Virgil Griffith, 2007
6 March 1983 |
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
|Education||Cognitive science (University of Alabama)|
|Occupation||Internet and software researcher|
Virgil Griffith (also known as Romanpoet), is an American software application writer and petty criminal, known for his creation of WikiScanner and the lawsuits filed against him by Blackboard Inc. in 2003. He has published papers on artificial life and graduated from California Institute of Technology in 2007. A The New York Times magazine article by Virginia Heffernan entitled "Internet Man of Mystery", quoted Griffith saying "he also aspires "to create minor public-relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike" and summised, "He’s a troublemaker, then. A twerp". In 2013, he appeared on King of the Nerds, a competition series airing on TBS.
Griffith was born in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in nearby Tuscaloosa. He graduated from the Alabama School of Math and Science in 2002, and then attended the University of Alabama, studying cognitive science in New College. He was a member of the Mallet Assembly. He transferred to Indiana University in 2004, but returned to graduate cum laude from Alabama in August 2007. Griffith is now a graduate student studying computation and neural systems. He is affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute as a visiting researcher.[dead link]
Griffith has given talks at the hacker conferences Interz0ne, PhreakNIC,[dead link] and HOPE. It was at Interz0ne 1 in 2002 that he met Billy Hoffman, a Georgia Tech student, who had discovered a security flaw in the campus magnetic ID card system called "BuzzCard". He and Hoffman proceeded over the next year to learn more about the flaw and attempted to give a talk at Interz0ne2 in April 2003. However, a few hours before the presentation, he and Hoffman were served with a cease and desist order from corporate lawyers acting for Blackboard Inc..[dead link] Two days later, it was followed by a lawsuit alleging that they had stolen trade secrets and violated both the Digital Millennium Copyright Act[dead link] and the Economic Espionage Act.[dead link] The lawsuit was later settled.
On August 14, 2007, Griffith released the software utility, WikiScanner, that tracks Wikipedia article edits from unregistered accounts back to their originating IP addresses and identifies the corporations or organizations to which they belong.
- Virgil Griffith, Markus Jakobsson, 2005. Messin' with Texas: Deriving Mother's Maiden Names Using Public Records. ISBN 3-54-026223-7.
- Virgil Griffith, Larry S. Yaeger, 2005, MIT Press. Ideal Free Distribution in Agents with Evolved Neural Architectures. Indiana University School of Informatics and Department of Cognitive Science.
- Griffith is listed as one of the contributors (as "Virgil G") in Elonka Dunin (2006). The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes And Cryptograms. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-78-671726-2.
- Two articles in Markus Jakobsson, Steven Myers (2007) Phishing and Counter-Measures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft. Wiley-Interscience. ISBN 0-47-178245-9.
- "17 USC § 1201 - Circumvention of copyright protection systems". Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute.
- John Borland (August 14, 2007). "See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign". Wired. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
- Heffernan, Virginia (November 23, 2008). "The Medium - Virgil Griffith, Internet Man of Mystery". The New York Times.
- King of the Nerds - Meet the Contestants - Virgil on YouTube
- "Alumnus Virgil Griffith Creates and Releases Wikipedia Scanner". September 3, 2007.
- See David Virgil Griffith in "Commencement" (PDF). The University of Alabama. 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
- "Scanner Tracks Who's Changing What on Wikipedia". NPR. 16 August 2007.
- "CNS Graduate Students". California Institute of Technology Computation and Neural Systems.
- "SF I Profile: Virgil Griffith". Santa Fe Institute. 27 March 2008.
- "Temporary Restraining Order against Hoffman and Griffith". 14 April 2003.
- "Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the DMCA". Electronic Frontier Foundation. April 2006.
- "Restraining Order Letter". Griffith's personal website. 12 April 2003.
- Anitha Reddy (17 April 2003). "Blackboard Gets Gag Order Against Smart-Card Hackers". Washington Post.
- Andrea L Foster (16 April 2003). "At Blackboard's Request, Judge Prevents Students From Discussing Security of Debit-Card System". Wayback Machine (The Chronicle of Higher Education).
- Jonathan Fildes (15 August 2007). "Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits'". BBC News.
- "Mammoth Book of Secret Code Puzzles: Acknowledgements". Retrieved 2007-08-14.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Virgil Griffith.|
- Personal website
- Binary Revolution webcast, 17 May 2005[dead link]
- The copyright cops strike again, 16 April 2003
- Santa Fe Institute talk[dead link]
- Blackboard Campus IDs: Security Thru Cease & Desist, 14 April 2003
- Polyworld: Using Evolution to Design Artificial Intelligence on YouTube, 8 November 2007