November 12, 2008


Is an Alberta Liberal accessing Alberta PC membership lists?

During the 2006 Alberta PC leadership race, I was curious about whether and when the various leadership candidates would have access to the lists of memberships that were submitted to the party. To that end, I arranged for my mom to put one of my e-mail addresses on her membership application. A friend of mine also did the same. That way, if I later got messages to that name/address combination, I would know the sender had access to the membership lists.

However, I never received anything of that sort during the campaign. Over the next two years, I largely forgot about what I'd done, except whenever I'd receive three copies of the "PC Talk" e-newsletter.

However, last week I received a message from Dave Taylor, who is currently running for the leadership of the Alberta Liberals. "That's odd," I thought, "I wonder where he got my e-mail address from." Then I noticed that there were three copies of the message. And then I noticed that one was sent to my name and normal address, one was sent to my mom at another address, and one was sent to my friend at a third address.

The only way Dave Taylor's campaign could have gotten these name/e-mail combinations is by accessing data from the Alberta PC membership list.

So, we have some important questions here:
1) How and when did Taylor get the lists?
2) Does he have the full member details, or just their e-mail addresses?
3) Did Taylor obtain these lists through legitimate means?

I look forward to an explanation, or hearing from anyone else who might have more details.

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January 19, 2006


Google News: Non-Liberals need not apply?

Here's a little experiment to try. Go to the Google News Advanced Search page, put "" in the News Source field, and a common search term (eg. "election") in the main keyword field. This is what you get:

Now back up, change the News Source to "" and try again:

The same holds true for the NDP, Greens, and Bloc Quebecois as well.

Does this seem like fair coverage to you, especially during an election campaign? Please write to Google and let them know that if they're going to include party press releases in their aggregator, they should do so for all the parties, not just one.

Update: Google sent me a reply, claming that "an article's placement on our main page is determined entirely by a mathematical algorithm, based on many factors including how often and where a story appears on the web." That's nice, but it's also completely irrelevant to my complaint. It's not that the other parties get less prominent "placement" than the Liberals, it that they don't get any placement whatsoever. Try again, guys.

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January 15, 2006



The following e-mail was in my inbox when I got home tonight:

("Don" presumably refers to Don Plett, the president of the Conservative Party.)

I did a literal "LOL" when I read this. It's such a obvious fake (note the lack of any formatting or even paragraph breaks) that I have to wonder why the sender even bothered. For this reason, I doubt that the Liberal Party was behind it, at least in any official capacity. It was more likely some rogue Liberal supporter and/or Conservative-hater who sent it out on their own.

As I am wont to do, I immediately checked the headers to find out where it came from. The notable bits:

Return-Path: (
Received: from not authenticated []
    by with NetMail SMTP Agent $Revision: 1.6 $ on Linux
    via secured & encrypted transport (TLS);
    Sun, 15 Jan 2006 20:21:45 -0700
Received: from standupf by with local (Exim 4.52)
    id 1EyKwA-0003Cq-Rn
    for *****@*********.***; Mon, 16 Jan 2006 06:21:42 +0300
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname -
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain -
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [33424 32003] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain -
X-Source-Dir: and send you to an empty site. The domain is registered to someone from St. Petersburg, Russia; the site is also hosted somewhere in that country, as is

Unless the Conservative Party president has suddenly decided to take a vacation to Russia in the middle of an election, I think the idea that this e-mail reveals the "hidden agenda" of legend is pretty much dead. This hasn't stopped at least one blog from assuming it's genuine, though.

Update: This e-mail was discussed on Peter Warren's show on Sunday (audio link; go to the half-hour mark). He interviews a computer technician who notes the Russian connection, and adds that he traced one of the headers to Seattle. A caller says that the name the site is registered to (Alice A Tokareff) is a reference to a Russian gun and Paul Martin's favourite brownies.

Note that the site was registered on December 18, indicating that the creator(s) have been planning something like this for awhile.

I just checked the whois results again, and the registration seems to have been changed to "Vit Jouss."

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November 13, 2005


Reward offered...

...for information regarding the theft of's style sheet.

(Oh, and a belated "nice to have you back.")


October 01, 2005


IP Liberally

In the weeks just before and after the Conservative Party convention in Montreal, I got several e-mails from an anonymous source, featuring crude photoshops of Stephen Harper's head on a dog's body. (You many remember this very important news item from a mainstream media outlet near you.) The person(s) behind this used a variety of identities. According to a post in this Free Dominion thread, the sender must have obtained the list of e-mail addresses for convention delegates.

The reason I'm posting about this now is because I just got another e-mail from the same guy, featuring another dog picture and a plug for the website "". I'm curious whether it's possible to determine who sent them.

I've posted the date, claimed sender, and IP address for all the e-mails I've gotten in the table below. All of them came from Montreal using the Sympatico ISP, with the possible exceptions of the March 16 (Ushud Noah) and September 29 messages, which I couldn't get valid reverse DNS entries for. (However, it's possible that they used an anonymous proxy to hide their true origin.) You can also see the full headers from the messages.

Mar 14 - delegates4democracy (
Mar 14 - Krista Porter (
Mar 16 - Donal Canard (
Mar 16 - Ushud Noah (
Mar 24 - Mike (
Apr 06 - Mike (
Apr 06 - Mike (
Sep 29 - Mike (

If you see somebody with one of these IPs (or one that's very similar) posting comments on your blog, or arriving at your site via a notable referring link (eg. a Google search for someone's name), please let me know. I think that finding out who's behind these e-mails could be very revealing...


May 27, 2005


Technology's a glitch, isn't it?

You've probably read about Sinclair Stevens registering his anti-Stephen Harper website under the name of the Royal Commonwealth Society, an organization which includes Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. (Ianism has done an great job of covering the issue.)

As I type this, Stevens is promoting the site on Dave Rutherford's radio show. When Rutherford asked him about the domain registration, Stevens blamed it on a "technical glitch" by the people who registered it, and complained about the nasty conservatives who are making an issue of it.

An honest mistake, or a lame attempt at covering a scandal?


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