Why is it that "The Eye" has quit posting info about IP Addresses soon to be released....Anyone but me read the AP Article in the Journal the other day about Eclipse Aviation filing a civil suit against this "Blogger" host in an effort to identify and stop people from posting comments about the airplanes? Eclipse won, and now has handed Google a subpeona to force them to hand over the IP Addresses of all who posted on that site....The end is near people, Blogger is the host site for this blog. It's only a matter of time before someone else comes along and get's the IP Addresses for us.....The story the poster was referring to was Tuesday's Journal story entitled Eclipse Seeks Bloggers' Identity (Subscription). First of all we don't know the identity of the above poster even though we have their IP address. Further, we're not looking and respect their wishes to remain anonymous. It's our policy to post all opinions even when they disagree with us and especially when they disagree with other posters.
Second, there's a HUGE difference between the Eclipse blog (eclipsecriticng.blogspot.com) and your friendly neighborhood Eye On Albuquerque. The Eclipse critic blog seems to be talking about information that could be considered proprietary. Eclipse Aviation is a private company and that according to the Journal story has executed non-disclosure agreements with its current and former employees. They claim that these posts could violate those agreements if they are being posted by any of the people that have signed one of these agreements.
(Sidebar)One more note about the Eclipse fishing expedition. Having the IP addresses of individual posters is just the tip of the judicial ice berg. Even if Google does turn over the IPs, there will have to be a whole new round of subpoenas issued to multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with their own set of lawyers and privacy policies. We doubt that any court in its right mind will continue to allow Eclipse to go on an open-ended fishing expedition through multiple ISPs to find a group of unknown posters who may or may not have ever been Eclipse employees.
There's a pretty good argument that Eclipse has made a major mistake by going after some 28 registered Google posters. The negative media generated from the court case could hurt the company more than any of the comments on the website. And remember Eclipse is paying for this negative press. Mario Burgos has a pretty good take on this one read it here.
For those of you on the 5th or 11th floors that haven't figured this out yet, Eye On Albuquerque is a political website. We talk about government and public officials whose actions are not always known by the public and in many cases need to be. This is precisely the type of speech that the founding fathers intended to protect.
1st Amendment to the U.S. ConstitutionLet us remind the folks on the 5th and 11th floors that the courts and federal law enforcement take a very dim view of elected officials and police departments working to deny citizens their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
We recently watched as APD tried to deny Sergeant Heh his right to free speech and his right to petition the government for a redress of grievances (read about it here). Like the him or not, agree with him or not - the vocal sergeant has the right to speak his mind and to ask the council to intervene in a grievance - even if the council only has limited authority to do so.
We'd also remind the Almighty Alcalde and his Chief of Police that using city resources to investigate a private citizen, critic, or rival for political reasons is unethical, an abuse of power, and illegal. Not to mention a waste of taxpayer money.
We wouldn't be surprised if the above poster has some connection with the 5th floor. After the recent 5th Floor Fiasco, we wouldn't be surprised. Whether the comment was generated by a 5th floor confederate or not it shows the type of thuggery that we've come to expect from a group used to controlling its own officers through fear and intimidation. It's simple abuse of power by people who believe they have the God given right to abuse it.
Tips for Safe Anonymous Posting
1. Never, EVER use a city owned computer attached to a city gateway. The city's IT gurus can easily track posts and they don't need a warrant or subpoena to do so. Also, government owned computers and email accounts generate an electronic trail that are part of the public record. Concerned citizens and news organizations can file freedom of information requests to review these records and the city is required by law to provide them at a reasonable cost. Some of you on the 5th floor might do well to remember that.
2. Do NOT create a Google identity. Even if that identity doesn't contain any accurate or personal information it provides a marker for "investigators" to follow. In other words, remain just another needle in a stack of needles. Don't stand out.
3. Post from home using your own high speed connection. Most of these connections are DHCP connections which means they receive different IP addresses from a pool of addresses assigned to a particular service provider. The rotating IP addresses make it more difficult for an "investigator" to track. Also, it's very hard to argue that posting your opinion from home anonymously isn't exercising your Constitutional right to free speech.
4. Use public access Wi-Fi hot spots. This is probably the safest way to maintain anonymity. As long as you are using your own computer in an environment where there are multiple users it would be extremely difficult to track a specific poster after the fact. Be sure to only use hot spots that allow guest or anonymous users.
The bottom line is that while it's not impossible to find out who an anonymous poster is, by being careful you can make it exceedingly difficult. Those who wish to learn your identity have to have enough money to pay for attorneys to continuously file subpoenas to multiple companies in multiple jurisdictions or they have to launch a criminal investigation and have the investigative authority to issue search warrants to multiple companies in multiple jurisdictions. Plus there's that little thing about investigating private citizens for political reasons.