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Are you being served scrubbed?

GerbilReport.jpgI don’t know what’s happening, but access to older Birther Report material is deteriorating rapidly.

I entered “gallups site:birtherreport.com” at Google and got only 15 results, all fairly recent.

What about Birther Report’s internal search?

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I entered “zullo” and got 32 hits, all from November or December of 2014 (talk about fixation on Zullo). I think the were talking about Zullo before then.

So is Birther Report madly scrubbing content or something? That’s an interesting question. When you go to their home page, you can click “Load More” a few times, but that stops working on November 22, 2014.

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Are the pages gone, or just the scrolling and the search? I went back to one of my old articles from 2003 that links to Birther Report, and this is what I get:

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Other links give the same results.

It looks like Google’s cache of old BR pages is evaporating, but some remain, for example (click image for cached version):

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That leaves one with the non-searchable content at the Wayback Machine, but even that is spotty for some time periods. Going back to my 2013 article linking to BR, we do find an archived version (which I’ll put in my article), but that March 2013 Google cache result preceding is not archived.

One trick with the Wayback Machine is to list all the archived pages within a month. You could enter a query like this to get all BR archives listed for March 2013, for example.

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.birtherreport.com/2013/03/*

or for the year with

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.birtherreport.com/2013/*

Another way to get to Birther Report content is through their old domain, ObamaReleaseYourRecords.blogspot.com.

There are comments from BirtherReport suggesting some kind of a problem 6 and 4 weeks ago that is being “worked through.” Birther Report has always been a mess, with links to articles from Intense Debate that don’t work. Now it’s a disaster.

Staying anonymous online

If you’re concerned about staying anonymous online, check out the links at the end of this article. Here are just some tips from my personal experience.

1. Don’t share information unnecessarily

With powerful search engines, it becomes easy for information shared in one context to be connected with your identity in another. This is particularly dangerous with social media where you connect to friends and family. Does Facebook know your date of birth, the names of your parents, spouse or kids? A birth date and mother’s maiden name might be enough to compromise one of your online accounts. I personally don’t share information on Facebook outside my friends (after birthers started using Facebook information about me for harassment), but I still have Facebook friends that I don’t really know! 😳

You have to be aware, mindful and intentional to maintain an anonymous identity online. You have to be careful what you say, and where you say it. Take this snippet from the BirtherReport Google+ profile:

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It seems harmless enough, but it is a powerful hint. Orly Taitz named Thomas Washington in 2012 as the person behind Birther Report (assisted by Bob Nelson, unless Thomas Washington is just an alias). For several reasons, I agree with that identification. As of today one can view the 60 persons in Washington’s Google+ circle and see his video feed tests for Birther Report videos of Mike Zullo at the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association meeting. I haven’t researched mollesjohn except to note that he is a birther based on several YouTube video comments (just a click away) such as:

I see rosemarie443 is back doing what she’s paid to do: play the role of bigoted birther, in order to protect Obama and scroll off all relevant discussion.

2. Email addresses

If you’re trying to maintain an anonymous persona online, it will need an email address, one that you use for nothing else. You have to be intentional about keeping these separate. I recently sent out by accident a set of financial reports to our church council from my Dr. Conspiracy account. That was interesting.

One should take seriously the incident in Sweden of email addresses harvested from an online discussion platform, even though they were supposed to be hidden. The Obama Conspiracy Theories blog does NOT require you to provide a valid email address—just say "none@obamaconspiracy.org".

Don’t put your real name in your email address at all. You should assume that any time you use an email address, it will go somewhere you didn’t intend. One option for using an email address solely for the purpose of registering for some service, is to get a disposable email address from a service like Ten Minute Mail. I have found the Fake Name Generator page a lot of fun, where in addition to a full set of fake information, they will provide you with a working email address (not tried).

imageYou might think that when you send a private email message to someone, it stays private, but look at this screen shot from a brief filed by Christopher Strunk. I won’t show it full size, but what we see here is a list of persons, many with email addresses. I recognize one name on the list as one of the particularly nasty anonymous (but not really because they were careless) posters at BirtherReport.

Another source of email disclosure is online newsletters. I was going through my own email collection today and I found several right-wing newsletters that contained long lists of email addresses of those who also got the same mailing.

Newsletter Header

 

3. Domain registration

I was originally outed by one of Orly’s readers through the domain registration of this blog. When the blog started, it was intended to be a short-lived enterprise, and that no “Dr. Conspiracy” online persona would evolve. That changed slowly, but I didn’t think to change the domain registration. Some domain registrars offer anonymous registrations for a fee and some offer the service for free, such as DreamHost.

4. IP Addresses

Generally, someone cannot look up your name using an IP address without a court order, but you can be identified if you use the same IP address for your anonymous persona as you use for a public persona—and someone gets both. I can use, for example, an IP address to see when someone is trying to evade a ban here by changing their name. There are proxy services that obscure your IP address if this is a concern. I’ve never used one–I just wait until I am traveling to post some new persona at Orly’s blog.

See also:

References:

Taitz attacks!

Firefox users visiting the Orly Taitz web site today are seeing this message:

Reported Attack Page! warning message

Not long after Orly’s web site was restored following what she says was a hacking incident, I visited her site and saw a popup window that tried to get me to install some software. I detailed some of these popups in my article, “Taitz pop-up advertising more dodgy,” last February; and for a while those had stopped.

Now Google, through the Firefox browser, is issuing an attack warning. The specifics of the Google warning are:

Of the 97 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 9 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2014-06-27, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2014-06-27.

Malicious software includes 6 exploit(s), 3 trojan(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 4 new process(es) on the target machine.

Malicious software is hosted on 2 domain(s), including indolocker.com/, zamcheck.org/.

1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including zamcheck.org/.

This site was hosted on 4 network(s) including AS6245 (NETWORK-SOLUTIONS), AS55002 (DEFENSE-NET), AS19871 (NETWORK-SOLUTIONS-HOSTING).

This looks to me like the malware is being funneled through her advertising stream. This is similar to what brought Birther Report down for a while (Birther Report is hosted by Google).

Before I retired, one of the employees of my company accessed the Taitz web site on a company computer. It took two days to get the malware cleaned up.

Taitz on the other hand says to ignore the warning in two articles:

  •  If you unable to go on my site, go to Firefox security/preferences and type the url www.orlytaitzesq.com as preference. You will not be blocked. the site appear to be working fine for most people.
  • Obots are inserting software to trigger warning messages, clock on “Ignore this”. 699 media outlets connect to www.orlytaitzesq.com Please, spread the word that regime is trying to stifle

Articles on birther malware:

Google search: learned something

I’ve long been perplexed by the occasional Google search that returns pages without the keywords I specify. Here’s an example of a Google query that returns 5 pages, none of which have either of those two words:

("obama" OR "zullo") site:reedwrite.com

I posed this a question on the Google search forum, and I got an informative reply from Thomas P:

When you’re doing a search like

 "obama" OR "zullo" site:reedwrite.com 

– then you’re asking for pages under that domain, where either of those exact words are relevant.

 
When you’re doing a search like

 intext:"obama" OR intext:"zullo" site:reedwrite.com 

– then you’re asking for pages under that domain, where either of those exact words are found in the text of the pages.

Taitz has Google troubles too

I’ve written about the troubles at Birther Report that was acting as a vector for malware from one of its advertisers. Google Safe Sites identified the malware, and visitors using the Firefox browser were warned about the infection.

Orly Taitz has been noted for malware on her site in the past, but I haven’t heard of any infections through her site lately. What I have seen is that if you stay idle on her site for a while, something may pop up, including a fake message that your browser needs updating. Today, while researching another article, I was on her site and a window popped up with a buxom Asian girl pictured and the title, “Date Chinese Women.” That’s definitely on the lower tier of advertising. Even lower is this that appeared a little later:

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What happened was that the Taitz site tried to open the page in Firefox, but it was blocked as a phishing site, probably from a Google service. While not exactly malware, it is an example of Orly using dodgy sources for her advertising, and her total disregard for the user experience her site provides.

Orly had previously reported that her site was unreachable with the Google Chrome browser, but I didn’t have any problems when I tested this today.

What Happened to BR

In my initial report on Google’s shut-down of Birther Report, I included this from the Google report on the site:

2 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including madadsmedia.com/, burstnet.com/.

It appears that MadAdsMedia, an online supplier of advertising to BR, was itself struck by malware. It’s detailed in an article at Tech Worm, that says that thousands of websites were blocked by Google Safe Browsing as a result. OCConenct.com, for example is returning the Google warning as of this writing.

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MadAdsMedia contacted affected web sites, and so BR knows what’s going on. All BR has to do is to request that Google review their site, now that MadAdsMedia has fixed their problem. So why is BR moving to a new host anyway? Perhaps because this isn’t the first time Birther Report has run into conflict with Google terms of service. Comments appearing at various web sites (see link below) as coming from the BR owner says that in October 2013, Google shut off AdSense advertising at BR for violating its terms by “targeting individuals.” This latest seems to be the straw that goaded the camel to get moving on finally moving the BR site to a host with less restrictive policies.

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