Digital minister’s Twitter profile falls victim to online identity theft

conroy-twitterAustralia’s digital minister has fallen victim to online identity theft.

Pranksters protesting Stephen Conroy’s plans to filter the Internet in Australia have taken over his identity on Twitter, and have been sending out updates on his behalf.

In the seven weeks since the profile appeared, “Stephen Conroy” has put out 73 messages and gained 217 followers. Many of the postings are designed to make him appear clueless about the web, and some of the comments make it clear he has been receiving messages from people who believe they are talking to the real Stephen Conroy. Among the most ridiculous messages purporting to be from him are:

“This world wide web thingo is dangerous! I was filling in a sheet for an email account and it put all my details in there! How did it know?!”

This was soon followed with: “Online pornography, fireworks and wikipedia are dangerous.” And then: “Nice morning in Melbourne. I can smell the coffee and the distaste for me like never before! FRESH!” He then adds:

“Anything is fair game. My fave is filtered coffee! Everything is better filtered!”

As another clue, his profile states: “I am in your internetz filtering your Pr0n,” while the page links to the No Clean Feed protest web site.

Despite the fact that the profile has been up for nearly two months, and blog posts have been written about it, nobody in the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy appears to have acted upon it. Twitter’s terms of service are clear that fake identities are not allowed and a single complaint from his office would have led to its rapid removal.

Mumbrella will be seeking comment from the department during the day. The difficulty for Conroy is that regardless of whether he was aware of the fake profile, he is in danger of looking like he was behind the game. If he admits that his team were aware of it, but felt the matter was too trivial, they risk  dissing PM Kevin Rudd who’s had a genuine Twitter profile since the beginning of last month.  And if he says he didn’t know about it, that puts him in the position of being the digital minister yet behind the game in a key social media application.


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