Sunday, August 9, 2009

Monitor this

As you've all heard, the White House has set up an email address for people to snitch out their neighbor's exercise of their first amendment rights report "fishy" statements on the Administration's healthcare plan. Better people than I have commented on the wisdom of this, and what it says about the White House folks.

Me, I start thinking in terms of Internet Security. A Denial Of Service (DoS) attack is the Internet equivalent of a crowd shouting down a speaker: the legitimate message may be getting through, but it's swamped by noise. The result is that normal consumers of the activity have to work extra hard to get their information, or can't get it at all.

Spam is an example of a DoS. These days, Spam filtering is very good - it has to be, because 90% of all email sent is Spam. Nobody would use email if the Spam weren't filtered.

Well this is all very interesting, I hear you say. But what does it have to do with Obama's All American Stasi? Well, what if the White House snitch email account got inundated with emails?

It's pretty easy to add a Javascript button to each post that would email the post to After all, I'm pretty critical of the proposal, and the Administration seems to want to know about this. So why not tell them, automatically? Sort of a quasi-automatic self-reporting of hate speech.

This is unsatisfying, because you'd have to click on each post, and you know what a blabbermouth I am - there are a lot of posts.

Not automatic. What I'm looking for is a way for every post to automatically send an email with the post contents every time someone view it. Now that would be a self-reporting of Internet hate speech ...

You simply can't do this with Javascript (e.g. mailpage); you need server-side includes. This is a problem on Blogspot, because I don't control the server side. Any web gurus have any thoughts?

Oh, and to anyone who is wondering if Borepatch is going to the Dark Side, let me just say that I only use my Powers (such as they are) for Good. Sort of a "exercise your first amendment rights by telling the Fed.Gov censor everything" sort of thing. Yes, it likely would overwhelm the censor. No, it wouldn't be the first time the Fed.Gov set up a program that couldn't handle the demand. Monitor this.

UPDATE 9 August 2009 12:55: An hour of reflection has revealed a simple way to do this. You need a web server somewhere where you can run your own server-side scripting. You put a tag on the blog entry (similar to Sitemeter) that points to the web server. The web server catches the referrer URL, and runs a script along the lines of:
mail -S "Reporting hate speech" < $REFERRER_URL
OK, you'd have to tweak the scripting and HTML, but I wouldn't expect this to be very hard.

Now a word to the wise - you probably don't want to do this. Monkeywrenching is all well and good when it's done by those on the left. But we've seen how the left reacts when tables are turned. Getting this on a few sites generating 10,000 emails a day would probably crash their email server, and some Apparatchik prosecutor might not care that he's be setting 100 years of legal precedent with a "ZOMG sending emails is hacking" argument.

However, the discussion of how is interesting. Anyone have any thoughts on improving this, leave a comment.


Paladin said...

I like this idea.. a lot. Just wish I had the tech knowledge to pull it off. I did my own snarky bit by emailing them copies of the misleading statements/claims made by Obama and his crew... to report them as "fishy".

I amused myself, but I don't hold any hope that anyone on the other end even bothered to read any of the emails that go to that address - mine or anyone elses. I think the whole point is to intimidate dissenters with just the threat of big brother.

Your idea, on the other hand, seems like it could actually have legs and the ability to irritate much :)

"Zack" said...

I will be reporting you for this! Uh huh! Don't you dare go wrecking the Maooooobama Care until I get my free liposuction and ... uh ... body part enhancements... not that I need enhancements ... but it's all gonna be free doncha know... healthcare just like the President gets!

Anonymous said...

Why not just the usual spammers do the work for ya? Just get that email out there on the web for all the usual email harvesters to find.

NotClauswitz said...

"The Snitch House" - Quentin Tarantino could make a movie, lots of blood, and exploding botox-brains of the Congresszombie Queen.