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Bring out the (florist) gimp

March 26, 2010

I can’t believe I almost missed this story! If I hadn’t cleaned my car on the weekend (an unusual task for me) and pulled some newspapers out of the neighbour’s recycling bin (online news only for me) that happened to show me the headline, I would have missed it entirely.

A Napier florist has been convicted of six charges of accessing a computer system for dishonest gain. She changed her competitors details on Google Maps, including such inspired gems as changing the name of Florist Gump to Florist Gimp. She told police it was an “addiction” and she had changed the details so hers was the only company customers could contact.

She was sentenced to 100 hours community service but I’m sure the shame and embarrassment heaped on her by her business peers and community will be a stronger punishment. I almost feel sorry for her if it wasn’t such an idiotic thing to do. It’s the online world equivalent of graffiti-ing your business phone number on the shop window of all your competitors.

Zenbu too relies on public input to maintain our database. We haven’t yet had a problem with malicious edits  but it’s good to know that New Zealand’s legal system will not tolerate this online defacement of private property. Every Zenbu edit is logged and tracked but hopefully we won’t be calling the police anytime soon.

This case should help educate the public that actions in the online world have just as real consquences.

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