Note: I have changed the title of this page from "censorship tactics" to "silencing tactics". Censorship, as defined in the legal sense, refers to suppression of opinions and free speech by a government, and not by a private citizen or organization. What Ken Pangborn does is similar to censorship, but does not qualify as censorship in a legal forum.
One of Ken's tactics is to spread lies about the person he has "marked". For instance, if someone is posting to a domestic abuse support group, and Ken doesn't want them posting there, he would claim to have "proof" that the person was a spouse abuser. Or, if a former military person were posting to a veteran's group, Ken would claim to have "proof" that the person was dishonorably discharged from the military, or had been court-martialed. Here is such an example of defamation by Ken, in his own words.
Another defamatory statement Ken likes to use is to accuse his "mark"
of having been terminated from several internet service providers.
He does this to create the illusion that his victim is a chronic troublemaker,
which is a description which more accurately fits Ken.
Ken's defamation efforts have also taken on the form of forgeries in the past. His m.o. usually consists of finding a particularly vile post (regardless of who authored it), replying to it, and altering his reply to make it appear that his victim wrote the post. Example:
If you were to respond to a posting on usenet, most browsers will quote
the original post and it will look something like the following:
This is an abusive posting.
Ken would alter this in his browser, prior to adding his own inflammatory comments and sending it out, and it would read:
email@example.com (John Doe) wrote:
This is an abusive posting.
Anyone reading Ken's forged reply to the original post, without having read the original post, would then assume that Ken's "mark" authored the original abusive posting, and would then unwittingly jump on the bandwagon against Ken's victim. Ken has done this in the past to foster flamewars against various people, despite the fact that in some cases the real people were not even posting to the newsgroups in question.
Click here for an example of forgery by Ken.
Another tactic of Ken's is email bombing, or the sending of several
email messages at one time, usually harassing and threatening in nature.
Normally, you can successfully deal with email harassment by simply sending
a request to the harasser telling them to cease communicating with you
by email. However, keep in mind that Ken Pangborn has absolutely
no respect for anyone else's rights to enjoy the internet without being
harassed. If Ken his harassing/threatening you by email, it will
probably take several requests to firstname.lastname@example.org to get him to stop.
LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGNS
Another Pangborn tactic is to organize letter-writing campaigns. These are similar to email bombing, with one significant difference. Instead of sending a barrage of unwanted emails to an individual, they are instead sent to the individual's ISP. When someone disagrees with Ken's opinions, to Ken this is tantamount to a declaration of war. He then bombards his victim's ISP abuse department with unsubstantiated complaints, hoping that the ISP will eventually tire of hearing about it and get rid of the user in question.
Note about letter writing campaigns: the question may come up, isn't it wrong to write to AOL about Ken? No, it is not. Ken harasses other internet users on a daily basis. He constantly uses profanity and vulgarity. He sends harassing, threatening email, even after he is politely asked to stop. He uses AOL's Instant Messaging service to harass. All of these things are against America Online's Terms of Service, and we have every right to point out Ken's abuse, because we have the right to enjoy the internet without being harassed in this manner.
Ken has also declared his intent to get these very pages censored. He
has admitted to having written at least two complaints to tripod.com.
THREATS OF LEGAL ACTION
If Ken disagrees with your opinions, he will usually threaten you with legal action. He's been known to do this in response to someone exposing the truth about him.....whether it be on Usenet or in a complaint to his ISP. He will threaten to use his affiliations in the legal community against you. Why does he do this? Most likely it is a bit of megalomania. Ken believes that he is so important that it is against the law to speak out against him.
However, the consensus is that Pangborn has been making this threat for years, to the many people he has disagreed with, without ever following through. And even if he does try to push a frivolous lawsuit through the system against you, take heart. First he would have to prove jurisdiction. If you make a post from your computer in New York, and it goes on a news server in Georgia, and then Ken reads the post on his computer in Florida, which area would have jurisdiction? Even a true legal professional would find this difficult to determine.
Ken will also try to frighten you off by telling you that you are under investigation by police, your ISP, or both. Rest assured that law enforcement officials have better things to do with their time than police some flame war on the internet.
If these methods of harassment don't succeed in censoring you, Ken has other methods of harassment as well. On one occasion, he posted his victim's social security number to a public newsgroup. On another, while trying to drive a victim off of a father's rights newsgroup, he threatened to get in touch with the individual's ex-wife, and tell her a bunch of lies, if the victim continued to post to the newsgroup. (Ironically the victim in question was not even subscribed to the newsgroup at that time.)
On occasion, Ken Pangborn has resorted to threats
of violence to silence his opposition. In December of 1997, he
told one of his victims "We'd like to arrange for YOUR rape".