Doing Transparency

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

—Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

For years, the bicycling community considered the locks made by Kryptonite, now a division of Ingersoll Rand, the gold standard in bicycle security. In 2001, Bicycling magazine made its New York 3000 lock an editor's choice, saying, “The company that invented the U-lock just never quits raising the bar on theft prevention…. if you want peace of mind when securing your pride and joy this is about as good as it gets.”1 Kryptonite confidently marketed the U-shaped devices as “tough locks for a tough world.”2 Then, in 2004, Chris Brennen came along.

Brennen, a 25-year-old cycling enthusiast, regularly posted to a small online bulletin board for fellow bike nuts, and on September 12 he posted a small notice claiming that Kryptonite's famously impenetrable locks could be opened by anyone with a 10-cent BIC pen and a few seconds to spare.3 Fourteen hours after Brennen's initial post, another user posted video using Brennen's instructions to demonstrate how quickly and easily he could compromise Kryptonite's star product. The impact was astonishing. Details of the product failure crossed the globe within hours. Within two days of Brennen's first posting, more than 11,000 people had visited the discussion thread and 40,000 had downloaded the video. Early on in the crisis, concerned forum users contacted Kryptonite's public relations manager to alert the company to this critical product ...

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