Scanlyze

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Usenet sock-puppetry on rec.games.chess?

Crossposting with one clarification per the comments below, my posting to the nytimes chess blog, Gambit:

Regarding this blog item and the article, Chess Group Officials Accused of Using Internet to Hurt Rivals, in Oct 8 2007’s New York Times:

Reading the thread from rec.games.chess.politics archived on Google, the evidence as presented suggests this is another case of sock-puppetry which has become such a bane on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

Usenet is not sponsored by Google! This is an inaccurate statement which should not have appeared in the Times. Usenet started in 1979! Google was founded around 1996 as a project by a 23 and 24 year old graduate student. The founders of Google were only about 7 years old when Usenet started. Very precocious of them to have sponsored Usenet! :)

The quote attributed to “David Ulevitch, founder and chief executive of OpenDNS” is misleading as it refers to internet NAMES, which are resolved to numbers through Domain Name Service (DNS). Not the same thing at all as internet NUMBERS which are at issue here. Those are controlled locally through policies on routers and globally through BGP broadcasts.

Contrary to what is stated above, it is NOT trivial to forge numeric ip addresses… one would have to have control of an intermediate router between sender and receiver and pretty specific technical knowledge to accomplish this sort of man-in-the-middle attack. There are probably much easier and more convincing-to-the-layman methods of framing someone. Easier, for instance, would be to fake the logs, but again, to what purpose?

If the log excerpts are genuine, there is an ethical question as to whether the “volunteer system administrator” acted rightly in posting selected information from the logs back onto Usenet. He is doing the right thing now in trying to get permission from the Federation to release them. I would have probably advocated going to the Board, or their legal counsel with this. But I don’t know the entire history.

I don’t know the individuals involved in this dispute as far as I know and have no more than a passing interest in the affair. I just wanted to give some perspective on the technical arguments being raised.

HENRY EDWARD HARDY
Ann Arbor, MI
scanlyze.wordpress.com

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Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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9 October, 2007 Posted by | allegations, chess, DNS, Domain Name Service, gambit, games, Google, impersonation, New York Times, politics, rec.games.chess, rec.games.chess.politics, scandal, scanlyze, sock-puppet, sockpuppet, United States Chess Federation, USCF, Usenet | 2 Comments