I slipped up right out of the gate, registering ObamaConspiracy.org in my own name, and being outed by a commenter over at Orly Tatiz’s blog. Some like Ron Polarick took a lot more time and research before he could be tied to a real person. Various other birther pseudonyms have been identified from time to time and now it’s Butterdezillion’s turn.
BZ has been a dogged investigator of Hawaii vital records and a vexatious requester of documents, making an Internet career reading between the lines of documents from the State of Hawaii. Now we know her real name. It’s my policy not to “out” people because I think it has a chilling effect on free speech. However, I respect others, such as Patrick McKinnion, who think it a public service to shed light on the birthers, and it is Patrick who identifies BZ in the latest installment of his Dispatches from Birtherstan.
It’s really hard to stay anonymous on the Internet. You leave an IP address behind at every web site you visit. Email headers may reveal things you didn’t intend. Someone may paste the same text under two different names, or they may use the same photo on facebook that they used somewhere else, or even be recognized when attending an event.
One thing many overlook is “metadata” in documents. This is information not displayed as part of the document, but stored in the file nonetheless. I found the name of Orly Taitz’s dental practice in one of her documents. This is a mistake BZ made. She redacted her name on her web site, but not in the PDF document linked to on that page. With that, I found BZ’s facebook page in her real name, and from that I know what high school she attended and the names of her 4 children. A little digging might associate one of her 69 friends on facebook with another anonymous birther. Another click gives me her age, and another a 2-day-old newspaper article telling us about her support for the Nebraska “birther bill”.
My advice: be reasonable in what you say because it’s hard to stay anonymous.