I didn't think this would become a thing again, but the Skeptical Science group is apparently accusing me of hacking them again. There's a long history of these accusations, with the head of the group John Cook even getting his university, the University of Queensland, to send me a threatening letter including the accusation. His university even said they would report me to the police over it. (They never did.)
But I'm not here to rehash all that. Today, I just want to look at the latest accusations being made. Or at least, one of them. A Skeptical Science team member recently wrote this about the material I found:
Intent: John Cook certainly did not intend the files to be public. In fact, I am informed that:
– There were no public links to the files.
– URLs had to be obtained from the database of redirect URLs.
– The database was password-protected: So it required actlve effort to obtain a username/password match and search the database to find target URLs before the files could be accessed. Once you have the URL, you can give it to anyone. But that’s true of a metal door-lock key as well: Once you have a key, you can make copies and give them to everyone. The block to the public was that decent people don’t try to hack username/password pairs on other people’s systems.
If these claims were true, my actions would have been criminal. They are not true. They are obviously false. Despite this, a few days later King went on to say:
2) Checking out the methods described for getting the two files, fairly thoroughly. My SkS folks agreed that it worked that way the 1st time (for the Photoshops), but they claim it wouldn’t have worked that way the 2nd time, because they put a password system on it. Lucia did a demo, but then she reported a problem with it, so I’m not sure of the situation. It may be that what each side is saying is compatible with the other, but that’s not the way it looks. Maybe something is being de-emphasized in the story: either the effort required for some task, or the possibility of some work-around. I need some 1st-hand information.
No examination of the issue could have possibly supported the claims being made. My explanation of how I found the material in question is easy to check, and it is absolutely indisputable there was no password protection involved. I don't know which "SkS folks" are spreading false information here, but to demonstrate beyond and doubt what they claim is false, I've made a video demonstrating exactly how I found what I found. I encourage anyone who has any doubt the Skeptical Science group is full of it when they claim I hacked them to watch the demonstration:
Oh, and for the record, falsely accusing people of committing felonies is libel. It's kind of a big deal.