2 readers online now  |  69 million page views

The professor's harassment claims seem disingenuous

Reader comment on item: [Hamid Dabashi:] Columbia University's Hysterical Professor

Submitted by Yoel Natan (United States), Dec 2, 2004 at 19:16

Back in the 1990's, it was safe to claim that the police looked into a harassment situation without anyone calling one's bluff. However, now that most police departments are computerized, it is possible to call and ask for police report numbers over the phone. Police can also search their daily blotters. Thus, not providing a police report or blotter number in response to requests casts serious doubt on whether the police were contacted at all over the harassment that Professor Dabashi alleges.

The professor's claims of harassment by mail, phone and email seem both hyperbolic and anachronistic. Previously it was safe to falsely claim one was being harassed, or exaggerate the amount of harassment, because the authenticity of the attacks could not be easily determined. Nowadays, however, there is DNA analysis of saliva on envelopes and stamps, computerized matching of fingerprints on letters, scientific analysis and profiling based on threat-letter contents, audio-analysis of voice mail recordings, and caller-ID phone tracing.

The professor's claims of computer hacking seem dated—as in nineties-ish. In the 1990's, networkers were a bit na├»ve and named computers and computer accounts after the person to which they were assigned. Moreover, the network administrator's user name was by default "Administrator," meaning that a hacker merely had to come up with the correct password to penetrate the entire network.

Nowadays, Administrators make their networks less transparent by disabling the "Administrator" account, and by giving all the computer names and accounts generic names like ps1234. What this means is a hacker would be hard pressed to locate, much less hack, Professor Dabashi's computer, without having first compromised an entire computer network at Columbia. Thus it becomes harder to believe that Professor Dabashi's computer was hacked without there being a shred of evidence to support this claim.

Finally, Dabashi's complaint of receiving "tons" of emails sounds dated, too. One wonders how all those emails sneaked past modern anti-spam software installed both on email servers and Columbia's local network. Furthermore, these emails are generally traceable by looking at the detailed email header information. The police would have found this information quite useful for catching the stalkers and harassers, if, in fact, "tons" of spam emails ever existed.
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to The professor's harassment claims seem disingenuous by Yoel Natan

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)