Tag Archives: freedom of the press

Brooks Newmark, Sophie Wittams, in a Mirror

On 31st May 2014, a Sunday Mirror journalist set up a Twitter account. For the profile pic, he used a Swedish model’s, Malin Sahlén. He did not ask her permission. Men who pretend to be women online rarely do.

[As I discovered later, the journalist, Alex Wickham, did not work directly for the Sunday Mirror when he posed as Sophie Wittams: Alex Wickham works for the Guido Fawkes political blog.]

Last year Markus Frind, founder of the world’s biggest dating site “Plenty of Fish” , shut down the PoF’s casual sex section because though 3.3 million people in the UK were using it daily to find a casual hookup, only 6,041 of those users were “women” – and most of those, the site had worked out, were actually men. Frind told users

the “Intimate Encounters” section “can be summed up as a bunch of horny men talking to a bunch of horny men pretending to be women.”

The Sunday Mirror journalist used the name “Sophie Wittams” and described himself as a “twenty-something Tory PR girl”. He used the Twitter account to compliment and flirt with Tory politicians. Jim Waterson on Buzzfeed outlines the process and published two of the photos that the Sunday Mirror journalist had used – the journalist had found a snapshot posted on Twitter as a #sunbathingselfie by Charlene Tyler, and sent it to Brooks Newmark pretending he was the woman in the picture.

Jim Waterson didn’t ask the permission of the women whose photos he published on Buzzfeed, either.
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Pseudonymity on the Internet

For those that need the warning, further down this blog I discuss child abuse.

I’ve been thinking about names and Internet privacy since Jeremy Duns asked the internet:

The answer to me is obvious: yes, they are. My personal unfavourite is the Herald, which bans all pseudonymous commenters: the New Statesman, which is just a complete muddle, is probably the next worse. Facebook is problematic, and Google Plus is a cosmic screwup all of its own. Part of that reason is that most computer systems do not handle names very well: see Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names.

Jeremy Duns has, fairly enough, got valid reasons to detest people who use multiple pseudonyms on the Internet, aka sockpuppets, which the Urban Dictionary defines as:

An account made on an internet message board, by a person who already has an account, for the purpose of posting more-or-less anonymously.

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Filed under Blog Housekeeping, Children, Disability, Feng Shui Kitten Fixes Stuff, In The Media, LGBT Equality, Women

Ecuador is to grant political asylum to Julian Assange

Stories that you’ll never now hear from Wikileaks:

On 19 November 2011

the President of the National Assembly, Fernando Cordero, issued a public warning against Betty Escobar, an Ecuadorian citizen who lives in the United States. Through the micro-blogging social network Twitter, Cordero warned Escobar to “change her language or she would soon regret her licentiousness,” after she tweeted a comment that was critical of the official.
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Filed under In The Media, Justice, Women