UPDATE: Spider email joker's website suspended

Net prankster in thorny situation?



UPDATE: Thorne's site crashed after he posted the Easter blog. He said the hosting provider cut-off 27b/6 after it exceeded 10 per cent of its "unlimited" bandwidth limit, and has moved the site to a temporary server — for the fifth time — until he can find a suitable provider that can handle 240,000 hits per day.

The website of infamous Internet prankster, David Thorne, has been suspended for the second time in two weeks.

It is not yet known why the web account was taken down, but the irreverent blogger has a history of provoking law suits and tricking the media.

Thorne claimed his account was suspended on 3 March after South Australia Police took action against a blog proposing an investment opportunity in a drug-dealing business. But probing by e-activism blog, machinegunkeyboard.com, seemed to uncover the ‘suspension’ as another elaborate hoax, and The Register found no records of the police officer named.

Thorne is famous for publishing satirical email exchanges and heckling individuals on his website, 27b/6. He shot to online fame after publishing an exchange where he attempted to pay a bill with an image of a spider — which he then ‘sold’ on eBay for $US10,000. He is also behind the post “Please design a logo for me. With pie charts. For free” that was read on the BBC, Conan O’Brien and Network 10’s 7PM Project.

He also masterminded an alleged scam featuring a letter, purportedly from McDonalds proprietor, Robert Trugabe, but signed using a scan of the signature of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe. The letter, complete with a corporate letterhead, detailed a plan to scrounge cash by leaving out items from customer orders. Several media publications took the bait.

Unlike the alleged suspension earlier this month, however, in which some pages of 27b/6 could be viewed, the site is completely inaccessible this time around.

Thorne has previously received seemingly legitimate legal threats for identifying individuals in satirical email exchanges by using names and photos pulled from social networking sites. In one instance, Thorne was forced to remove an individual's name and censor an image after lawyers threatened a harassment suit.

The news follows the release of Thorne’s book, The Internet is a Playground, which is a collation of his comedic work.

Computerworld has determined the site 27b/6 IP address falls under a range of addresses administered by US hosting firm theplanet.com.

Has this reporter fallen for another hoax? Or has Thorne bitten off more than he can chew? Email Computerworld Australia.

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