In Sept. 2003, someone posted an ugly racist slur about Senator Anne Cools [on the Neo-Nazi forum Freedomsite]. The poster's IP was recorded and subsequently published: 188.8.131.52, which has the hostname wc09.mtnk.rnc.net.cable.rogers.com.
It has been alleged, both in CHRC Tribunal hearings and later through innumerable internet and print publications, that this someone must have been Canadian Rights activist Richard Warman, based on the fact that a posting from several weeks later, that he has admitted to have written, also bore this IP address.
What Buckets has discovered (with a little help from people like RB and Nbob and, I would like to think, yours truly) is that this IP is assigned to a Rogers Communications regional proxy.
Back in the early days of cable Internet, one of the big concerns was with the amount of Net traffic that high-speed users would generate. This was roughly around the time of Napster's debut, and the rise of other band-width hogging P2P programs (I began subscribing to Rogers high-speed in 2000 so as to better download material from Napster). One solution to this problem was the idea of a "proxy server". Lets say you wanted to access CNN. Pre-proxy, you would type in an IP, and the message would be sent to your ISP and then, by a series of hops and skips from machine to machine, down to the machine (lets say it was in Atlanta) on which CNN was hosted, and then back in another series of jumps. But Rogers (and others) discovered that it was far more efficient traffic-wise to route all of these requests to a regional proxy, a machine that would then send a request on behalf of your home computer down to Atlanta or wherever, and once the request had been fulfilled, send the results back to your home computer.
This method had a further advantage in that content from popular websites could be stored on the regional proxy. Instead of news fans (with the Rogers service) bombarding CNN computers down in Atlanta, their requests would be terminate in the proxy. Every once in awhile, the proxy itself would query CNN and bring back new content, which it stored in a cache. Thus any number of hops and skips (traffic) were eliminated, and everything sped along nicely. The important point: if someone had examined the CNN logs down in Atlanta, they would see the IP address of the regional proxy, not the IP of the PC which sent the original request to the proxy.
To say it again: 184.108.40.206 is the IP of one of these intermediate machines, not of someone's home PC.
So, how many people would have been served by one of these regional proxies? In other words, what are the odds that Warman wrote the Anne Cools post? After all, he did send requests to Freedomsite though this proxy on several occasions. Bucket's writes:
So, how many potential Rogers customers might have made that racist Cools post?
Probably all of them.
As we have seen (here), the proxies are not geographically limited, but serve all areas of the province.
Now, according to this, Rogers had 800,000 Internet subscribers in March 2004. The same link states that 90% of cable subscribers are in Ontario, which implies a pool of about 700,000.
The Cools poster could be almost any one of them.
Now, a couple of things in conclusion. Some of my older posts on this topic may have been a little obscure. Originally, it seemed that, since Rogers assigns personal IP addresses dynamically--they write somewhere that these can "change at any time"--the object of the investigation was to discover how often they change and among how many people they can get shuffled. As Buckets came to favor the regional proxy theory, my understanding did not always accurately track what he was on about. If you re-read some of my older posts on the topic, keep this in mind.
Also, though currently attached to an IT department, I am at best an "honorary nerd" and, in regards to on-line investigating, a mere hobbyist. Furthermore, I know very little about Buckets real-life background, but I would certainly pit his knowledge against that of a couple of Nazis, which is what the competition amounts to in this case.
And now here is your girl. She too is a nerd, or at least says she is. Furthermore, I would have also thrown in a few fart jokes to liven up the above, but its early and I couldn't think of any. Feel free to add some of these in the comments.