Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Well did you media?

Good Day Readers:

While blogging earlier this morning and listening to the CBC's Q with Jian Ghomeshi, there was a very interesting segment entitled, Did the media get the Amanda Todd story wrong?
Patrick McGuire Managing Editor of Vice Magazine believes an important aspect of her story is not getting enough attention. He discusses his investigation into online extortionists who prey on young women who use webcams in video chatrooms.

To listen to the almost 17-minute interview:

http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2012/10/24/exposing-webcam-extortionists/

The CBC Podcast has not been reproduced because once embedded every time the Blog is activated they begin playing.

Tried to Google a picture of Patrick McGuire but as you can imagine there are a zillion Patrick McGuire's. Judging by his voice he sounded quite young but certainly seems to know his way around the internet.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

Tracing Kody Maxson, the Online Blackmailer Alleged to Have Tormented Amanda Todd


UPDATE: A commenter has alerted us to a Daily Capper video that mentions Amanda Todd and her habits on the internet video chat site BlogTV. You can watch the video here. The mention of Amanda begins at 1:19. The announcer says: "Amanda has been blocked a few times for showing... she said she has been IP banned from BlogTV."

In the days that have passed since my initial report about Amanda Todd’s suicide, the story has become even more convoluted and concerning. That piece focused on the misrepresentation of Amanda’s story by the mainstream media, who wrongfully painted it as a case of traditional schoolyard bullying that just happened to transpire over the internet. It also detailed the vigilante efforts of a small New Jersey-based sect of the hacktivist group Anonymous whose deep-diving web research linked her allegations of being stalked and tormented to a man named Kody Maxson. At this point no one can definitively link him to Amanda’s suicide; however, it has become very apparent that Kody’s internet habits and moral character are unilaterally disgusting and mostly revolve around online sexual extortion.

Shortly after Monday’s article was published, I was contacted by an IT security expert who agreed to give me information on background but wishes to remain unnamed. He had taken it upon himself to look into one of the email accounts Anonymous had pointed to in last Friday’s leak of Kody’s personal information—namely—kody.maxson@hotmail.com—and discovered it was unregistered. After proving his claim by sending me an email from the account, he told me its inbox was full of death threats and media inquiries. He also posited that perhaps the address had never existed in the first place; however we both agreed that it was entirely possible that Kody Maxson could have disabled it shortly before the Anonymous leak to avoid attention.

That said, after the IT consultant raised the possibility that Kody Maxson could be a completely fictitious individual created to throw the authorities and other interested parties off the trail of the actual perpetrator, a central component of a large-scale trolling, or completely unconnected to Amanda Todd’s suicide, I decided to thoroughly vet Anonymous’s background research on Kody myself.

In an email correspondence that I had with a member of the New Jersey sect of Anonymous who provided the initial leak I learned more about their motivations. This branch of Anonymous cropped up out of thin air when the Amanda Todd story broke. The individual from New Jersey Anonymous told me, “I’m pretty certain that Kody was involved with Amanda's death. He’s a known pedophile with charges against him. He has blackmailed other girls over webcam in the same manner and he has admitted to being friends with her online. I know it’s not hard evidence, but he looks guilty to me.” This is all conjecture, of course, but it makes it very apparent why Anonymous decided to acquire and leak his information in the first place.

Taking this research into my own hands, I googled “Kody Maxson” using a filter to exclude “Amanda Todd” so that my search results would only produce webpages that included Kody’s name before Anonymous or the media had publicly connected him to Amanda.

The above “like” and comment is from Kody Maxson on a video of the 2011 riots in Vancouver that erupted after the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which he described as a “fun night.” It also led me straight to Kody Maxson’s Facebook profile. I discovered that the Facebook profile my search results provided a link to a site that had been renamed from “Kody Maxson” to “John Doee;” however, as you can see above, the very same profile was still showing up in Google’s cache as “Kody Maxson.” Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of websites and social networking knows that renaming a Facebook profile does very little to mask one’s true identity, and, more importantly, that the internet never forgets anything. Even more tellingly, the profile was registered under the URL facebook.com/kody604 (which, of course, has since been deactivated—but not before I took some screenshots!), with the “604” presumably selected because it is Vancouver’s area code. (To be clear, all of the Facebook information I have discovered was posted as public information available through a simple Google search.)

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