The Madison County Record Apr. 13, 2013, 6:26am

Maybe you’re a good-looking guy, you travel out of town, and women hit on you.

More likely, you’re pretty much nondescript and you know it, but you’re a sucker for a compliment, however disingenuous, and the only time you ever get one is when you’re away from home, spending money and buying rounds like there’s no tomorrow.

So, what happens? You’re sitting at the hotel bar after a long day of selling widgets and this certifiable babe slides onto the stool next to you and starts professing to find you fascinating. Sure, it’s totally unbelievable, but, then again, maybe she really is the first person in the history of your life to recognize your inestimable youness, and it’s about time, isn’t it?

Next thing you know, you’re standing there in your Iron Man boxers in her room upstairs and somebody comes barging in claiming to be her husband, father, or pimp. Then it turns out she’s either not 18, not female, or something worse. Oh, boy! You’re in big trouble.

It’s the badger game, and it’s been going on for centuries. You did something stupid, you got yourself in a bind, and it’s going to cost you to get out of it.

That was then, and this is now. Today, this game is played on the Internet. And the extortionists aren’t just pimps-- they could be rogue plaintiff’s lawyers.

As The Record reported earlier this week, Internet service providers have joined a fight to quash subpoenas seeking customer identities in a sweeping St. Clair County lawsuit with up to 10,000 Internet users as potential defendants. The plaintiff, a mysterious company called LW Systems, is allegedly owned by the plaintiff’s lawyers.

What were those 10,000 users allegedly guilty of? Unauthorized access to Internet porn.

“Don’t want your spouse, girlfriend or boss to know? Better pay up,” seems to be the unwritten pleading.

Lucky for these dumbbells the court is getting wise to the scam.

How this case plays out in court will be watched closely by scores of folks who wish to stay anonymously on the dark side of the Internet.


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