Incredible sting op uncovers the real identity of an anonymous Twitter account posting Fianna Fail gossip:
He discovered that each tweet had originated from the Twitter web interface, meaning it had been posted from a web browser on a computer, rather than sent from a mobile phone or other portable device. Based on the times that tweets were posted by @brianformerff, he deduced that the Tweets were being posted while the user was on a work break, using a company computer or an internet cafe. The next stage in the hunt was uncovering the IP address of the computer where the tweets originated. “I created my own web redirection service which would allow me to take links to articles of interest, for example in the Irish Times, and then transform them into short links that would pass through a redirection server I controlled. In this way, if someone read the tweets and clicked on the link, I would be able to establish the IP address of the computer that was being used at the time.” The author created a new twitter account, @john_cant _type, based on the persona of a politics student based in Kildare. He started sending several messages and tweets to “brian” and other users to establish himself as a genuine twitter user. Eventually @brianformerff responded to a post from @john_cant_type to a link to an article at Silicon Republic. The bait was taken and the IP address was tracked to an internet cafe, Amazon cyber/net Rathmines which offers web access “at the very reasonable rate of €1/hour”. What happened next descended almost into the realms of farce. The author waited for tweets from @brianformerff and then rushed to the internet cafe to try and catch Chris Andrews. Eventually the plan worked and the author used photography and video surveillance, even taking covert photographs of tweets as they were being posted in the internet cafe by Chris Andrews and analysing if the word count and structure matched the tweets appearing in cyberspace under the tag @brianformerff.
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