Archive for the ‘Teh Interwebs’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at 3 June 2011

Category: Consume!, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

The following is a copy of a letter I have just sent to the lawyer that Times Higher Education referred me to earlier this afternoon. I did not hear from this gentleman before close of business today, so I did what I normally do in these situations… I continued to dig around in an effort to find out just what the hell these people were playing at.

The letter will reveal what I found about an hour ago. Monday may reveal if it is of any significance of not.

Until then, I leave you with this…

Dear Mr [lawyer’s name snipped],

I think it only fair to warn you that I have just isolated the Service Provider for Times Higher Education (THE) in my site tracking, and have found evidence that contradicts their claim not to have known about my site before May 13 (i.e. when I first emailed them, taking issue with their use of my name).

We were not aware of your blog and I assure you that there is no attempt to hi-jack.
(Phil Baty, May 13, via email)

As you can see here, their first mention of the name on their site (as an upcoming feature) was on May 5:

“Starting next week, Bloggerheads – what the blogs are saying”
http://www.freezepage.com/1307137423LHYVOYNNTI

This, BTW, makes it clear that the feature was originally meant to be a blog about blogs from the beginning, which is something Baty et al later tried to downplay/deny (a lot), but I digress.

My point is that I am detecting a visit from before May 13. From before May 5, even.

This is an important issue, as I still have every right to be upset about how THE reacted after the fact if they had merely blundered in initially without looking, but it strikes me as a strong indication of bad faith if THE were indeed aware of my site before using the Bloggerheads name. In fact, it might be taken by some as an indication of outright dishonesty.

I shan’t tell you the exact date/details just yet. Why not have their IT people have a peek at the relevant http records first, and find out what this reveals from their end? This simple investigation should take a few minutes and may reveal someone from a different department, or perhaps even a different office in the same building accessing my site, which would leave us mainly with the reaction after the fact to deal with. Of course, I’d probably have to take your/their word for some of what they say they have found, but right now I have the added insurance of withheld details (i.e. not only the date) so in the unlikely event that THE are foolish enough to pull a fast one, there is a good chance that any fiction will be found out, if you’ll pardon my alliteration.

By the way, this is an open letter, and it has been published on my site (minus your name/details, as you’ve shown no sign of requiring exposure so far). I hope that does not strike you as too confrontational, but the fact of the matter is that THE parked a tank on my lawn and tried to claim ownership of my humble board with a nail in it.

So, please, I beg of you; don’t be moaning about my board with a nail in it until you get that bloody tank off my lawn and repair the damage to my grass.

Cheers

The Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com








Posted by Tim Ireland at 3 June 2011

Category: Consume!, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

(Psst! If you are new to this issue, please read this first.)

The following is the guts of my correspondence with staff from Times Higher Education after they tried to claim ownership of the name ‘bloggerheads’, the name I created in 2001 (see screen capture below).

John Elmes and 'THE BLOGGERHEADS'

The correspondence clearly shows that their argument switches from a question of copyright to one of trade mark, and that they begin to seriously stonewall from the moment I called the latter bluff and registered the name as a trade mark. These key points have been highlighted (by me) in bold.

The overall exchange has been edited for brevity, and one individual email has been subject to a minor edit to remove details that should remain private for personal security reasons. As usual, any such edits (and/or corrections of minor typos etc.) are marked [like so]. The exchange up until the point they accuse me of bad manners is complete and unedited so you might make a judgement about my manners for yourself.

I’d like to think I showed considerable restraint when they offered to re-label it ‘THE Bloggerheads’. I made the mistake of assuming good faith, and I was confident the issue would make itself apparent almost immediately. I was wrong, obviously. John Elmes made a particular point of switching his use of the name to ‘The Bloggerheads’ at a key point in this dispute.

From: Tim Ireland
To: john.elmes@tsleducation.com
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 11:38 AM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

Please consider a [using] new name. This one’s taken.

Cheers

Tim

From: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 3:08 PM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

Thanks for your email, I appreciate your concern.

I just wanted to know if you had any copyright to the name. I only ask because my column is a small addition to a specialist higher education magazine, and the subject areas tend to differ drastically from yours.

I was having a look around the net and found this:
http://www.abeano.com/bloggerheads-new-for-2011-transparent-dummy-mag-tropical-waste/

It seems as though we aren’t the only ones to have utilised the expression ‘Bloggerheads’.

Kind regards,

John

John Elmes
Editorial Assistant
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: +44 (0)203 194 3315
www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

From: Tim Ireland
To: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

I raise the issue as a matter of manners. I am aware that others have shown poor manners, thanks.

Will you consider using your own, unique name?

T

From: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

I will raise it with my editors, but their view (they are the ones that came up with the name) was your site is distinctive enough to my column to remove any conflict. It is certainly different in terms of aesthetics, font and motivation, so we believe it won’t be an issue

Best,

John

John Elmes
Editorial Assistant
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: +44 (0)203 194 3315
www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

From: Tim Ireland
To: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
Sent: 13 May 2011 15:27
Subject: Re: ‘bloggerheads’

Please advise your editors that if you intend to promote yourself through Twitter, any hashtag you use will be the same as my username. We will most definitely intersect in a way that is an issue for me, and I will ask you again if you (or your editors) will seriously consider using a unique name of your/their own invention instead of hijacking the one I have been using since 2001.

T

From: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

Thanks for your emails to John Elmes.

We were not aware of your blog and I assure you that there is no attempt to hi-jack.

Times Higher Education (THE) is a specialist higher education magazine, and our “bloggerheads” is dedicated entirely to scholarly/higher education policy debates on line, covering blogs and social media. It is quite clearly distinct from your blog, with a clearly separate audience.

It is clearly labeled with the strap: “A weekly round up of the best on the scholarly web”.

We have no intention to promote this column on Twitter using the “bloggerheads” hashtag.

As a courtesy to you, we have also added the THE logo to the name, which is now: “THE BloggerHeads”

Kind regards,

Phil Baty

Deputy Editor, Times Higher Education
Editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3298
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/THEWorldUniRank
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimesHigherEd

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 4:07 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Thank you for that at least. I would prefer there is no room for confusion, and I reserve the right to protect the name ‘bloggerheads’ should it become an issue. I really would prefer that you consider changing the name to a unique name of your own invention, though, and think it would be wisest in the long run.

Tim

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 7:26 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Phil, despite your assurances, the predictable has happened and users in Twitter are referring to you as ‘bloggerheads’ and not ‘THEbloggerheads’ as promised. I also note that you continue to bill yourself as ‘bloggerheads’ on your site, and this is turning up in the top ten for searches for my website, crowding out other web presence[s] in my name:
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=416093

I once again request that you create your own unique name instead of using the name I have been using for over 10 years.

(Please don’t embarrass yourself by citing others’ use of the name; this use emerged in the middle of a campaign of harassment, and I fully intend to take the issue up with this other web user, as soon as I am able.)

Bloggerheads is a unique name of my own invention. You have no business using it. I ask you again to stop using it.

Instead, try inventing your own name. Like I did.

From: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:12 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Mr Ireland

Please forward me your trademarking documentation and I’m sure we will be happy to comply.

Kind regards

Ann

Ann Mroz
Editor
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3326
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/
Follow THE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/timeshighered
Follow Ann Mroz on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AnnMroz

From: Tim Ireland
To: “Mroz, Ann”
Cc: “Baty, Phil”
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Why not say what you mean? You are happy to trade off a name that I invented if I cannot defend myself with costly legal muscle, and you care nothing for the inconvenience it will cause or the lack of respect it shows.

I can easily prove that I created the name and have been using it on the web for 10 years. That has until recently been good enough for others and it should be good enough for you… unless of course, you are the type of organisation that likes to stamp on the little guy.

Even the New York Times had the good sense to modify their use of the name to ‘bloggINGheads’. They understand that marketing yourself on the web requires some sensitivity to others inhabiting the relevant community.

I will ask you one more time to show me a modicum of respect and engage your mind(s) just long enough to come up with a unique name of your own invention.

Please, show me the respect I am due. You would not like it if someone seized control of your name.

Tim Ireland

From: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Mr Ireland

No, I would not like it if someone seized control of our name which is why I took the trouble to protect it by legal means.

I always show respect to people who are polite.

Kind regards

Ann

Ann Mroz
Editor
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3326
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/
Follow THE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/timeshighered
Follow Ann Mroz on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AnnMroz

From: Tim Ireland
To: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Please do not pretend that everyone is in a position to defend themselves in this way, and please do not insult me further by calling my manners into question after the way you have treated me.

Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

T

From: Tim Ireland
To: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Allow me to explain the situation to you:

I will repeat that I have been subjected to an extended campaign of harassment, targeting myself and my family, causing great distress and considerable financial difficulty. I have never had cause to invest in a trade mark before, as for many years previous to this, simple respect within the web community was enough. I am certainly not in a strong position to rush out and do it now.

You risk compelling me to undertake this expense, and I do not think I am giving anything away by revealing that you may be able to swoop in an register it in your own name, despite your knowledge of my moral claim to it.

Neither move casts you in a good light, and I fully intend to make this dispute public if you refuse to be reasonable. I would remind you that you are seeking a brand to promote yourself in the blogging community, not distance yourself from it by charging in with a steamroller.

I will ask again: Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

T

From: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Tim,

We adopted the name “Bloggerheads” for a small column on page 24 of our magazine, without any awareness of your blog.

We note that the name is not protected by you, and is indeed used by others on the Internet.

We note that the content of the THE column is entirely unrelated to your blog – we look exclusively at social media on higher education issues, a very narrow field.

Our distinct content is clearly marked in a sub-heading to the column: “A weekly round-up of the best on the scholarly web”.

When you alerted us to your blog, as a courtesy, we immediately agreed to re-design the column masthead and change the name of the column to “THE Bloggerheads”, incorporating our protected brand “THE” (Times Higher Education”), to make the clear differences even more explicit.

The website now displays the column as “THE Bloggerheads”: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=416254&c=1

We have also agreed, again purely as a courtesy, that we will only promote the column as “THE Bloggerheads” on Twitter and other social media.

We have been courteous and considerate throughout, and have made these clear concessions as a matter of good will, without any obligation on our part at all.

We feel these concessions are quite sufficient and entirely reasonable.

I trust that in the event that you decide to make this “dispute” public, you will reproduce this response in full.

Thank you for your correspondence,

Phil Baty

Deputy Editor, Times Higher Education
Editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3298
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/THEWorldUniRank
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimesHigherEd

And, as you will note, that is exactly what I have done. I have reproduced their response in full. In fact the full exchange above is entirely unedited, and I am really pissed off about being compelled to have to take it to this step because it necessitates a public acknowledgement of specific difficulty my stalker has caused me. Normally, this is something to be avoided with people engaging in this type of harassment, as it tends to encourage them.

Unfortunately, to protect my sole source of income, a site I have invested 10 years of my life in, the point must be made publicly that both Ann Mroz and Phil Baty were made aware of the issues surrounding an immediate investment in a trade mark registration.

Back to the correspondence:

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:41 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

How am I back talking to you now, Phil? Is it because you were the person who claimed to have invented the name, thereby causing this dispute?

I have already explained that I was in no position to protect myself from the small number of two-bit operations who also sought to capitalise on my name. I have been in contact with these other parties since you sought to capitalise on my name yourself and use their hijacking as an excuse. Please don’t embarrass yourself further by using these people as cover (or by excusing your ‘mere’ use of it in the back pages of your magazine). You already admit that you chose to use the name to promote your web initiative without first determining if someone else in the web community was using the name (a simple search in Google would have alerted you to my blog and the various other web presences in my name using this same name) so you cannot now defend its continued use by pretending that you were always aware of this.

I am bloggerheads. It is my creation, I use the name to blog about blogging, and I have done so for 10 years.

Specialised arena or not, you seek to blog about blogging, and despite your assurances/concessions, people are already using my name to refer to your web round-up.

Oh, and we are most certainly in dispute, despite what your scare quotes might imply, and I would welcome the opportunity to air this matter in full, as well as your earlier correspondence and the arrogance it reveals:

I trust that in the event that you decide to make this “dispute” public, you will reproduce this response in full.

Despite your tangential defence about what may appear in page 24 of your magazine, you are using my name, you are using it on the web as well as in print, you did not even have enough regard for the web community to check if someone was using the name ‘bloggerheads’ before committing to it, and you have been stubborn, evasive and unreasonable since I called you on it.

I have repeatedly stated that I would much prefer it if you created your own name. This challenge appears to be beyond you, or perhaps you are the type of person who refuses to back down even when they know they have made a mistake.

I will ask you again:

Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

T

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:56 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

I might also add this [snipped for security reasons]

In short, you compel me to commit to considerable expense and inconvenience at a time of great difficulty.

I would really rather that you were reasonable about the matter. Why not use a name of your own invention? Where is the problem here? Have you foolishly invested money in use of the name without doing so much as a Google search for any other instances of it? Is that why you compel me to commit to considerable expense and inconvenience? Or are you merely being stubborn because of the arrogance this suggests?

T

It was at this stage I considered the only way to end the matter without wasting days/weeks of my time was to meet the trade mark challenge. We had a lonnnng discussion about it in this house. We couldn’t really afford the expense, but Bloggerheads was a vital source of income. How could we not protect this asset from someone who was so obviously hostile in their seizure of it?

After the trade mark registration process was completed and relevant documentation secured, I called their bluff:


From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Congratulations. You have compelled me to undergo the expense or registering my unique name as a trademark at a time when we can ill-afford it.

Now, are you going to be so difficult that you continue to use the name in the ~6 months it will take to process the application, or are you going to finally decide to play-act at being reasonable now you’ve put us through this major inconvenience?

Tim

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 1:09 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Well? I’ve called your bluff. What’s your response?

T

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

To be clear; I expect a response this afternoon.

Putting aside the patronising way you dismiss my moral claim to this name, you gave me the impression that if the name was protected as a trade mark you would comply with my wishes. I have today begun the registration process, and now you refuse to budge from your existing position, even though you appear to have NO CLUE about the circumstances in which the name came to be used in your magazine and on your website. You can’t even name the sub-editor you imply presented the name as an original piece of work.

Did you mean what you said about trade mark, or was it merely a bluff? I have cause to be upset with you either way, but I will be especially upset if it is the latter, after I explained my circumstances to you.

Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

Tim

From: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 2:18 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

Can you please direct all further correspondence (and phone calls) on this matter to our Information Assurance Officer, Arshid Bashir.

He is on arshid.bashir@tsleducation.com
Or 020 3194 3384

Thank you.

Phil Baty

Deputy Editor, Times Higher Education
Editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3298
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/THEWorldUniRank
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimesHigherEd

After offering a summary of the issue that was complete bollocks, Arshid Bashir refused to engage on the matter of trade mark (and tort, as raised in the email that followed his summary):


Bashir, Arshid Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 4:36 PM
To: Tim Ireland

Dear Mr Ireland,

If I can first of all very briefly introduce myself: I am responsible for independently assuring to the TSL board that all functions and activities comply with all legal and regularity requirements and obligations.

Looking at your concerns expressed over the exchange of emails, can I suggest that we limit ourselves to the core issue and not become embroiled or distracted by side-issues or assumptions and conjecture.

If I can summarise your position:

1. It is your contention that you have prior rights on the title ‘Bloggerheads’ which you have used on your website for a number of years, but which had not been registered as a trademark.

2. And, although an accommodation was mutually and informally agreed a few weeks back by prefixing our use of the word ‘Bloggerheads’ with the word ‘THE’, you have subsequently became dissatisfied based on search engines results ranking our content too highly, relative to yours.

3. You are also unhappy we may use ‘Bloggerheads’ as a Twitter hashtag as this is your Twitter user name. We have clarified this is not our intent.

Whilst I can appreciate your views on ‘ownership’ of this word and subsequent discontent that your web presence may have been impacted; it is clear that TSL is not, and has not been in breach of any trademarks or any other proprietary rights.

I am sorry that our position may not be one that you would like, however TSL has neither sought nor would wish to seek to undermine the rights of others. In my opinion I also think it is highly unlikely that consumers or visitors to our respective content would confuse either web site with the other and therefore unlikely to be detrimental to you or us.

Can I also advise you that all future communication from within TSL will be by myself.

Yours sincerely

Arshid Bashir

From: Tim Ireland
To: Arshid.Bashir@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com, Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 4:50 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Your summary of my position is rife with assumption and conjecture, but happily I do not have to explain myself any further to protect my rights.

I have now approached an experienced intellectual property lawyer and I have been informed that it appears that the THE is committing the tort of “passing off” in respect of “Bloggerheads” and that it appears you would not have a sensible defence to a claim. I have a substantial and prior trading reputation in respect of my expertise of blogging and web-related matters that pre-dates your entire website by many years.

Accordingly, please remove the references to “Bloggerheads” from your site immediately.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – Both the Editor and Deputy Editor have been CCed, because it was they who (a) gave me the false impression that I needed a registered trade mark to protect my rights, and (b) gave me the false impression that they would cooperate were such a trade mark registered. With all due respect, this matter has been needlessly complicated by these organ grinders playing lawyer, and I have every right to inform them of their error and expect an apology to go with their immediate cooperation.

Arshid Bashir answered this challenge… by refusing to address it in any way. In a phone call (that I recorded) I asked Bashir if he had a response to the tort issue. He replied; “we do not have to answer every email you send us”. I pressed him further, and he responded; “I do not think it would be productive for us to debate the matter”. Then he hung up on me.

Arshid Bashir now refuses to answer my emails or take my calls. Any attempt to reach Ann Mroz, Phil Baty or John Elmes results in my being referred to Arshid Bashir (who now refuses to answer my emails or take my calls).

I think it’s safe to interpret not only the copyright and trade mark challenges as a bluff, but the ‘concessions’ also. Here I will remind you that the ‘concession’ of referring to themselves as ‘THE Bloggerheads’ (i.e. T.H.E. Bloggerheads) quickly changed to their use of the name as ‘The Bloggerheads’ (i.e. the one, only and original accept-no-substitutes bloggerheads) at a peak moment in this dispute.

As for some of what they claim in mitigation, most of it is laughable and contradictory in places (e.g. senior editors blamed an un-named junior editor for the decision to use the name, the junior editor I spoke to blamed senior editors), plus it clearly paints a picture where the matter is mainly insignificant from their point of view. If this were the case, then it would be an insignificant matter for them to stop using my name.

However, they refuse to stop using my name, and I think this correspondence includes several instances revealing bad faith on their part. Key to this was the stark bluff from Ann Mroz that she would respect my rights if I went through with the trade mark paperwork.

After compelling me to reinforce my ownership with trade mark, they now appear to be waiting for me to engage lawyers, at further expense they know I will have difficulty meeting.

(Instead of using a rude word here, I will let you choose your own, but I ask that you not repeat it under comments. Let’s not do these people any favours.)

UPDATE (2pm) – Times Higher Education have just emailed to say that they “can confirm we have decided to change the name of our column in THE”. Unfortunately, they offer very little detail beyond this apart from some apparent conditions (!) so I have responded to the relevant requests, and will let you know of any outcome in due course.

UPDATE (damn near 5pm) – Times Higher Education have ignored my response to their conditions/requests, and have instead referred me to their lawyer, who has not yet been in touch. It looks like they mean to leave me hanging all weekend. Charming.

UPDATE (11:45pm) – Their lawyer might not have managed to make contact today, but Times Higher Education have late this afternoon removed from sight every page on their site that used the title ‘bloggerheads’. So we’re on our way to a resolution at last.

By the way, you may note in this correspondence that THE claimed to have been unaware of Bloggerheads before May 13 (i.e. when I first emailed them, taking issue with their use of my name). About an hour ago, I looked into my site tracking data and detected a visit from before May 13:

Bloggerheads – THE tank on my lawn (and how/when it got there)

I’m a guy who likes to be positive right down to my blood cells, so I am hoping this is not the indication of bad faith it appears to be.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 1 June 2011

Category: Consume!, Marketing, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

[MINI-UPDATE (03 Jun) – THE object to my use of the word ‘dishonest’ in this headline. I stand by my use of the word, but as a courtesy, I have placed this prominent and immediate link to the relevant correspondence so readers might better judge for themselves.]

Regulars of Bloggerheads will be aware that my family and I been through some difficult times recently. During the rolling crisis, several two-bit operations have sought to hijack the ‘bloggerheads’ name that I created, but my priority has been those attempting to associate this unique name (and mine) with paedophilia, stalking and what have you.

Recently, I complained to staff at the magazine Times Higher Education about their use of ‘bloggerheads’ – a unique name that I created to title my blog about blogs – to title a web round-up feature (i.e. their blog about blogs). I repeatedly made it clear that I wanted them to come up with their own name, especially when they clearly planned to use it to blog about other weblogs. They pretended there was no room for confusion, offered to put ‘the’ in front of it as a “concession” and left it at that. Almost immediately references to their magazine started turning up in Twitter and Google in searches for my unique name.

I complained again. They gave me the very clear impression that, were the name protected as a trade mark, they would immediately comply with my wishes.

Several times I pointed out to them that I had a significant and demonstrable moral claim to the name dating back many years, but they dismissed this notion in the most patronising way possible. I also pointed out that if they seek to market themselves on the via web/blogs, then there are far better ways of going about it than hijacking an existing name, which is one good reason why the expense of a trade mark has never been necessary before now in the decade I have been using the name ‘bloggerheads’.

I also pointed out that I was busy battling an ongoing campaign of harassment, and their position compelled me to spend money we could ill-afford at the moment, but they stood firm on their position (along with the ridiculous implication that they had searched the trade mark database but not Google when they decided on using this name as their own).

Ultimately, Times Higher Education Editor Ann Mroz left me with no choice but to trade mark the name so I might call their bluff and take further steps to protect it from recent misuse and/or appropriation by their organisation and others.

But now I have begun the trade mark registration process, they have changed their position, and plan to continue using the name as they have before!

That’s a class act, all the way. After compelling me to trade mark the name, now they’re going to compel me to await the completion of the registration process (and then, presumably, take them to court) before they will be in any way reasonable about this.

Their Deputy Editor can’t even name the sub-editor they claim ‘invented’ the word, but Times Higher Education staff are unwilling to admit that they made a mistake by using this unique name without first researching it. They even have the audacity to minimise the significance of its use from their point of view (e.g. it’s ‘only’ on page 24 of their magazine), but surely if it’s no big deal to them and a bloody big deal to me, then that’s even more reason for them to back off and do what they should have done in the first place; come up with a unique name of their own invention.

[Other, smaller, organisations who have recently sought to appropriate this name have also been contacted about this matter today. I am hoping that they will be more reasonable. I certainly can’t see how they can top this response from Times Higher Education. I realise THE are in the education sector, but surely they’ve grown out of playground games by now.]

UPDATE – Check the comments for a contribution by ‘Malcolm Kent’. It was submitted using false details, and is an obvious sock-puppet.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 6 July 2010

Category: Old Media, Teh Interwebs

[Please note that this post contains uncensored profanity.]

Cloaca (x 2)I would like you to consider choosing (and using) the word ‘cloaca’ ahead/instead of ‘cunt’ in your written communications on the internets and in the Twitters.

I will begin by outlining the deficiencies of ‘cunt’ as a useful word in mainstream discussion, and then go on to point out the qualities of ‘cloaca’ that make it a worthy replacement. Please bear with me through a few swears:

Why/when the word ‘cunt’ is often needlessly offensive

I have an anus that follows me everywhere and there’s no question about my being attached to it, but use of the word ‘arsehole’ as abuse does not offend me as an anus-owner, as it should not offend you.

I personally don’t feel violated in any way when people use ‘prick’, ‘cock’ or ‘dick’ as a form of abuse, even though I own a penis and am quite fond of it. I can see how a woman using one of those terms to attack me purely on the basis of my gender might offend me, but it would be foolish to read this into every use.

Therefore, even though I don’t own one, I have in the past deemed it appropriate to describe another person as a ‘cunt’ (and not in a nice way).

However, I think there is an inequality at work here that unfairly places ‘cunt’ at the top of the anatomy-based abuse index:

– cunt
– arsehole
– cock, prick, dick, etc.

In this sense, ‘cunt’ is potentially offensive to all women. Not through the general use of the word, even as most forms of abuse, but through its placement at the top of the body-part chart. Should a word for female genitalia really be the most offensive thing you can call someone?

Obviously, if your intention is to abuse/offend as many people as possible, ‘cunt’ can get you halfway home without difficulty, but if your intention is to abuse only one person (or a small group) where is the justice in any potential/widespread collateral damage just by using the wrong word?

I’m sure we can better progress as a species without this kind of inequality, and I would like you to consider using the word ‘cloaca’ in place of ‘cunt’ as part of your recommended daily allowance of abuse.

If you still have trouble understanding/appreciating why you should do this, ask yourself who really wins when you call a notorious woman-hater like Richard Littlejohn a ‘cunt*’.

[*Poetry Corner: A lot of people have said it; yes, including me. But it was said well and said best when said by Stewart Lee.]

Why ‘cloaca’ is a worthy replacement

Richard Littlejohn is also your path to understanding why ‘cloaca’ is my chosen replacement:

In zoological anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts of certain animal species. The word comes from Latin, and means sewer. All birds, reptiles, and amphibians possess this orifice, from which they excrete both urine and faeces, unlike placental mammals, which possess two separate orifices for evacuation. (source)

See? Like Richard Littlejohn, a cloaca is a cunt, and an arsehole, and a pisshole (and sometimes even more)… all at the same time!

To my mind, there is no question about its rightful place at the top of the chart:

– cloaca
– cunt
– arsehole
– cock, prick, dick, etc.

There are other benefits, too:

a) Even if cloaca-owning critters could read, there would be no risk of offence; the decision to favour a multi-purpose orifice is entirely logical and does not unfairly single out or denigrate birds, reptiles, amphibians or monotremes. Plus, it should be pointed out that (some) humans have cloacas, too.

b) ‘Cloaca’ is not a widely-known word, and there is often a goatse-like aspect to its use that should delight the enlightened communicator. For example; if this word were directly neatly at the right target** they might never look at eggs in quite the same way again. Any bystanders to the conversation may also be educated about biology to some extent as a result – and left in no question about your meaning and/or the depth of your feeling – but, importantly, they will not be personally offended or wounded on a gender/inequality level.

[**Vegans may wish to avoid its use as abuse when confronting omnivores, as this may be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to spoil their breakfast(s).]

c) ‘Cloaca’ will sail through most swear filters and pass most ‘SFW’ tests. Unless you drag a chicken into the office and wave it in the boss’s face to make your point, in which case you’re on your own.

d) The latin origins of ‘cloaca’ couldn’t be more perfect for its intended use on the internets; we have enough shit to deal with, and every fresh outlet of pure sewage is to be discouraged.

Now, we’ve had some laughs, but I am serious about this, and to show my dedication to this proposal and further spread the gospel, I have decided to make Richard Littlejohn some if not many of the top/main search results for ‘cloaca’ in Google Images***. (I am hoping that people will instinctively pick up on my point, or eventually come to see things my way.)

[***Trivia: In Google, there are 90,000 searches/month globally for ‘cloaca’… and only 12,000 searches/month for ‘richard littlejohn’]

In summary: using ‘cloaca’ in place of ‘cunt’

It really is very simple; I would like you to buck the trend and sacrifice an extra letter [two extra letters. duh.] the next time you’re tempted to call someone a ‘cunt’, and use ‘cloaca’ instead.

Linking to this post from time to time (or using the http://bit.ly/Cloaca link or the #cloaca hashtag in Twitter) will reassure your followers that it’s a brave stand for equality, and nothing against their budgie.

Cheers all.

[Psst! If you’re a media-watch blogger and have a strong view and some relevant evidence about Richard Littlejohn that you’d like to share, you can help with the Google Images malarkey. Just drop me a line in the Twitters and I’ll clue you in.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at 20 May 2010

Category: Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

My main issue with our new Minister for the Internets is the scant regard he has for the general web community. At times, it’s almost as if our ways are completely alien to him, and stuff that seems obvious or second nature to us completely escapes him. That, or he’s one of those two-faced bastards who really don’t give a tuppeny stuff.

[Psst! I suspect the latter given the way he’s repeatedly turned a blind eye to local Tory web activists smearing an opponent as a paedophile (and me as a computer criminal). You need to be a special brand of bastard to stand by and allow that kind of stuff to go on in your neighbourhood when it suits you.]

Recently, I revealed that Jeremy Hunt doesn’t maintain an archive on his ‘blog’; he just throws old entries away, comments and all, never to appear again. He doesn’t even understand (or care) how impolite this is to the people who trust him with those comments.

And now the election is over and he’s got what he wanted from his Twitter audience, Jeremy Hunt has just deleted almost every tweet he made during the election. Tellingly, he has had time to make dozens of manual deletions, but has not even bothered to update his profile, which still reads as follows:

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for South West Surrey and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Here’s a screen capture of the only tweets left on his Twitter account today:

Jeremy Hunt respects you THIS much

And here, for the record, are twenty of the tweets that Jeremy Hunt tried to erase from history.

Note how it begins with a pledge to his constituents; the link to this has been erased, and the pledge itself is also due for deletion soon (along with everything else that turns up on his ‘blog’). Does Jeremy Hunt not know or care what message this sends about his commitment to that pledge or any other?

– My pledge to South West Surrey: http://www.jeremyhunt.org/blog.aspx
12:41 PM May 3rd via web

– Good canvassing in Haslemere yesterday, visiting Frensham, Wrecclesham, Godalming & North Farnham today
9:06 AM May 1st via Twikini

– Nick Clegg contradicted LD policy on benefits, Steve Webb says JSA should be unconditional #leadersdebate
9:47 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Oh so Nick does support anmesty now….#leadersdebate
9:27 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– U turn on anmesty by Clegg after u turn on euro – what next? #leadersdebate
9:25 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Ahem Brown visited manufacturer today where worker told him company was flourishing DESPITE him #leadersdebate
9:15 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Clegg shameless u turn distancing himself from euro which he championed last year #leadersdebate
9:06 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– So Nick Clegg has never accepted donations from fund managers then? Mmmmm#leadersdebate
9:02 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Best explanation from DC ever on why Conservatives will rein in bankers #leadersdebate
8:59 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Who are the vice chancellors of parties Nick?#leadersdebate
8:46 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Keep grinning Gordon wins us millions of votes #leadersdebate
8:44 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Just arriving in Chippenham to help our brilliant candidate Wilfred EJ & greeted by a downpour. Need a Wiltshire cuppa
12:30 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Just been canvassing in Portsmouth with our candidate Flick Drummond & didn’t meet a single LibDem voter
11:05 AM Apr 29th via Twikini

Wilkinson_David: Off to BBC London Election Special in Stratford with @jowellt @jeremy_hunt @thomasbrake @georgegalloway Hope I can get a question in
4:48 PM Apr 27th via web
Retweeted by Jeremy_Hunt

#leadersdebate Gordon Brown just made biggest gaffe of campaign but denying responsibility for Labour leaflets
9:02 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– Don’t think Miriam will be inviting DC for tea and cake #leadersdebate
8:54 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate best exposition ever from DC of Big Society
8:50 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate Clegg ‘u can’t keep a lid on sin’ does he want to be next pope?
8:39 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate Nick Clegg script: there’s always an easy answer even when there isn’t e.g nuclear
8:33 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate Brown hasn’t flown because he shut the flipping airspace
8:27 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

[Twitter users may note that Hunt begins the Leaders’ Debate a little bit confused about the difference between a username and a hashtag. I’ve left these dead links in place, as they’re instructive. You may also note that there are no replies. Yes, this sample is typical. To Hunt, Twitter was very much a one-way channel.]

UPDATE (1pm) – Jeremy Hunt has responded by (finally) updating his profile… and deleting the three remaining tweets on his account!

I think by this stage it’s pretty safe to guess what the underlying message is from the new Minister for the Internets:

Correction: Jeremy Hunt respects you THIS much

UPDATE (8pm) – Almost forgot to update with a link to today’s Telegraph article, including a response from Mr Hunt’s office:

Telegraph – Jeremy Hunt deletes all tweets critical of Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats: Many of Mr Hunt’s tweets criticising the Lib Dems are potentially embarrassing given the Lib-Con coalition, but a spokeswoman for the minister denied there was any attempt to airbrush the past. All of the South West Surrey MP’s campaign tweets have now been deleted because his ministerial role represents “a new chapter and we are starting afresh”, she said. The spokeswoman added: “They were pre-government and we are now tweeting post-government. He is going to carry on tweeting, and his updates will appear on the DCMS website.” She confirmed that Mr Hunt updated his Twitter account personally, and would continue to do so. He has more than 3,000 followers.

Jeremy Hunt later attempted to reassure us in person with this tweet, in which he appears to imply that some concerns may not be genuine:

Correction: Jeremy Hunt respects you so VERY much

Problem is, no-one’s really buying it, and that he thinks this to be the issue shows once again that Hunt hasn’t even begun to get it.

[Psst! Jeremy! It is not just about what you do/don’t have to hide. It is about the way you pretend that things were never said. It is about the way you refuse to stand by what you publish and simply erase it instead. If those tweets were of no consequence, then why not leave them be? If you regretted them and didn’t wish to stand by them, why not issue a retraction and/or an apology to Nick Clegg (and others)? Oh, and perhaps have the courtesy to explain to us voters why your position has changed on any/all of it. Don’t pretend the latter concept is insignificant or alien to you; during the election and long before that, throughout your political career, you’ve challenged others to stand by or account for their past statements, and you damn well know it.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at 23 April 2010

Category: Teh Interwebs, Video

#freefilm is a project designed to prompt discussion of the Digital Economy Act 2010 [#deact] and politics in general

Members of the public are invited to join the project by editing their own campaign videos using the following as kit pieces (should you not have the time/resources to make your own material):

Music: This moneyed mix comes to us from (and is available via) Alastair Cameron:
Download the music here

The choice of music is quite deliberate, and could be defended any number of ways as fair use, if the system didn’t favour the moneyed studios to such an absurd degree. But that’s kind of the point.

Video: You can access all sorts of public domain footage at the Prelinger archives. My video features footage from Yesterday’s Over Your Shoulder (1940) and Master Hands: Part I (1936), and I’m really liking the look of Despotism (1946) for a possible follow-up.

All of this video footage is in the public domain, but you interpret fair use on the music at your own risk. I advise against trying it with YouTube, who fold faster than Superman on laundry day… but if you wish to assert your rights there, I can’t stop you. Rupert Murdoch could squash you like a bug with no grounds for doing so, but again we stray toward the point.

So that’s it, really. Use the materials and play with the formula as you please.

I’ve made the following film to kick things off. It tells the story of little grey men who just don’t get the web, but tinker on regardless with expert guidance from the good people in the showbusiness. I hope you like it.

The Minister for the Internets :: a #freefilm about #deact from Tim Ireland on Vimeo.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 16 March 2010

Category: Teh Interwebs

Tameside Eye – WHO Smeared Jonny Reynolds?: Labour are well underway in the process for selecting a new candidate to replace Stalybridge & Hyde MP, James Purnell who resigned in February. As with any selection, it wouldn’t be complete without a good old fashioned smear with candidates battling it out with each other for the £64k job…

When I see stuff like this, the first thing i usually do is run the relevant IP(s) through Wikipedia’s back-end, because usually the type of person who’ll attack others from behind a sock-puppet in email and/or on blogs will do the same there, usually with the same target. (I could name names, but I’m trying to discourage onanism this week, to see us through the recent hanky shortage.)

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the IP address referenced in the above post that resulted in a catch today (195.8.168.252) is one that is likely to be used by many people working for Tameside Council. So I am not by any means suggesting that this is the same person, only that it’s an interesting place to look.

Two lightweight but amusing examples from a quick scratch of the surface:

1. This effort, lashing out blindly at James Purnell raised a smile:

He backstabbingly betrayed Gordon Brown and the Labour party in a effort to somehow further his career.

2. This is clearly ‘link spam’. Someone working for Tameside Council spam-linked the website gmpchelp.com and they can’t even spull pripper:

[http://www.gmpchelp.com Computer Reapir Company (Greater Manchester)]

Lots more to find by browsing through past anonymous edits of Wikipedia via the IP 195.8.168.252

There’s also a whole page here with nothing but people talking about the many questionable edits made to Wikipedia using this IP address, but I’m sure the locals will be able to make more sense of this spoor than I will, and anyone in a hurry need only look at this summary from one of the editors in the relevant Blog Logs: “Long-term vandal. has been using this address for a year. registered to a council but no evidence of good-faith users using this IP”

I’m sure any hunt through that lot will be a long and happy one. An unknown number of people have been blundering about for quite some time, and it looks like a gift that’ll keep on giving.

[Hello, Tameside peeps. Happy hunting. Here’s one or two we bagged down my neck of the woods. God help us when the bastards get smarter than this.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at 25 February 2010

Category: Teh Interwebs

[NOTE – Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. Pyra Labs (Blogger.com) was acquired by Google in 2003, YouTube in 2006.]

Evening Standard – Google bosses convicted over abuse video of Down’s syndrome boy

Google today vowed to appeal, saying in a statement: “We are deeply troubled by this conviction, it attacks the very principles of freedom on which the internet is built.”

Two executives, David Drummond and Peter Fleischer, and former employee George Reyes were accused of negligence. Prosecutors said the video remained online for two months even though some web users had posted comments asking for it to be taken down.

Judge Oscar Magi absolved the three of defamation and acquitted a fourth defendant altogether.

Mr Drummond, who is Google’s chief legal officer, vowed to fight his conviction. He said: “I am outraged by the decision … If individuals like myself and my Google colleagues who had nothing to do with the harassing incident, its filming or its uploading onto Google Video can be held criminally liable solely by virtue of our positions at Google every employee of any internet hosting service faces similar liability.”

The case stems from an incident in 2006 when four boys in Turin filmed and uploaded a 191-second clip of them bullying a schoolmate with Down’s syndrome. It shows the youths making fun of the boy, before punching and kicking him. One of the attackers then makes a mocking call to Viva Down, an advocacy group for people with Down’s syndrome. The complaint was brought by the charity and the boy’s father. “The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police,” Google said.

And there’s your weak spot, hiding in that sentence right there; it took the involvement of police to get the video removed, after months of people complaining about it. The core deceit here is that Google is talking about the things they are not responsible for under a flag of internets freedom, while neatly brushing over what they are responsible for.

Google failed in their duty to this individual and the public in general because their facilities for reporting abuse of their publishing/communications facilities are inadequate. Further, I am about to show you that they are aware of this but do not care.

Over the past year, I’ve been subjected to a planned campaign of harassment that has involved the repeated publication of my ex-directory home address, directed at people thought to be hostile towards me. The purpose of this is to cause me fear of violence if not actual harm.

The following is a claim from an executive who works for Google about their response time for things like this:

“Regarding the removal of confidential data: once it’s brought to our attention, we make every attempt to respond right away, and in no event longer than 48 hours.”

Now, let’s take a look at their actual response times:

YouTube

My home address was submitted as a comment under a series of YouTube videos on 27 September, 2009. When these comments were deleted, the address was instead posted on the profile page for the relevant account (which was in turn promoted by the good people at Kooba Radio and Redwire Design). Despite immediate then repeated complaints to YouTube through their ‘support’ systems, then by email and fax, the account stayed live for days that stretched into weeks and then months. It wasn’t until I got in touch at an executive level (and believe me, these contact details are NOT easy to find) that anything was done about it. Even then, Google claimed the account was suspended immediately on January 15, 2009 when it was still live on the morning of January 21, 2010… even the delay after the delay was longer than 48 hours.

In total, I was left waiting 3 months and 26 days… just short of 4 months.

Further, the page ‘removed’ by Blogger.com/Google staff is still visible in Google’s search database today (25 February, 2010), which brings our total response time for Google as a whole to 4 months and 29 daysand counting. More on this point in a moment.

Blogger.com

On 30 September, 2009 my home address was published on a Blogger.com-hosted account under the headline “Tim Ireland the internet stalker” with a claim that I had “smeared, picked fights with or stalked” a long list of people including Nadine Dorries, Iain Dale and Paul Staines. Again, immediate then repeated complaints were ignored for days that stretched into weeks and then months. Cleverly, Blogger.com refuse to tell me exactly when this account was suspended, suggesting it’s a matter of privacy (what?!), so I would be unable to give you a complete response time if it weren’t for the fact that this ‘removed’ page also remained live in Google’s search database until sometime after January 17, 2010

Total response time for Google: a minimum of 3 months, 21 days

In both cases, content was removed by one arm of Google while it remained live under the auspices of another. There does not appear to be any kind of synergy or alert system in place that ensures removal of inappropriate content from Google’s search database after it has been removed (by Google staff) from Blogger.com or YouTube; it’s like some bizarre parody of Communist Russia that forces me to join one queue for bread and another for butter. Why is there no standard channel of communication between abuse teams that addresses this issue?

(Incidentally, Blogger.com continue to host ~50 false claims that I’m a convicted paedophile and refuse to remove them, citing freedom of speech. They do not recognise the danger a public accusation of paedophilia represents in this nation of tabloid ‘justice’, and now refuse to discuss the matter.)

Gmail

On 20 November, 2009 a threat was issued that someone planned to use a Gmail account to pass my personal data onto Nigerian/Russian scammers. The threat alone was a clear violation of their Terms of Service, so this was reported to Gmail immediately . No action was taken, even after December 26, 2009 when multiple emails began from this account clearly impersonating me while forwarding sensitive/confidential data such as my home address.

On January 15, 2010 this matter was raised with Rick Klau, Business Product Manager at Blogger (yes, the same person who refused to tell me when that Blogger account was disabled). Initially, Rick was kind enough to pass my concerns on to YouTube, but the Gmail matter took a little longer. In fact, it wasn’t addressed until February 10, 2010 (almost a month later) when Rick was busy giving me the brush-off. Instead of passing my concerns on to Gmail, he directed me to this generic support portal.

See what I mean about queues for bread and butter? He knew I had to wait months for a response from Blogger and YouTube and Gmail, it was within his power to move/pass things along to Gmail just as he did with YouTube, but instead he directed me to join the queue and start again!

The relevant account was still live on 20 February, 2010 (and is probably still live today).

Total response time for Google: a minimum of 3 monthsand counting. I’ve not heard a word back from Gmail about any of it.

(There is also an account that may have been used to impersonate me from 06 October, 2009 onwards. Verifying if this account exists myself involves engaging with the people harassing me, which the police have advised me not to do, so on Jan 15 I asked Rick Klau to ask Gmail about it. So far, I’ve heard nothing back about this, either.)

Google

Rick Klau is not the only person at Google who is aware of this. The wider matter (including many specifics) has also been brought to the attention of Oliver Rickman, Manager of Google UK Communications and Public Affairs, and Rachel Whetstone, Vice President of Communications for Google (Europe).

I have tried to alert Google to an entirely insufficient approach to abuse of their facilities and have been given the brush-off at an executive level.

In other words, Google know that their response time for abuse is far from adequate, they have repeatedly turned a blind eye to this problem, and I can prove it.

To close, here is the last letter I sent to Rick Klau:

from Tim Ireland
to Rick Klau
date Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 4:28 PM
subject Re: Blogger and comments mentioning you

Rick, let me explain where your perspective may be letting you down:

You don’t think any people/police have had issues reaching you because 100% of the people who’ve made contact with you managed to … make contact with you. Do I actually have to point out that this isn’t an entirely representative sample? You appear to be turning a blind eye to the possibility that there are people who have failed to make contact with your department and you may not know about this because…. they haven’t made contact with your department.

I can tell you now for a fact that anyone submitting a police complaint involving anonymous online harassment has to do a lot of legwork themselves or risk letting their tormentor(s) off the hook. It was certainly the case in the investigation relevant to the attacks on me (many of which you inexplicably continue to host).

In fact, police would have been unaware of the role played by another man if I’d not pursued a number of providers personally. I found it was up to the victim to gather most of the evidence; mainly what the police brought to the table was the authority to reveal names behind IP/email addresses. I stand by my criticism of Google and their failure/refusal to cooperate with my efforts to halt this harassment and I reject your attempt to suggest that it all would’ve gone much smoother had the police simply contacted you through the usual channels, thought it important, etc. In fact, I take offence at this or any other attempt to belittle me or downplay what I have been through.

You assure me that Google’s response time for ‘sensitive data’ matters is measured in hours, when I have shown you that it has been – across the board, in my experience – more a matter of weeks and months. Well over 3 months in one example you are aware of.

(On this note, I’m disappointed you would assure me of the adequacy of your response time on Blogger.com but refuse to go on the record about the specific date you actually managed to get around to deleting the blog in question.)

Then, rather than take my concerns seriously, you seek to give me the brush off, pretend that it’s none of your concern, and direct me back to the automated channels that let me down so badly in the first place.

I am trying to tell you that that Google is failing to protect vulnerable people. I am trying to alert you to a widespread failure of your system to address harassment in a timely manner.

Are you seriously going to ignore those warnings and file it under ‘not my problem’?

If you genuinely don’t feel you are qualified/authorised to speak on the wider matter of Google failing victims of harassment, then please pass me on to someone who is.

Immediately, please. Google has kept me waiting long enough.

Tim Ireland

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that a week has passed since I sent this, and there’s been no response from anyone at Google.

UPDATE – Malcolm Coles – Why Italy was right to find Google guilty








Mr Jenvey is busy elsewhere early today, but he has promised to share a statement with us later.

I’m happy waiting for that, but here are a few extras for those of you who have looked through the old magazines and fiddled with the empty play-table and are now getting fidgety:

Teh Man somehow saw to it that I missed this epic thread.

Save the ‘ I Love Horses’ website!

Julian Petley cups John Beyer’s logical fallacies. (link via another great weekend link-fest from Septisicle)

Ignore the link if you like, and just love the headline; Arrest in Mandelson custard probe

Mail on Sunday – How MI5 colluded in my torture: Binyam Mohamed claims British agents fed Moroccan torturers their questions

Telegraph – Binyam Mohamed torture claims: Calls for judicial inquiry

And finally, as if some strange hand of fate were at work, I arrived at (pfft!) the Jack Straw weblog this morning to discover that is was updated yesterday with the following message:

With regret blog comment moderation has been turned on. Political argument is welcome (see posts below), but name-calling and general abuse is not and won’t be published.

So good luck bringing up any of that torture nonsense there and seeing anything substantial published; even thinking for a moment that the sainted Jack Straw would allow torture on his watch constitutes ‘abuse’. How very dare you.

UPDATE – You’re *still* bored? Tch. OK, I’ll have the nurse put some cartoons on:

Saturday Morning Watchmen (more) (via)

UPDATE – Tut. Me and my memory. Sir Paul Judge would like a quiet word with you about the party system.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 20 November 2008

Category: Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

1. In-spired. Take a bow, Chris.

2. And to expand on the point raised in that picture, here’s Justin:

The crowning jewel of the story is that the BNP, who only this month called the Human Rights Act ‘surely one of the most pernicious pieces of legislation ever passed by the mother of Parliaments,’ and reiterated its promise to repeal it when the party – don’t laugh – becomes a ‘British Nationalist government’, have now asked the police to investigate breaches of the Human Rights Act.

3. I’ve highlighted this elsewhere; just a little something extra for those who don’t accept any of the main arguments for not sharing the BNP data. There are some people who will use any excuse to engage in a campaign of ‘data intimidation’:

“Redwatch justifies its content as a tit-for-tat reaction to leftist-oriented websites and magazines displaying similar content… However, Redwatch have been unable to provide details of any such websites or magazines. One of their few attempts to justify these claims has been to repeatedly cite a single press release published in August 2001… ” – (source)

4. A picture for you (also posted to b3ta). Adolf clicks ‘send’ instead of ‘save’:

5a. The above reminds me of the day Iain Dale accidentally CCed Phil Hendren on our private correspondence instead of BCCing him as he intended to. There’s no telling how often he does this or how long he’s been at it, but every time Iain has a question he’d rather avoid answering, Hendren will turn up to change the subject and/or have a go at me. Dale initially denied the whole BCC thing, BTW. Dale also (privately) denied providing Hendren with my unlisted home number, but he’s a shameless liar and Hendren keeps changing his vague story about where he got it, so I’m still not entirely sure if I’m buying Dale’s denial. And one day I’d like to see him deny it in public. Anyway, I mention all of this because Iain ‘ambulance chaser’ Dale has somehow managed to avoid blogging the biggest political story of the week, and I was looking forward to watching him denounce the use of personal data as a political weapon like he actually meant it.

5b. Top points to Phil Hendren for hiding this pathetic excuse in his post, though; “… if it was just a list of phone numbers (there) would be no means of identifying who the number belonged to from the number alone so it wouldn’t represent ‘personal data'”, apparently. Hendren says this because he likes to explain away his publication of my ex-directory number on his website as a scrap of harmless data blowing in the wind. That excuse may have worked on that P.O.S. ISP he manages servers and customer data for, but the fact is that Hendren threw my phone number in my face and published it on his site with the specific purpose of intimidating me into silence (just because he couldn’t admit that he was wr-wr-wr-wr-wr-wrong). Even if we accept his latest pathetic deceit, I doubt he’d be equally flexible if someone threatened him with a replica pistol.

5c. Paul Staines hasn’t mentioned the BNP data matter, either. Perhaps he’s worried about offending the far-right “window lickers” that populate his comments and eagerly eat up his anti-communist rants and casual racism. After all, one has to keep the traffic numbers up, and a visit is a visitor a visit is a visit. (MessageSpace can’t survive on affiliate links and similar performance-reliant ads alone, so from time to time they need to convince naive, weak-minded and/or desperate marketing bods that their two-bit advertising network can reach zillions of right wing window lickers discerning bloggers from across the political spectrum… mostly on blogs like Staines’ where until yesterday the whole design was held together by stealing bandwidth from Flickr.)

5d. Spy Blog notes how far behind the mainstream media are on this one. Could this perhaps have anything to do with their lazy reliance on the three self-publicising sell-outs listed above? (For example: Scotch noticed that Sky News yesterday heralded the response to PMQs from “all the blogs”, and then listed the reactions from… erm… Staines, Dale and Hendren.)

[/bunch of fives]

6. Alex Hilton, the left-leaning village gossip who happily chums it up with twats like Staines and Dale in return for scraps, turns out to be a bit of a twat himself. Who knew? Here he is attempting to goad MySociety folk into doing what he regards to be an obvious public service (via), and here is an admirably measured reply from a chap who has just essentially been called a coward because he won’t immediately rush to fill Hilton’s enormous skills gap:

“Alex – the moment you sacrifice the values and compromises that hold together liberal democracies (such as a presumption of innocence and a
right to privacy for people who’ve not actually been convicted of crimes) for the sake of humiliating your political opponents, you’re starting on a path far more likely to result in ruination for us all than a bunch of marginal wing nuts.” – Tom Steinberg

7. It’s just been brought up under comments on an earlier post that someone on the list who claims not to be a member has speculated that it is a marketing database and not a membership database which “might make it more problematic both for the BNP in terms of data protection and for those on the list,” but there’s also been some noise about names being added/removed from the list by those who released it. It’s a ‘wait and see’ on that one, I think.

8. I can mention this now that this version of the list has been removed from Google’s servers; Clive noticed that the Daily Fail blurred a name and address in their screen capture of the site that listed the BNP data, but left the URL of the site intact!!! Oh, *please* let the BNP sue the Daily Mail…..

UPDATE – Hahahahaha! The Daily Fail actually manage to be funny. Accidentally, of course.

UPDATE (21 Nov) – And now we have this inevitable yet precious jewel, also from Chris. The sequence starting 0:53 is bloody glorious, and I experienced a genuine ‘office LOL’ at the 3 minute mark. In fact, at times, it’s almost as if aaaalllll those ‘Downfall’ edits have been leading up to this moment. Enjoy:

(Oh, and when you’re done, do take the time to check out this little update from Bartholomew on the subject of right reverends.)








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