This is the most embarrassing story I’ve heard in a long time. The Landfill King of New Oreleans was under investigation for various corruptions. Lower lever compatriots of the Landfill King had pled guilty and were ready to testify for the prosecution. But, last week, the Feds abruptly dropped the charges against the King. The case died when the Landfill King showed that one of the federal prosecutors was posting stupid and inflammatory comments on www.nola.com. The prosecutor, Sal Perricone, made hundreds of comments under the name “Henry L. Mencken1951”. He even broke the law by posting about secret grand jury hearings.
The Landfill King, Fred Heebe, hired the same FBI profiler that nailed the Unabomber to review 595 posted comments and compare them to legal briefs in the Landfill King’s case. The FBI profiler found that the comments and the legal briefs included identical 50-cent words that were both obscure and douchey (like “dubiety” and “redoubt”). Perricone’s terrible judgment blew up the case – he retired and lives in disgrace.
But, the bigger lesson is that you are no longer anonymous. People can pull apart your writings to identify you. They can often trace your IP address (the unique Internet number assigned to your device). Or, they can find you by using various apps or scripts like StatCounter. Really, it’s probably time you stopped saying things on the web that you wouldn’t say in person, in public. The results could be so so embarrassing.