Friday, October 31, 2003

Diego's Modus Operandi And A Call For Vigilance

As we've seen Diego, the smearblogger, is currently maintaining 3 blogs all having various degrees of similarity to the genuine Riverbend blog.

But there is limited possibility for actual confusion. While his more recent actions suggest that Diego's denuding of his original smearblog yesterday was perhaps more aimed at avoiding being yanked by Blogger for being quite such a flagrant rip-off than any actual attempt at acting like a decent human being, nonetheless the steps he took certainly lessen the chances that anyone will innocently mistake the smearblog for the real one.

Diego's likely defence if called to account for his actions is to claim that it can no longer be shown that he is making an active attempt to deceive people. So this is why I'm going to ask readers to keep an eye on any forums they may frequent for things like this

This shows that on Sept 20 2003 Diego went to a Usenet news group to which he had never posted before, picked up a thread inactive for weeks, responded to a post mentioning the genuine Riverbend blog and *changed* the quote of the original post in his reply to make it look as if the original poster had mentioned the riverSbend blog instead. The deceptive intent is quite plain. Diego looked for people on Usenet discussing the genuine blog and tried subtly to mislead them into going to the smearblog. This is only one instance where Diego did this. There are others.

This was basically the smoking gun which I came upon early last week and which convinced me that the person using the "Diego Gastor" nym was not just innocently promoting the fake blog by accident but was doing it with plain intent to mislead.

If you look at this link you'll see that almost every one of the posts by "Diego" this year involved popping up on Usenet where discussion of the real Riverbend was taking place and trying to lead them towards the smear blog. For fans of the bizarre you may also note that on at least one instance "Diego" finds himself in agreement with someone called "Troy" on the matter. I would at this point very much like the individual Troy to be in touch to how shall we say eliminate... himself from my enquiries...

So that's what Diego does folks. He does not simply hope that people will stumble on his fake sites (as some who would seek to diminish the gravity of his conduct have claimed), he tries to mislead people to it. So just keep your eyes peeled.

If anyone sees an individual using any nym to try and direct innocents towards the fake blogs - riverSbendblog, riverbendSblog, riverbendblogS - by suggesting they speak for an Iraqi girl blogger or are in any way of a different nature to what they really are let me know and I'll post it here. And of course such things could also be brought to the attention of blogger as evidence of "Diego's" attempts to deceive.

Note what I'm asking for here - observed dishonest attempts to deceive. This is not a campaign to drive any individual from the web. If someone who bears a passing resemblance to suspect "Diego Gastor" should be observed sharing gardening tips, TV preferences or even if he's spotted wishing Bill Clinton a foul death, that is not the concern of this site.

I do not condone harassment of any individual to oppose the use of their right to participate on the internet. Even though that individual may not share those principles. Why? Because I and those associated with the Bending Truth campaign believe in honouring certain high principles whereas "Diego Gastor" does not.