Reality star Pratt shuns showbiz to be cybercrime superhero
A right tool for the job
A star from the The Hills reality show has announced his supposed intention to take a break from his lucrative TV career in order to fight cybercrime.
Spencer Pratt, who recently appeared with drastically-enhanced wife and Hills co-star Heidi Montag in the US version of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, reportedly hopes to team up with LA-based firearms training firm American Defense Enterprises to launch an infosec division.
Pratt, 26, claims he was inspired by a President Obama speech about the importance of protecting cyberspace in his decision to make a radical career shift from his "job" as a reality TV star and part-time rapper.
Suspicions abound that the move is a publicity stunt, especially because Pratt's claim that he were studying "software engineering with a focus on encryption" at USC were undermined when the University told Fox News he was not registered on campus this year. USC said Pratt was enrolled between 2003 and 2009 at the University, but that was for a course in political science.
To be fair, information security is a broad church and people with degrees in diverse areas - including philosophy and fine arts, as well as more traditional computer science backgrounds - have gone on to make huge contributions. The world of showbiz offers at least one precedent for Pratt's career shift. Hollywood star Robert Urich, star of PI drama Spenser for Hire, found moderate success in founding a laptop theft retrieval business in the '90s called CyberAngel.
Urich, however, had street cred, whereas Pratt plays the role of pantomime villain/hate figure in (mock) reality TV. His performances on talk shows such as Letterman (below) do not inspire much confidence that's he's up to the task of facing off against Russian and Chinese state-sponsored cybercrooks - but perhaps this is all just part of Pratt's act, and beneath the facade a keen mind is at work.
Frankly, though, judging from media interviews like this on Alex Jones' radio show, where Pratt witters on about New World Order conspiracy theories and the evils of birth control, we doubt it. ®