When blocking a troll escalates risk of troll-harm: A @geeksrulz investigation

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@AuspolTrolls is featured here in the top row

by Tony Yegles (The Geek)

5 July 2013

In which my investigation into who is behind Twitter DIRTBOT accounts @LaborDirt and @ALPdirt and websites Labordirt.com and Twittertrolls.com reveals a series of inadvertent coincidences, happenstances and riddles wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

What do you do when you come across obnoxious online behaviour of the troll-abuser-defamer kind on Twitter or other social media? I have pondered this issue before and am now coming to the realisation that blocking and ignoring is no longer the way to go. Shining the bright light of public exposure might be a better way, and this is what I am trying to do in this post. Here is a quick overview to get your bearings, as this post is quite long.

The Protagonists
I discuss the main protagonists as we know them - people, Twitter accounts, websites, apps - and the links and connections between them.

The Sequence of Events
I then deal with the detailed sequence of events in terms of the many technical configuration changes to establish who did what when and potentially why. For this I use detailed historical records from domaintools.com, which has an extensive collection of domain name ownership records, as well as Whois Lookup, Whois History, Reverse Whois, DNS & IP Tools and Topsy Twitter search engine. Someone made the decision, someone made the changes and there is of course a reason behind the change.

The troll attacks on me 
Thirdly I examine a concerted troll attack on me which has at its origins my exposure of a spam account called @labordirt, which has links to a troll account @dotnetnoobie, and my  investigation of the Russian Spambots.

Labortdirt.com
Fourthly I explain how the labordirt.com Twitter troll app works and the implications for Twitter, cyberbullying, spam, abuse and the law.

Twittertrolls.com
Fifthly I delve into real ugly cyberstalking territory which should concern all people who use social media and who express a political opinion. If you value your personal private information this is worth reading. It might be time for law enforcement agencies to stop using social media for marketing purposes and do some real work online.

Conclusion
A young woman is cyberstalked, her images and personal contact details taken from her Facebook account and published on an anonymous troll abuse site. Has it really come to this, where you get attacked for having an opinion and expressing it on social media? I believe what we are witnessing is a dual strategy as expressed by two sites - labordirt.com and twittertroll.com. The first one is to try to completely flood Twitter with anti-ALP messages and drown out any other voices. The second strategy is to attack the voices that get through this tsunami of dirt and spam – to personally and directly attack them via anonymous Twitter accounts. Worse still, the attacks have also morphed into cyberstalking sites like twittertrolls.com.

Feel free to skip the more technical section in the Sequence of Events as you will get the gist of it by reading the status at the end of that section.

 *

The Protagonists 

David Thiessen with the Twitter handle @dotnetnoobie; anonymous Twitter troll spambots, dirtbots and abuse accounts @LaborDirt, @ALPDirt; a Twitter app site called labordirt.com; a cyberstalking site twittertrolls.com; a vanished site called davidthiessen.com; another vanished site dotnetnoobie.com; a German webhost Hetzner.de and IP addresses 46.4.145.239 and 46.4.145.249 and finally 18 or more alleged accomplices.

The Sequence of Events
Please skip this section if it is too technical. The technical detail is needed to establish a sequence of events to configuration settings, who did what when. Someone made the decision, someone made the changes and there is of course a reason behind the change.

2011-04-10  The domain name dotnetnoobie.com is moved to IP address 46.4.145.239 in Germany.

August 2012 

David Thiessen, a known UeberTroll suffering from multiple Twitter accounts personality syndrome, is confirmed here as @dotnetnoobie by an independent third party. I don’t think David Thiessen has ever denied he is @dotnetnoobie – but he may.

“For his effort on the Deep Earth open source community project, we have given David Theissen (aka DotNetNoobie) one of the subscriptions.”

October 2012

It appears the @alpdirt Twitter account was created on October 10, 2012 and the @labordirt Twitter account on October 18, 2012. It seems @alpdirt was used as a backup account while @labordirt took all the flak for posting a tsunami of spam. From memory it was blocked by Twitter at least once in February 2013. See graph below for an interesting but unexplained baton change by labordirt.com from @labordirt to @alpdirt in April 2013.

One of the first tweets that I can find is this one at 5.18 AM.

Reaction:


November 2007

The domain name “labordirt.com” was privately (anonymously) registered on 8 November, 2012. You do this to hide the identity of the domain name owner.

German Host company Hetzner Online. Hetzner.de

labordirt.com is hosted on a server in Germany on IP address 46.4.145.239 (the same as dotnetnoobie.com and DavidThiessen.com).


@Labortdirt is linked to David Thiessen @dotnetnoobie
On the 12 November, 2012 I was having a quick squiz at this annoying new spambot @labordirt and found a domain name in its Twitter profile called labordirt.com. A simple reverse IP lookup revealed the labordirt.com site was hosted in Germany on the same server/IP address 46.4.145.239 as that of DavidThiessen.com and Dotnetnoobie.com. See my tweet below. (My original screenshot image was hosted on imgur.com, a free image hosting service which is no longer available.)

Luckily @z3n_digital kept a copy of the original :)

We now had irrefutable evidence that labordirt.com, dotnetnoobie.com and davidthiessen.com were all on the same IP address at the same time and on the same shared server in Germany. How did this happen? Strange coincidence? Pigs also fly higher in Germany, apparently.

Observe the straight out lying, obfuscation and dissembling by David Thiessen when he was caught out.

This “maybe” is a very very long way from a denial. How about:

I have no links, no association, no connection to labordirt.com in any way, shape or  form. 

or

I did not have technical relations with that  labordirt.com website.

Please note the context for those that don’t know: a majority of Aussie techies and companies host their websites in Australia for speed or in US for value. Ping times to US vs Australia are 200ms vs 40ms. It is very unusual to host a site in Europe for this reason. A ping to the German host hetzner.de where these sites are hosted, returns a 365ms pingback. The fact that  3 Australian websites are inadvertently hosted in Germany on the same IP address at the same time and that 2 that are linked to David Thiessen but not the other one, defies logic, common sense and does not pass the first hurdle or even the most basic smell test.

Jansant gives the odds of having dotnetnoobie.com and davidthiessen.com inadvertently hosted on same server and same IP address, in an unusal location for Aussie sites, in Germany with labordirt.com.

For anyone who has ever had the displeasure of dealing with David, that is him in a nutshell. Exposed, caught red handed and claiming victory.

So having been caught out fairly and squarely, why lie about it? It is a free country with free speech and David Thiessen is perfectly entitled to run these sites and express his political views. Spam and abuse is another matter altogether. Is he getting paid as a developer by the usual suspects, as in the Liberal Party, the IPA, Menzies House? Is he part of some dirt unit? Is he covering for them? If he is the developer only, then he can say so and the responsibility falls onto his client, whoever that may be.

24 November 2012

‘Musical chairs and the great vanishing act’ or ‘Someone push the panic button, I need a wambulance now’.

By 24 November, 2012 with the big bright light of  Twitter on him, things are getting a little too hot in the kitchen for Mr David Thiessen and he decides to get out. After denying he is in any shape or form linked to labordirt.com and @labordirt, which as he claims was inadverdently hosted alongside davidthiessen.com and dotnetnoobie.com, the labordirt.com domain name is suddenly moved away from the IP above with the spotlight on it, namely from 46.4.145.239 to 46.4.145.249.

Same day, 24 November 2012, the dotnetnoobie.com domain name is removed not just from IP address 46.4.145.239 but suspended or cancelled altogether. Vanished. What domain name? Remember it had been at this IP address since the 10 April 2011.
Same day again, 24 November 2012, same action by David Thiessen for DavidThiessen.com. Vanished. What domain name? It was removed on the 24 November 2012 from 46.4.145.239 where it was sharing a cosy spot with labordirt.com and dotnetnoobie.com

So who remains at the trusty old IP address 46.4.145.239yogainhobart.com (active), politicianwatch.info  (inactive) and silverlightsurfer.com (inactive)?
The latter two are .net placeholder templates for dot net developers. @dotnetnoobie anyone?

So who is sharing the IP address with labordirt.com? We find another very interesting site, twittertrolls.com which was registered anomymously on 11 May, 2012 and hosted on, you guessed it, 46.4.145.239 on 28 May, 2012.
On 24 November, 2012 this domain also moves to 46.4.145.249 to be friends and keep company with labordirt.com rather than the yoga site. More about twittertrolls.com below.

For the technically minded here are 3 different headers from 3 sites:
1. Yogainhobart.com
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5X-Powered-By: ASP.NETX-AspNet-Version: 4.0.30319X-AspNetMvc-Version: 3.0
2. Twittertrolls.com
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5X-Powered-By: ASP.NETX-AspNet-Version: 4.0.30319X-AspNetMvc-Version: 4.0
3. Labordirt.com
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5X-Powered-By: ASP.NETX-AspNet-Version: 4.0.30319X-AspNetMvc-Version: 4.0

All of the technical stuff brings us finally to today.

Here is the current status since a very eventful 24 November 2012 to today:
dotnetnoobie.com disappeared. Last seen on 46.4.145.239 (24 November 2012)
davidthiessen.com disappeared. Last seen on 46.4.145.249 (24 November 2012)
labordirt.com is moved from 46.4.145.239 to 46.4.145.249  (24 November 2012)
twittertroll.com is moved from 46.4.145.239 to 46.4.145.249 (24 November 2012)

Musical chairs or panic button? You be the judge but call a wambulance just in case :)

The last 2 sites are really the ones of interest to us as they are still very very active.

Now what is the purpose of the Labordirt and Twittertroll sites?

I am glad you asked.

Attacks by the Anonymous Cowardly Gutless Troll Brigade

I have been on Twitter since 2009 and active since 2010. In that time I have encountered my fair share of abuse and defamation. This is the reason I chose to be anonymous initially and why many other people still choose to be anonymous. I fully understand, respect and support that.

What I cannot support is people who choose to be anonymous in order to engage in cowardly and gutless attacks on anyone else. When I was attacked as @geeksulz it did not really bother me too much. Who cares what the trolls are saying, right? It is an altogether different and very serious issue when you use your real name on Twitter, like I now do, and you are being defamed.

For those unfamiliar with my story, here is my bio. To cut a long story short, when I started nofibs.com.au with Margo Kingston, I knew that I would only have credibility if I posted and tweeted in my own name. Margo warned me to expect attacks from the right of politics. Interestingly, although there were attacks by the trolls back then, I was surprised how subdued they were in general.

Tracking back the mentions for my now public name revealed something new to me. The attacks seemed to really start after I posted a tweet about Tony Abbott’s known habit of walking away from questions, scrutiny & accountability. I contrasted this to the ANZAC spirit.

mentions of the word “yegles”

Sustained deliberate troll attacks started by trying to defame the words ‘Tony Yegles’ on 21 April 2013:


SUSPENDED
@chickybird949 Rose Bird 370 followers
@geeksrulz the game is up Tony Yegles #auspol

Who and where are you Rose Bird?

SUSPENDED
@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
@GeeksRulz Tony Yegles then writes about the Porn Bot Scam to defame the conservitive accounts #auspol

@auspolltrolls became one of my biggest trollops. Who is he and where is he? I asked David Thiessen, but sadly it was one of the very few occasions he did not reply to me.

@alpdirt ALP Dirt 291 followers
@GeeksRulz - Tony Yegles implicated in the use of Porn Spam Bots to get conservitive accounts banned #auspol http://t.co/

More on @ALPDirt Twitter Troll App later.


Now the Spambot reference above is to an investigation that I did back in January which was also published in the SMH.

My story may or may not have lead to getting the @labordirt Twitter account suspended for a while. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have received plenty of personal abuse over it and accusations of lies.

What I have never received to this day, is the actual lie that was supposedly published by me and the SMH. Tiphereth Gloria, social media expert with VML Australia, said the bot evidence presented in the Storify post appeared to be accurate. I believe she also received personal abuse for backing me up.

It seems to me that people who don’t like the findings of my investigation, do not challenge the details or the facts. but just accuse me of a generalised “publishing lies”. Which lies? Where? What part? How do you know? To this day I have never received an answer. Not one of my attackers has been able to write a single paragraph debunking my story. Maybe I am asking too much of them. If there are errors, and the people in the middle of the Russian Spambot action would know much better than me, by all means tell me or publish and discuss in a civilised way. You are civilised aren’t you, whoever you are?

It seems the effort of debunking my story was just too much and instead, all the effort has been put into personal abuse, attacks and defamations. Also an error is not a lie, unless you are unable to come to terms with a modern, sophisticated and complex world out there.


Who owns these accounts that retweet defamatory tweets by @auspolltrolls, @labordirt and @alpdirt? Anyone know? Retweeting a defamatory tweet is the same as defaming.
@314savannahdr Savannah Driscoll 4 followers?
@663johnwiller John Willer 21 followers
@885nicholasba Nicholas Ballow 23 followers
@stellamirams665 Stella Mirams 15 followers
@vancebeaudry771 Vance Beaudry 13 followers

@destroyedjoint Destroyed The Joint 55 followers 


April 24 2013
SUSPENDED Troll account @auspoltrolls 

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
@geekrulz Displays His Real Feelings For Australians, Remember Tony Yegles is an Immigrant, why is he here? #auspol pic.twitter.com/BImGVU2gC5
Apr 24, 2013 7:29 GMT (2 months ago)

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
@geeksrulz Tony Yegles using peoples images with out premission, breaking the law is a habbit for you Tony #auspol
Apr 24, 2013 8:16 GMT (2 months ago)

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
@geeksrulz details of false fabricated stories to expose the serial dishonesty of Tony Yegles coming soon #auspol
Apr 24, 2013 4:33 GMT (2 months ago)

Still waiting. So many promises by @auspoltrolls but it turns out to be another lie, like all the other lies tweeted. 

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
@geekrulz Tony Yegles Displays Disrespect To Anzac Day And Our Fallen Heros #auspol pic.twitter.com/6DwwvVseoe
Apr 24, 2013 8:45 GMT (2 months ago)


May 26 2013

@auspol_ebooks Auspol Ebooks 138 followers
(Tony Yegles) Displays Disrespect To Cause To Man For anyone who called a shield, it will block him a day spa #auspol
May 26, 2013 13:51 GMT (1 month ago)

Who is this guy? Can someone please explain to me what he said in English?

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
#auspol @geeksrulz (Tony Yegles) Displays His Real Feelings For Australians (white hate racist) pic.twitter.com/tMkoGlQAYI
May 26, 2013 11:19 GMT (1 month ago)

Interesting label – “white hate racist”. It is used on Twittertrolls site as well. More about this later.

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
#Auspol @geeksrulz (Tony Yegles) intentionally tweeting false accusations to try silence conservative accounts pic.twitter.com/plQ0cqiAz6
May 26, 2013 11:19 GMT (1 month ago)

Which? When? Where? Link?

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
#Auspol @geeksrulz (Tony Yegles) trying to arrange another #TwitterGulag attack to try silence conservative accounts pic.twitter.com/qqtGsolrsE
May 26, 2013 11:19 GMT (1 month ago)

Had to look up #TwitterGulag. Explained later below.

@auspoltrolls Auspol Trolls 148 followers
#Auspol @geeksrulz (Tony Yegles) trying to arrange a #TwitterGulag attack to try silence conservative accounts pic.twitter.com/RuVXRWN7CU
May 26, 2013 11:19 GMT (1 month ago)


Same, similar and identical spam and abuse tweets and attacks by @auspoltrolls on May 28, June 5, June 7, June 10, June 11, June 12, June 15, June 17, June 19, June 21, 2013. You get the idea.

Well, I didn’t get the idea until much later because I blocked @auspoltrolls and had no clue this attack on my name and reputation was happening behind my back. This is the problem with blocking. Trolls abuse you on Twitter even more behind your back.

I was alerted to @auspoltrolls again, after blocking him, when I searched through my tweets for old pics and @auspoltrolls seemed to have more references than me. This is when I started taking notice.

@auspoltrolls also appears to have abused plenty of other people and is linked to the site twittertrolls.com. Again, more on that site later. Remember that site is on the same shared server in Germany that had dotnetnoobie.comdavidthiessen.com and labordirt.com. Why do all roads lead to David Thiessen?

@auspoltrolls seems to have finally been suspended by Twitter (what the hell took them so long?) at the end of June 2013. The last tweet I can find is abusing a young woman on the 17th of June. I will not link to it for reasons I explain later.

So now that @auspoltrolls is finally gone, despite getting away with breaking multiple laws, who do you think continued his stellar work and contributions to the greater good of humanity?

Did you say @labordirt and @alpdirt? I wonder if there is a link between @auspolltrolls, @labordirt and @alpdirt especially after what I have established so far? You be the judge after I introduce the nice bunch of people from @alpdirt and labordirt.com below.

July 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  2013 – Concerted Anonymous Troll Attacks by @ALPDirt and @Labordirt

The tweets by @ALPDirt and @Labordirt are not republished here as they are defamatory and will be used in a legal action by me, against the anonymous people behind Labordirt.com. The legal action is only one part of my steps to protect my name and reputation.

Legal action is invariably slow and in the meantime I will use the power of social media to shine the light and expose the gutless, anonymous cowards who are behind these attacks on me and others. Only full transparency and exposure can bring them into the light from the nether regions of trolldom.

I did try blocking as is recommended by Twitter but the failure of that option is obvious now for all to see.

Let’s see if exposure will work better. There was an avalanche of defamatory tweets from @labordirt and @ALPDirt in just 5 days in July 2013. Luckily they, he, she, it are not obsessed or cyberstalking me as that would be against the law, wouldn’t it?

Labor Dirt  LaborDirt  on Twitter

If you don’t know, that person in the photos above is me, Tony Yegles with the twitter handle @geeksrulz. I got this photo taken by a professional photographer and have used it in all my social media profiles. This photo was stolen from my bio page on nofibs.com.au and used without permission. It is expressly stated on my photo caption: Copyright Tony Yegles. This image should not be used under any circumstance without the express written permission by Tony Yegles. Contact me via @geeksrulz or geeksrulz@gmail.com

 

LABORDIRT.COM

You thought that the defamation above was bad? Well, it gets worse.

Let’s start with Labordirt.com linked to by the now infamous @Labordirt and @ALPdirt Twitter accounts.

Labordirt on their website say: 

We are adding new articles, pod-casts or videos on a daily basis, depending on the news of the day 20 to 50 is around the number. Plus we are also often adding past news items, pod-casts or videos as this Labor government has made so many bad decisions, choices, policies that people are actually overwhelmed by the amount and simply can’t remember them all. This is to remind people of all the issue, dicet and dishonesty that this Labor Rudd/Gillard government has been involved with or caused by it’s own pure incompetence. … To Authenticate just click the “Sign in with Twitter” menu button and allow access for this application … Authenticated users can can search and view news articles and also tweet them to a selected #hash-tag”

Who is this royal WE they keep talking about? It doesn’t say. There is no About Us page. There is no identifying name or entity at all. It is a totally anonymous site, designed purely to flood twitter with anti ALP spin and abuse. All we know is what has been outlined above in terms of hosting and links to David Thiessen. And that they are obviously aligned with the right side of politics.

Labordirt is a Twitter app that sends a collection of 4902 anti Labor and personal defamatory abuse into the #Auspol hashtag.

Labordirt.com uses multiple volunteer Twitter users (maybe multiple fake accounts) to post about 570 tweets a day without falling foul of the Twitter Terms and Conditions apparently. Different users can join and tweet these links, authenticated via their Twitter account but, and it is an important but, it appears as @Labordirt which of course is anonymous.

So this is an invitation to users to let fly any abuse and defamatory tweets behind an anonymous account. How this is acceptable to the Twitter T&C is beyond me.

HELLO @TWITTER AND @TWITTERAU. Anybody there? Are you listening or do I need to write a longer post than this one?

Labordirt.com
 is designed to use crowdsourcing to spam, abuse, harass users and influence the political vibe, debate and conversation on Twitter. It is totally annoying to genuine Twitter users and gets blocked by most of them. Hello @TwitterAU.

It is repetitive and ineffective as it uses stale, out of date information from mostly biased NewsLtd sources and other extreme right sites. So although it is a crowdsourced activity, users are really just like automated robots pushing buttons to send spam. They do the work and bring value mainly by adding their Twitter account authentication, which seems to help it get past the Twitter spam rules.

This is not how Twitter works, in case they hadn’t noticed. You actually cannot just broadcast a tsumani of dirt and expect to have a positive impact for your cause. You can never replace the genuine person tweeting from the heart, using their wit, intelligence, creativity to communicate a salient point. Automated trolls are automated trolls.

Now remember the abuse, stalking, harassment and defamation I received from LaborDirt and ALPDirt.

The question for the legal brains is, who is liable? Which law applies? German law, US law or Australian law?

The server is in Germany with Host company Hetzner Online, the service is in the US with Twitter Inc. based in San Francisco and in Australia there are at least 18 presumably Australian suspects for a defamation action who use Labordirt.com. Any of them could have potentially sent the defamatory tweets. If there are 18 people behind Labordirt.com and only one of them sends out a defamatory tweet, are they all accomplices? We shall soon find out.

Will Twitter get access and log the IP address of the person who logged onto Labordirt.com to send those defamatory tweets? Or is the IP address that Twitter sees, only the Labordirt.com server address in Germany?

Where to sue? Who to sue?

Interesting questions arise from this Twitter toy. Did someone say Twitter defamation is a game anonymous trolls can play without consequences? We are all having fun now :)

The development of this app was designed exactly for this purpose, which is for anonymous trolls to avoid being held responsible for their actions. The law might have a thing or two to say about that.

Also, who is prepared to spend this much time, effort and money to build a DIRTBOT operation like this? Was it done for free? Has money changed hands? Who are the entities involved? Why so shy, gutless, cowardly and anonymous? If they believe in free speech, free enterprise and expressing a political opinion, why hide their names like classic trolls. Oh I get it:

LaborDirt = Troll App

And you thought that was bad? Let me introduce you to Twittertrolls.com

 

TWITTERTROLLS.COM

The Twittertrolls.com logo bears a striking resemblance, actually is identical to our good friend @auspoltrolls. Hell, he is even mentioned on the homepage. If I now say that it appears that the banned Twitter account @auspoltrolls and Twittertrolls.com have something in common, I might get accused by David Thiessen @dotnetnoobie of lying. So I better not do that. :)

The Twitter Gulag Page:

Here Twittertrolls kindly advises us of problems with being suspended by sending too many “unsolicited replies” (many tweets to someone without reply).
I’ve never had a need to worry about this problem. I wonder who would have this problem? Could it be online stalkers and trolls? In any case I had to go to a right wing website to find out what Twitter Gulag was. Here is one explanation:

In Twitter terminology, a ”Gulager” is a person (or several people) who posts rude and offensive messages on Twitter in effort to disrupt the sanity of meaningful and peaceful participants. Next, these people work in concert to suspend user accounts by flooding their pages with “spam” reports. Twitter’s spam identification algorithm then kicks-in and assumes the account is “spamming” other users. This can lead to a potential wait time before the account is re-enabled while the user sits in the #TwitterGulag. 

Twittertrolls continues to explain:

So if some of the Lefty’s that are aware of this exploit happen across you, they can hit you with the ”Block and Report for Spam” button, and the Twitter server at the other end will look at those factors, see that it meets the criteria, and suspend your account

 

Twitter Trolls Page:

It seems Andy Watson, AshGhebranious, myself and a few other people who I don’t know have been stalked by the person/people behind this Twittertrolls site. Someone has been trawling through online social media profiles as well as other identifying information such as home address, phone numbers, car rego etc. See below Andy’s example. Personal details were blurred by me.

This is Andy Watson @down_unda who I follow and he follows me. I consider him a Twitter friend. I was shocked to find all his personal details from Home Address, Phone Numbers, Car, Car Rego, Internet Profiles and even a Google Map of his house. I have blurred out the identifying information in the screenshot above. Andy is being labelled an Online Stalker, Jew Hater Racist together with these personally identifying details. For what possible purpose other than to defame, abuse, stalk and silence him because he was expressing his political views on Twitter? This is a direct targeted attack on an individual and his family. The other person and Twitter friend is @AshGhebranious who is labelled a White Hate Racist.

I am also featured of course, as you’d expect from the many attacks above, but for some reason I don’t get a label and the information listed is nothing particularly private or offensive, other than knowing that some creepy troll is trawling through my Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages. Who are these creep/s?

You had enough creepiness? Well it gets worse. There are people who I don’t know, who run a website called theantibogan.wordpress.com

The worst abuse I found is that of a young woman whose personal and private photos have been obviously stolen from one of her online profiles, maybe a Facebook page, and republished without permission. It is downright creepy and one of the worst kinds of cyberstalking I have come across. Done for the sole crime of expressing a political opinion the troll/s of this site did not like. I will not link to it or show pictures as it is just wrong.

I am a father of 4 daughters and I have asked my wife how she would feel if some creepy, anonymous cyberstalker did this to our daughters if they engage politically online.

How would you feel if your personal details – from address, to car make, to car rego, to VIN number to phone number to Google Street map – were published alongside personal private photos of your mum, your sister, your daughters?

What if some unhinged person uses this site and these details to track you down and confront you? Has it really come to this, where you get attacked for having an opinion and expressing it on social media?

Remember these are real people – stalking and abusing private people for expressing an opinion. The targeted people are not politicians. Not that I would condone this behaviour in any case but some of that ugly stuff unfortunately comes with the job.

Politicians rarely sue for defamation. Maybe they should start and help free their constituents in expressing their opinions in a civilised way without online bullying and persecution.

Let’s not forget, someone had to build this site, register the domain name, host it and then add the content. The person/persons behind this attack, admittedly gutless coward/s, are quite happy to dish it out, but shit-scared to put their own name and their own photo to their words and actions.

In closing, I apologise for taking you down this investigation to the nether regions of trolldom, but if we don’t expose it, it will continue to fester in the dark, unabated, away from the bright light of public accountability and community standards.

What I have found is the sick state of mind of a person or group of people, who are unable to debate, discuss, argue in a civilised way but prefer to use their technical knowhow to, on the one hand pollute and flood a political thread on Twitter with negative spam and on the other hand directly attack people, who for whatever reason, they dislike and then single out.

Labordirt.com and Twittertrolls.com to me then is the realised expression of a devious troll/s with technical knowhow but unable to function in polite society, unable to argue a point, unable to disagree politely, unable to accept differing views and unable to control anonymous, gutless and cowardly instincts and aggression.

I have asked a few people for an official denial on the public record. The denial is to confirm no link exists between them and labordirt.com or @alpdirt@labordirt. I will now have to add twittertrolls.com to that request.

So far I have been unable to get a single denial from David Thiessen (@dotnetnoobie)@liberalaus and Greg Hunt @greghuntmp.

I have also asked @alpdirt and @labordirt to cease publishing defamations against me and to publicly reveal their identity. Regardless of whatever else happens, legal action against the people behind it will not be stopped.

This tweet to Greg Hunt above remains unanswered since 14 February 2013. It seems getting denials is the hardest job on Twitter. See below. I tried, I really tried very very hard to get a denial from the various entities known or unknown, anonymous or seeking high office. 1 tweet to David Thiessen normally means 3 or 4 back. To keep him quiet I ask for denials and then he stops and goes away :)

 

Comments

  1. zwetschgen says:

    try a Linked in search for a possible systems engineer candidate – join, search via – name – location


  2. On at least two instances In the section on moving IP addresses you appear to have 2011 where you mean 2012.


  3. Facinating article to see using twitter as a political tool a la Tea Party but you don’t have to look too far to see the same political trollism on the comments pages of most blogs and newsites with the one-liner shit-on the ALP.

    Quite frankly, (to use a Reithism) I did find the whole idea of twitter rather confusing that brainsparks of 140 characters could cause such turmoil until I understood the polibot potential to amplify just one evil message to hundreds or more and to trash others’ accounts. In the old days of phpBB forums the same evil presence haunted
    Forums called “troll Kingdom’” and such, who groupthunk together but rallied out on sortees to attack other peaceful forums who learned eventually – “DON”T FEED THE TROLLS”.

    BTW

    If you do a google search with “David Thiessen” + “Greg Hunt ‘” http://tllg.net/bsso you get four results (this article on the top and another twitter thing) and couple of intriguing correlations between the two – with a site called carboncredits.carboncapturereport.org
    to open a file called profiler_kml which is an ‘application/vnd.google-eath.kml+xml (2.0kB) at the University of Illinois.
    the other one is a large list of users at http://www.sqlserver.org.au/user/bio/CasteView.aspx and the two are members, using the browser search option, and it’s not recruiting at the moment it appears.
    Perhaps they were at uni together or Dave was one of Greg’s students.

    More investigation is required


  4. Quick question: was it antibogan or theantibogan? The former doesn’t appear to exist, and I would hesitate to characterise the latter as “cyberstalking”.


    • It is theantibogan.wordpress.com. Fixed. Thanks mate. The people behind this site are being targeted. The reference to young woman was one of them.

  5. Tristan says:

    I wouldn’t worry about @auspol_ebooks – if you check its profile it seems to be just a Markov chain generator. Someone’s joke about the generally incoherent nature of #auspol – would have just picked up your name because it was being used in tweets.


  6. Good post. Best of luck with your efforts to deal with some of the more negative and destructive elements of social media.


  7. I abhor this type of cowardly behaviour and have suffered it to some degree myself – even though I’m a nobody in the scheme of things – it seems that simply to express an honest opinion under your real name is all that it takes to be targeted by these people.

    I’m not sure whether shining a light on them is the best way to go or not. Many of them seem to delight in the limelight, for it seems that they confuse infamy with fame and relish it. At the same time, how can it be appropriate to ignore such behaviour? It’s a conundrum and I don’t know the answer. I’ve pulled out of Facebook and even the supposedly professional LinkedIn where (amongst other things) I was accused of being a mass murderer simply because I had the temerity to suggest that an extremist claiming a conspiracy of World governments to kill off 95% of the population through water fluoridation, was unlikely to be taken seriously or do the anti-flouridation movement any favours.

    Now I only participate in Twitter, and I feel that I’ve become a coward, myself, for having backed away – yet I’m not prepared to post anonymously because, to me, if you really care about something you should be willing to put your name to it. However, as do you, I fully understand and wouldn’t criticise those who are genuine in their posts but choose not to expose themselves.

    Unfortunately, in reading your account, it seems that Twitter is no more immune from these sort of attacks than are blogs and forums such as FB and LI. I had thought that 140 characters gave little opportunity for that sort of abuse but clearly i was wrong.

    Perhaps, the reality is that, no matter what the medium, there will always be those without scruples, who subscribe to no ethical standards and who don’t care who or how they hurt or to what depths of lies or deceit they descend in their efforts to demonise others with whom they don’t agree. Perhaps the only real way to combat these morons is to model the opposite behaviour and beat them through honest, open and credible reporting and willingness to debate issues without rancour.

    Thank you for your article – though I would dearly wish that you hadn’t had cause to write it.

  8. sulphurcrested says:

    “…that blocking and ignoring is no longer the way to go. Shining the bright light of public exposure might be a better way..”

    Am not a twitter user but aware of troll invasions there and online. I think you are so right about shining the light of public exposure in that rancid cesspit. The public have every right to know who initiates, funds and works at this trolling, and why.

    The regressive types would endlessly stall, if they could, the advancement and well being of people, the planet, you name it, if it’s life affirming, intelligent, compassionate, progressive, it’s a potential target. But they can’t be allowed to pull us down, either by picking people off individually and scaring a whole lot more by doing so or by trolling against good sense, rational debate, new ideas and needed actions.

    Good on you, Tony.


  9. I have always kept of tweets from noobies harassment to all of us and his IP Address / aliases just in case … He certainly lives up to his name but he is dangerous

  10. A dude you might know. says:

    You might want to look at how this is all linked in with Jess. You know Jess theres a lot more to what I’ve just said but its all im prepared to say on the matter.
    @Juliette77777
    @jinamarie_1
    @lizsmith62n
    Some more accounts you might like to look into.
    There’s all a wave of “Rudds legacy so far pink bates and women children asylum seekers drowning great policies Kevin #auspol” Tweets going out all with the same spelling mistake. Once an hour.


  11. great article -am totally technologically challenged but I got the gist- I was tweeting on an Insiders or auspol thread and came across a link from a right wing rat bag to theantibogun “expose” and was shocked to see people’s details. Like a lot of people I tweet because I feel strongly enough about something to do so. It has always annoyed and frustrated me to have swarms of ranting tweets, many not even intelligible, effectivley deny space for true debate.


  12. A person is guilty of an offence under section 474.17 if the person uses a carriage service “in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive”. The maximum penalty for an offence of this kind is 3 years’ imprisonment.


    • He threatened you , me , snow , jansant and others with the direct link to NSW police , i would class that as harassment or a threat i have screenshot of this , same text he sent to all of us


      • he has threatened us all at one stage or another. My question is since he was copying the NSW police with threats why did they not act? There is something very wrong here. As for Jess, Frnaklieplus etc, they too should have been sorted out by the police for racist and homophobic comments which are definitely threats

  13. R Darroch says:

    Excellent coverage of a very troublesome aspect of the social media world. Vile and nasty people exist and it will take many concerted efforts to stop this type of abuse of the power of the Internet

  14. Caroley says:

    Shockingly horrible. And a bit scary. I hope you manage to get the bastards in court for this.


  15. Great post.

    I studied IT Law at uni last year so doubt I qualify as a “legal brain”, but I have a suggestion regarding what law applies to the defamation action you mention. The High Court has said that since defamation is completed when the damage to the reputation is done, the law of the place where the damage to the reputation occurs is the relevant law. In other words, if you have a reputation in Victoria and the content published by the trolls was there, Victorian law (i.e. the uniform state defamation legislation) will apply and that’s where you should sue.

    The relevant case is Gutnick v Dow Jones Corporation (2002) 210 CLR 575. It’s discussed in this article in the Melbourne University Law Review: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MULR/2003/21.html#Heading170

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  16. Stuart Connolly says:

    Well done Tony, fortunately to date I have received such abuse from only a few areas, keep,up your good and informative work.


  17. For the public record, I have reported @dotnetnoobie @LaborDirt @ALPDirt to the AFP & @VictoriaPolice.


  18. Noobs has haunted me since my early days on aus pol. Although he isn’t as threatening and demented as he used to be I still find him worrying. I have many screen grabs of him abusing people especially women. Also a time when he threatened to track people down and deal with them was appalling (but no grab of the one). If David Thiessen (aka dotnetnoobie alpdirt labordirt laborfilth) isn’t taken seriously, i fear physical violence. I sincerely hope his activities are curbed forthwith.


  19. For the public record, @LaborDirt @ALPDirt have been suspended by Twitter this week. They have been replaced by @Caqn_Callis running the same labordirt .com troll app of spam and smear.


  20. For the public record, I have now passed on the above information (and more) to my local member, the Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.


  21. For the public record,I have received a reply from Hetzner.de They gave me the response from person behind twittertroll/labordirt. Very interesting info. Stay tuned as I am passing this new info to my lawyer and police.


  22. Interesting that the person/people behind twittertroll and labordirt all misspell my name in the exact same way as David Thiessen. #fact


  23. Fascinating, Tony! Keep up the good work – would love to see an image of this creep person.

  24. knighta1949 says:

    You should be congratulated for your excellent work. As you know, I was targeted by this lot after I wrote an article for the Conversation, which was critical of the way Gillard had been defamed by websites popularised by spambots.

    As a journalist who has worked in China and covered several parliaments, I am keenly aware of the importance of free speech. But what some of our more deranged pals on the net ignore, is that free speech is won at a price, and part of that price is responsibility to the wider community.

    Free speech is not the freedom to vilify, stalk and abuse. Attention seeking behaviour is not an excuse.

    The systematic distribution of false information undermines democracy. But the targeting of those who question this practice, is a direct assault on our rights to participate in democratic forums.

    Alan Knight @hongmedia


  25. Political abuse of twitter is not confined to trolls. This South Korean @karodream is an amazing citizen journalist:
    The Man Who Helped Reveal South Korea’s Election Manipulation Online even stranger is how he came to follow me on twitter, as my only role was as an anon sub-editor for the translation. Perhaps he’s following all those who retweeted @globalvoices.

    PS Shouldn’t it be ‘An @geeksrulz…’ in the post title? (Your friendly grammar nazi)


  26. @audiodirector @AusTalks His name is David Thiessen and he has numerous troll accounts.A bit more background here http://t.co/LPFpoZlyUr

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