Spying on others links

2 good (but old) news stories; 1 new (probably already old) technology:

Asshole uses gps to track his ex

Guy uses email headers to track his asshole

Assholes can use caller ID masking to pretend they're other assholes


A little about stalking

Teenage past:
Me and my friends used to keep a white pages phone book in the car of whomever was driving on Friday night, so we could quickly and easily find the address of the latest local yokel that we were crushing out on, drive around his/her neighborhood, and dare each other to slow down in front of her/his house and beep, beep, beep!

Adult-ish present:
3 weeks ago, I, Salem Collo-Julin, drove to the north side Chicago neighborhood of an old flame, and "circled the block". I was not drunk or feeling nostalgic at the time. Nay, herein are the results of loneliness. So here's something.

A little scarier:
I contacted a writer with some notoriety on the internet to see if he could answer some questions about his most recent project for me. We hit it off, over email, and about a month later, he happened to be coming to Chicago for a conference. We hung out and chatted, shook hands and promised to keep emailing.

About a week later, I started getting about fifty emails a day from him (from a couple of different email accounts), and then a week after that, at least five calls a day and/or text messages on my cell. I think I was so flattered by all the attention (lots of questions about my projects, compliments on my voice, etc.) that I didn't notice that his voice was slightly different on the phone than what I remembered, and the various email accounts didn't faze me. The writer is an internet pioneer type--he has much history in hacking/phreaking, so I just assumed he had a lot of email accounts. I mean, I have about six, for different projects, one for spam, etc. So no big deal.

So, it turns out that I haven't been inundated with calls and emails from this writer after all--quelle surprise. I've been inundated with calls, etc. from someone POSING as this guy. How did I finally wise up? I sent a message to the original email that I used to contact him. He's been in London for a number of weeks-had to move for a job, pretty quickly, and finally had some time to answer my original questions about his text, and it was nice to hear from me. Totally confused, I replied, asking about some stuff "he" mentioned in a previous email.

He emailed back---said, "oh no, it happened again," and then told me about his "stalker". Some asshole he worked with about ten years ago always hated him (for making bad coffee? Who knows what fear lurks in the heart of internet nerds?) and occasionally takes on his persona in order to fuck up his life.

He and I indeed hung out in Chicago when he was in town, but pretty much every "contact" I've had with "him" since then was really with this impostor.

I contacted the usual abuse boards, etc. so everything should be ok. As far as flirtation, it turns out that the writer has an intellectual interest in my "stuff", but is way too busy to do much of anything else. He runs the UK branch of an American non-profit, edits a lot of websites, and writes and teaches. So no go.

There's a tiny part of me that wants to circle the block of the impostor and start up a Bonnie & Clyde style pairing, but I think I'm just lonely because of the holiday season. Now I know why yuppies join health clubs--numerous sweaty, lonely bodies, all stationed on adjacent treadmills, primed and ready for that first in person non-date. Why fuck around with a "chat interface" when you can just grab someone's muscle and ask them to square dance in the showers? The internet kinda sucks.


- Salem Collo-Julin