Monday, February 25, 2008

Too Much Sneaky

The Politico's Ben Smith has a post up this morning on some anonymous, pro-Clinton websites that have popped up on the Internet in the last couple of days.

At the end of his post, Smith links back to a story that he did in December on the anonymous web.

One graph from Smith's December story caught our eye. It refers to Politico trying to determine the identity of the anonymous author of a pro-Hillary site:

The author has gone to some lengths to disguise his or her identity.

The website is hosted by a service that offers anonymity. It accepts payment for goods through PayPal. And the author didn't bite on an attempt by Politico to crack the case by sending an email with an embedded image and checking to see who downloaded the image – a relatively common method in the field of Internet forensics.

But aren't we talking about a privately owned and operated, completely legal website whose "attacks stick to the realm of acceptable Washington politics – they don't veer into the darker realms of attacks on Obama's race or religion"?


We think that Ben Smith is a good reporter and a decent guy. But Politico sending out forensic emails in an attempt to "out" a private citizen who is not breaking any law rubbed us the wrong way.

Big time.