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Harris Corp. releases positively creepy online ad

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Only two words are needed to describe Harris Corporation’s latest online ad, which appears on a variety of sites, including that of the Tallahassee Democrat.

Downright creepy.

Harris is clearly trying to sway lawmakers to its side. It’s just that they may be using the wrong strategy.

Not that the Melbourne-based telecommunications firm has been noticeably absent lately.

Consider a news release this week, where Harris offered downloads of an ultra-high-res image of the Earth, taken from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 16 (GOES-16) satellite, on which Harris has installed its Advanced Baseline Imager.

As described by Brian Burgess of the Capitolist, the Imager is a “custom-built digital camera with image resolution of one-tenth of a square mile, or four times better than current imagers.” Intended to be sued to chart severe weather events, this eye-in-the-sky can beam down images of virtually any spot on the planet “as fast as 30 seconds, which is five times faster than previous technology.”

So, as you’re looking up, don’t forget to wave.

If that’s not creepy enough, there’s the Harris-manufactured StingRay phone tracker. This little beauty — used by law enforcement all over the United States — can mimic a wireless carrier cell tower, forcing all nearby mobile phones and other cellular devices to connect to it. StingRays can identify and track cellphones, even when the device is not actively engaged in a call or accessing wireless services.

Not only can Harris’ products see you from above, but they can also listen to you from your own pocket.

But what’s most disturbing is Harris’ new online banner ad, popping up on the Tallahassee Democrat website — the hometown newspaper of the Florida Capitol — occasionaly read by state lawmakers at all levels.

The ad, using the tagline “Harris: By Your Side,” gives us a pair of ominous looking figures — one military and the other a law enforcement officer — in what seems to be full battle gear.

What’s more, the ad is clearly targeting lawmakers and other stakeholders who will decide which company gets the lucrative Florida law enforcement communications contract.

Unfortunately for Harris, these images seem to be more fitting for the newest Call of Duty, than encouraging investment in public safety.

We get it; Harris Corporation is big, powerful and positively scary. But in this case, fear may not be the best sales tool.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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