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Apr 15 2010   4:23PM GMT

Cyber-squatting scandal rocks Tooting election race

ComputerWeeklyStaff Profile: ComputerWeeklyStaff

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cybersquatting

We expect everyone will be surprised to hear that parliamentary candidates are being all horrible to each other in the run up to the election.

Lets all point and stare at Mark Clarke, the Tory candidate for Tooting. According to anonymous sources one of Clarke’s colleagues decided to engage in a spot of cyber-squatting.

After Clarke’s independent rival (she used to be Tory) Susan John-Richards bought the domain name susanjohnrichards.co.uk for her campaign site, the colleague decided to buy susanjohnrichards.net, susanjohnrichards.com and Susanjohnrichards.org and made sure they all re-direct to Mark Clarke’s site.

We are shocked and appalled. And so is John-Richards, who told us, “I was shocked and appalled to find that Mark Clarke’s associate registered my domain name to redirect to his website. Given that my campaign had only just begun, I was surprised to see malicious tricks start so soon. I cannot believe that after all the talk of “cleaning up politics” David Cameron privately allows his top candidates to enjoy such mailicious tricks intended to confuse voters.
“Despite several attempts from my part to request blocking the traffic to markclarke.net from these third party websites, registered by his associate, they have refused to do so.”

The Guardian reported that a complaint has been filed to the Electoral Commission, but the Commission’s press office has so far not been able to confirm that.

Cyber-squatting can be a serious problem for celebrities or big companies, as well as parliamentary candidates. Options for re-dress often lie in the courts, but registration and mediation company Nominet might also be able to help. Some software companies also offer services.

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