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Jack Ritter

Technically speaking. I'm a small fish. Here's what happened. I'm a web developer. Within the HTML for each page in this site ( I've included a snippet of JavaScript code, in the HTML header. This code is supplied by Google, as part of its google analytics. It's a hook that recognizes mouse clicks to the site from surfers. Google compiles a database for the site (or "property," as G. calls it.) It contains an entry for every page request (click.)

Developers can scan this database to see who's coming to the site, from where, what kind of search initiated the navigation, what the surfer's native language is, etc. Each visit is a 'hit'. Three days before our presidential election in November, I got about a hundred hits. I was ectatic. That's a lot of hits for a personal writing site. But many of the data looked funny. Under the 'Language' column of most entries was this string:

" You are invited! Enter with only this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!"

You get used to this kind of thing in quickly evolving tools like Google Analytics. They have a wild west quality to them, whereby there's no time to ponder the artifacts. But, it turns out, the database was hackable last November (2016.) Programmers from Russia were able to exploit a flaw in Google's system, and add bogus entries that had nothing to do with visiter hits. They stuffed an unused field, Language, with the incredibly annoying message. I, and many others, got flurries of these things right up to the election. You have to wonder whether anyone's vote was affected by these Geicoesque emetics.

For anyone interested, here's the JavaScript snippet from Google:

Russian crest
Jack Ritter

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