Jeremy Duns, ‘Maria James’, and Julian Assange

It will surprise no one to know that I am a firm and fervent supporter of the right to pseudonymity on the Internet.

Maria James “jerermyduns-watch” 12th September:

It is probably not a surprise that Jeremy Duns and his little club of right-wing thriller writers have accused me of being a man.

Duns has stated clearly that I am Steve Roach.

I guess in his public school/spy circles, a women’s place is in the kitchen, or the bedroom. It obviously has not occured to him that a mere women might be capable of having a debate, and even questioning a man on points of principle.

I note with interest that “Maria James” has a profile on her blogspot, and that links to GooglePlus and doesn’t share anything with anyone. I find this of interest because if I wanted to set up a fake profile for myself that’s exactly what I’d use:

Because they’re worried about trolls faking up Google Plus identities, the folks behind Google Plus have set up a mechanism to report suspect accounts, have them frozen, and demand verification of identity in order to unlock them. Gary Walker went to work and tested this, with predictably hilarious results (well, hilarious if you haven’t just had your GMail account deleted for the temerity of having a name beginning with Mac- or O’-):
….
I’m not going to give you a TL;DR summary of Gary’s findings; let’s just say they’re extremely alarming. Send a poison pen email and you can get an account suspended until the owner verifies their identity by sending a scan of some ID. Use Photoshop to bolt together a fake driving license with a fucking spree killer’s face on it and you can get an account re-enabled. I’m willing to bet that the process for hijacking someone else’s account is not much more complicated.

Now let’s move on to the Twitter conversation today.

This blog begins:

My name is Emily James, and I am a human rights lawyer who campaigns against the surveillance society.

And it ends:

Posted by Maria James at 09:42

Various crashing errors in the blog make clear that it was not posted by a lawyer, or anyone with a working knowledge of the law. “Maria James” claims:

Just because you write for the arts pages once or twice a year, you do not have carte blanche to tape phone conversations whenever you feel like it.

And also:

I intend to pass these points on to the Director of Public Prosecutions on the grounds that an offence may have been committed. I hope that they decide to follow them up. The spread of telephone taping is insidious and we have to make a stand against it.

Whoever “Maria James” may be, s/he is no lawyer. A lawyer would know (or would know how to look up) that it is legal for anyone to tape phonecalls for personal use, providing the recording is not then made public. Duns recorded the phone call to be able to accurately quote Steve Roach when he was writing the article: neither the recording nor transcript have been published.

And everyone should know that if you think a crime has been committed, you report it to the police. I cannot imagine Keir Starmer QC‘s reaction to getting a letter from a human rights lawyer notifying him that a writer in Sweden had taped a phonecall he made to a writer in England and would he follow it up.

The conversation on NamelessHorror opens with coventrian asking (a week ago):

How do you feel about Jeremy Duns recording phone calls without the other person’s knowledge or permission and then publishing them on the Internet. This is unlawful under RIPA. Does this count as a sleazy tactic?

and concludes, when Jeremy Duns joins the discussion, with the statement:

So you made an ‘aggressive’ phone call to a fellow writer where you falsely accused him of being someone else, all the time taping it without his knowledge or approval. You then made the contents – or a selective version of the same – available to the whole Internet. Not illegal perhaps – just unlawful.

What a nice guy you are.Subsequently your blogpost was used wholesale by Nick Cohen for an article in a national newspaper without forewarning given to, or approval by Steve Roach.If I were Roach – and no I’m not, then I might be feeling rather bullied and not just by Stephen Leather – and I’m not him either.

ps Don’t ask for my phone number. I like my pricvacy.

For what it’s worth, Jeremy Duns has proven beyond my doubt that IlkleyChess, Gerard Killoran, and Coventrian are all the same person.

It is clear that (at least) “Coventrian” has read the “Maria James” blog. (It seems unlikely that anyone would come up with that spontaneously.) It’s odd, to say the least, that having apparently read and believed the “MJ” theory that it was unlawful for Duns to tape a phonecall, he did not then link back to it when he was being told this was nonsense on NamelessHorror a week ago. “See, a ‘human rights lawyer’ says…”

Supporting the right to pseudonymity on the Internet does not, of course mean supporting the right of a complete arsehole to be assholic on the Internet.

People suck sometimes. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

5 Comments

Filed under In The Media

5 responses to “Jeremy Duns, ‘Maria James’, and Julian Assange

  1. Pinto Jones

    You all seem to be forgetting that Duns was threatening to post the recorded when he was accusing Roach of being bullied even though Roach insisted he wasn’t.

    ‘Recorded it for accuracy’ is a fallacy.

    I’d ask if now he has reported is there any need to keep the tape? He’s reported it.

    • You all seem to be forgetting that Duns was threatening to post the recorded when he was accusing Roach of being bullied even though Roach insisted he wasn’t.

      If that’s so, I’m sure you can cite the tweet or blogpost in which you recall Duns made that threat.

      ‘Recorded it for accuracy’ is a fallacy.

      I think you may not understand what the word “fallacy” means.

      I’d ask if now he has reported is there any need to keep the tape? He’s reported it.

      Given how many people have accused Duns of lying about this, I’d say there’s every reason to keep the recording in order to prove – should that be necessary – that he isn’t.

  2. Pinto Jones

    And the ‘Proof’ is laughable.

    I could have copied what a few people said online about Duns and started a blog easily.

    There is nothing that would stand up in court that says this guy did it. But Dun’s thinks there can only be one person that says certain things. (Not in Duns favor anyway, all he’s done is slander someone else now)

    He is mad, literally.

    • There is nothing that would stand up in court that says this guy did it.

      I agree with you there. Duns had definitely proved that Coventrian was saying stuff very similiar to what “Maria or Emily James” was saying – without citing that silly blog – and definitely shown that Coventrian, Gerard Killoran, and IlkleyChess are one and the same person. That would not by itself hold up in court – though should this come to be a criminal matter, police investigation of implicated computers could establish legally any link that existed.

      If you recall, it was enormously difficult to prove definitely that David Rose and Johann Hari were one and the same person, until Hari made a mistake with metadata which forced Hari to admit to his employers and the public what he’d been doing.

      There is nothing that would stand up in court that says this guy did it. But Dun’s thinks there can only be one person that says certain things. (Not in Duns favor anyway, all he’s done is slander someone else now)

      I doubt very much if Jeremy Duns has been foolish enough – unlike whoever wrote the “Maria or Emily James” blog – to say anything legally actionable. Your animosity towards him (and your IP address) is noted.

      He is mad, literally.

      I think you may not understand what the word “literally” means.

  3. Maria James

    Duns has done it again – and got it wrong again – http://jeremyduns-watch.blogspot.co.uk/

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