Thursday, December 10, 2009

Patrick Byrne Update: Hacking into Facebook to Compile an Enemies List

I was debating what image I should use to illustrate today's item on my Marley, Overstock.com's wack-a-doo CEO Patrick Byrne: our beloved 37th president or Dale Carnegie?

Byrne is being whacked upside the head today by word of his latest gambit: an enemies list, which he got by glomming private information off the Facebook pages of people who had written critically about him.

Is this guy a p.r. genius or what? The man really ought to write a book, "How to Win Enemies and Alienate People."

Seems that Byrne's paid thug, the eternally nauseating cyberstalker Judd Bagley, posted a list of critics of Overstock and Byrne, along with a spreadsheet of their Facebook friends. The list contains 7,483 names, mostly people in the media and friends thereof, their relatives and friends -- all to be tracked, stalked and lied-about by Bagley and Byrne's other pigs, down to the last babe in arms. Still more issuer retaliation and critic-harassment from my favorite corporate crime petri dish.

Evidently it was first noticed by Reuters columnist Felix Salmon on his Twitter feed, and then spread like wildfire among people who don't ordinarily follow Byrne and his nutters.

We're talking invasion of privacy and computer hacking, folks. Some of these people, such as white collar crime-fighter and Byrne nemesis Sam Antar, have high privacy settings, protecting the privacy of their Facebook contacts, which in Sam's case includes little kids. See the update to Sam's item here.

Byrne's enemies list is bigger than Nixon's, though obviously there's a difference between an enemies list compiled by a sitting president and one compiled by a guy who (despite his fathers billions and, I've heard, presidential ambitions), couldn't buy himself election to dog catcher of Provo.

So here's the great publicity Byrne received, even before it became apparent his thugs had been on a hacking spree:

Barry Rithholz:
Here is something weird, and a little creepy:

The freakshow that is DeepCapture.com seems to have grabbed all of the Facebook friends of anyone who has ever: a) written anything positive about short selling or 2) said anything negative about Overstock.com.
Business Insider:
This is amazing and disturbing though not at all surprising.

Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com (OSTK), has always had it out for journalists who don't buy into his theories about the naked short-selling cabal.

But, Barry Ritholtz has discovered the most ridiculous thing yet. His site DeepCapture.com -- which is ground zero for the naked short selling fringe -- has a public database of all the journalists he despises AND THEIR FACEBOOK friends. . . .

. . . John Carney, Henry Blodget, and many, many others are on there as well. So if you're friends with any of them, you're now officially being watched by Patrick Byrne and crew. Sorry!
The latter has an update on Byrne's cockroaches glomming private friends lists. The first comment theorizes on how Bagley hacked into the Facebook accounts.

Felix Salmon:

The sleazy anti-shorting crowd at Deep Capture has published a list of my facebook friends, along with those of other critics of the site. . . .

I’m a semi-public figure, and although I might not be happy with this kind of cyberstalking, I know I’ve put myself out there and that there will be consequences of that. But that decision of mine shouldn’t have some kind of transitive property which feeds through to my personal friends, and I don’t want the list of their names to be publicly available to everyone.


I tell ya folks, Dale Carnegie is chortling out there in the great beyond. I mean, how many CEOs do you know who can make enemies like this? Particularly among financial bloggers like Felix with such a wide readership?

William Wolfrum says:
When the business you run can’t make a profit, you fire auditors at a whim and the SEC just won’t get off your ass, you might make some enemies. Such is the case of Overstock.com (OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne. Byrne, however, is proactive about these types of things.
White collar crime-fighter Sam Antar points out that "Obviously, Patrick Byrne is in a deep panic" because of the ongoing threat of an SEC investigation and Nasdaq delisting, the struggle to obtain an auditor to attest to his phony financial statements, and the accumulated stress that comes from cooking the books for years and knowing that the jig is up.

That, of course, assumes that the man is rational enough to understand the kind of hot water that he is in. I wonder if he is so nuts that he believes his own lies.

UPDATE: A Barron's blog picks up on it, and Chief Cyberstalker Bagley does some frantic backpeddling.

Why haven't these mutts been prosecuted?

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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