Wednesday, 15 June 2011
The Dark Side Of The Internet
This is the man who thought if he used the hospitality of Edinburgh University's computer system to deceive it was fine. Tom MacMaster, a 40 year old married man, is an American studying in Edinburgh, where he decided he would start a blog claiming to be a gay woman activist in Syria. His blog became a 'success' with a worldwide readership of thousands.
He gave no thought to those in Syria who were trusting enough to believe him/her and went as far as posting the 'arrest' of his creation.
He gave no thought to any implications his blog could have in the Syrian gay community and of course, from the comfort of Edinburgh, he gave no thought about the Syrian security services who would be checking out blogs like his with a fine toothed comb.
This post on his blog shows how deluded he is. 'However, I have been deeply touched by the reactions of readers'. Rather egotistical. Why he behaved as he did doesn't interest me as I've no desire to forensically examine the mind of this individual, but it was amusing, if not a little sinister, to learn the lesbian with whom he had a 'relationship' - with the full knowledge of his wife - turns out to be a retired US Air Force pilot.
What damage MacMaster has caused to individual Syrians will be revealed in time, but he's certainly done damage to the reputation of Edinburgh University, albeit only by association. The university has suspended his computer privileges while they investigate whether he has breached the university computing regulations.
It's to be hoped their investigation produces a positive result.