.6 million of those passwords alphabetically and bound them into volumes. (I looked for mine; it wasn't in there.)

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Random Darknet Shopper (!Medien-gruppe Bitnik): This artist collective created an online shopping bot and gave it a budget of $100 in bitcoins. They set it loose on the dark Web to make random purchases and have them mailed to the exhibition space. No drugs or pornography arrived; just random stuff. A copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a Hungarian passport photo, and—featured in the Glass Room—a pair of fake Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy 2 sneakers.

Online Shopping Center (Sam Levigne): Amazon does a great job of identifying what you want to buy and getting it to your quickly. As a logical (perhaps inevitable) next step, in 2014, the company was granted a patent for "predictive shopping." Levigne's art takes the concept even further. As a Glass Room "shopper," you strap on a brainwave monitor and allow an algorithm to determine what your brain looks like when you're shopping. When Levigne first conducted this experiment, he had his bot shop for him on Amazon and Alibaba whenever his brain was in the "shopping state." I tried it, but so far, Amazon hasn't sent me anything.

Not all the exhibits at The Glass Room are art. Some are demos of real-world products and services. The Texas Virtual BorderWatch, for example, was a real-time camera system (live from 2008 to 2012) that let volunteers monitor the United States–Mexico border from their homes and alert authorities of infractions. Another, the Silver Mother ($299), is a monitoring solution for seniors that gives medication reminders, tracks sleep, and gives front-door alerts. And then there's Churchix, a facial-recognition system that enables churches to track attendance automatically—a whole new meaning for "witnessing."

Finally, at the back of the room was a "data detox" center. For those who were moved by the exhibit and wanted to make a change in their digital lifestyle, experts at the counter explained their options. We've reviewed a lot of the tools used to manage your privacy, including Signal, Ghostery, Tor, and more.

If The Glass Room made anything clear, it is that technology is the dominant force for change in the world right now. It is affecting our jobs, our home lives, our relationships, our environment, and even our bodies. I'm a big believer in technological progress, but not all of these changes are for the better. PC Magazine is committed to getting you the tools, techniques, and information you need to thrive in this new world.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go clear my browsing history.

For more, check out the January issue of the PC Magazine Digital Edition, available now via Apple iTunes.

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On Monday, Kanye West fan Justin Baker-Rhett sued (PDF) West and S.

Carter Enterprises (SCE), the company that owns music streaming service Tidal.

Baker-Rhett alleges that the rapper and the streaming platform falsely promised that West’s most recent album, The Life of Pablo, would be exclusive to Tidal and would never show up on any other competing streaming service, nor would it be sold for download or in any physical media format.

But just a month and a half after the release of Life of Pablo on Tidal, the album showed up on Apple Music and Spotify. Baker-Rhett is asking the court to certify a class action against West and SCE, which is owned by rapper Jay-Z.

The plaintiff claims that West and Tidal defrauded customers, engaged in false advertising, practiced unfair competition, and enjoyed unjust enrichment from the millions of subscribers who handed over their personal information to the company to sign up for the service because they believed Life of Pablo wouldn't be available anywhere else. The complaint claims that Tidal found itself struggling to gain subscribers after its launch.

But when West, who is an investor in Tidal and has a financial interest in the platform’s success, tweeted, “My album will never never never be on Apple.

And it will never be for sale... You can only get it on Tidal,” the platform’s subscription numbers allegedly jumped from 1 million to 3 million.

Those 2 million subscribers were given a free trial period in exchange for submitting their credit card information, which was automatically charged if they did not cancel the subscription before the free period was over.In addition to the album's release on Apple Music and Spotify less than two months later, West also began selling the album on his own website. "Mr. West’s promise of exclusivity also had a grave impact on consumer privacy,” the complaint adds. "For each new Tidal subscriber who signed up as a result of Mr. West’s claims, Tidal obtained that consumer’s e-mail address, social media account information, and other personally identifiable information.” The plaintiff’s lawyers allege that this information is worth up to $84 million to the streaming service. Ars contacted Tidal for comment, but we have not yet received a response. West has claimed that his debts exceed $50 million, and the complaint notes that “during this time of financial difficulty for Mr. West (and concurrent with Tidal’s fiscal failings) he announced that his album would be available on Tidal in early 2016.” In the subsequent time, news outlets echoed West’s assertions that Life of Pablo would be permanently exclusive to Tidal. Baker-Rhett’s complaint mentions that Tidal needed to boost its subscriber numbers badly, noting that SCE “is preparing to sue the two entities it purchased the Tidal platform from” because the sellers allegedly over-inflated subscriber numbers to the company. "Defendant SCE knows the value of subscribers all too well,” the complaint alleges. In a statement, Baker-Rhett’s attorney asserted "We fully support the right of artists to express themselves freely and creatively, however creative freedom is not a license to mislead the public.” This isn't Tidal's first lawsuit.

Earlier this year, a musician sued Tidal along with Slacker Radio and Google Play for allegedly stiffing him on royalties.

And in February, West reportedly considered suing The Pirate Bay for illegally copying Life of Pablo while it was still exclusive to Tidal.
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