Thunderfoot’s Unethical Obsession

I was hoping to not have to do this for another day or two, but the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. As everyone who reads this network is no doubt aware, on July 1 we made the decision to remove Thunderfoot from the Freethought Blogs network, only a short time after he had joined. There is no need to rehash again why that was done because it is not relevant to what has subsequently come to light about his reaction to that decision.

Like any community, we have a private listserv for the FTB bloggers. We use that listserv to communicate about a great many things — asking mundane technical questions, sharing information, asking for feedback and advice or for help in promoting a cause or a post that we think is important, and sometimes sharing personal and confidential information. Like any such list, the members expect confidentiality and everyone who joins the list is made aware of that fact. On the bottom of each and every email to and from the list is affixed this message:

“All emails sent to this list are confidential and private. Revealing information contained in any email sent to the list to anyone not on the list without permission of the author is strictly prohibited.”

On August 2, a close friend informed me that a mutual acquaintance of ours had been forwarded messages from that private mailing list by Thunderfoot. A few hours later, I received an email from a longtime commenter on the site telling me that “your email distribution list is not secure. Take the time to verify that only the people who are supposed to be on the list are actually members, as messages have been leaked.” Prompted by those messages, I went into the admin panel of our mailing list software, did some checking and discovered that Thunderfoot had somehow managed to get back on the mailing list after he was removed from it on July 1, when the decision was made to close his blog and remove him from the network. I double checked to make sure that he had been removed from the list at that time and he was (I have email confirmation from the system at the time). I then had our site tech do some digging into the database and he discovered that Thunderfoot had used a security loophole (now fixed) to regain admission to the list only a few minutes after he was removed from it on July 1 and had been receiving all of the email traffic between everyone else from that moment forward, without our knowledge. When that fact was discovered, he was, of course, removed from the list a second time and the settings were changed to close the loophole in our security that allowed him that access; over the next half hour he tried multiple times to get back on the list again but failed.

There is much that is said in those private and confidential emails that, if released, could cause serious damage. Like any community, private communications often include highly sensitive and emotional subjects that could cause serious problems if they were to get into the wrong hands. On that list, some of us write about highly personal and highly stigmatized issues, like gender transition, sexuality, rape, addiction and other subjects that they wouldn’t be able to talk about if they felt our privacy wasn’t protected by pseudonyms. Jobs could be lost, relationships could be damaged and lives could, quite literally, be put in danger. This isn’t a game, folks.

This appalling violation of privacy is beneath contempt. There is no possible rationalization for it, no way to make it justified or ethical. No matter how scorned Thunderfoot may be, or how legitimate anyone thinks his anger at FTB might be, what he did here is extraordinarily abusive and cannot be tolerated.

Ironically, Thunderfoot himself was quite upset last year at an invasion of his own privacy after someone discovered and made public his real name. He even made a Youtube video about it, blasting the person who did it for “doc dropping” and saying:

All you’ve done is shown that Islam, your religion, makes you act like a complete douche. But if I were you, I would hope that nothing happens to me.

Now I’m obviously not going to claim that Thunderfoot’s atheism has made him act like a complete douche. I don’t know what has made him act that way, and I don’t much care. I only care that what he has done here is unethical and unjustified by any possible reasoning.

He has already posted about this, where he reveals publicly what he had already revealed privately to others. And even while violating the privacy and confidentiality of everyone on this network, he simultaneously declares that we have nothing to fear because he “does not doc drop.” As if that is supposed to make anyone here feel any better. He used a loophole in our security to gain access to private communications that he knew he was not authorized to see, copied some of those conversations to other people and now does so publicly as well — but he wants us and everyone else to believe that he would never do anything bad with it. He’s really the good guy, you see, because he is revealing our dark, conspiratorial plotting against himself and others.

I really do find this outraged declaration that he does not “doc drop” to be almost laughably deluded. It’s like someone who breaks into your house because you forgot to latch a window. He comes into your house and steals your china and jewelry, then reacts in mock outrage when you suggest that he might steal your TV too. In fact, he screams “I do not steal TVs!” at the top of his lungs to the neighbors while he’s handing your other possessions out the door to someone else. And then he expects that declaration to be credible and to provide some assurance of his character.

He also makes a big deal out of the following quote from me, which he is leaking from that list. After I found out he had found a way to get back on our list and had leaked emails to others, I wrote this to the group:

“I want to do whatever it takes to make sure that he is essentially drummed out of this movement, never invited to speak anywhere again and is forever a pariah.”

Hell, that was the mild stuff he was quoting. I said worse than that. And I meant every word of it. I think what he has done here should result in him losing every little shred of credibility he ever had. I think it should make every single person in this movement distrust him, now and forever. I think it should make him a pariah and destroy any place he could possibly have in the atheist movement. I think it reveals, as starkly as possible, just how deranged and unethical the man is. And I think you should think so too.

His behavior since being removed from this network has only proven all the more that the right decision was made. And it should be a warning to anyone else who might work with him in the future that he simply cannot be trusted. He appears to have no ethical boundaries at all; if he thinks he was wronged by you, he thinks he can do anything he wants to you with impugnity, including violate your privacy and leak your confidential communications. And quite frankly, he has become obsessive to the point of derangement.

"If I were to wish Raddish happy holidays do I get credit for both war ..."

Pastor: Accusations Against Moore Part of ..."
"Made sure they, and their descendants, stay this way."

Orrin Hatch is Terribly Offended
"“And I’ve been here working my whole stinkin’ career for people who don’t have a ..."

Orrin Hatch is Terribly Offended
"Poor, poor Orrin Snowflake. Could it be that the Senate isn't the safe space that ..."

Orrin Hatch is Terribly Offended

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.facebook.com/ZenoFerox Zeno

    Disappointing in the extreme. Now I’ll never be able to enjoy the “Why do people laugh at creationists?” series as much as I used to.

    Incomprehensible as well as irresponsible.

  • TGAP Dad

    My basic philosophy about internet-base communication: never say anything on the Internet (including email) which you wouldn’t want printed in every newspaper and stapled to every telephone pole, no matter how private you think it may be.

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    Sounds like he took a page out of Scientology’s “Fair Game” playbook.

  • Who Knows?

    In anticipation of reading what he might have to say, I was excited to see Thunderfoot joining FTB, then when I read what he had to say I was disappointed. Now, jeez, I’m hoping he doesn’t sink any lower.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    @3: Ironically, that’s exactly what he’s saying about FTB because they talked about how they were mad at someone on the listserv and how best to respond.

  • scottmange

    This is a GOOD lesson for everyone to learn.

    Please, please, please, use e-mail encryption so only the intended receivers can read the message. In this case, even if Thunderf00t compramised the list server, he’d not be able to read them if they’d been encrypted.

    And it’s NOT hard once it’s set up.

    See this link for details.

    http://www.gpg4win.org/

  • dugglebogey

    “Hell hath no fury like a nerd scorned.”

    And no, I am not above plagiarism and paraphrasing.

  • pocketnerd

    Jiminy Criminy. Was Thunderf00t always this much of an asshole, or did his popularity within the skeptic movement give him a severe case of hypertrophied ego?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    And here’s a quote fronm Greg Laden in TF’s little slipepit, kinda sorta maybe trying to excuse TF’s breach of the private listserv:

    However, when I joined FTB originally I, as did everyone else including Thunderf00t, agreed to keep the contents of the back-channel confidential. I don’t know how legally binding any such promises were, but ethically and a simple matter of honor, if you will, one should respect that.

    On the other hand, one could argue that FTB treated Thunderf00t rather badly and whatever stupid little spiteful things Thunderf00t invents to annoy FTB are part of the game.

    So he admits TF agreed to respect confidentiality according to policy, but then says that violating that confidentiality is “part of the game.” WTF?! Has Greg started smoking PCP or something?

  • http://www.embiearts.com embiearts

    I didn’t know him before he joined FTB, but yeesh. I’ve looked at his twitter, blog and comments, made an effort to understand his points (and those of his supporters) and came away feeling like I needed a mental shower.

    The vast majority of times I have a disagreement with the stance a blogger/speaker/etc takes, or they say something stupid and inflammatory, I’ve been able to shrug and accept that hey, they’re human. Feet of clay and all that, heck I’m a privileged idiot a good deal of the time but I’m working on it. We agree where we agree, if we disagree I’m happy to have the discussion but I’m not automatically going to write a person off unless they do something seriously bad.

    TF, on the other hand… he’s out in the cold as far as I’m concerned. Dude’s repeatedly shown himself to be a douchebag, and I’m not going to waste my time giving him the attention he’s screaming for.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    @8: I’m not sure about always, but there are signs going back a couple years wrt how he dealt with YouTube drama.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    @Raging Bee: The rest of his comment seems to say that one would be wrong if one said that.

  • uncephalized

    I unsubscribed to thunderf00t’s YouTube channel over this whole fiasco, and won’t be following anything he puts out from now on. He’s been acting like a ridiculous child.

  • ricko

    I imagine I could take anything I’ve learned about Ed, and some of his co-bloggers (such as PZ) and make a to do about it. But…

    I’ve learned over the years that I am only a person with an ideology, and it’s different from, but similar to, Ed’s or PZ’s.

    I would never seek to take this feeling of difference to anyone else, except to say it right here… And I have, and I’ve NEVER felt pressure from anyone about it.

    You are doing right. And it’s making me come closer to punting Tfoot from my YouTube account.

  • http://www.embiearts.com embiearts

    @Raging Bee #9

    Seriously? Man… “it’s just part of the game” I just… what? Violating people’s privacy and potentially endangering several members of the network is a-ok because they weren’t nice enough when they kicked TF out?

    On what planet does that make sense? “Oh, you were rudely fired from your job? That CLEARLY gives you the right to take a dump on the fax machine. I mean, fair’s fair, right?”

    Uh, no.

  • Ben P

    “personal and confidential information” “listserv”

    does..not…compute

  • dingojack

    Raging Bee or Ace of Sevens – any chance you could make life easier and link to the comment (or blog) so us lazy bastards can read it ourselves?

    Thanks

    Dingo

  • Ben P

    My basic philosophy about internet-base communication: never say anything on the Internet (including email) which you wouldn’t want printed in every newspaper and stapled to every telephone pole, no matter how private you think it may be.

    Following up with a lawyer’s perspective.

    Never say anything in an email, internet post (or a letter for that matter) that you would not necessarily be comfortable explaining later.

    Literally every day of my job, I encounter one or more document being used in a lawsuit where if the person knew that six months or a year down the road they’d be sitting in a conference room with a bunch of lawyers and a court reporter and being asked “what exactly did you mean by that?”, they wouldn’t have written that email.

  • Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google

    Anyone who is tempted to minimize the significance of this should go read Natalie’s post on this. Like, right now.

    To hurt Natalie – or Zinnia – all TF has to do is publish their real names.

    Out them, that is.

    And there are people – a rather disgustingly high number of people – who would have no problem with a trans person’s life being destroyed by being outed, up to and including them being killed. If TF is one of those people – or just doesn’t care – and he outs them, deliberately or by failing to conceal what he knows of them, he is an utterly reprehensible person.

    I had honestly thought that my opinion of Thunderf00t could not drop lower than it had – I mean, he was already a sexist and racist creep.

    I hate being proven wrong.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The link is in the OP above, with the words “already posted.”

  • whiskeyjack

    “impugnity”

    Is that a portmanteau of “impugn” and “impunity”? ‘Cause that’s kinda awesome.

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    Thunderf00t must be very happy – because he got the bloggers here to stop ignoring him and talk about him. Well, it’s depressing to see how low he sunk when I really have enjoyed so many of his videos in the past (though they were starting to get overly dramatic – a premonition?)

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    I’d hate to be a girl who broke up with him. Jeez.

    • doublenerds

      I had the same exact thought. There is something seriously wrong with someone who is that unable to let go of a perceived slight. Scary behavior.

  • http://alephsquared.wordpress.com aleph squared

    @Ben P

    Honestly, the legalities are important, but not relevant to the ethics of the case. (And hacking a private listserv is illegal, even though the signature footer is not binding.)

  • kc9oq

    I second the notion of using gpg encryption. It is easy and secure. Give everyone on the list their own key and when someone gets the boot, just delete their key from the keyring. Even if they do intercept an email it does them no good.

    Of course, by now that would be locking the barn way after the horse has bolted (a lesson Amazon & Apple shouldn’t have had to learn recently).

    This behavior is beyond despicable and borders on the criminal. I would have no problem informing this guy’s employer; if he used other than personal equipment to perform his hack then that organization could be collaterally liable if his actions do indeed injure someone.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I only email pictures of my crotch. That way, if they get out, I’m proud of the leak.

    That sounded better before I wrote it out.

  • http://cycleninja.blogspot.com cycleninja

    And here I was still subscribed to his YouTube channel until I read this.

    There, fixed.

  • mildlymagnificent

    destroy any place he could possibly have in the atheist movement

    Destroy any place he might lay claim to in any group or organisation with any ethical standards at all, I’d say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thewilliamg williamgeorge

    @ pocketnerd;

    I was a follower of his YouTube channel but as he got bigger he just got more vicious and vindictive with other people who are just as vicious and vindictive. So all of the work he had done in his “Laughs at” series had been buried under the beef videos. I unsubscibed.

    Eventually, he went from exposing the holes in people’s positions to simply provoking them into exposing their own hypocrisies. I figure that’s the mindset he had when he posted his first blog. That he seemed taken aback makes me think he didn’t even know he was trolling.

    I’ve been there when it comes to online drama, so I understand how you don’t notice when you’ve become your own worst enemy. The thirst for vengeance over your humiliations is overwhelming. Especially when you feel outnumbered by the group so you get dirty. He’s clearly in the wrong here.

    Pride before falls, etc…

    (Sadly, the other “YouTube Atheist” Aron Ra, seems to be posting his blog like he does his videos: Once in a blue moon. Maybe Ed will have more luck with Potholer54?)

  • ginmar

    Holy shit, can we not blame the victims here? That whole shit about ‘Don’t say anything unless you want it seen,’ is telling people to be nice to people who are committing crimes. This isn’t about people tittering over the stupidity of the boss; this is people discussing personal information and having it get stolen.

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    Encryption is beside the point. Thunderf00t did have access to the e-mails before he was fired and sharing those is bad enough. And you would have to set it up so each sender encrypts the e-mail for all of the recipients on the list, which tototally goes against the idea of a mailing list (since you have to have the public keys for all recipients rather than just the list’s e-mail). I suppose there are ways around it but either way, I think it’s beside the point. He was trusted and violated that trust.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/ Jason Thibeault
  • jackal

    In this context, “never say anything private on the Internet” is a victim-blaming sentiment. Consider that online shopping banking is now commonplace. Consider that people who have never met in person are communicating across international borders in order to coordinate the actions of their online community. We’re not talking about proprietary industry secrets or sensitive financial material, but just life experiences which could cause the author to be targeted with discrimination and violence, should the name in their email be leaked. Is the “never say anything private on the Internet” advice remotely practical or useful to this discussion?

  • abb3w

    @0, Ed Brayton:

    I don’t know what has made him act that way, and I don’t much care.

    I don’t know, and don’t much care about Thunderf00t particularly.

    I do, however, think it’s more behavior readily fitting expectations for low-RWA/high-SDO personality. I’ve plugged Altemeyer’s work before. Unless there’s a hidden confound of SDO for religiosity/RWA (like there is on BIBLE for religiosity versus WORDSUM), irreligious SDO assholes should be about as common as religious SDO assholes overall. (On the upside, “double high” irreligious should be quite rare… though not nonexistent.) Thunderf00t is of interest only as the tip on the iceberg… which looks like an interesting iceberg.

    @8, pocketnerd

    Was Thunderf00t always this much of an asshole, or did his popularity within the skeptic movement give him a severe case of hypertrophied ego?

    If my conjecture is correct, he’s been an asshole for a very long time, but his popularity validated his sense of justified social dominance. However, SDO in general appears predominantly environment and very little genetic; adulation by the masses might have heightened it.

  • dingojack

    Raging Bee – D’oh!

  • kingoftoasty

    @ #2. Seriously? TF gains unauthorized (and possibly illegal, as per the DCMA) access to private communications and publishes some of the contents of those communications and your response is to blame the victims of this unethical act? Maybe do a double check on your ethical standards, jackass.

  • dingojack

    ginmar, jackal – uh, no, no it isn’t.

    ‘Never post something on the Internet …’ is equivalent to a colloquial use of’caveat emptor‘*, it’s simply a reminder to be careful not an admonishment of those hurt by illegal and unethical behaviours by a former FTB blogger.

    Dingo

    —–

    * caveat orator or caveat scriptor perhaps

  • gingerbaker

    ” “I want to do whatever it takes to make sure that he is essentially drummed out of this movement, never invited to speak anywhere again and is forever a pariah.”

    Hell, that was the mild stuff he was quoting. I said worse than that. And I meant every word of it. I think what he has done here should result in him losing every little shred of credibility he ever had. I think it should make every single person in this movement distrust him, now and forever. I think it should make him a pariah and destroy any place he could possibly have in the atheist movement. “

    Lovely. Glad to hear that because you and others are pissed off at him, you feel justified in denying others the benefit of what he might be able to offer audiences.

    Very much – nay, exactly like – the tens to a hundred(?) snarling comments at one of the Skepchik blogs which wanted to do the very same thing – remove him from events and destroy his credibility and career – to Richard Dawkins for his “muslima” post.

    Nobody in this tempest in a teapot is blameless, and none of you are helping the advocacy of atheism with this infighting.

    You and your crew are alienating a lot of good people, Ed. When FTB is burning bridges with people like Paula Kirby and Sam Harris you all are doing something wrong. Congratulations.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

      gingerbaker wrote:

      Lovely. Glad to hear that because you and others are pissed off at him, you feel justified in denying others the benefit of what he might be able to offer audiences.

      Very much – nay, exactly like – the tens to a hundred(?) snarling comments at one of the Skepchik blogs which wanted to do the very same thing – remove him from events and destroy his credibility and career – to Richard Dawkins for his “muslima” post.

      Sorry, but this is simply idiotic. I have no power over Thunderfoot and certainly no power to deny anyone the benefit of his wisdom. What I can do, and have done, is reveal his mendacity and total lack of ethics to the world. If that causes others to distance themselves from him and refuse to work with him — and I think it damn well should — he has no one to blame but himself.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    @38: Ed can’t kick him off YouTube or WordPress. This is a matter of making sure he doesn’t get columns on real sites and doesn’t get invited to speak at cons. Do you think there is no possible basis for ever taking this action? That’s what you seem to imply.

  • dingojack

    In a strictly legal sense perhaps you’re correct, but I don’t have an expectation (unless specifically stated) that is the general level of posts here (in a legal blog, maybe). (IMHO).

    Dingo

  • http://noadi.etsy.com Noadi

    Paula Kirby has blinders on, I don’t think she’s a bad person she just doesn’t get it.

    Sam Harris however is a torture apologist, I have no problem with the bridge burning there.

  • dingojack

    I think you’ll find he’s free to speak if he wants to – but that organisations are free not giving him a platform to do so and Ed is also free to try and persuade them to this course.

    Dingo

  • laurentweppe

    Seriously? Man… “it’s just part of the game” I just… what? Violating people’s privacy and potentially endangering several members of the network is a-ok because they weren’t nice enough when they kicked TF out?

    I suspect that “you hurt me so now I have a right to hurt you back with interest” is seen as fair by a non-negligible proportion of the human race.

  • coryat

    “You and your crew are alienating a lot of good people, Ed.[…]”

    Is that like a captain and a bunch of people on a schooner or as in a body popping dance collective? In either case it’s stupid.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    Is that like a captain and a bunch of people on a schooner or as in a body popping dance collective? In either case it’s stupid.

    Now I have an idea for PZ’s next podcast.

  • ginmar

    37 “Don’t go anywhere wearing a short skirt unless….” Yeah. That’s you and everybody else making that argument.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Following up with a lawyer’s perspective.

    Never say anything in an email, internet post (or a letter for that matter) that you would not necessarily be comfortable explaining later.

    As my accountant always used to say: “there are only two kinds of people in hell – those who were caught in the act, and those who kept records.”

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Where’s my “un-like” button? Oh, there it is! Fixed!

  • http://skeptifem.blogspot.com skeptifem

    Lovely. Glad to hear that because you and others are pissed off at him, you feel justified in denying others the benefit of what he might be able to offer audiences.

    Very much – nay, exactly like – the tens to a hundred(?) snarling comments at one of the Skepchik blogs which wanted to do the very same thing – remove him from events and destroy his credibility and career – to Richard Dawkins for his “muslima” post.

    Nobody in this tempest in a teapot is blameless, and none of you are helping the advocacy of atheism with this infighting.

    You and your crew are alienating a lot of good people, Ed. When FTB is burning bridges with people like Paula Kirby and Sam Harris you all are doing something wrong. Congratulations.

    yeah what is some racism and sexism (which alienates women and people of color) when you could worry about alienating the “good people” who promote that, right?

    You know what else? The careers you are talking about are people who essentially deal in opinion pieces. They are well known and respected mostly because of the opinions they choose to promote via their writing or speaking. If they shouldn’t be judged on the opinions they espouse, what the fuck should we be judging them on?

    to posters blaming people for discussing things in email: shame on you, go read what natalie reed has to say about all this. Ed Brayton and PZ Myers don’t have to feel unsafe online like women do, and you are promoting that as being acceptable every time you say women should shut up if they aren’t cool with being threatened or harassed as a result. Women should be able to feel exactly as safe as men do online. We shouldn’t have to hide from everyone.

  • Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google

    Never say anything in an email, internet post (or a letter for that matter) that you would not necessarily be comfortable explaining later.

    Really? So women, PoC, and other non-privileged people cannot vent about their oppression, name names, strategize, and find solidarity lest they be willing to be called to task by their oppressors? In an arena where, more than likely, their oppressors will control the stage and set the terms?

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    About the whole “don’t blame the victim” mentality – do realize that it’s perfectly compatible to say “you shouldn’t walk down dark alleys in the bad part of town in the middle of the night” and say “you shouldn’t mug people.” After all, you’re talking about two different people who can’t know what’s going on inside someone else’s noggin.

    That being said, it would place an undue burden on people to always have to speak in private forums, lists, etc. as if they were public. And I don’t think anyone had good reason to think a vengeful jerk would threaten to use what they say against them.

    • frog

      Especially since the key word here is “private” forum.

      If I have a conversation in my own home with friends, should I be worrying that my apartment is bugged, or that eavesdroppers with listening devices are huddled outside my windows?

  • kingoftoasty

    @ #47:

    FTB hasn’t been caught with their hands in the damn cookie jar by a righteous TF here. There is no discernable conspiracy here to deprive TF of his rights or property, but rather angry writings between colleagues over a rather grotesque betrayal of trust and the rather justified desire to see that the perpetrator won’t be trusted by any reputable member of the movement.

    And even if that weren’t the case, TF would still not be justified in breaking into a private listserv with the intention of stealing and disseminating private communications which, by the way, he agreed previously not to do. Bottom line is that there is no rational justification for what TF did.

  • dingojack

    Yeah because the expectation that:

    ‘if you do something that is known to be dangerous there might be unfortunate unforeseen consequences’ is precisely equivilent to ‘if you do something that shouldn’t be dangerous then you deserve to get attacked illegally because of that act’ . @@

    Dingo

  • http://www.jafafahots.com Jafafa Hots

    And it’s making me come closer to punting Tfoot from my YouTube account.

    Damn, wonder what exactly it would take for you to actually DO that?

    Me, I’ve never had a YouTube channel subscription that I cherished so deeply.

  • iangould

    Am I the only person uncomfortable with the whole idea of an “atheist movement”?

  • d cwilson

    Okay, I’ve tried to ignore the whole Thunderfoot issue for as long as I could. T-foot came to this blog with a major chip on his shoulder. It seemed from his blog posts from day one that he was spoiling for a fight with some of the other bloggers. I had enjoyed his “Why do people laugh at creationists?” video series, but I was really disappointed with both the quality and content of his blogs. He didn’t seem interested in discussing anything of substance, just complainging about what others said or wrote.

    When he was tossed, I figured that was end of it. But, this is really unconscionable. Even if his anger at FTB was justified, sneaking back onto a listserv where it was clear he wasn’t welcome and forwarding people’s confidential emails is venturing into Amazing Atheist territory.

    Normally, I’d agree with the sentiment of don’t post anything on the internet you wouldn’t want to see on the big screen in Times Square, but this was a case where there was an expectation of confidentiality. Everyone on the listserv had agreed not to forward those emails. To me, this is like going to an AA meeting. There’s no legal requirement to keep what’s said at those meetings anonymous, but there’s a mutual trust in place that the participants would respect confidentiality. Thunderfoot violated that trust and has shown himself to be someone who cannot be taken at his word ever again.

  • http://lykex.livejournal.com LykeX

    Glad to hear that because you and others are pissed off at him, you feel justified in denying others the benefit of what he might be able to offer audiences.

    Shove it. Nobody is trying to limit his freedom of speech. What’s being said here is that he should not be endorsed. Quite a different thing, really.

    …destroy his credibility and career…

    I don’t know about career, but as far as I’m concerned, he has managed to destroy his credibility all on his own.

    …and none of you are helping the advocacy of atheism with this infighting.

    So we should ignore foul deeds for the good of the cause? You’d make a great Catholic bishop.

    You and your crew are alienating a lot of good people

    Are you claiming that Thunderf00t is a good person? I think this clearly demonstrates that he’s not and if you’re supporting him, then neither are you.

    We didn’t burn the bridge. We’re just declining to rebuild it.

  • dingojack

    Everyone should be mindful of security, being a white, privileged male is no absolute guarantee of not being a target(granted you’re much, much less of a target).

    Stay safe out there, but not fearful.

    Dingo

    —–

    Sorry I’m reall, really cold and tired and I’ve got to hit the hay/ I’ll read you all anon.

  • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

    Never say anything in an email, internet post (or a letter for that matter) that you would not necessarily be comfortable explaining later.

    Literally every day of my job, I encounter one or more document being used in a lawsuit where if the person knew that six months or a year down the road they’d be sitting in a conference room with a bunch of lawyers and a court reporter and being asked “what exactly did you mean by that?”, they wouldn’t have written that email.

    1) Nice job victim-blaming. No wonder we have the stereotypes about lawyers that we do.

    2) The situation you are alluding to here is basically the opposite of what happened.

  • d cwilson

    Lovely. Glad to hear that because you and others are pissed off at him, you feel justified in denying others the benefit of what he might be able to offer audiences.

    Oh, bullshit! T-foot has his own blog and Youtube channel. Anyone who wants to see what he has to say has ample opportunities to go seek him out, but FTB isn’t under any obligation to provide him with a platform than the New York Times is required to publish your writings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kitwalker1990 chriswalker

    Thunderfoot lost any claim to being the “victim” in this situation when he started playing with other people’s lives and well being.

  • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

    Lovely. Glad to hear that because you and others are pissed off at him, you feel justified in denying others the benefit of what he might be able to offer audiences.

    A person who is willing to subject third parties to violence and discrimination as collateral damage in order to get back at people who called him on his bullshit has nothing to offer others. His redeeming value is purely nutritive at this point.

    Very much – nay, exactly like – the tens to a hundred(?) snarling comments at one of the Skepchik blogs which wanted to do the very same thing – remove him from events and destroy his credibility and career – to Richard Dawkins for his “muslima” post.

    Did you read the fucking post? This isn’t about him saying something mean.

    Nobody in this tempest in a teapot is blameless, and none of you are helping the advocacy of atheism with this infighting.

    Did you miss the fact that he is willing to out people who a at risk of violence and discrimination because his fee-fees were hurt? How fucking DARE you pretend this isn’t one-sided?

    You and your crew are alienating a lot of good people, Ed. When FTB is burning bridges with people like Paula Kirby and Sam Harris you all are doing something wrong. Congratulations.

    No, they aren’t. They’re alienating people like you. Very different.

  • Pingback: Thunderf00t’s unethical breach of our privacy | Blag Hag()

  • christophburschka

    @6

    Please, please, please, use e-mail encryption so only the intended receivers can read the message. In this case, even if Thunderf00t compramised the list server, he’d not be able to read them if they’d been encrypted.

    A discussion list is designed to work as a forum. The intended recipients are the entire list – otherwise you should be sending them to the individual recipient rather than the list, in any case.

    It is important to use email encryption in direct emails, but I know no way to effectively use it on a discussion list (even a non-public one). Controlling access to the list – as done here – is the proper method; it just has to be done correctly.

  • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Vile Human Being

    TGAP Dad/Dingojack:

    My basic philosophy about internet-base communication: never say anything on the Internet (including email) which you wouldn’t want printed in every newspaper and stapled to every telephone pole, no matter how private you think it may be.

    In other words, if you suffer from any sort of societal oppression, don’t talk about that on the internet or email. Don’t talk about anything that differentiates you from a straight, white, cis, xtian dude, because people will use that differentiation to hurt you.

    In other other words, what did you expect, going out dressed like that, you whore?

    Pinkboi, GMAFB with the pretense that focusing on what the victim could have done differently is anything but victim blaming.

    Gingerbaker, you’ve shown yourself to be a bigoted asshole on Pharyngula many times over, so I’m not exactly surprised you’re able to write off TF’s unethical and illegal behavior because it was aimed at people you don’t like.

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    Am I the only person uncomfortable with the whole idea of an “atheist movement”?

    No, you’re not. Someone expressed such a view on another thread here and I second it. No one controls the atheist/skeptic/rationalist brand and that’s the way it should be. You can’t say someone’s not a TrueAtheist® because they disagree with one on some entirely orthogonal issue.

    I hope more people recognize the error of religion, pseudoscience, superstition and shoddy flim-flam products. If people I don’t like come to these realizations I can only celebrate, not lament it. It cannot be a old boys club but the good news is even when people try to make it that way, they’ll fail in the long run.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    It’s a good thing that Tenderfoot don’t gotz no tractor!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/07/us-usa-vermont-tractor

  • TGAP Dad

    @36 king:

    Just to be clear: not blaming the victims here (or ever). My statement was about my own personal unease about the security of what we say behind what we believe to be closed doors. Perhaps this makes me a bit paranoid – call it what you will. I have personally seen family members’ supposedly private emails stolen. I have seen workers who confided in their employer’s EAPs, only to have that “confidential” information be used against them by lawyers who obtained it. The methods employed in getting the information become irrelevant. When you keep something behind locked doors, some people would assume it’s safe. However, locks can be picked, and doors can be jimmied. We have to stop pretending that what we say is safe simply because it’s protected by a password/behind a firewall/whatever. and once it’s been put into electronic format, it’s simple to distribute as widely as you want.

    As far as Thunderf00t goes, I’d like to see him prosecuted for gaining what appears to be illegal entry into FTB servers.

  • iangould

    “In other words, if you suffer from any sort of societal oppression, don’t talk about that on the internet or email. Don’t talk about anything that differentiates you from a straight, white, cis, xtian dude, because people will use that differentiation to hurt you.”

    No, in other words, if you are employed by a large corporation or by a government agency all your actions and all your words, written ans spoken, should be in strict accord with all relevant laws and ethical guidelines (including protecting the rights of non- straight, white etc people) because there’s a very good chance you’ll be caught out otherwise.

  • F

    Can we stop with the “victim blaming” claims? “Don’t say anything on the internet, email, etc…” is standard, and very old, security boilerplate. It isn’t victim blaming given this particular situation or any other. And no one I’ve read saying this is misusing the concept in a way to blame victims. It’s just a good idea, and worth pointing out. It is quite obviously not obvious to everyone, even today. When it is reported that steps x, y, and z were taken to stop this from happening (and kudos on both doing it and reporting it), comments offering other suggestions for security are not victim blaming.

    Same as it is good to point out that you need to make sure you have securely and otherwise properly configured your servers. Everyone does make mistakes, though, and the FTB admins clearly learn from them.

    I, too, would seriously suggest encryption for such sensitive information. Then, if you have to kick someone out again, y’all generate new keys and exchange them (and store them) securely.

    You never know when someone truly and deeply malicious will try to crack your server security to reveal information about bloggers to people who might want to do direct, immediate damage or physical harm. (Or just another douchebong who maybe thinks outing people is funny, and refuses to see the possible consequences of their actions.)

  • F

    Like this:

    kingoftoasty says:

    August 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    @ #2. Seriously? TF gains unauthorized (and possibly illegal, as per the DCMA) access to private communications and publishes some of the contents of those communications and your response is to blame the victims of this unethical act? Maybe do a double check on your ethical standards, jackass

    That’s DMCA, and completely irrelevant. Yes, it is totally illegal. And unethical.

    That isn’t victim blaming.

  • F

    gingerbaker

    You’re an ass.

  • Amphiox

    My basic philosophy about internet-base communication: never say anything on the Internet (including email) which you wouldn’t want printed in every newspaper and stapled to every telephone pole, no matter how private you think it may be.

    That’s the same as saying that every trans, lesbian, gay, atheist, or any other in-the-closet person who’s real life identity, if known, would put them at serious personal, social, or financial risk, should not every have or use e-mail, or even use the internet.

    It is saying that such people should not, ever, speak up or be activists, on the internet, and should instead, stay silent.

    There’s a word, I think, for thinking that such a statement is appropriate to even say in this context. It begins with a “p”.

  • Amphiox

    It’s just a good idea, and worth pointing out.

    And it is an idea that certain groups of people cannot do, not without eschewing using the internet entirely.

    To lecture such people on this, a thing they cannot do, is the same as telling them that they are not entitled to use the internet.

    No, it is not “victim-blaming”, what it is, is the unrecognized privilege of being someone for whom internet pseudonymity is just a game, and not a matter of life, wealth, health, and death.

  • Amphiox

    Very much – nay, exactly like – the tens to a hundred(?) snarling comments at one of the Skepchik blogs which wanted to do the very same thing – remove him from events and destroy his credibility and career – to Richard Dawkins for his “muslima” post.

    Exactly like? No.

    Richard Dawkins’ “muslima” post was insensitive, but it did NOT violate any laws and did NOT put real life people at real life risk.

    And the person who has destroyed Phil Mason’s credibility and career is Phil Mason, and no one else.

    As for removing him from events, invitation to events is just that, invitation. It is NOT a right. It is a recognition, a recognition which the greater community has the RIGHT to grant and the RIGHT to revoke. And here it most certainly deserves to be revoked.

  • Pingback: Ed Brayton Admits Running Insecure Software « SkepDirt()

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    Like I’ve said earlier, I think it goes against the design of mailing lists to try to use encryption. There was a hole in the system and he exploited it. If the system tried to transparently handle encryption/decryption for you, it could have had that same hole. This incident is not a trivial thing to prevent. The fundamental problem is you’re trusting a large number of individuals to not only not do evil (like TF did) but also manage their own security properly. it’s not simply a matter of using encryption. It’s the nature of mailing lists that makes them both useful and potentially dangerous.

    And talking about how to prevent this issue again isn’t blaming the victim. I blame the perpetrator but whining about bad people doing bad things isn’t going to make them knock it off. You can’t control what other people do. You can only control what you do by doing the right thing and protecting yourself from harm for when others don’t.

  • joeyp

    Thunderf00t’s behaviour; Unethical? Yes. Illegal? No.

    He logged in with a legitimate account and ID (it was his original invite). FTB made a mistake in understanding how the software works. Understandable, but Ed (or whoever admins it) overlooking a feature -or bug- of the software does not make Thunderf00t’s unethical behaviour illegal.

    All-in-all, just another episode in drama that has recently overwhelmed this place. Sad to see the atheist & skeptic movements imploding. Everyone loses.

    Stop it. Just. Stop it.

    • F

      Because someone didn’t make sure to confiscate every copy of a key you might have before firing you from the company doesn’t make your illegal entry afterword any less illegal.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    @78: So we shoudl stop talking about Thunderf00t’s unethical and potentially harmful behavior because you don’t think that it’s illegal?

  • CT

    It begins with a “p”.

    Porcupine!? Parsnips? Persephone!!!

    Sad to see the atheist & skeptic movements imploding. Everyone loses.Stop it. Just. Stop it.

    Proximity?! Ptolemy!!?

  • CT

    Potentiality! that’s my last guess. /snark

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

    I don’t take any admonitions about encryption or being more careful as blaming the victim, but as good advice and, in this situation, a lesson very much learned. But none of that excuses Thunderfoot’s actions here in the slightest. Leaving a window unlatched is not a smart thing to do, but it doesn’t mean that someone who uses that to break into your house hasn’t done anything wrong.

    Re: anything criminal. As far as I know, Thunderfoot hasn’t broken any criminal law and I have not accused him of doing so. But if the release of information that he knew he did not have access to (or even information on the list that he saw when he was authorized to be on it) causes any harm to anyone, they would have grounds for a civil action that he would have a difficult time defending against. I hope that is enough to compel him not to stop.

  • abb3w

    @78, joeyp:

    Thunderf00t’s behaviour; Unethical? Yes. Illegal? No.

    He logged in with a legitimate account and ID (it was his original invite).

    I’m not sure that helps. Gaining access to a corporate employer’s system after having been fired by similar means would seem to be grounds for at least civil litigation, if not criminal prosecution.

    However, I’m not a lawyer. No doubt the FTBorg honchos will be consulting one.

  • Pingback: Sleaze | Butterflies and Wheels()

  • jacklewis

    I have to agree that conspiring behind someone’s back is far from ethical (or do standards of conduct only apply to the “enemy”?). Oddly I don’t smell anything close to roses on any side at this point.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

      Ah yes, that clever word “conspiring.” You will notice, from what Thunderfoot already posted, that the only “conspiring” that went on was one person asking whether there was any good reason why they should not criticize someone saying something that even he now admits was not a good thing to say. That’s it. That’s all the “conspiring” that was done. He said something dumb, he got criticized for it and that was that. Clearly a dark conspiracy that Thunderfoot was heroic enough to expose — at great personal risk, I’m sure, because that is the only way that self-imagined heroes ever do anything.

  • http://lykex.livejournal.com LykeX

    I have to agree that conspiring behind someone’s back is far from ethical

    You’ve never talked about a person without that person being present? Because that’s all that’s going on here: a private conversation about a third party. Your labeling of this as “conspiring” is hardly neutral.

  • Pieter B, FCD

    gingerbaker @38

    Lovely. Glad to hear that because you and others are pissed off at him, you feel justified in denying others the benefit of what he might be able to offer audiences.

    What might TF be able to offer audiences that isn’t available from other atheist speakers? I’m truly curious.

    I also think that turning a blind eye to TF’s seriously unethical behavior tends to give a bit of weight to the theists’ argument that one can’t be a moral/ethical person without a god-belief. Just sayin’.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

    Let me add one thing to this: It’s really a shame that Thunderfoot decided to drag Michael Payton into this. He’s really only involved in an entirely incidental manner. He just happened to be the one that, we found out, had received copied and pasted conversations from the mailing list. But it really doesn’t matter who received it and we have no idea who else may have been sent messages from the list. I suspect there are many others out there who got things leaked to them from the list.

    Michael and I talked this afternoon. I assured him that he is not a target in all of this. The whole brouhaha over him condemning all of FTB on Twitter is over and done with. He said something kinda dumb and he took some criticism for it. That’s all it was. He’s apologized for it to me, he certainly wishes he’d said what he intended to say differently than he did, and there’s really no reason why his name should be involved in this at all at this point.

  • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Vile Human Being

    Ian Gould and F.: See Amphiox’s comments at #73-74.

    The internet needs new “boilerplate.” It’s no longer the sole preserve of privileged dudes.

    Jacklewis:

    Oddly I don’t smell anything close to roses on any side at this point.

    BOTH SIDES DO IT111eleventy!

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    dingojack “caveat orator or caveat scriptor”

    For the last time, you are not Harry Potter!

    iangould “Am I the only person uncomfortable with the whole idea of an ‘atheist movement’?”

    Why? Have you seen it? At best, it’s a bunch of people who only manage to agree on a single thing gathering together in a bunch of vaguely connected groups and walking vaguely in the same direction.*

    * And the team song is by Nickelback!

  • Eric O

    It’s strange to think that a couple of months ago, I was excited to see that Thunderf00t would be posting on FTB. I was a subscriber, I had been enjoying his videos for years, and he was on my mental list of cool people in the movement.

    I have nothing but contempt for him right now. I have no expectation that he’ll pull a 180, apologise, and regain any sort of credibility. What I expect is for him to stick to his guns and fade into irrelevance as the atheist movement moves on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mmiecielica michael kellymiecielica

    @Mr Brayton:

    I’m not sure if you can answer this or not because of privacy concerns, nor am I sure if this is the best way of going about this but I basically only read three blogs here; yours, Professor Myers’s, and The Digital Cuttlefish’s. I read somewhere that not everyone on the blog network used this listserve. I’m wondering if you can tell me if The Digital Cuttlefish’s real identity has been compromised given that TDC is an anonymous blogger. I would ask TDC directly, but TDC doesn’t have a blog post about this yet and I don’t want to derail a thread with this drama, and I can’t see a way of asking directly. I’m only asking because I hope TDC (and Natalie Reed and everyone too!) is going to be damaged in real life by this.

  • ginmar

    Pinkboi @#51 and Ed Brayton at #82….you’re both missing the huge glaring point. “Don’t do this/that/the other” is standard blaming women for rape. NO ifs ands or buts about it. Women get told every single frickin’ day that if they get raped, it’s because they didn’t do this, that, or the other, or else they get told if they do or don’t do this/that, or that other, then they’ll get raped. And often they’re told this with the sanctimonious type of high-handedness that Pinkboi achieved in #51, where he likened shitty, victim-blaming, sexist advice that women get told from before the cord’s cut to advice that shouldn’t be given but acted upon—-by bystanders, and then it should be, “Step in and stop that mugging.”

    Ed, you might see nothing wrong with hindsighted victim blaming like <walk down dark alleys and don’t do anything you wouldn’t want somebody else to see, but you’re a man.

    Read everything at this link. Read every comment. Read the previous posts. No, you don’t get to argue with any of the womens’ comments. For people who can’t or won’t do this, the link goes to a person talking about how their friend as definitely raped someone—but they didn’t like those women anyway—–but what should they do? Hey, he’s a great guy—-to them! The previous two instances are from women whose friends’ groups—and in one case her boyfriend—–froze her out when a known creeper assaulted her and she acted like she was a human being, which obviously she wasnt’, at least not to the extent that they had to bestir themselves over a rapist versus their discomfort. Get that? Rapists, men who harass women, and their friends just couldn’t give a shit, even though the guys were known to do that kind of shit.

    Oh, and how stupid do you think women are? And how little do you too know about rape? Because most rapes don’t happen in dark alleys, but telling women to avoid places like that heavily implies you think women are so stupid they need to be told such things. No, most rapists are chill dudes who think it’s cute and funny to say things like, “Don’t go walking down dark alleys.”

    I guarantee you know rapists, but you’ll never see that side of them, unless their chosen victim is male. They’ll treat women—-down to picking and choosing and excluding some women—-very differently, and you might never see it.

    Or notice it. Which is what it seems is the case here. It’s disgusting.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    All-in-all, just another episode in drama that has recently overwhelmed this place. Sad to see the atheist & skeptic movements imploding. Everyone loses.

    Stop it. Just. Stop it.

    Oh please. How about you stop pretending that every conflict between skeptic/atheist type people amounts to the “movement imploding”? Jesus.

    It’s an incidence of grossly unethical behavior by one individual toward a group of individuals. Not every last thing done by skeptics/atheists to skeptics/atheists must reflect on skepticism/atheism, or indeed must anything done by skeptics/atheists that isn’t directly related to skepticism/atheism.

    Be a dear and wake me up when comprehension of this starts to sink in, would you?

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    You miss the point, ginmar.

    Self-defense and safety are issues that most people, male or female, don’t put enough time and effort into but everyone should. It isn’t just obvious things like not going down dark alleys. And generally, saying person A can prevent being harmed and person B shouldn’t do bad things are entirely separate statements. Saying one doesn’t take one iota away from the other; they stand independently. This is because of the obvious fact that we are talking about two separate individuals.

  • ginmar

    Don’t patronize a woman about rape, you arrogant little tosser. You used a rape joke, a cliche, an insulting sexist trope that shows you know nothing about rape at all, much less rape culture, and you’re lecturing a woman about it. When I need your idiotic opinion, I’ll ask you. Hold your breath till then.

    Yeah. Really enlightened and free-thinking. He uses the oldest rape stereotype in the world, doesn’t read what I say, doesn’t follow the links, and then lectures me.

    • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

      Rape joke? Where? I followed your link and it had no bearing on the point that I made.

  • F

    Ms. Daisy Cutter, Vile Human Being says:

    August 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Ian Gould and F.: See Amphiox’s comments at #73-74.

    The internet needs new “boilerplate.” It’s no longer the sole preserve of privileged dudes.

    Saw it, can’t agree. And you’ll have to explain wherein my privilege does show here.

    There are several reasons that I am not blaming the victim.

    1) I said I wasn’t blaming them, and have no intent to blame anyone who is a victim or potential future victim of this breach or any other. I made my intent explicit – it doesn’t need magic, as no one has to guess at it. I’m not doing it automatically in some manner to which I am blind.

    2) If anyone on the receiving end is at fault, that would be the sysadmin. I’m not blaming that person either. I blame the person who maliciously accessed the server.

    3) Heavens no, don’t do a damn thing to protect yourself in the future, now that you have found out from experience what jerks do. You took the precaution to use a pseudonym in the first place, but taking additional precautions would just be internalizing shame or something?

    4) The internet. Doesn’t matter if it is the internet. Not taking precautions against sun burn, sun poisoning, cancer, or other conditions when applicable (dangerous photosensitivity due to, say, porphyria) when you are aware of them is not a method of refusing to be or blame a victim. You can argue with good security principles or the sun, neither is going to change.

    Security has nothing in particular to do with privileged dudes.

    No one is telling anyone to stop using the internet or email or telephony. But you take precautions, like using a pseudonym, to keep jerks from getting to you when necessary.

    To be honest, I have difficulty in unpacking your statement as anything other than an automated insult. I understand anger and disappointment over this situation, but I don’t think it makes any sense. I could take the second sentence in a generic context and completely agree with it, though. But go ahead and develop your own scare-quoted boilerplate concepts for making the world or internet safe. It would be really awesome if we could just get people to stop doing these malicious things.

    ginmar:

    “Don’t do this/that/the other” is standard blaming women for rape. NO ifs ands or buts about it.

    Well I’m sorry if our language doesn’t have a separate construct for security advice that victim-blaming/shaming assholes don’t. But that is a false equivalence.

    Let’s take a breach where there isn’t a particular less-privileged victim involved. Is it then still victim blaming to offer options for increased safety of use, when one is concerned about safety?

    Look at TJ Maxx. (This is not, and cannot be, a direct comparison.) They were broken into fucking twice. Didn’t listen after not following good practices the first time on matters they should already have understood, as it is their business. (But corporations are lazy things.) Who were the victims there? Account holders, much more than TJM was. So the public response to TJM’s willful negligence was wrong because you can construe that as blaming the victim? (No, TJM helped make victims out of their customers, which doesn’t change at all the fact that those who broke into the network were criminal assholes.)

    Is it wrong that people have to think about security and defense on the internet or anywhere, ever? Hell yeah. But ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. And I really think that deeper security should be in place on a platform where people who are vulnerable to outing have been invited.

    Or do we condemn all those people behind encryption, networks like TOR, and other systems meant to allow people in repressive countries to both connect to and inform the wider world while maintaining secrecy, privacy, and anonymity?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Pinkboi: well done.

    The problem with irony is: by definition, not everybody gets it.

    – Ray Wylie Hubbard

  • laurentweppe

    Why? Have you seen it?

    I don’t know what iangould saw, but personally, I’ve seen the defensive tribal reactions, some blatant lying intented to save face (“nononono, no one ever rolled out the red carpet for far-right douchebags with some torture fetish“), quite a few infighting, and some very impressive public meltdowns.

    It’s kinda like assuming that there was a barbecue that went wrong if I see smoke, smell ash and burnt meat, feel heat, and see half-burned people running away from the neighbour’s garden.

  • ginmar

    Er, F, the fact that you claim you’re not blaming the victim, and that you think you said you aren’t blaming the victim….doesn’t mean squat. You are. The end. Don’t use rape stereotypes if you don’t want to get nailed for them, and being snide about it means you’ll get written off twice.

    You’re now saying that TJ MAXX being robbed twice after refusing to follow safe practices is like a woman walking stupidly down a dark alley in a short skirt after a wise, all-knowing man told her not to do that? Yeah, no.

    This is too stupid to believe.

    Pinkboi, I’m done with you. You’re a rapist apologist or well on your way. Either way, it’s not my job to give you a personal class in rape culture. Go study it yourself.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

    Michael I’mnotgonnatrytospellhislastname wrote:

    I’m wondering if you can tell me if The Digital Cuttlefish’s real identity has been compromised given that TDC is an anonymous blogger.

    As far as I know, there are only two people on the network who actually know the Cuttlefish’s real name. I’m one of them. And neither man nor beast nor cephalopod could get it out of me.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    And neither man nor beast nor cephalopod could get it out of me.

    If someone had a nuclear weapon hidden in a city and we had to find out where it was and in order to disarm it, we needed cuttlefish, we’d sic Sam Harris on you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mmiecielica michael kellymiecielica

    Mr Brayton wrote:

    As far as I know, there are only two people on the network who actually know the Cuttlefish’s real name. I’m one of them. And neither man nor beast nor cephalopod could get it out of me.

    Thank You! Again I hope all the bloggers in FtB aren’t hurt in real life because of this. I just wanted to make sure on Cuttlefish’s part.

    Again, thank you!

  • http://www.youtube.com/lilandrax lilandra

    @Ed Brayton

    I would appreciate a clarification about Thunder’s allegation that someone from FTB called Payton’s job.

    1.Is that simply false?

    2.If not, is it someone who reads here, but isn’t a blogger here?

    3. Are you unaware of the specific details?

    I would like to hope that that sort of behavior was limited to Laden’s behavior, and isn’t an issue now that he was kicked. Pardon me if this info was already clarified.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

      Lilandra —

      As Ace of Sevens notes, he didn’t actually say that someone from FTB called for Payton to lose his job. He just used one out of context quote that did not call for him to lose his job and claimed that someone had contacted CFI Canada saying that he should. Whether that latter claim is true or false, I have no idea. He clearly wants to make the implication that it happened, but if he actually could show evidence that someone from FTB had done any such thing, I imagine he would have done so. As far as I know, it’s simply false. No one from FTB has said to me, in any setting, that Payton should lose his job over one tweet. But Thunderfoot clearly wants everyone to think that, which is why he wrote that he had “clued someone in whose job was being threatened as to FTBs little conspiring.” But there was no such conspiring and he doesn’t cite any; he quoted one person — the only one who actually wrote about the subject on FTB, I believe — saying that she intended to criticize him for what he said and asking if there was some reason why she shouldn’t. It’s intentionally deceptive language to give the impression that we were “conspiring” to get Payton removed from his job, which is patently false. And in the comments section, he continues to try to give that false impression when he asks another commenter if it was “morally okay to turn a blind eye when someone is having their job threatened over a couple of tweets?” But no one here was threatening anyone’s job. If someone did so in the comments somewhere, I have no idea and it’s rather irrelevant. Hell, I don’t even bother to read most of the comments on my own blog, much less anyone else’s. I simply don’t have time. But Thunderfoot, of all people, damn well knows that no one is responsible for what a commenter says on their posts. It’s just another example of his mendacity, as though we needed another one.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    @112: If you read closely, he never alleges that anyone at FTB called Payton’s job. He only juxtaposes the claim that someone called Payton’s job (which Ed would presumably have no info about) with some stuff about FTB in hopes his readers would think this is what happened without him saying it. While he’s been quite active in his comments, he’s ignored any questions asking for clarification on this issue.

  • http://www.youtube.com/lilandrax lilandra

    @Ace I see. It would be helpful to clear some of the stink up if we could get a definite clarification as to what he is talking about.

  • tanoro

    If I may, I’d like to contribute my thoughts on the matter of FtB vs. Thunderf00t.

    http://www.tanoro.com/blog/08102012-thunderf00t-has-turned-hack

  • Pingback: What Kind of Person Does This? | Atheism, Music, and More…()

  • http://www.youtube.com/lilandrax lilandra

    @Ed Good to know. I feel relieved about that at least.

  • iangould

    “iangould “Am I the only person uncomfortable with the whole idea of an ‘atheist movement’?”

    Why? Have you seen it? At best, it’s a bunch of people who only manage to agree on a single thing gathering together in a bunch of vaguely connected groups and walking vaguely in the same direction.*”

    Well, for starters, you might want to note the amount of time and energy taken up by this thread, which is essentially about internal “movement” politcs adn the amount of hostility it generates.

  • iangould

    “Pinkboi @#51 and Ed Brayton at #82….you’re both missing the huge glaring point. “Don’t do this/that/the other” is standard blaming women for rape. NO ifs ands or buts about it. Women get told every single frickin’ day that if they get raped, it’s because they didn’t do this, that, or the other, or else they get told if they do or don’t do this/that, or that other, then they’ll get raped.”

    women should not have to go in fear of rape and every scoiety shoudl be doign their utmost to edn the threat.

    However, until we achiece that, women need to be aware of the danger and how to minimize it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/lilandrax lilandra

    @119 This sounds as though you are belittling the hundreds of people at the grassroots, who are organizing and advocating for civil rights and separation of church and state everywhere. I am glad they are taking a stand because I remember my history.

  • iangould

    @120, I don;t know how you reach that conclusion.

    hen indigenous people here (Brisabne, Queensland, Australia) warn their friedns about which bars the police are staking out to target them for harassment when they leave, does that mean they’re condoning the harassment?

  • http://www.youtube.com/lilandrax lilandra

    Sorry iangould it is actually 118 I was commenting about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.mclellan lizmclellan

    Incredibly scummy move by Thunderf00t…and I am really kind of shocked that Greg Laden thinks it’s all a game…

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.mclellan lizmclellan

    Unsubbed from Thunderf00t’s videos – YEARS ago. This was all predictable if you paid any attention to his love of shit stirring and drama, his lack of deep analysis of anything involving identity or intersectionality, and his infantile fan base.

    This was predictable.

  • reynoldhall

    Modusoperandi says: on August 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I only email pictures of my crotch. That way, if they get out, I’m proud of the leak.

    That sounded better before I wrote it out.

    You bastard…I laughed so hard reading that I damn near threw up on my keyboard!

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    iangould “Well, for starters, you might want to note the amount of time and energy taken up by this thread, which is essentially about internal ‘movement’ politcs adn the amount of hostility it generates.”

    This is the internet. It’s either this or masturbation. Would you rather everybody was masturbating? Would you?!

    reynoldhall “You bastard…I laughed so hard reading that I damn near threw up on my keyboard!”

    It’s one of the few times I’ve been on-topic. What’s better for a page about a dick than a dick joke?

  • Pingback: Thunderfoot vs FreeThought Blogs « Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants()

  • Pingback: Keeping Secrets and How There Ain’t No Such Thing on the Internet « Pilgrim Outskirts()

  • anat

    To iangould:

    However, until we achiece that, women need to be aware of the danger and how to minimize it.

    And dark alleys or short skirts have nothing to do with it.

  • dingojack

    anat – so you’re of the opinion one needs a dark alley and/or a short skirt in order to know how to defend your self from danger?

    Dingo

  • se habla espol

    joeyp says:

    August 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Thunderf00t’s behaviour; Unethical? Yes. Illegal? No.

    He logged in with a legitimate account and ID (it was his original invite). FTB made a mistake in understanding how the software works. Understandable, but Ed (or whoever admins it) overlooking a feature -or bug- of the software does not make Thunderf00t’s unethical behaviour illegal.

    Ed Brayton says:

    August 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Re: anything criminal. As far as I know, Thunderfoot hasn’t broken any criminal law and I have not accused him of doing so.

    tl;dr: Thunderfoot seems to have definitely violated federal criminal laws on unauthorized computer access.

    I am definitely not a lawyer, but I can read. I would call your attention to the federal law, 18 USC § 1030 – Fraud and related activity in connection with computers (available from other sources as well as Cornell). Other laws may apply, as well.

    Here’s the sequence of events, as I understand them:

    –TF was notified that he was authorized to access FtB as author of a blog provided for him.

    –TF was notified that he was authorized to access the private mailing list maintained for FtB authors; this authorization explicitly did not include any retransmission of the emails on that mailing list.

    –TF was given the requisite credentials to perform the above accesses.

    –TF did whatever he did.

    –TF was notified that his authorizations were withdrawn, and the credentials were cancelled.

    –Without authorization, TF re-established credentials for access to the mailing list.

    –Without authorization, TF used those credentials to access the mailing list.

    –TF was, at all pertient times, authorized to access the blogs, read them and write comments on them, but his authorization was strictly limited to those actions any other person could perform.

    At some point in time, TF seems to have violated one or more provisions of that law:

    **If it is the case that TF published (even to a single non-FtB person) any email that he got from the list while he was authorized to access the list, he exceeded his authorization.

    **If the mailing list listserv is hosted on the same computer as the blog, he exceeded his authorization to access that computer by access the listserv after listserv authorization was withdrawn.

    **If the listserv runs on a different computer from the blog, TF’s access to the listserv after he was notified of the withdrawal of authorization (absent any other access authorization for that computer) was blatant unauthorized access.

    **Access in excess of authorization is generally equivalent to unauthorized access.

    **Unauthorized access that results in damage or personal injury (or certain other bad consequences) are to be dealt with harshly – see the statute for details.

    Again, I’m not a lawyer; the above is not legal advice. There may be case law, and other statutes, that change the analysis. If my analysis is significant (significantly right or significantly wrong), FtB may feel free to use it as FtB sees fit, so long as you run it past a real lawyer for evaluation and actual advice.

  • Forbidden Snowflake

    pinkboi

    4) The internet. Doesn’t matter if it is the internet. Not taking precautions against sun burn, sun poisoning, cancer, or other conditions when applicable (dangerous photosensitivity due to, say, porphyria) when you are aware of them is not a method of refusing to be or blame a victim. You can argue with good security principles or the sun, neither is going to change.

    Analogies which substitute crimes committed by persons with mindless natural phenomena are a victim-blaming trope. They erase the actual party that is to blame right out of the picture and leave the focus on the party that gets blamed for “not taking precautions”.

    I doubt anyone actually follows the Internet=Newspaper rule of thumb, excepting very few very privileged people writing very boring things. To me the rule seems to be mostly useful for after the fact scolding of people whose privacy was breached.

  • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the FreethoughtBlogs Star Chamber

    dingojack #130:

    anat – so you’re of the opinion one needs a dark alley and/or a short skirt in order to know how to defend your self from danger?

    Dingo

    No. We, as people who take five seconds to think before we talk, realize that one does not need a dark alley and/or short skirt in order to be raped..

  • tanoro

    Thunderf00t’s fans keep saying that he was allowed to be on the server because he wasn’t “technically” banned, whatever the hell that means. This is driving me crazy. I updated my blog to deal with that argument.

    http://www.tanoro.com/blog/08102012-thunderf00t-has-turned-hack

  • Pingback: My Few Comments about Thunderf00t’s Hubris | StealthBadger.net()

  • Childermass

    Ed, you might not be willing to call Tf’s behavior criminal, but I certainly would. If hacking for access of private and confidential stuff unintended for his eyes is not a crime then I dare ask what is?

  • F

    ginmar

    Er, F, the fact that you claim you’re not blaming the victim, and that you think you said you aren’t blaming the victim….doesn’t mean squat. You are. The end. Don’t use rape stereotypes if you don’t want to get nailed for them, and being snide about it means you’ll get written off twice.

    You’ll have to show how I am using a rape stereotype. I still don’t get how a suggestion to do x to mitigate certain potential issue caused by a network attack (or whatever) is always a stereotypical victim-blaming format which can only possibly be used to blame a victim.

    You’ll also need to point out where I am being snide if you want me to see it and address it.

    Actually, I would find it helpful also to know which victim(s) I am blaming, and for what.

    You’re now saying that TJ MAXX being robbed twice after refusing to follow safe practices is like a woman walking stupidly down a dark alley in a short skirt after a wise, all-knowing man told her not to do that? Yeah, no.

    No, I wasn’t saying that at all, and I wasn’t saying that one was anything like the other, you are. In fact, it is exactly not like that at all. I can see how certain aspects are similar, and possibly enough to offend someone who is sensitive to such things (like a trigger, maybe?), but I don’t see the actual connection.

    As it stands, go ahead and write me off as many times as you like. I’m not going to argue my position any longer, as it is obviously offensive to too many people, and it simply isn’t important enough to pursue. I’ll answer any further question you might have, but I am dropping and defense of offering network practices for consideration. I’m also dropping this because it is too depressing to me to be offending you or Ms. Daisy Cutter or any of the other people here I respect and admire. As long as you think I’m using rape-apologist stereotypes, I would expect to be written off or ignored or insulted.

    This is too stupid to believe.

    Yes, yes this situation is. Which is why I won’t speak of it further except to answer your questions.

  • dingojack

    Setár – Ooops. You are quite right. I probably wasn’t paying sufficient attention (I was multi-tasking at the time I think). I apologise for any confusion I may have caused.

    Dingo

  • ginmar

    F, for the last time. Short skirts and alleys are a rape stereotypes that blames all victims, because most rapes don’t happen in dark alleys or to victims who are wearing short skirts. Use of either trope brands you a sexist; your repeated insistence that it’s just common sense proves you a sexist of the first order. Either you’re stupid or you live in a cave. Either way, the continued protestations brand you as a troll who’s too stupid to live, or at least speak to women. It’s like protesting that calling black people shiftless and stupid isn’t racist.

    Go on and move the goal posts all you like. You were made the minute you signed on with your oh-so-sensible advice that isn’t realistic, doesn’t apply to the real world, and further more assumes that women are incredibly stupid and need your idiotic lecturing. Troll.

  • ginmar

    119 Seriously, asshole, do you think women are unaware of rape? And that they need your stereotypes to fight it? You assume that women are so fucking stupid that they don’t there’s rapists, and if they just avoided dark alleys and short skirts, the big bad mean rapists—–who LOOK like rapists, and not moronic twits online who lecture women about rape and alleys—-would not rape them. Wow, thank you, Mr. Dude. I didn’t know there was such a thing as rape.

    I’d recommend the blog Yes means yes, and go google it, because you’re three hundred and sixty seconds I won’t get back, and you don’t deserve any more of my time.

  • Ichthyic

    There is much that is said in those private and confidential emails that, if released, could cause serious damage. Like any community, private communications often include highly sensitive and emotional subjects that could cause serious problems if they were to get into the wrong hands. On that list, some of us write about highly personal and highly stigmatized issues, like gender transition, sexuality, rape, addiction and other subjects that they wouldn’t be able to talk about if they felt our privacy wasn’t protected by pseudonyms. Jobs could be lost, relationships could be damaged and lives could, quite literally, be put in danger. This isn’t a game, folks.

    strangely, that sounds very similar to the US govt publicity statement against Wikileaks.

    now, I know TF’s motives are suspect here, and I doubt there is anything of national security interest in FTB private emails, but still…

  • dingojack

    Ichthyic – The difference is that the information passed on to Wikileaks (a third party publisher) has public interest considerations.

    Wikileaks would not be covered legally (as I understand it) if they published the private emails of two people deciding where to hold the staff picnic (particularly if Wikileaks were claiming it was all some great big conspiracy to ensure that Wikileaks personnel were not invited).

    Despite TF’s assurances that he ‘does not docdrop’, his unethical behaviour in the past leads one to conclude that, unfortunately, he may become angry enough to act unethically in the future. This could possibly cause real harm to real people.

    It also reinforces that we should not take communications on the internet as being completely secure, and that we should respond to this possibility proportionately and appropriately.

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    Oopsy – close bold after ‘docdrop’.

    Dingo

  • Ichthyic

    Ichthyic – The difference is that the information passed on to Wikileaks (a third party publisher) has public interest considerations.

    hence why I added that the motivations are suspect.

    but you can’t deny the reaction sounds very similar.

    It made me think; when wikileaks first started, I thought it was a great idea; transparency and all, and there ARE a lot of backroom deals that the public should really know about.

    still, reading this makes me consider that the negative reactions to wikileaks might not have all been hyperbole.

  • dingojack

    Gitmar – (yours # 95) “Ed, you might see nothing wrong with hindsighted victim blaming like <walk down dark alleys and don’t do anything you wouldn’t want somebody else to see, but you’re a man“. [Emphasis mine].

    You should spread your rage out a little.

    In the US (let us assume this the area we are talking about here)

    Men are victims of rape and sexual assault too

    1 in 33 men can be expected to be assaulted/raped. (2.78M in 2003)

    And so are kids

    15% of victims are under the age 12; 29% 12-17; in total 44% juveniles (under 18). In 1995 local child protection service reported 126,000 cases of substantiated or indicated sexual abuse in juveniles.

    But these numbers are likely to be an underestimate

    54% of rapes are not reported to the police*.

    SOURCE.

    Rape isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a human issue.

    Dingo

    —–

    * it is not known by how much, but the likely not reporting figures for male rapes is likely to be much higher

  • dingojack

    Ichthyic – The motivations was the difference I was trying to draw (evidently badly).

    The information passed on to Wikileaks were passed on by an authorised user and were passed on because of the public interest value.

    Neither are true here. So similar perhaps, but also significantly different (IMHO).

    Dingo

  • ivycannon

    Why would you keep his TF’s posts up after he left FTB? Did you do that with anyone else who left? Why would you consider not paying TF for those posts? How can you complain about him taking advantage of a security loophole when you were still making money of his writings?

    You come across as incredibly arrogant and dishonest from TF’s posts. Since you are a strong proponent of shunning, I hope that what you’ve done and attempted to do to others- (Payton, Kirby, TF etc.) is done to you.

    I think you are sending a very strong message that you will do your best to ruin anybody who tries to expose FTB’s dark underbelly– and dark it is.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    Thunderf00t comes across as the good guy in the posts he wrote and where he decided what snippets of other people’s words to present? I am shocked!

  • Forbidden Snowflake

    Why would you keep his TF’s posts up after he left FTB?

    Looks like the Footies found their Catch-22 narrative: keep TF’s posts and you’re profiting off his back; delete them and you’re CENSORING him.

    Logic is unimportant; all that’s left to do is watch the meme spread.

  • alecrezz

    Yep. Thunderf00t is a detestable, underhanded cad for “hacking” into an email server he didn’t have permission to access, but PZ is a hero for “hacking” into a phone conference with a code he didn’t have permission to use. Makes perfect sense.

  • dingojack

    ivycannon – This is how I understand it. It’s a little bit complicated so you’ll have to pay close attention:

    The copyright for the blogs posted on the FTB network are owned by the FTB network, not by the author. The author agreed to this when they signed on to the network.

    ThunderFoot was released from his contract because he broke the rules and behaved unethically, not because of anything he wrote (although that was a contributing factor).

    FTB is entitled to use the resource that they own in any way that see fit.

    Also, taking down the material would allow, in the absence of contradicting evidence, TF apologists to create a set of myths around TF to justify their position. Actual evidence undermines their attempt to create that alternate reality.

    Hope that wasn’t too taxing.

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    alecrezz – I so went ‘huh?’ and did a quick Google search (as one does).

    And came up with a shed-load of (largly christian) nonsense and PZ Meyers’ own blog on the subject which says (in part):

    “However, I dialed in a few minutes early, and got to listen to a tiresome five minutes of Leslie and Paul chatting away, during which time they mentioned the secret code (DUNH DUNH DUNNNNH!) for the two way calls. I know. Sloppy, unprofessional, and stupid, but that’s the way they work.

    So … I redialed. (DUNH DUNH DUNNNNH!)”

    Not quite ‘hacking’ is it? They had a secret key to allow only ‘friendly’ voices to join the discussion. But stupidly they gave it out publicly and a member of the public joined in to dissent. No-one was (or is) in danger of harm or retribution, and the public interest was served.

    In short: false equivalency.

    Dingo

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    dingojack:

    There was that thread about “nested/unnested comments” the other day where someone said that they really detested the use of letter in place of phrases–Yeah, I know, LOL! Anyway, I think that we kin haz a new one, “FEW” (False Equivalency Wordsalad) for that assertion which your latest comment pretty thoroughly debunked.

    No need to thank me, simply send me a check.

  • dingojack

    Demo – how about Pisspoor Hardly Equivalent Wordslad? As in ‘PHEW wot a stinker!’?

    😀 Dingo

  • F

    ginmar

    F, for the last time. Short skirts and alleys are a rape stereotypes that blames all victims, because most rapes don’t happen in dark alleys or to victims who are wearing short skirts. Use of either trope brands you a sexist; your repeated insistence that it’s just common sense proves you a sexist of the first order

    First or last time, there is no point in telling me, you are preaching to the choir there. I didn’t say that, didn’t imply it, and I’m not defending it. Telling people to avoid dark alleys or “provocative” clothing is pointless and doesn’t stop people from being raped where rapes occur, such as in one’s own home.

    Either you’re stupid or you live in a cave. Either way, the continued protestations brand you as a troll who’s too stupid to live, or at least speak to women. It’s like protesting that calling black people shiftless and stupid isn’t racist.

    OK, and again, I understand, but I will understand the specific even better when either someone points it out, or I come to enlightenment myself about, how what I actually said is equivalent to the accusations leveled above.

    Go on and move the goal posts all you like. You were made the minute you signed on with your oh-so-sensible advice that isn’t realistic, doesn’t apply to the real world, and further more assumes that women are incredibly stupid and need your idiotic lecturing. Troll.

    Moved the goalposts?

    Which advice or observation is unrealistic or does not apply to the real world?

    Which advice is pointed at women in particular, and assumes they are stupid? (If you see me as giving “dark alley” advice, then I understand your position. I just don’t see that this is what I (or a couple others) did. And I’m not defending the “dark alley” argument that someone above did indeed make. That argument is not mine. Not at all.)

    If you, or anyone, would still have a go at showing me where what I said is equivalent to the Dark Alley, I would appreciate it. I am asking in good faith. I want to understand. And no one has shown how these are equivalent (just a hint, I’m not asking for a dissertation), it has simply been declared that they are equivalent. And for this particular troll, that hasn’t even been done – I’ve simply been told that I’m telling women not to go into dark alleys wearing skirts.

    I am not sure if I am violating my previous promise, though. You didn’t ask any questions, but I responded anyway, although I’m not trying to make a case for the original problematic statement. I’m trying to understand where my error is. Because I don’t want to offend you and I don’t want to be sexist. And if this is not worth the time (who am I, anyway?), then just say so.

  • ivycannon

    It might be easier to sue TF if he didn’t have evidence that there was a conspiracy to defraud him– but it sounds like he has pretty strong evidence to suggest there was– and that is my guess as to why there will be no legal action. In fact I think FTB blogs ought to tuck their tail between their legs and lie low so that more information doesn’t leak out. FTB has a growing number of enemies after all.

    Why was Freethought blogs keeping TF’s posts (and making money off them) after they banned him? Is there a good argument for not allowing him access to the back channel when FTB was making money off of his copy written material? Could that be the reason the listserve let him back on? Do the FTB bloggers feel no shame or embarrassment in regards to their behind-the-scenes unscrupulous behavior? Why not just pay all the money to his charity and take the high road from here on out?

    It looks to me like FTB is doing everything they can to vilify the much more popular Thunderf00t so that people won’t see the sad little men behind the curtain at FTB. I hope that every evil you attempted to perpetrate upon him and others (DJ, Abbie, Paula Kirby, Michael Payton etc.) is done to you and all those who participated in the “witch hunts”. I hope that you become the pariah at freethought events that you tried to make him into.

    FTB has made a lot of enemies that could have been allies– all while patting themselves on the back and pretending that they are achieving some higher good. Now, thanks to Thunderf00t, we see just how much the “bully” title fits core FTbloggers and their fans. Most of the freethought community doesn’t care about this fiasco and those that do are getting tired of you all screaming “misogynist” whenever someone doesn’t join in your witch hunt. We aren’t misogynists; we just don’t agree with your particular brand of feminism and the way you treat others who don’t jump on your crazy bandwagon. Your method doesn’t seem to be making any real women’s lives better.

  • dysomniak, darwinian socialist

    It might be easier to sue TF if he didn’t have evidence that there was a conspiracy to defraud him

    Put up or shut up. Where is this “evidence”? That some FTBers said they hoped he wouldn’t be paid? This is “a conspiracy to defraud him”? If there’s more compelling evidence of this “conspiracy” I’d love to see it.

  • dingojack

    ivycannon (#156) – reread mine 151.

    I would also like to add: in order to conspire to commit fraud one would (I would reasonably expect)have to have undertaken action(s) to at least plan to defraud, your evidence of such action(s) is…?

    Dingo

  • Tony •King of the Hellmouth•

    ivycannon:

    You sure seem to have a lot of information about things that you wouldn’t reasonably be expected to know.

    Ever think maybe you’re operating under biased assumptions?

  • Tony •King of the Hellmouth•

    Yep. Thunderf00t is a detestable, underhanded cad for “hacking” into an email server he didn’t have permission to access, but PZ is a hero for “hacking” into a phone conference with a code he didn’t have permission to use. Makes perfect sense.

    In a world where false equivalence reigns supreme? Sure that makes perfect sense.

    In the real world, given that the situations aren’t comparable? No. It doesn’t make sense.

  • http://lykex.livejournal.com LykeX

    For the sake of the terminally obtuse, allow me to outline a few of the differences between PZ’s actions and Thunderf00t’s.

    1)

    PZ obtained his information by calling a public conference call, open to anyone, whereas Thunderf00t gained access to a private mail list he had been explicitly removed from and where he knew he was not welcome.

    2)

    PZ gained information by happenstance, whereas Thunderf00t hacked his way in specifically and intentionally to get the information.

    3)

    The information PZ gained was simply on how to be able to speak during the conference call, whereas Thunderf00t got a hold of personal data and private conversations.

    4)

    PZ used the information to speak his opinion, whereas Thunderf00t used it to publicly reveal the contents of the private conversations.

    5)

    PZ himself volunteered the fact that he had gained access, whereas Thunderf00t hid that fact until it was revealed by others.

    6)

    PZ left the conference call when asked, whereas Thunderf00t repeatedly tried to regain access to the mailing list, despite having been kicked off a second time.

    Am I missing anything?

  • ivycannon

    Am I missing anything?

    Yes– I think you are missing the part where FTB was still making money off of TF while attempting to make him a pariah in the freethought community… and conspiring to keep his share of the earnings! I suppose this might cause TF to feel similar distrust that PZ felt being mislead into being in Expelled while the Expelled people were attempting to vilify him. FTB has acted as dishonestly as the Expelled folks. And, like the Expelled folks, they see themselves as having done nothing wrong.

    FTB is very eager to call out and exaggerate the faults of others but they aren’t so tickled when others do the same to them. If FTB doesn’t like people pointing out the dishonesty and the shady way they do business– the leaders at FTB ought to try operating ethically rather than spending their time bad-mouthing everyone else so they can unite over having a common (made-up) enemy. FTB has a growing reputation for being dishonest, vindictive, close-minded, politically rabid, bullies. If you don’t hate who they hate, they will attempt to ruin you for sport.

    It looks like NO-ONE at FTB has ethical problems with the behind the scenes behavior that Thunderf00T had access too, so I assume that if Thunderfoot didn’t click the link that let him back in, that the ugliness would continue to fester on the back channel and the bullying and witch hunts would continue. Or maybe people do have problems– but they see what happened to Thunderf00t and others who have spoken up and they are afraid to blow the whistle– so like the Stanford Prison Experiments, those in power just get uglier.

    That might not trouble the the leaders at FTB here– but I guarantee it troubles others.

    Now, thanks to Thunderf00t it looks like charity gets to benefit from Thunderf00t’s earnings, and FTB is invited to contribute all earnings from Thunderf00t to DPRJone’s charity– but I don’t think the FTB crowd is ethical enough for that– they’d rather divvy it amongst themselves and go on and on about how evil Thunderf00t is (for daring to say the truth about FTB– the truth that many people have been whispering about for some time.)Why don’t the bloggers here encourage Ed to take the high road that Thunderf00t has and donate AL proceeds from Thunderf00ts posts to charity? Camp Quest is way behind and I think a lot of that has to do with peoples’ disgust over FTB’s recent behavior– donate to them. Quit encouraging the unethical behavior of your leaders. If you do good things, you won’t have to build your reputation by trying to destroy the reputation of others.

    As for assurances that no-one at FTB tried to get Payton fired– that’s about as good as PZ’s assurances that no-one tried to get Abbie fired or to get her posts taken down when we all now know that Greg Laden (then at FTB) did so. We all now know that FTB engages in that sort of thing in their back channels. We all now know that Ed thinks he’s one of the smartest people in the movement and that he was willing to profit from Thunderf00t’s posts while attempting to destroy TF AND to keep TF’s share. We can all extrapolate what Ed would have done had TF not exposed him (60 Minute style).

    All FTB bloggers had/have the same access that Thunderf00t has– If you were worried about anyone doxxing, you might want to be worried about the one known to doc drop– Greg Laden.

  • dysomniak, darwinian socialist

    conspiring to keep his share of the earnings

    Citation needed, liar.

  • http://lykex.livejournal.com LykeX

    I think you are missing the part where FTB was still making money off of TF…

    As I understand it, FTB owns the copyright to Thunderf00t’s blog posts. Any potential income belongs to them, legally and morally. That’s part of the deal when you sign up here.

    …and conspiring to keep his share of the earnings!

    As I’ve heard it, Thunderf00t specifically refused any income from his time at FTB. PZ has gone on record saying that if he wants it, he’ll get it. According to you, a compromise has been set up where the money goes to charity.

    So really, the only complaint you’re left with is

    but I don’t think the FTB crowd is ethical enough for that

    In other words, your personal opinion.

    You’re very eager to throw around accusations, but when push comes to shove, all you’ve really got to back them up with is your personal opinion about the moral character of the FTB bloggers.

    A skeptic wouldn’t rely on such a subjective standard.

    Finally, just to be clear, you agree with all my points and accept that PZ’s actions where in several key respects completely morally and legally different from those of Thunderf00t?

    That was after all what I was talking about and you said nothing to dispute it.

  • dingojack

    ivycannon –

    Firstly, TF does not own the content of his blogs on the FTB network. THE COPYRIGHT IS OWNED BY FTB. They can do anything they like with content they own, just in the same way that if you own a car you’re perfectly free to blow it up (as long as it is done legally and safely) because you own it.

    Secondly, FTB is not trying to make anyone a pariah, they don’t have that power. They can point out to others TF’s unethical behaviour and non-inclusive blogging style and ASK people not to deal with him. Those people and organisations can then CHOOSE to give him a platform or not, as they wish.

    Thirdly, FTB doesn’t owe him anything, since he was already paid for his work, and, as he DOESN”T OWN THE COPYRIGHT, he has no further claim on any monies made.

    Fourthly, there isn’t anything shady or dishonest in people talking to each other within an organisation to come to a consensus position. You or TF seem eager to convince others that there is some sort of conspiracy was going on, but you don’t seem to able to produce any kind of evidence.

    Six, criticising some-one’s unethical behaviour and non-inclusive blogging style isn’t ‘bad mouthing’ it is telling your employee that they are not conforming to the standards and practices of the organisation.

    Seven, You state that FTB has a growing reputation for “FTB has a growing reputation for being dishonest, vindictive, close-minded, politically rabid, bullies”. With who specifically? You and TF? Any evidence at all for your potentially actionable claim that FTB has tried to ruin anyone?

    Eight, You provided not evidence of any kind of unethically, conspiratorial or even vaguely bullying behaviour. TF didn’t ‘blow the whistle’ he has attempted, using unethically obtained material to justify himself, not PUBLIC INTEREST HAS BEEN SERVED.

    Nine, FTB OWNS THE COPYRIGHT TO ALL MATERIALS SUBMITTED TO THE FTB NETWORK. TF has NO RIGHTS TO THAT MATERIAL and HAS NO CLAIM TO HOW ANY MONEYS MADE ON THEM ARE DISTRIBUTED. These are facts that TF know full well, having agreed to these conditions before being invited to join the organisation.

    Ten, You have not shown any conspiratorial or unethical behaviour whatsoever, nor are the blogs submitted to TFB owned by TF (in the same way as reporters’ stories submitted to their newspaper are owned by the newspaper), as I have explained over and over again.

    Either you are unable to grasp simple concepts even when explained repeatedly, or you are arguing in bad faith.

    This will be be the last interaction with you until you provide new material rather than repeating yourself in the hope of making an argument, and I would would encourage others to act in a similar fashion.

    Dingo

  • se habla espol

    I see that some of this has been covered by others while I was writing it. Maybe a new responder can get ivy’s attention.

    ivycannon says at August 15, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Yes– I think you are missing the part where FTB was still making money off of TF while attempting to make him a pariah in the freethought community… and conspiring to keep his share of the earnings!

    ivy, you seem to be missing the part where Mason (alias Thunderf00t) entered into a contract with FtB for blog writing and publication. This contract was, almost certainly, in writing, since it dealt with (among other topics) copyright. There’s a ‘statute of frauds’ clause in copyright law that requires copyright assignments and transfers to be in writing. Mason agreed to the terms of this contract.

    The contract terms have not been published, but some provisions have been leaked. We know, from this leakage, that Mason agreed for FtB to have some, if not all, ownership over the writings he provided for ‘his’ blog. I don’t know what Mason agreed to — a straight transfer of copyright, transfer with license-back, exclusive license, non-exclusive license, … . In any case, he agreed in advance that FtB could (if it is able to) ‘mak[e] money off of TF’ after termination of the contract.

    We don’t know what financial provisions Mason agreed to, nor what termination provisions and post-termination requirements. FtB would not be foolish enough to pay Mason based on gross — at least hosting costs would come first, for instance.

    … I assume that if Thunderfoot didn’t click the link that let him back hack his way in, that the ugliness would continue to fester on the back channel and the bullying and witch hunts would continue.

    FTFY. You can, of course, make all the assumptions you wish about the FtBers actions after Mason’s illegal, unauthorized access to the list server. Your assumptions, however, matter little to anyone other than yourself.

    Now, thanks to Thunderf00t it looks like charity gets to benefit from Thunderf00t’s earnings, and FTB is invited to contribute all earnings from Thunderf00t to DPRJone’s charity– but I don’t think the FTB crowd is ethical enough for that…Why don’t the bloggers here encourage Ed to take the high road that Thunderf00t has and donate AL proceeds from Thunderf00ts posts to charity?

    It’s pretty well settled that a CFAA violation, like Mason’s, incurs costs by the operators of the protected computers that are the subject of unauthorized access, and that the costs to alleviate the damage are to be borne by the perpetrator — Mason.

    Yet you and Mason have the gall to insist that any proceeds from the Thunderf00t blog, even before paying hosting costs, not to mention the damages Mason caused, should be donated to charity. How about Mason first pays for the damages he caused — tech time, new mailing-list software, time of, and other damages to, authorized mailing-list members, … . Then, FtB and its bloggers can consider what they want to do with the proceeds (if any remain) of FtB’s Thunderf00t blog.

    As for assurances that no-one at FTB tried to get Payton fired– that’s about as good as PZ’s assurances that no-one tried to get Abbie fired or to get her posts taken down when we all now know that Greg Laden (then at FTB) did so. We all now know that FTB engages in that sort of thing in their back channels. We all now know that Ed thinks he’s one of the smartest people in the movement and that he was willing to profit from Thunderf00t’s posts while attempting to destroy TF AND to keep TF’s share. We can all extrapolate what Ed would have done had TF not exposed him (60 Minute style).

    We can all also conjecture that the Abbie and Payton episodes are what got Laden fired. This conjecture has exactly the same validity that your ‘extrapolation’, assumptions, conjectures, and unsupported accusations have: none at all.

  • Tony •King of the Hellmouth•

    ivycannon:

    If you were worried about anyone doxxing, you might want to be worried about the one known to doc drop– Greg Laden Thunderf00t.

    There.

    All fixed.

    Now you can wander off and feel secure knowing that you’re right.

  • Pingback: RationalWiki Overrun By Baboons « grey lining()