It is a case that should prove to everyone that having a handle or nickname to hide behind on the Internet does not protect your identity.
Back in 2012, Theron adopted a baby boy. That has become fairly common knowledge now, but one man’s brief discussion of the adoption has cost him his job as a judge.
Faulkner County (Arkansas) Circuit Judge Mike Maggio was chatting in a forum on an LSU sports fan website using the handle “geauxjudge”. In one forum thread someone asked, regarding Theron, “Did she get herself a black baby?” Maggio replied, “Yep.”
That’s it. That is the extent of the conversation. But even that statement was out of line for Maggio because it disclosed then-confidential details about Theron’s adoption.
The judge was also found to have made some other remarks that disturbed a disciplinary panel looking into the remarks.
In 2012, “geauxjudge” suggested that people can beat a drunken driving charge by not cooperating with police. He also indicated that he wanted to see evidence photos from a case about a cheerleader who had sex with a minor.
The thing that caught the judge is that his comments had, over time, written a profile of him as a person. From his comments, readers could determine that:
He’s an Arkansas judge
He attended Millsaps College
He attended the University of Mississippi
He has a daughter who played golf for LSU and Texas A&M.
Based on that profile used to determine the identity of Maggio as “geauxjudge”, the disciplinary panel told him, “Your statements online were not anonymous.”
A settlement with Maggio was reached which provides that he will be suspended with pay for the remainder of 2014 and then leave office.
It is a sobering example of how what we do online is not anonymous, even when we think we are hidden behind a nickname.
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