IMPORTANT UPDATE on Brave New Foundation and Nation of Change

By | August 12, 2011

I wrote several days ago about spam I received from Nation of Change at an email address which had previously only been shared with Brave New Foundation. Earlier today, I wrote about Nation of Change apparently attempting to cover their tracks after their unauthorized use of email addresses was discovered and reported by me.

I have been in conversation about this with a high-level employee at Brave New Foundation, and I am now able to report the following important information:

  • Brave New Foundation does not sell, share or rent their email lists.
  • There is a Brave New Foundation employee with access to their lists who has a relative who works for Nation of Change.
  • Brave New Foundation believes that this Nation of Change employee made unauthorized use of his/her relative’s access to copy an as yet undetermined subset of Brave New Foundation’s email lists for Nation of Change’s use.
  • Brave New Foundation does not believe its employee was complicit in this unauthorized access. In fact, s/he was unaware that it had occurred until I brought it to Brave New Foundation’s attention.
  • Brave New Foundation considers this breach of their data to be extremely serious, and they are actively investigating it.
  • Brave New Foundation is considering legal action against Nation of Change both to prevent any further use of the copied email addresses and to obtain financial compensation for the damage to Brave New Foundation’s reputation and the time and resources spend investigating this incident.

All of this information, as well as some additional off-the-record supporting information that I cannot report here, was provided to me directly by an employee of Brave New Foundation. I have no reason to believe that employee is lying, and what s/he told me is consistent with my suspicions and impressions about Nation of Change. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I want to be clear that I have not seen any hard evidence supporting any of Brave New Foundation’s allegations against Nation of Change.

When you combine these new allegations against Nation of Change with all the other issues I raised in my first posting about them, it seems doubtful that this is an organization which deserves anyone’s support.


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7 thoughts on “IMPORTANT UPDATE on Brave New Foundation and Nation of Change

  1. Think it Through

    No one appears to be asking who would benefit from antagonizing centrists and or progressives. Perhaps it’s persons with an agenda to undermining some of them by turning subjects they are likely to respond to into irritation, aggravation, overload or just time consuming via inundation from supposed “like-minded people”.

    It doesn’t matter if what’s presented by spam is correct today, tweaked tomorrow, properly researched, well presented or who’s sending it. What matters is whether the spammers are having some success affecting issues people care about. Considering the number of spammed subjects presented daily, the source of the spam is likely a multi-person funded operation. It’s certain there are some resourceful, funded individuals and groups on the Right.

    Suggestion: apply a method to assure the spam becomes irrelevant / blocked. Rely on your own resources for information.

  2. QuitoGold

    How are they getting the articles written by some very legitimate progressives? There is no reference to where the articles first appeared – are these folks actually writing original material for NOC?

    1. jik Post author

      They’re reprinting articles from other web sites. Rumor has it that in at least some cases they’re doing it without permission or attribution.

  3. jik Post author

    Here’s an interesting message about this which I just received via email:

    Recently started receiving daily spam at 2 accounts associated with our company website. Your blog is about the only talk about it on the googlewebs I found.

    (I control these accounts, so it isn’t a case of an employee using the accounts to sign up for newsletters)

    The first email address could have been scraped from our website, but could not likely have been generated by a dictionary attack as the name is complex enough to preclude that, and other standard role accounts like and are not being targeted). Also, the other much higher visibility email address on the website has not been targeted.

    The other address is not overly complex, but is not a standard role account, is not published anywhere, and was only recently used a couple months ago (and more than 5 years ago before that) as the sending address for an opt-in emailing we did to about 1000 of our past customers.

    This tells me that:

    1) One of our customers is an idiot and thought we wanted to be signed up for this crap.

    2) One of our customers is an idiot, has malware on their computer, and has thereby allowed compromise of their email address book(s). This could imply that Nation of Change has purchased email lists generated by botnets or maybe even has closer ties to operators of said botnets (blackhats getting into politics?)

    3) One of our past customers who was emailed our newsletter is a member of the Nation Of Change collective (and is an idiot)

    4) NOC purchased a recently compiled, unverified email list – still makes them scum.

    Normally, in my experience, in dictionary attack spam campaigns ALL the role accounts are targeted (sales, info, support, abuse, etc) – not the case here, which in combination with the non-standard nature of the targeted address leads me to dismiss dictionary attack as the method.

    If it’s a case of a customer signing up our addresses with NOC, the fact that NOC does not do double opt-in subscriptions makes them dirtbags in my book, and as culpable as the person that signed up the addresses.

    Brave New World does not appear in any way in the emails received here. All links and images in the spam here refer to (and are blatantly tagged tracking links)

    Pretty much everything about this leads me to a conclusion that NOC is dirty, and a best incompetent, and unworthy of purveying anything resembling truth (that conclusion doesn’t even touch on the email content – just the transport/targeting methods)

    On a related note, Nation of Change’s contact import tool allows people to import their contacts from lots of different webmail sites and then select which of them should be subscribed to their email list. The tool supposedly gives users the change to select which addresses to import, but unfortunately many people are too clueless or lazy to do that properly, so that’s probably how the addresses in the above-quoted email got subscribed. And no, it’s probably not double opt-in, and yes, I agree with the above-quoted email that that’s yet another reason why the Nation of Change folks appear to be dirtbags.

  4. Geoduck

    In case anyone doesn’t know, “Domains by Proxy” means that they registered their website name with, and are paying extra $ not to have their personal contact info released. Not automatically a sign of being “fishy”, but not terribly encouraging either.

  5. Advice

    I looked their website registration. They’re registered by Domains by Proxy, which is fishy. However, DbP’s website allows you to report people sending you spam. Since you got unsolicited email from a stolen list, you could probably report them to DbP and see if they’ll release the true website registration.

  6. Pingback: “Nation of Change”, who are you and why are you spamming me? « Something better to do

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