More Davies spin

The San Mateo Times' "Insider" also published a column about the Davies Communications insider who posed as Pacifica residents in favor of Measure L on the Pacifica-L mailing list. The details are basically the same as have been covered elsewhere (for example, here and here). The interesting part is the new spin by John Davies, CEO of Davies Communications:

"My IT guys say they could be bouncing off us"

Technically, it's possible. (Although calling it "bouncing" is like Sen. Ted Stevens describing the Internet as a "series of tubes.") A more accurate desscription would be an open relay/web proxy.

But there are 2 reasons why this explanation doesn't fly:

  1. Spammers actively search for open relays/proxies on the Internet, and quickly exploit them. It only takes a few seconds to check an IP address for this kind of vulnerability, and once exploited that IP would quickly appear on open relay blacklists. The result would be that Davies would be unable to send email, which would be a serious problem for a P.R. firm.
  2. If an open relay/proxy was in fact used, there would be a clear record. Servers keep detailed logs exactly for this case--to investigate abuses. But Davies has consistently stated that they have no records of the messages being sent.

On the "good" side, at least Davies now acknowledges that this is an ethical issue:

If anyone had posted to the list, said Davies, it was an intern and it would have been a breach in ethics.

Of course he just can't resist another gratuitous attack on the list itself:

"It's a joke that someone would post to get grass-roots support. There are 25 people (on the list)," he said.

Actually, Davies was informed that there were more like 100 people on the list, and that most do not post. Also, based on other server logs, I know that the "fake Pacificans" are still reading messages on the list. I guess that means Davies does find the list useful after all.