[asa] Sock Puppetry

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Jan 06 2009 - 10:47:40 EST

On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 9:23 PM, Dennis Venema <Dennis.Venema@twu.ca> wrote:

> another means to cross-check this suspicion would be to compare the
> internet headers from a known Matchett email with one from Lynn to see if
> they originate from the same IP address.
> dv
Only one of the IP addresses was traceable. The other ended at a 10.x.x.x
address. From that location I found one Janice Lynn Matchett who also goes
by Janice W Matchett. Hmm. This should serve as a cautionary tale that
Internet anonymity is an illusion.

Sock puppetry is a serious thing. While in this case it was to get around a
ban it also can produce more immoral and even illegal results. Sock puppetry
got a Los Angeles Times columnist, Michael Hiltzik, fired. Here's what LA
County ADA, Patrick Frey had to say on the blog Patterico.


*Since at least 2004, Hiltzik has left comments on the Internet under an
> invented pseudonym, at times explicitly pretending to be someone other than
> Michael Hiltzik.* Actually, as we shall see below, the evidence is
> overwhelming that he has used *more* than one pseudonym. Hiltzik and his
> pseudonymous selves have echoed each other's arguments, praised one another,
> and mocked each other's enemies. All the while, Hiltzik's readers have been
> unaware that (at a minimum) the acid-tongued "Mikekoshi," who pops up from
> time to time at Hiltzik's favorite blogs (including his own) defending
> Hiltzik and his newspaper, is in fact *Hiltzik himself*.

It also involves academic misconduct. Ward Churchill quoted himself in order
to prop up his scholarship and it contributing to his firing. Here's from
the report concerning on whether to fire him. From the Volock Conspiracy:

The other two apparently independent third-party sources cited in footnotes
> 63 and 64 are essays published in the same volume, The State of Native
> America, one under the name of a person named Rebecca Robbins and the other
> under the name of M. Annette Jaimes, the editor of the volume. Since both
> essays do contain statements of the type that Professor Churchill claims,
> that might have put an end to the matter of research misconduct regarding
> this allegation, except for the fact that in response to the separate
> allegation that he had plagiarized the Robbins essay in another later
> published piece, Professor Churchill said in Submission E that he had in
> fact ghostwritten both the Robbins and the Jaimes essays, in full.... *[This]
> constitutes a serious problem of research misconduct. The initial support
> for the disputed statement involved three independent sources. As already
> noted, the Act does not expressly provide what Professor Churchill claims
> and therefore can provide no support for his claims whatsoever. The two
> other apparently independent third-party sources, the Robbins and Jaimes
> essays, turn out not to be independent sources at all but, rather, to have
> been ghostwritten in their entirety by Professor Churchill. This action
> provided him with apparent independent sources that he could and did in fact
> cite to support otherwise insupportable claims of legal and historical fact.
> * In short, when one carefully dissects the Churchill claim quoted in the
> original allegation, the three apparently independent third-party sources
> dissolve into one source (the Act) that clearly does not expressly support
> his claim, and two other sources (the Robbins and Jaimes chapters) that he
> wrote himself.

It can also get raised to illegality. MySpace requires you to really
identifiy in their terms of service yourself because of fears of sexual
predators. This was used in the case where a teenage girl commited suicide
because of Lori Drew pretending to be someone she was not. One of the
charges which resulted in a conviction against Lori Drew was described by
the Times of London as follows:


Ms Drew was not directly charged with causing Megan's death. Instead,
> prosecutors indicted her under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,
> which in the past has been used in hacking and trademark theft cases. Among
> other things, Ms Drew was charged with* conspiring to violate the fine
> print in MySpace's terms-of-service agreement, which prohibits the use of
> fake names* and harassment of other MySpace members.

Finally, as Christians we should behave as if our actions will be brought to

1 Thes. 5:4-8

 4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise
you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do
not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like
others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7For those
who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But
since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and
love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Tue Jan 6 10:48:11 2009

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