Feeds

How blogger kept Belle de Jour's ID secret

Using Google for good

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

British blogger Darren Shrubsole has revealed how he used a GoogleWhack and IP tracking to create an early warning system for the anonymity of sex worker and writer Belle de Jour, who was outed in the press this week.

Darren has run a link blog - linkmachinego.com - since well before the mainstream media had even heard of blogging. As a result he was able to work out Belle de Jour's real world identity and act to protect it, and gave the writer a heads-up when it was clear her exposure was imminent.

The first clue was that Belle de Jour sent her own blog to Darren - which suggested a pretty decent knowledge of the then nascent blogging scene (she was a blogger who became a sex worker, not a sex worker who became a blogger). Secondly he was convinced by her writing style. He wrote: "I never believed that a professional writer could be BdJ - apparently effortless blog writing takes practice, and required an understanding of a new medium which not many people had at the time. So I asked myself: which blogger is it?"

The final part of the jigsaw was a blog piece on whisky written by Brooke Magnanti which convinced him that Brooke and Belle were one and the same.

Next he stashed a GoogleWhack page on his blog which contained the words Belle de Jour and Brooke Magnanti with the intention of spotting anyone searching for those terms together. Then he waited five years.

About a fortnight ago he started seeing referrers pointing back to an IP number under the control of Associated Newspapers - owners of the Mail and the Mail on Sunday.

He got in touch with Brooke to warn her that the papers were getting close. As a result of this, and an ex-boyfriend going to the Mail, Brooke took her story to the Sunday Times hoping for less hysterical treatment than was likely from the Mail.

Commenting on his blog post, Belle said: "Darren *did* contact me to let me know, I’d already had another heads-up but his message convinced me it was serious.

"And I always thought Malted would be the one that fingered me. But I can’t resist :-)"

Dr Magnanti is no longer despunking businessmen, having returned to her day job of researching child cancers at Bristol University. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.