Newspaper claims Vikileaks Twitter account traced back to House of Commons

The @Vikileaks30 account on Twitter has been publishing embarrassing personal information about Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is pushing for a domestic spying law that would require ISPs to gather and retain your personal information and turn it over to police without a warrant. The Vikileaks account kicked off with excerpts from the affidavits from Toews's very ugly divorce, including his ex-wife's allegations about his abuse of his official government expense accounts. The account created a nationwide stir over the domestic spying proposal, and has caused a rare (and possibly strategic*) climbdown from the majority Conservative government.

Now The Ottawa Citizen newspaper has tricked the person behind the anonymous account into visiting a website that it controls, and have traced back the IP address used in the trap to the House of Commons, suggesting that Toews's nemesis works for the federal government. The Citizen claims that the IP address has also been used to "frequently" edit Wikipedia "[give] them what appears to be a pro-NDP bias" (the New Democratic Party is the left-leaning opposition party in Parliament).

While it's impossible to say who is actually the using the address without a full-scale investigation undertaken by the House of Commons, a trace of the IP address shows it is also used by an employee of the House to post comments on a website for fans of the musician Paul Simon.

When reached by phone, the employee said that while he frequents the Paul Simon website he has nothing to do with the Vikileaks30 Twitter account.

A spokeswoman for the Speaker of the House of Commons said she is not aware of any investigation into whether any House IP addresses are behind the Vikileaks30 account. In order for an official government investigation to begin a complaint would have to be filed by a Member of Parliament.

Vikileaks30 linked to House of Commons IP address

* "Possibly strategic" because it looks like they're rushing this to committee, which is likely to go closed-door, exclude skeptical expert testimony, and speedily conclude that the bill is just fine as-is while maintaining a low public profile (Thanks, Colin!)



  1. it’s not just protestors and dissidents in totalitarian governments who would benefit the use of some anonymizing software (TOR, SSH tunneling, etc). 

    somebody get this guy on a proxy stat! 

  2. “…pushing for a domestic spying law that would require ISPs to gather and retain your personal information and turn it over to police without a warrant.”

    That IS a vicious lie to be spreading about someone; whoever is starting these rumors should be…wait, what?  That is true?  He is?  Oh, well then, he’s a monster.

  3. It wouldn’t in the least surprise me to see this traced back to one of Harper’s droogs. It would be about on par with what Canadians have come to expect from “The Harper Government”®, unfortunately. When they get caught pulling s**t like this, they self-righteously bluster and play the wounded patriot until it’s categorically proven that they really were in fact up to some nasty s**t, then they just clam up completely and use their majority to “I’m not going to comment on that” their way through it. 

  4. It’s possible the twitterer works for the NDP, but it seems likely that staffers from lots of parties all go through that IP gateway. It is after all the House of Commons.

    Alice Funke at notes that visitors to her site from that IP address have been interested in material about all the major federal parties. 
    Not that I’d mind if it was someone from the NDP. Given the way the Conservatives have chosen to interpret the role of other parties in a “majority” government, tweeting is about all that’s left to them so they might as well use it.

  5. According to Vic Toews the new law is what’s already in place in the US and Europe. I haven’t had time to check but there is this from 2011:

    “By a 19 to 10 vote, a House committee votes to require Internet service providers to keep track of what their users are doing for one year in case it would be useful for future police investigations.”Read more: said, I’d rather Canada lead in the freedom business than just be like other countries.

  6. Well, the proposed bill does allow any government agent to have access to the info (not just the police) and it sure sounds like the person behind @Vikileaks30 is a government agent, so they’re just jumping the gun in anticipation of the bill getting passed, aren’t they?

  7. While it might be from someone there, it’s entirely possible that the guy running it saw through their little ruse and decided to spoof an address that would get them all a titter.

  8. I was under the impression that all the information in the tweets was public record.  As in, no law (that I know of) has been actually broken.  No?

    1. Nope the tweeter didn’t break any law. He was just disseminating what’s available for public access in first place. 

  9. Vic is now spinning it that he is angry over the misuse of government property. Also the house announced they are “looking into it” which means an investigation. The only thing I see, is that Vic is using taxpayer money for an investigation about his leaked information, where if this bill passes, and it is information about you or me that is “leaked”, we’ll be out of luck.

  10.  when will something be done about the child pornography resident on Toews’ computer/phone/etc.?
    I am quite sure he must have received some by now – which  makes him quite, quite guilty.
    Doesn’t it?

  11. Oh jeez, I am way too old for this! The RCMP used to camp outside the student co-op that I lived in.

    Having been subject to “scrutiny” in the past, I can tell everyone reading this that nobody in the security services cares about your life.

    On the other hand, lots of scammers/trolls do: and every time the government opens another channel for unrestricted access, you can bet that the liars and cheats and thieves will find it.


  12. Didn’t it occur to the guy from the newspaper, that the machine used to post the twitter info maybe is a zombie?

  13. So Toews is pursuing legal action because someone revealed his divorce info?   It’s publicly available information, anyone willing to walk down to the courthouse where it was filed can view it.  Same goes for the majority of court documents.

    1. I think his rationale is that using a government computer for personal reasons is misuse of public property.  

      1.  That is, no doubt his claim, but it’s untrue. It is both permissible and common for House of Commons networks to be used for personal (and political!) purposes. My check of the time stamps on the Vikileaks30 feed showed that the work-day tweets fell within either lunch hour or statutory break times for that time zone. I doubt the tweeter was even on the clock.

  14. Once again the government shows that it thinks it’s special. There is nothing in Vikileaks that isn’t public domain, so where’s the wrong doing? Why should the taxpayer pay for an investigation where there is no wrong doing? And yes, government employees can make politician statements, the same as anyone else.

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