Wednesday, March 4, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Change.org ordered to turn over IP addresses in GATE petition forgery

By
From page A1 | March 15, 2013 |

Yolo Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire issued a subpoena on Thursday ordering the Internet petition website Change.org to produce the IP address used to create false signatures and comments on a petition in favor of the school district’s Gifted and Talented Education program last month.

Change.org will have about three weeks to produce the information, said attorney Will Portello.

Portello is representing Shelley Dunning, a parent at North Davis Elementary School, who discovered two weeks ago that someone had forged her signature on the pro-GATE petition and added a testimonial that was falsely attributed to her.

In addition to turning over the IP address for the person who created a Change.org account using Dunning’s email address, the subpoena requests the same information for four other individuals who also had signatures forged or comments falsely attributed to them on the petition.

They are among at least nine people who Portello has determined were impersonated on the website. All are parents at North Davis Elementary School, he said.

“It appears (their names and email addresses) were taken out of the North Davis Elementary School directory,” Portello said Thursday.

The GATE petition, created by the recently formed group Davis Excel, is addressed to the Davis school board and says, “We the undersigned are parents, teachers and citizens of Davis who strongly support the current DJUSD self-contained GATE program” and calls for “no significant changes to the (GATE) program without a demonstration that the current program is failing its students.”

The fraudulent signatures and comments were left on the petition on Feb. 2 and Feb. 10, Portello said.

Dunning, however, didn’t learn about the deception until nearly a month later when she received an email inviting her to a GATE-related meeting. A message at the bottom of the email indicated she was receiving the invitation because she had signed the GATE petition.

But Dunning said she had never visited the Change.org site, never signed the petition and never left the comment attributed to her.

She contacted Anupam Chander, a UC Davis law professor who had created the petition, and he removed her comment. By then, Chander had been contacted by several parents who had learned they were the victims of the forgery.

Last month, Chander and others requested the IP address of the person or persons who had forged the signatures and left the fraudulent comments, but Change.org refused to provide them absent a search warrant or subpoena.

And though the subpoena has now been issued, it remains unknown how much useful information ultimately will be produced. If the person who forged the signatures and left the comments used an anonymizing program to conceal his or her identity, that would leave Dunning and the others without much recourse.

If, however, the IP address is undisguised, Portello will seek another subpoena, this one to the Internet service provider who controls the address and can identify the account holder.

At that point, Dunning and the others would have in hand the name of the person responsible.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Davisite competing for breast cancer ‘Survivor of the Year’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Cool musicians, hot jazz at Coconut Grove fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Guilty verdict in child abduction case

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    UC will freeze resident admissions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Aggies still have all to play for

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    State’s snow levels reach historic lows

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Moore featured at two climate talks this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Talk breast cancer with oncologic surgeon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    DPNS offers open house Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Public input sought Monday on Northstar Pond

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Documentary on immigration issues will be screened

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Veggie gardening, composting are workshop topics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Visiting prof will discuss Armenian genocide

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Holmes plans open house Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominees sought for Bill Streng Business Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Museum brick sales to end this month

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Prostate cancer group looks at massage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Closing education gap will lift economy, a study finds

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Applications due for Rotary’s leadership camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Project Linus meets March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Breakfast with the Bunny tickets on sale now

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Snowbird sings the song he always sings

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Low-flow toilets in our parks?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    It was music to our ears

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Thanks for pet drive support

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Story was an ad for NRA

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Athletes just want time to do their homework

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Let’s not delete Giovanni Barovetto from Davis history

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    After a shaky start, DHS stands up to No. 4 St. Mary’s, but loses

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS girls lacrosse coach likes her 2015 squad

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Hawkins enters the home stretch of brilliant UCD career

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devils girls stay undefeated ahead of league opener

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Blue Devils drop softball opener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Cousins returns to lift Kings in New York

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    San Jose crushes Canucks behind Nieto

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Features

    Ringing in the Year of the Sheep with dim sum

    By Ann Evans | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    French-Algerian guitarist weaves acoustic spells at The Palms on Friday March 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    California Honeydrops drop in for ‘Down Home’ tour

    By Landon Christensen | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Merna Petersen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6