Down with that sort of thing
June 21, 2005

I really want people to use "How'd they vote", but masquerading as it is unacceptable.

Recently in the House of Commons, several MPs have been commenting on how their fax lines have been jammed by religious organizations sending the same message to them repeatedly: here and here. In addition, domain names quite similar to their own have been purchased by the "defendMarriage Coalition" as well as a few anonymous folks, and used for propaganda purposes.

These form letters (faxes) and automated e-mails are a waste of time for everyone. I personally hope that MPs completely ignore anyone who uses these; if you don't care enough about an issue to write a personalized letter, then it obviously isn't very important to you. Sign a petition instead! Even the David Suzuki Foundation has been encouraging this kind of behaviour -- I don't see how filling the e-mail boxes of MPs with endless duplicate messages which they can't possibly respond to in a timely manner is in any way a positive influence. It is noise, plain and simple.

These folks certainly have the right to use whatever domain names they obtain for whatever they choose, but there are a few fuzzy lines and outright violations.
1. At a glance, the site appears to be property of the MP. That's a misrepresentation, although the legal grounds are fuzzy, and there is a small note that the site is not affiliated with the MP. Given the number of spoof sites out there, it's probably quite easy to get away with something like this.
2. The site makes border-line defamatory remarks about the honourable member (careful now...)
3. Use of copyrighted material, without a reference (parliamentary photo credit is required).

Over on How'd They Vote?, we were recently targeted by an "anonymous" person who decided to use our Bill C-38 Second Reading results page as his own. Basically, when you surf to the address this anonymous fellow registered, it loads the how'd they vote page with an altered title "Liberano MP {insert name here}: Voting to destroy marriage".

By all means people should link-to, republish data from, and use howdtheyvote.ca, but it is a non-partisan site and when people attempt to usurp that: I get pissed off. At a glance, it sure looks like you're visiting HTV and the title bar is putting forth a partisan position.. Go ahead, have your propaganda sites... but create your own! Don't chew down other people's bandwidth, and then hide so people can't even get in contact with you. On that note, here are my attempts to figure out who the heck you are...

This guy went to a wee bit of trouble to hide his identity. He purchased the domain name and paid the extra fee to make his entry private. It appears he was too cheap to pay for web hosting, so he set up his site as if he was "parking" the domain, and loads a frame leading to HTV. Here's what i've been able to dig up on him, based on web server logs:

Employer: Sunlife Assurance Company of Canada
Location: Toronto? Willowdale, Ontario?
IP address: 216.94.61.100
OS / Browser: Windows 2000, IE 6
Visits: Friday June 17th @ 4:41pm & Monday June 20th @ 5:42pm & some other midday visits the following week

I asked this gentleman nicely (via his anonymous e-mail address) to remove his spoof frames, but did not receive a response, nor any action. Therefore, i've redirected his content to one of the gay-marriage sites. Hopefully that will get his attention. I won't give this guy the benefit of any added pagerank, but the following 4 sites should be behaving in a slighty different than expected manner: joemcguire.org, rogervalley.com, johnefford.net, larrybagnell.org. Looks like he's got anthonyrota.org too, but it's pointed at thehilltimes.ca. Perhaps if buddy still hasn't eliminated his frames by next week, i'll try to hijack the frames from these illegitimate sites and redirect them to the official MP websites.

June 25th: buddy added another site, davidsmithmp.com
June 28th: buddy added: larrybagnell.net, johnefford.org
June 30th: I've liberated the remaining domains which are still pointed at howdtheyvote.ca. The frame is removed and the visitor is ferried over to the official MP website.
July 2nd: buddy redirected his frames to other victims (all, I think)