Warning: Watchtower computer dept. registers accounts on Ex-JW sites, coerces people to divulge their personal details

by WTS Archive 49 Replies latest jw friends

  • WTS Archive
    WTS Archive

    We had a bad experience with Watchtower trying to infiltrate our forums. Let this story be a warning for all you guys here. If you value your privacy do not EVER send your real contact details to anyone, even if you trust them (because their accounts could be hacked or accessed by their relatives - and yes, this happened to people I know several times already).

    Here's a copy of a post I made on Reddit:

    TL;DR: Watchtower officials registered several accounts on our forums, tried to coerce people to give them email addresses, then harassed and blackmailed them about their "apostate" activity saying they will go inform their elders. We caught them red-handed.

    ---

    So I'm running a polish Ex-JW forums site, with now over 500 users registered. Between discussions about fading, doctrine changes etc. we pride ourselves for releasing all Watchtower's confidential materials - BOE letters, video transmissions, convention videos and so on. This didn't go unnoticed by the polish branch office. 9 months ago they registered two accounts on our forums and wrote private messages to a user they thought is responsible for the leaks. They even were shameless enough to write him again some time later, harassing him. He contacted us and I've checked IP addresses of the accounts he corresponded with in RIPE Database, and lo and behold:

    inetnum:         37.128.89.112 - 37.128.89.119
    netname:         STRAZNICA-Warszawa
    descr:           STRAZNICA - TOWARZYSTWO BIBLIJNE I TRAKTATOWE
    descr:           Warszawska 14
    descr:           Nadarzyn
    ...
    person:          Rzezwicki Adrian
    address:         Warszawska 14
    address:         Nadarzyn 05-830
    address:         Poland
    e-mail:          is@pl.jw.org
    phone:           +48 608 555088
    

    "STRAZNICA" is polish legal name that stands for "WATCHTOWER". And Adrian Rzeźwicki is the head of their computer department, himself being a Gilead graduate (I remember him from one of JW Broadcasting videos).

    And here's another one:

    inetnum:         91.220.88.0 - 91.220.88.255
    org-name:        Wachttoren-, Bijbel en Traktaatgenootschap Kerkgenootschap
    ...
    person:          Computer Department
    address:         Wachttoren-, Bijbel- en Tractaatgenootschap
    address:         Noordbargerstraat 77
    address:         7812 AA Emmen
    address:         Netherlands
    e-mail:          noc.nl@jw.org
    phone:           +31 591683555
    

    This one was, surprisingly, from Netherlands :o.

    I got a permission from the user who was they wrote to to publish private messages he received. Here's a rough translation of what they wrote:

    Hi, [username here]! Thanks for leaking that letter, ha ha ha! I had a good laugh when I saw that ;D ;D ;D. I wonder why folks at Nadarzyn [polish branch office] want this info? I once was tied to this organization but I woke up... good that there are people like you who are shedding light on the truth!! THANK YOU A LOT!! REGARDS ;)

    After a reply, he wrote again:

    (...) give me your email if you want, I'll send you a recording from my judicial committee... ha ha ha, that was funny :D. It was a mess! It was set up from the beginning, they wanted to disfellowship me all along, because I've slept with an elder's daughter... they didn't df her, but did disfellowship me!! and the worst part is that my gf broke up with me because I'm disfelloshipped... But I'll show them... I'll write to folks in Nadarzyn demanding they send me my S-77 form, or else... I have some dirt on them 8-). What you were disfellowshipped for? Email me and I'll send you the recording, here's my email: trajesecundario@gmail.com

    Unfortunately, our user was then caught off guard and actually sent them his real email address.

    They've waited few months, probably to cover their tracks and make him forget those private messages, and then they've started to harass him, thinking they've found his read identity:

    Hello [username here], or should I say brother [name and surname, congregation name here] because that's your real identity... :) I've sent you a Facebook message but you didn't respond... It's a pity, because I wanted to talk to you.

    It was at this point when our user contacted us and we immediately banned that other guy. So he made another account, using a proxy to circumvent the IP ban, and wrote him again:

    Hey [name here], What are you doing? You know very well that apostatizing is a serious sin against Jehovah... In Job 13:16 we can read: “For no godless person ['apostate' in polish] may come in before him”. You were mislead by those who lost their faith, and who do apostate work, as said in Isaiah 32:6: “For the senseless one will speak nonsense, And his heart will devise harmful things, To promote apostasy and to speak what is wayward against Jehovah, To cause the hungry one to go unfed And to deprive the thirsty one of something to drink.” Apostates drawed you from Jehovah... and they will leave you with nothing... Apostates have nothing to offer... Think it through... I give you time until Thursday to go before elders and tell them what you do, if you refuse to do it you can be sure I will inform them...

    Again, the account was banned, but after few days they've a new one and wrote:

    Hi! So...? Did you talk to your elders? Or do you lack courage and want me to contact them?

    In the end they've used at least 7 different accounts to harass this fellow, even posting what they thought was his real name and other details publicly (which we promptly deleted). After gathering all necessary details and proof I wrote a public post exposing them, publishing their IPs and details about Rzezwicki (which are publicly available on RIPE db), the head of computer department (who probably was the one writing those messages because he accessed our site all day long, even at 10pm, which indicates it was a person who had full access to the department even after working hours). I also made sure they've read this announcement and how the people reacted to it by redirecting all traffic from their IPs to this one post. And I know they did read it. They never came back after this.

    So... what do we make out of it? Just when I thought Watchtower couldn't go lower with their practices, they did. They have no problem with making-up false stories, identifies, misleading and even blackmailing people just to achieve their goals. I abhor them with my whole soul and will keep exposing them as long as I can. They praise themselves that they follow the Bible, but they probably forgot about a couple of verses, like these ones:

    (Revelation 21:8) But as for the cowards (...) and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This means the second death.

    (Psalm 26:4) I do not associate with deceitful men, And I avoid those who hide what they are.

    EDIT: Forgot got add one important bit: We will not leave this like that. By registering several accounts on our forums and circumventing our security measures when we banned them they've actually broke the law. We already contacted them using phone numbers in the RIPE db, and then directly to Legal Department. They've basically denied doing any of this. We told them that unless they write us an apology for what happened, we will take this case to court.

    And trust us, we will.


  • cofty
    cofty

    Very interesting thank you. What a bunch of liars they are.

    It is a good reminder to never share your private information with people you don't know.

  • Simon
    Simon

    If anyone is ever asked for personal information on this site, especially if it's by PM and someone you don't know then you should be very wary and maybe let me know - it could be innocuous but if the same person is also making similar requests to lots of other people it would be good to find out so we can look into them more.

  • Hadriel
    Hadriel

    I would be surprised if this is common practice. They could expose themselves to legal issues depending on site terms.

    If someone is savvy they can circumvent things however i'd suggest better safe than sorry and block source IP's and MAC addresses anyway. Not to mention detection for proxies. Lastly and this is just my personal preference I'd require Facebook login but don't display their info publicly so they can still be anonymous to the members or at least a Google login. I have mixed feelings about allowing simple user/email logins as there is some inherent risk in that although some may only want to use this type of authentication as they're concerned about being found out.

  • freemindfade
    freemindfade

    If it is totally legit I can't imagine this is atop down sanctioned thing, maybe just a lone wolf?

  • WTS Archive
    WTS Archive

    It may not be common, but if it happened once, it may happen again. Hence the warning ;)

  • WTS Archive
    WTS Archive

    If it is totally legit I can't imagine this is atop down sanctioned thing, maybe just a lone wolf?

    It might be, but even if that's the case, it was a lone wolf on high position, because he had access to branch office computer after working hours. Normal Bethel workers don't have access to Bethel's network with outside Internet access after work hours.

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    The utter bastards. Thanks for the heads up.

    If you have two identified jw . org infiltrators from IT departments then I'd say it is sanctioned from higher up and not DIY operations.

    Expect more of this sort of thing...

  • EndofMysteries
    EndofMysteries

    Backfire it. Send and contact his elders, and the proof he was on an apostate site and sending apostate information and talking bad about the organization.

  • Londo111
    Londo111
    The Watchtower MO is to deny involvement and let the individual fall on their sword...

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