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Political cybersquatting rears ugly head

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Election 2005 Political shenanigans have spilled over onto the web after the Tory candidate for Winchester hijacked a domain for Lib Dem MP Mark Oaten.

George Hollingbery has snaffled up markoaten.co.uk (Oaten's real site is markoaten.com) directing traffic to his own site. Oaten's got the hump over the political dirty trick and called on the Tory to stop messing about.

Hollingbery's rejected this claiming Oaten is "an experienced politician...[who] should have bought all of his own web addresses".

And in a dig at Lib Dem activists during the last election Hollingbery said: "The Lib Dems registered PlaidCymru.co.uk presumably to get one over their Welsh competition so there's a bit of pot and kettle in this. I think I would be failing in my duty not to try and reach out to any potential Lib Dem voters and let them know our policies. This was just one small way of doing it."

Indeed, the Lib Dems did engage in political cybersquatting last time round - as did all the other major political parties - as this Register story points out.

One last thing. Hollingbery may think he's pulled a fast one over his main rival Oaten, but he'll have to do more than this for some of the people in the Winchester area to forget his cock-up earlier this year. He sent out a patronising letter directed at bingo-playing "older citizens" asking for their views about pensions and long term care for the sick.

"Many older people, like you, face a constant worry," the personally addressed letter said, as it discussed the issues facing people in "older age".

Snag is, due to a "database error", the Tories sent out the letter to stacks of folk who are nowhere near drawing their pension.

How do I know? 'Cos I'm still a thirty-something (just) and yet I got one of these "dear bingo-playing-old-codger-who-likes-attending-tea-dances" letters. Ho hum, George. ®

Related stories

Political cybersquatting: who owns what
LibDems pull illegal Plaid Cymru Web site
LibDems cybersquat on Plaid Cymru
Anti-Blair site sparks real-world row
eBay deletes 'buy my vote' auctions

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