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Bitcoin Privacy

Should Newsweek Have Outed Satoshi Nakamoto's Personal Details? 276

Posted by samzenpus
from the fame-and-misfortune dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman spent months tracking down the mysterious founder of Bitcoin, "Satoshi Nakamoto," a name that everybody seemed to believe was a pseudonym for either a single individual or a shadowy collective of programmers. If Satoshi Nakamoto, former government contractor and model-train enthusiast, is actually "Satoshi Nakamoto," Bitcoin founder, then he's sitting atop hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto-currency. Does the article's exhaustive listing of Nakamoto's personal details place his security at risk? Many in the Bitcoin community think so, and poured onto the Web to express that opinion. The Newsweek article has raised some interesting questions about the need for thorough journalism versus peoples' right to privacy. For example, should Goodman have posted an image of Nakamoto's house and car, even though information about both would probably be relatively simple to find online, anyway?"
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Should Newsweek Have Outed Satoshi Nakamoto's Personal Details?

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  • But He Isn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:34AM (#46425835) Homepage

    It's become petty clear that the guy in question ISN'T Satoshi Nakamoto. This is basically just a crazy lady writing a delusional account of the two months she spent stalking a random Japanese guy.

  • Personal Details (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:34AM (#46425843)

    Outing anybody without their permission, especially in circumstances such as where someone has done nothing wrong is incredibly unethical.

  • Great timing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sigvatr (1207234) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:35AM (#46425845)
    He was outed from his anonymity at just about the same time as the CEO of a virtual exchange was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Good job, media.
  • by Rick in China (2934527) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:40AM (#46425861)
    Which it doesn't seem to be... I think it's absolutely wrong to out someone who is actively trying to remain out of the spotlight - publishing personal information or photos without their permission. It's very different if it's a wanna-be famous actor or singer or whatever, a loud outspoken public figure type, then -- fair game -- but a recluse? Let people have some f'in privacy, ffs.
  • No of course not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crashmarik (635988) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:03AM (#46425939)

    It's really not even a question that should have to be asked. Here is a man who wasn't seeking the limelight and this idiot reporter stole something from him he will never be able to fully recover.

  • by E-Rock (84950) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:04AM (#46425941) Homepage

    What is the value of knowing who the original creator of bitcoin is and where he is living?

    I'd say there is no value.

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:27AM (#46426023)

    And yet the "real" Satoshi Nakamoto's legions of followers/fanboys are denying any possibility that this is the guy. Sometimes double-bluffs work.

  • NO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmd (14060) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:29AM (#46426033)

    As Eleanor Roosevelt said: Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
    Lets get back to discussing Bitcoin..... the idea.

  • Re:Bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erikkemperman (252014) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:46AM (#46426079)

    Journalists used to have a little class.

    No they didn't. It is just that today their lack of class is more apparent.

    Come on, even Hunter S Thompson had more class than the vultures who are filling columns these days. And consider someone like Edward Murrow -- he would probably not even get a job at any major news outlet today.

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goose-incarnated (1145029) <lelanthran.gmail@com> on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:51AM (#46426103) Homepage Journal

    I've been following this pretty closely today and it honestly seems to be fairly convincing to me that he is. What is the main thing that makes you think he isn't the BitCoin creator?

    That's not how it works - you need to provide evidence that he is. What is the main reason you think he *is* the guy?

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Friday March 07, 2014 @03:28AM (#46426195) Journal

    > shouldn't a good researcher have looked into that?

    What makes you think she's a good researcher? She writes for Newsweek for Christ's sake.

  • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Friday March 07, 2014 @03:31AM (#46426197)

    What's the value of knowing the intimate details of the lives of the Kardashians?

    absolutely no value.

    I can only yurn for the days when I thought it odd people were talking about Cardassians from Deep Space 9. Now that would be an interesting show I would watch religiously. A show about say Garek before being banished to Bajor and DS9 that would be worth watching as apposed to seeing what rapper/football player is knocking up a ex porn star between trips to the mall.

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Friday March 07, 2014 @03:52AM (#46426249) Homepage

    Not only that but it's hardly an uncommon name. Uncommon in the west sure but that's about it. Hell take my real first name, there's a lot of people named thus in the west. Not so much in Japan. Take my Japanese name lots in Japan, not so much in the west. The entire thing just wants me to bang my head against the wall to make the stupid stop.

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Friday March 07, 2014 @04:40AM (#46426359)

    No idea, but that's her problem, and without proof it's just "chatting shit", and I didn't think Newsweek was in the business of doing that just because proper journalism times time, effort and integrity. If you just want to type something, get a blog.

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @05:19AM (#46426431)

    No real way to verify it, but there is a surefire way to discredit it!

    https://twitter.com/mikko/stat... [twitter.com]

    How is that surefire in *any* way? The guy already denied it. Now, an account denied it as well.

    Russia denies their troops are occupying Crimea.

    Denials are easy to make.

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by goose-incarnated (1145029) <lelanthran.gmail@com> on Friday March 07, 2014 @05:47AM (#46426501) Homepage Journal

    Newsweek has already provided plenty of evidence.

    No, they haven't - provide a link to the evidence.

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by goose-incarnated (1145029) <lelanthran.gmail@com> on Friday March 07, 2014 @06:13AM (#46426553) Homepage Journal

    What, seriously? I said: Newsweek. It's the very first link in the summary, you can't find that? Fine, for your lazy ass: link [newsweek.com].

    Hate to burst your bubble, but that link has no evidence whatsoever, only a lot of conjecture and speculation. As of now, there is still no evidence that this man and the bitcoin inventor are the same person.

  • False Positives (Score:4, Insightful)

    I've been following this pretty closely today and it honestly seems to be fairly convincing to me that he is.

    The problem here is false positives. If you slowly go through all the Satoshi Nakamoto's in the entire world, what is the probability that you _won't_ find one who fits the profile of a secretive computer geek? Chances are that that is basically what we are seeing here.

    The list of circumstantial evidence is fairly convincing, but it must be weighted against the odds of _not_ finding such a person. If you look for a person with the name "David O'Neill" who could fit Bitcoin Satoshi's profile, odds are you will also find such a man, with just such a set of circumstantial evidence.

    On top of all that, there are details of the story which, bluntly, make it seem fabricated. The line about the cop who knew about "the guy who invented bitcoin" reads conspiculously like either an embellishment or an outright fabrication

    "What?" The police officer balks. "This is the guy who created Bitcoin? It looks like he's living a pretty humble life."

    I don't think the story has much credibility. Then again, I have a pretty low opinion of journalists anyway.

    P.S.

    *Stands up* I'm Satoshi!!

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday March 07, 2014 @07:29AM (#46426797) Journal

    Denials are easy to make

    I almost puke this morning when I heard over BBC's news interviewing that female reporter from Newsweek.

    She seems to be enjoying basking in her 15-second fame - and during the interview, she actually said that her action on "revealing the true identity of the founder of bitcoin" is not wrong, as it would not harm that Japanese guy in anyway.

    We all know that journalism in America sucks, and this is one heck of a prime example how sucks American journalism can be.

  • by Raumkraut (518382) on Friday March 07, 2014 @07:32AM (#46426809)

    Thought experiment: Remember that guy at Tiananmen Square? If you're not Chinese, you probably know who I mean. Would you consider it "ethical" for an American newspaper to publicise his new identity, location, family, etc.?
    What if it then turns out that wasn't the guy after all? Do you consider it "ethical" to publicise all the details about some random citizen, and - at the very best - turn their life upside down, just because some journalist thinks they're probably someone important, due to finding some circumstantial evidence?

    "In the public interest" is not the same thing as "interesting to the public".

  • Re:But He Isn't (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday March 07, 2014 @09:08AM (#46427141)

    Because none of the other cases resulted in reporters getting into a car chase with an elderly Japanese man?

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