Iain Dale, that arch-propagandist for himself, has stretched his tabloid talents to virtual breaking point and has joined his colleagues in the gutter.
What has he done wrong?
Nothing, according to the great GOB – God of Blogging – himself.
I’m not going to link to his article but the background is this.
A visitor to his blog left a long but reasonable comment in which the visitor said that he was in Parliament Square, had set up a website for the protestors and that he was a public service employee.
For some reason GOB the smug seemed to take exception to the possibility that the visitor was at the protest and not at work. Some might say that was a reasonable response.
Smug GOB then checked out the WHOIS site to get ownership details of the website the visitor had set up. This gave GOB the visitor’s name, home address, telephone number. A simple Google search and GOB knew where the visitor worked. GOB called the visitor’s number – got no reply - and then managed to get the employers to investigate the person’s absence. Worse still GOB gave a link to the relevant WHOIS website but also effectively to the visitor’s details, as mentioned above.
To all intents and purposes, GOB published the man’s details online.
All of us can make mistakes and cross that acceptable boundary but, hopefully, we recognise that and apologise. GOB, it seems, doesn’t do apology.
GOB’s response to criticism of his actions,
“Let's get one thing straight. I posted a link to XXXXXXXXXX’s WHOIS entry for his website. He chose to put his personal details on that and thereby chose to make them publicly available. You have a choice to keep your address hidden. He chose not to.
To make out that I have somehow outed him from anonymity is a joke.”
My comment on his blog was
You've left yourself open to any Tom, Dick or Harry - but def not Calum - to trawl for publicly available info about you and then to make it known more widely.
Is it legal - yes!
Is it ethical - no!
Should it happen - definitely not!
But you have shown all of us your standards and others might to choose to work to these standards.
Don't complain if you're unhappy about what, if anything, is made public.
I do not agree with anyone doing this, I'm not encouraging anyone to do this, I would counsel against it but ... you've made your bed, Iain.
Let's hope it remains comfortable.”
Now we know GOB’s standards we can all be more careful but we are assured of one thing:
GOB is in the gutter where gob should always be