Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yahoo! Account Blackmail Over Drug Story

See update at bottom!

Craig Malisow, a reporter with the Village Voice-owned Houston Press, has written a letter to Romenesko asking for advice on what to do after being "blackmailed".

According to his account, Mr. Malisow was working on a story about online pharmacy referral services and discovered it was pretty easy to obtain prescription drugs without ever talking to a doctor.

He interviewed a spokesperson for the company selling the drugs and later posted a question to an online forum about buying drugs online. In the forum he identified himself as a reporter and mentioned his dealings with the company.

Malisow claims an "employee of that company was reading the forum and didn't like what I had written, so he posted the Yahoo e-mail and password I used to open an account with the company." This employee then apparently suggested to other forum users that Malisow's Yahoo! account info might be the same, should they wish to take advantage of this.

They did. All my e-mails on that account have been erased, and he sent me an e-mail saying that unless I write a positive story, he's going to disseminate all my private info.
Malisow says he's not getting the support from the Village Voice that he needs, and is now asking for advice from fellow journalists.

UPDATE: Well, it seems Craig is learning big life lessons, some of which he is sharing in an update at the tail end of his story:
Around 9 a.m., I got a telepathic message directly from the King of Bad Ideas, Lord of Planet Dumbass. I posted a desperate message on an online forum read by media folks from all across the country. I regurgitated the Saga of Carlos and stated that I felt like my company wasn't backing me up. I'd like to say I don't know what came over me, but I do. Hysteria, impatience, selfishness. It was a bonehead move that made my company out to be villains when, in truth, they had no idea what was going on.

Right after I penned this marvelous opus, things got really bad.
And by really bad he means "visit by the DEA" bad.


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