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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

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The Devil's Due


Update: I heard from the mystery site administrator, & I am satisfied everything is on the up-and up.

Well, I have been trying for several days now to get around to writing something about Halloween, and the danger in individuals & societies not acknowledging their shadow side —how you've got to pay the devil his due, or all kinds of havoc is bound to ensue.

/CUE HAVOC.

On the weekend, my cats threw a cup of coffee at my iBook and rendered several important keys impotent. I have found that I can copy and paste the letter 'a', and am mostly trying to avoid using words that employ the last and sixteenth letters of the alphabet. Fortunately, I have never been big on exclamation points.

Then I have been presented with a bunch swarm of opportunities to observe other people acting out of their shadow side, and double-dog dared to resist REacting out of my own. Call it a refresher in pschyo-dynamics. The universe's way of insuring I know whereof I speak, I suppose.

I was determined to get down to business this morning, five vowels or not, when I noticed a new inbound link to this blog, from a members-only site that has me concerned as to what its content might be. So protective mama & papa bear instincts have been in overdrive around here, taking down IP addresses like a couple of over-vigilant hall monitors. If I don't get some kind of disclosure from this site soon, I will happily share the url with the rest of you, my deputy hall monitors. And the Cybertipline.

If I can get a hex up on my doorway, I will hopefully be able to deliver my shadow post very soon. In the meantime, I am going to go eat a bag of candy corn.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Abbey said...

I adore you!

12:19 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

Several years ago, I had a for- family-and-friends-only blog, you know the kind people have to keep everyone long distance in their lives up-to-date on boring family goings on with lots of kid photos and anecdotes. Well, my youngest broke her arm and I posted a photo of her with a cast on her arm and one day, not too long after that, I noticed hundreds of hits to the blog, which was extremely unusual. So I followed the link and it was to a cast fetish website. Prior to that I never even knew such a thing existed. So photos came down and I had words with the cretins who frequented there, because, you know, fetishize anything you want, I'm not a prude, but don't direct it towards my 7-year-old.

Anyway. Just thought I would share. And I wish I had known about the cybertip line.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

well, here's what happened.

When I noticed that a new website was sending visitors my way, I clicked on the address simply out of idle curiousity. It was either a chance or intuitive thing, because honestly I can't keep up with every blog/site that links to me these days.

What I saw got my spidey-sense tingling. a child-themed illustration (a boy holding a stuffed animal) on the welcome page, & members only access on every link. There was a gallery, a chatroom, a forum & a calendar, and when I tried to register, I got a not-accepting new members message.

Nothing came up under a google search on the url. That's pretty damn secret.

Neither could my husband come up with anything under whois, the domain registry search engine. also very suspicious. Fortuneately, I have a friend with killer internet kung fu moves. She came up with the registered owner of the site in a wink.

I let the referrals from the website continue to come in for a while to capture I.P. addresses, just in case. (For those of you who don't know what this means, it is a numeric address assigned to your computer. Most blogs, including mine, employ some kind of site traffic analysis software to let us know how many readers we have, & where they are coming from. Kind of like a circulation report, if this were a magazine. Your I.P. is of no interest to me, except in an oh-cool-a -reader-in-Tazmania kind of way, unless your comments lead me to believe you might be a murderous pyscho.)

My husband wrote a very neutrally-toned email to the registered owner of the site, telling him we'd noticed the inbound link, & were unable to discern anything about its nature/content; would he please provide some information. He got back a very polite & prompt response, stating that he would forward our email to the site administrator.

We haven't heard back, & the referrals from that site stopped coming right after that. Of course those visitors can come back anytime by just typing in the url of this site instead of using that link, but I at least have their I.Ps. & could keep an eye on repeat visitors.

Throughout, I have told myself that it could well be something completely harmless: a book club, a metaphysical group, a grief support site. I don't want to go after people who are doing no harm & want their privacy. But if you are directing people to my site, coming into my living room, then I want to know what you are about.

It could also be something not so harmless. Years ago I edited the memoir of a grown up victim of the most horrific child abuse. What struck me over & over was how many opportunities there had been for teachers, neighbors, & complete strangers to ask the obvious questions. Even the most superficial investigation could have saved that man years of hell.

So I chose to err on the side of caution, & I reported the site as suspicious to the Center for Missing & Exploited Children, with the note that I really don't know anything about its content. I hope innocent people are not troubled over it.

Susanne, I couldn't agree more about the fetishists. an apparent shoe fetishist favorited a picture of my shoes a few months ago on flickr. it was a little creepy, but whatever, I can't control what people are thinking about my feet offline either.

However, the live & let live policy stops with children. Mine or other peoples. They need to be left out of the fantasy. Period.

If I've chased away innocent people who were coming here for the right reasons, I'm very sorry. If I've chased away sick people coming here for sick reasons, I hope they stay away, & get some help

1:01 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Interesting. Way to be vigilant, though. I hope it all turns out for the best.

And here's hoping you get your fifth vowel back soon. And the others, too, frankly, because what if you suddenly have a strong need to write ZAP!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm one of the administrators of the site you reported. We responded asking what the site was that we linked to (it was not included in the email and the email address didn't sound like it was from a mom's blog) since we have been hacked twice and I didn't want to just give information about who we are to open us up to hacking again.

Now we are personally on the Center for Missing & Exploited Children's hit list and all we are is a bunch of mom's who wanted to chat about our lives.

In the future if you experience an unusual rate of readership from a particular site please contact that site and say what your site is.

Put yourself in my shoes and think about if someone had reported you as a child exploiter without any facts.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

I have emailed Michelle to tell her I will call the line & see what can be done. These Moms are clearly going through some of the panic and anger I was feeling earlier this week. What a mess. This is the first really negative experience I have had in nearly two years of blogging. :-(

I did not report anyone as a child exploiter. I reported a site that I thought looked like it *might* be suspicious. My report was so cautious, I worried they might not even bother.

When I sent in the tip form, I tried to do so responsibly. I signed my own name, I made a note that the site owner had been very prompt & forthcoming with my husband, and I included his name only as a contact, not as a suspect. I assumed from his email that he knew about as much about the site' s content as I did, except that he knew how to get in touch with the admins.

I also noted clearly that I had no knowledge of the site content, and that it might well be nothing of concern.

I am shocked that the center would list him as a suspect, when I was not in anyway accusing him. What I was expecting was that someone would contact him, ask him to push the admin for some disclosure about the site. I assumed people with nothing to hide would have nothing to fear, other than perhaps a nosy phone call.

as I wrote Michelle, it is easy for both of us to see in retrospect all kinds of ways in which the misunderstanding could have been avoided, but I'd rather focus on what can be done to restore everyone's peace of mind.

Kyran

12:39 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Update: I just spoke with the Center people. They told me the site owner I listed as a contact would not have been flagged or targeted in any way, & that their web analysts, who are not law enforcement agents, look at all reported sites, and make a determination themselves whether it is exploitive and needs to be referred on to the authorities.

I am hoping that is the end of that.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Michelle & friends,

In addition to the phone call I made (see above), I have pored over the Cybertipline information site. There is no "suspicious/exploitive websites" alert list. I have not shared your url with anyone I did not trust to handle the information responsibly & confidentially. I have gone to each of those individuals, including the tipline, & told them that I am no longer concerned.

I am basically taking you at your word that your site is simply a community of mothers like myself, who unlike myself, have chosen to remain private. If this is the case, as I sincerely believe it to be, you should have nothing at all to worry about.

I am sorry that all of our Mama Bears got so rattled. We have all been scared, and have run to the worst case scenario in our minds.

I hope we can start over again. You are all welcome here. :)

2:10 PM  

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