Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,

The Slashdotting

For those of my friends who are not aware of what slashdot is, it's a geek news site. It has a huge following and getting a link listed in slashdot is quickly followed by what is termed "the slashdot effect." This frequently results in many sites being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of traffic from slashdot readers. Servers often buckle under the load. Fortunately, LiveJournal held up quite well.

Being slashdotted is often a huge boost to one's geek credibility, though it's usually short-lived. I have a bunch of new people who've added me (hi folks!), had a couple from people that I knew of but hadn't realized were on LJ (angryrice and brentdax), and have numerous emails from strangers in my inbox (sadly, no gorgeous, rich women offering to spirit me away to a Greek Isle for a lifetime of luxury, but I still have hope.)

The responses from slashdot generally were in one of three categories:

  1. You rock.
  2. You suck.
  3. You lied.

To which I respond:

  1. Thank you.
  2. It's possible.
  3. Yeah, whatever.

As for the third, I'll be posting the police report as soon as I can. The officer told me it will be ready on Monday. If it's not, I'm gonna scream. Until then, I'll refrain from putting too much about the story here because I don't know what is and is not included in the report.

There was also a small category of people who stated that what occurred was not identity theft. What amuses me about this is something that amuses a lot of folks: the slashdot crowd is filled with people who are quick to offer their considered legal opinion, despite the fact they know nothing about the law. This goes hand-in-hand with those who accused me of being ignorant or complacent about identity concerns. Given that I've ranted quite a bit about this topic here and on my use.perl journal, I think it's fair to say this is not an issue that I've been ignorant of. What I am guilty of was being careless with my recycling, so I plead mea culpa to the complacency charges. The point here is that a few slashdotters (some would argue most) enjoy offering opinions on topics of which they are completely ignorant. So to edumuhcate (sic) those who are unclear about whether or not I was a victim of identity theft, allow me to quote from part of Title 18, Part I, Chapter 47 of the US Code where one of the conditions under which identity theft has occurred is listed:

knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law;

If you choose to read through the full text and happen to either be a) not a lawyer or, more specifically, b) a slashdotter pretending to be a lawyer, note that your interpretation of the law may differ considerably from a legal interpretation of the law. As a point of clarification, consumer.gov, a US government Web site set up for consumer protection makes clear in their ID Theft section exactly what is meant by the term "means of identification" (emphasis mine):

Note that under the Act, a name or SSN is considered a "means of identification." So is a credit card number, cellular telephone electronic serial number or any other piece of information that may be used alone or in conjunction with other information to identify a specific individual.

Whether or not you agree with the legal definition is of little import. I happen to think most drug laws are asinine, but that bears little weight in court.

Well, that about sums up most of this. Again, as I have more information that I can post about the identity thieves, I will. I was completely blown away by some of the information the police provided me, and, regrettably, it's not over yet.

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