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Old 02-27-2006, 03:28 AM   #48

Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 9,507

Well, it's done. Begg-Smith carried the flag as an international ambassador for Australia about 12 hours ago. I wish we could have been behind him all the way, as we are our other athletes.

Unfortunately, the suggestions that his company deliberately withheld payments from dozens or even hundreds of publishers (including many Geek/Talkers) and that his wealth has been derived largely through the distribution of malicious software and spyware, makes it impossible for many Aussies to hold him up as a hero of the slopes.

Press attention about Dale's business dealings seems to have died down here to a degree. This is again perhaps due to the difficulties that our journalists have not only in understanding exactly what these allegations represent, but in conveying these issues to the public in a meaningful manner.

I think it's safe to reveal now that I was in contact with a representative from this country's leading prime-time current affairs program, and a journalist from the country's largest circulation daily newspaper shortly after starting this thread. Both expressed a great deal of interest in the story, particularly the newspaper journo who contacted me immediately after becoming a member here. Both, however, seem to have found it difficult to locate Aussie victims to substantiate the claims and to showcase in soundbytes and quote grabs. That may be a good sign, suggesting that not many Aussies were victims. On the other hand, it might just be an indicator of how difficult it is for computer users to determine the source of any spyware that has infiltrated their systems or to identify those who have been complicit in stealing their personal data and invading their privacy.

I'm not an expert in the anti-spyware field so I'm not 100% confident in stating that Dale was directly responsible for the distribution of this dangerous and malicious software; along with all that that entails. Dale's own comments on this board, coupled with evidence provided by those who are experts in this field, don't paint a pretty picture of the situation, however. When that is viewed alongside the fly-by-night nature of the AdsCPM ad network, which attracted more than its fair share of complaint threads on Geek/Talk, and Dale's evasive and contradictory descriptions of his business activities, it's hard to see why this story didn't break more dramatically in this nation.

I have heard that a writer for another major Aussie paper has been in contact with another contributor to this thread in relation to publishing a follow-up article about the situation. That may trigger a second round of attention. If not, hopefully this event did at least stimulate enough interest in the highly spyware/botnet scene to encourage popular writers to help inform the public about the dangers that these networks represent.

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