Watching You, Watching Me

Offensive remarks or comments sent electronically are not anonymous: no matter how hard you try to cover your tracks. Two years ago I wrote about the effects that disturbing or offensive Emails may have on anyone, yet there are many other such electronic outlets that the disturbed or misguided mind might choose to intimidate or mentally torture an individual from a distance: behind, what they think is a veil of anonymity. Well, my little irritants: think again. Today it has become easier and easier to trace the perpetrators of on-line abuse and I can prove this by using a very simple illustration. Last week I was sent an offensive remark to one of my online blog entries. I actively encourage a response to my blog, regardless of any conflicting views that may arise. After all, constructive criticism as well as praise can only be good. However, blatant offence will not be tolerated. I received an email from the blog company informing me of one such comment. 470_282_hackerThey included the IP address of the computer from which the remark had been sent, along with a login email address to some kind of ‘closed’ group or network, which, from its name, began to point to some kind of educational environment: part of the detail was as follows: BTEC ICT: Task 5, D1, Unit 1. I was also given a personal email address for what looked like a student’s parent’s full name and home address, complete with a map of how to get to their house. Finally, via an American company, I was able to track down the name of the administrator of the exact computer used and the date and time of use. He and I have since been in contact, and I am now waiting to hear what action has been taken to prevent such future misuse. Nothing is truly anonymous if it is sent electronically. Armed with enough motivation and tenacious determination I’m sure that any abuser can be traced.

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