Screen pictures of Fraudulent website are available here.

1/18/05
Fradulent website and e-mail sender Owns up to Deceiving people.

During 2003 a website that pretended to be by me was set up by Eyebeam Inc. and by Jonah Perretti. Among other things the website sent out e-mails claiming that I opposed legislation to restrict suits against gun makers. I will probably be writing more on this later, but I wanted to post this now that a final settlement has been reached:

“The AskJohnLott.org site was created by The Eyebeam Atelier, Inc. This site was never associated, endorsed or otherwise affiliated with John R. Lott, Jr. E-mail sent from the AskJohnLott.org domain that was identified as coming from Lott was also never associated, endorsed or otherwise affiliated with John R. Lott, Jr. Eyebeam deeply regrets any confusion and offers a formal apology to John R. Lott, Jr. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Jonah Peretti for Eyebeam
Director of Research and Development”

For those interested, a history of the website can be found here. There were some internet bloggers who tried to defend the website on various grounds, but obviously Eyebeam Inc. and Jonah Perretti found it necessary to apologize for the confusion that their website had created.

This website was taken down during the spring of 2004.

Background on fraudulent website.

8/1/03

Gunning for Lott?

A Washington Times article today (see below) discusses a web site (www.askjohnlott.org) that has apparently been up for a month and claims to be run by people who represent themselves as me and offer readers a chance to ask me questions. The answers offered through the web site are frequently the opposite of what I believe.

For example, here is what those running “askjohnlott” wrote in an e-mail that was signed “John Lott”:

So one stance I'm taking is to question the necessity of the immunity bill. While I know there have been many unfair lawsuits against gun manufacturers, I'm starting to believe that safer, tight restrictions will come from the privatized world, rather than the government agencies. If the gun manufacturers can still maintain a sense of fear of lawsuit, then they can do more to prevent the guns from getting into the wrong hands.

Some friends of mine who wrote in arguing that the web site was not mine received responses signed by "John."

From: "Jim Glassman"

Date: Wed Jul 30, 2003 2:30:34 AM US/Eastern

To:

Subject: Fwd: Your Emails

john: fyi: from the phony site. maybe it will help you track this guy down.--Jim

From: "John Lott"

Date: Tue Jul 29, 2003 6:10:00 PM US/Eastern

To: "Jim Glassman"

Subject: Your Emails

Dear Jim.

I see that you have sent me emails, but for some reason the text that you wrote didn't come through. But I have a feeling I know what it's about, I meant to tell you about this site before it launched but never got around to it, I'll give you a call soon.

Thanks

John

**Please note that despite the impression given, this e-mail is not by me.

If you send in an e-mail to www.askjohnlott.org, you will get an automatic e-mail response followed later by an e-mail that addresses the question asked. My fear is that the vast majority of people who receive these e-mails will think that they are from me. One can only wonder what e-mail responses "signed" by me that this site is sending out.

Inside Politics

By Jennifer Harper

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Gunning for Lott

Internet mischief-makers seem to be targeting economist John Lott, author of "More Guns, Less Crime" and "The Bias Against Guns."

A Web site called "Ask John Lott" appears to offer Mr. Lott's responses to questions about gun laws, but Mr. Lott said he has nothing to do with the site.

"People have e-mailed the site [asking questions] and you get an e-mail back, supposedly signed by me, making some fairly outrageous statements that I would disown," said Mr. Lott, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

The Web site attributes bogus advice to Mr. Lott, such as a response to a woman concerned about a peeping Tom, urging her to buy a .50 caliber rifle that "can hit a target a mile and a half away."

The site features the question, "Can I buy hundreds of semi-automatics without being reported to law enforcement?" And it attributes to Mr. Lott this answer: "Yes, you're in luck. Licensed gun dealers have no requirements to report multiple sales of long guns, even though this is the kind of gun that terrorist organizations love."

Mr. Lott says he believes gun-control activists are behind the bogus Web page, though the site's Internet service provider has declined to divulge the names of the miscreants.

I also have another op-ed out today, entitled Why don't media cover the good-news stories about guns?

8/4/03 "Gun Statistics Expert John Lott Victim of Identity Theft"

The article references one of many troubling claims made in the e-mails that are being sent as signed by me:

The reply went on to falsely imply that Lott had reconsidered his support of the right of law-abiding individuals to sell personally owned firearms to other law-abiding citizens without government permission, repeating claims of "anti-gun lobbyists" and attributing to Lott the conclusion, "it suddenly appears that maybe we need to check our assumptions." The email is signed, "Good luck. John Lott."

8/5/03 Changes made in askjohnlott.org web site

The askjohnlott.org web site has now added a disclaimer at the bottom of their pages and has changed the text to make the site look more like it is a parody. Pictures of the web site as it has apparently appeared from June until late yesterday are available here. (I have added the words "From Fraudulent Website" to the pictures of these pages.) One can only wonder how many e-mails that were sent out to people under my name during June, July and the beginning of August. I am sure that the changes in the site just as people who are trying to check out the claims is causing some confusion, but I think that when people check the original postings or the e-mails that were sent out few will think that the site was set up with the intention of making others think that it was a parody. No disclaimer was present in the original postings.

An earlier comment on this whole episode can be found at Roger Ailes's blog site.

FOLLOW UP NOTE: This is not the first time that Peritti has run this type of fraudulent web site. Well before he put up the fraudulent web site regarding me, he had a fraudulent web site regarding a young man named Jeff Goldblatt. What is most interesting is that Peritti's fraudulent web site on Goldblatt went through a similar evolution where it first did not have a disclaimer at the bottom. Because of his experiences with Goldblatt, it appears that Peritti understood there were problems with misappropriating someone's name and image and yet he did not engage in even minimal precautions when he then set up the fraudulent web site pretending to be me.

8/6/03 CNSNews: Askjohnlott.org web site "'piggy-backed' on the account of an anti-gun organization."

CNSnews has run an update on the fraudulent "askjohnlott.org" site. Among the more interesting statements in the new article are:

Fraudulent site possibly linked to anti-gun advocacy group

The fraud and abuse manager for one Internet Service Provider (ISP), whose features had been used by the fraudulent website, confirmed to CNSNews.com Tuesday that the website was "piggy-backed" on the account of an anti-gun organization.

"There is a merchant that is related, and I do see that there is some correlation," he said, speaking on condition that neither he nor his business would be identified. "They seem to be some sort of anti-gun advocate, something to that effect.

"However," he added, "it does seem that mostly they're using the service to conduct legitimate business."

Askjohnlott.org claims that they were a victim of a hacker today (see CNSNews). While I am skeptical of the web site's claim, I told the reporter:

"I don't support anybody hacking into a site, it's wrong."

For additional comments on this discussion you can see Iain Murray. Iain believes that if you looked at the site that had been up since June and not the changes that were made this past Monday afternoon: " The attempts to describe it as a parody won't wash." I would add that applies at least as much to the e-mails that were sent out under my name.

8/12/03
Liberal Internet Activist May Be Behind Website

CNSNews has yet another story on the web site that pretended to be run by me. After previously discovering that the web site was "'piggy-backed' on the account of an anti-gun organization," CNSNews now notes that:

Peretti is employed by Eyebeam, which he describes in an online biography as "a not-for-profit arts organization focused on exploring the expressive potential of emerging technologies." Eyebeam.org lists Datagram.com as its domain name server.

Peretti, who is the registrant for the domain name ContagiousMedia.org, lists Datagram.com and his own web address as domain name servers. Datagram.com and Peretti's domain name, ContagiousMedia.org, are both listed as domain name servers for AskJohnLott.org.

Lott believes the shared physical addresses and phone numbers of the three domain registrations, combined with the interlinked domain name servers, lead to only two possible conclusions.

"I don't see how one can get around that he either is running it, or he knows in detail exactly what's happening with the website," Lott said.

8/15/03
Further misleading claims on Askjohnlott.org

The askjohnlott.org web site now provides a misleading link to show people what the "Original Version" of the web site looked like. The site nowwrites that:

*The Original Version of Ask John Lott has been securely restored here.

At best this is a confusing claim. (So as to guard against the pages being changed again the previous link uses pictures of the web pages as they were viewed on 8/15.) Unless people see the screen pictures that I have on my web site most people seem likely to think that this is what the web site originally looked like. I don't think that most people will realize that this "original version" was only up for less than a day prior to the hacking.

Home

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Book Reviews:

For a list of book reviews on The Bias Against Guns, click here.

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List of my Op-eds
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Posts by topic

Research finding a drop in violent crime rates from Right-to-carry laws

Appalachian law school attack

Baghdad murder rate

Arming Pilots

Fraudulent website pretending to be run by me

The Merced Pitchfork Killings and Vin Suprynowicz's quote

Ayres and Donohue

Stanford Law Review

Mother Jones article

Links

Craig Newmark

Eric Rasmusen

William Sjostrom

Dr. T's EconLinks.com

Interview with National Review Online

Lyonette Louis-Jacques's page on Firearms Regulation Worldwide

The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at www.johnlott.org:

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper