tip off

Herald Sun to start matching commenters’ IPs with their employment?

Pure Poison Icon Continuing its tradition of calling truth to non-power, the Herald Sun has apparently appointed itself arbiter of what private citizens may communicate with each other on twitter – sarcastic jokes ARE RIGHT OUT – and whether they should be permitted to continue being employed if their words, taken out of context, would offend Outraged of Brighton:

Sack this man

DEPRAVED tram driver [X - the Herald Sun gives his name, Pure Poison isn't convinced it's appropriate] should be sacked from Yarra Trams.

He has already been given more time to explain himself than he deserves after posting grossly offensive images and racist remarks on the internet.

“Grossly offensive… and racist remarks on the internet”, eh? What does that remind me of?

Oh yes – the many such comments by News Ltd readers published by News Ltd and regularly recorded for posterity on our Cut & Paste Trophy threads.

Much of what they write makes this tram driver’s efforts look like conversation at a Royal garden party by comparison.

Is News Ltd going to start matching IPs of its commenters who post offensive or racist – and, as we’ve seen, violent – comments on its sites and demand they be sacked? After all, it’s already got a jump on the competition in finding them. Imagine the scoops Wayne Flower could write!

I’m just glad we have a prominent tabloid digging through private citizens’ online opinions in order to find people who should be silenced, punished and thrown on the dole. That’s what free speech and freedom of the press are all about.

28
  • 1
    returnedman
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I could name for them a dirty old man who posts pictures of semi-naked women on page 3 of some of his newspapers.

  • 2
    Matt Hardin
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Much as I hate defending the Tabloid press; the article did mention behavior linked to his job as a tram driver that seemed to warrant censure at the very least.

  • 3
    Eponymous
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Errrrm, I think there are two separate issues here; 1 – Is the Hun the arbiter of what is appropriate on the internet; 2 – Were the actions of said Tram Driver (whose work I am quite familiar with) inappropriate and deserving of sacking?

    I think he was bloody stupid and probably would be sacked by any employer. Photos of sleeping passengers? Proud comments outside your wrecked tram? Probably a bad idea and likely to get him sacked, reasonably in my opinion.

    But the Hun seem to be making a rod for their own back, as you suggest. Well they would be, if consistency and credibility meant anything to them.

  • 4
    Gerry Hatrick, OAP
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    So the Herald Sun will be watching us online. But who will watch the watchers? And tap their phones?

    “Some images and comments are explicitly sexual and racist, and he boasts of causing accidents with his tram.”

    I boast I’m sexually successful on the internet, and if you believe what you read on the internet……

  • 5
    Chris Tallis
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    It would appear that none of us are truly anonymous.
    Could a person hide their IP address through some type of computer code if they wished?
    Doesn’t astroturfing use a program that does this or something like it?
    I’m pretty astounded that the HS has opened this can of worms because IF a computers IP address can be faked or disguised in some way it won’t take very long and we will all be doing it.

  • 6
    monkeywrench
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Chris Tallis, just type “hide my IP” into Google….

  • 7
    Chris Tallis
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    eggshellent!

    And another barrier to free speech falls.

    I watched how the “collar bomber” was tracked via credit card transaction and email checking and I was pretty surprised that the man was foolish enough to rely on technology that he did not understand.
    I guess those lessons are there for any who notice. I am afraid that I must now begin to address my own lack of IT knowledge. For too long I have been blissfully ignorant of technology tools. Time to start to catch up I feel.
    Does any tech guru out there have an idea where I might start? c++ perhaps? Pearl or Python? I would really appreciate a tip.

  • 8
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    What did he do? Publicly suggest that Afghans are “knuckledraggers” and “subhumans” from a “misogynistic, evil and corrupt” society with a “failed third world culture”?

    That sort of offensive racism is okay at the Herald Sun.

  • 9
    jules
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Wait a minute, if this paper just did that … then suddenly getting trolling commentators sacked for hateful abusive language is fair isn’t it. Its not attacking their freedom of speech cos they can always start a their own wordpress blog, its just doing what their paper is happy to do to others.

  • 10
    Just Me
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Chris T.

    There are a number of ways to will properly hide your IP address (and your MAC address, browser type, etc, as well if required). Completely legally too.

    Some cost, but are usually very secure and offer high bandwidth (speed & quota). For example:

    https://www.perfect-privacy.com/

    Others are free, but are often not quite as secure, and do not offer high bandwidth. For example:

    https://hotspotshield.com/

  • 11
    Just Me
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    “to will properly hide”

    of course should be

    ‘to properly hide’

  • 12
    Gerry Hatrick, OAP
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Install TOR – the open source online anonymity project. It puts your internet connection through others that are also using it, so that when you access a webpage, it will come out form a random point at the other end.
    Great for browsing, just remember to turn it off for downloading

  • 13
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76p_ncbffCE

  • 14
    monkeywrench
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Reversing the logic, it would be interesting to see how many IP addresses from “ordinary citizens” who “don’t want a carbon tax” actually emanate from News Ltd. servers…

  • 15
    SHV
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t there a curious incident a few years ago where {EDIT: you’ll understand my editing that one, I suspect. No references to said matter can be published here. -Jeremy}

  • 16
    Angra
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Crikey is already doing this – matching handles with email ID’s and IP addresses – admitted by Sear 3 weeks ago. Its a fairly simple thing to do.

    Can you come clean?

  • 17
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    “Crikey is already doing this – matching handles with email ID’s and IP addresses – admitted by Sear 3 weeks ago.”

    What are you talking about? The only time I recall looking at commenters’ IPs has been if it looks like a troll is impersonating someone.

  • 18
    Angra
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    No Jeremy. I complained that a comment posted was not from me. (my computer is used by several family members.) You replied ” But the the IP address and the email id is the same.”

    How did you know this?

  • 19
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Because WordPress shows IPs and I could see it was the same as yours, duh. Nothing sinister. If you’d explained it was a family member and asked it to be amended to a different name, I’d have done so.

    Obviously we don’t go digging into private citizen’s lives in order to destroy them like the Herald Sun does.

    Not really interested in you dragging this thread off-topic.

  • 20
    SHV
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That’s some heavy muscle someone has.

  • 21
    SHV
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Can I say: News Ltd, blog comments, IP use, hypocrisy?

  • 22
    Rich Uncle Skeleton
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    What’s most concerning for me is that the Herald Sun are now editorialising on who should or shouldn’t work for a private company based on their conduct out of work hours.

    Certainly, there has been some questionable behaviour (and photographing passengers is a step too far) however a read of his blog (I can’t see his tweets) shows him to generally have a ribald sense of humour that would usually be celebrated by the HS as “politically incorrect”. Then I remembered that left-wing political correctness is either “offensive” or “abuse”.

    None of this is worthy of the entire page 3 in the Herald Sun.

    Does anyone believe any of this is in the “public interest” as News’ own code requires? I would argue “shit, no”.

  • 23
    Rich Uncle Skeleton
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    A read of his blog also shows him to be an outspoken critic of the Herald Sun.

    I am in no way making any links that the Herald Sun are intent on publicly taking down their online critics, no matter how bizarrely pointless attacking a non-entity on the third page of Australia’s biggest selling newspaper may seem.

  • 24
    Angra
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    While the HUN seems vindictive in singling out a critic of theirs, the man’s blog is under his own name for God’s sake and a simple whois query reveals his address and phone number and ip – so duh, what is the point of this story?

  • 25
    Sancho
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Rather than sack the driver, yarra trams should generate some rules for employee tweets and encourage MORE drivers to do it.

    Anyone who can’t safely take a photo while driving a tram probably can’t be trusted with sharp cutlery either, so I don’t fear for public safety.

  • 26
    Bellistner
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I already specifically ban news LTD from taking my tweets and blog comments, so nuts to them.

  • 27
    jules
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    How did you do that bellistner?

  • 28
    Bellistner
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    jules: I write something like “Permission to use any IP belonging to myself on this website belonging to myself is specifically denied to News Ltd or associated parties, including content acquired via third-parties, unless permission to use is given prior.”

    In the event that I ever type something that gets up their noses, that might be enough to at least make them pause.

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