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Football Fan Distributes Image

Football PlayerI was saddened to read today about Norwich City fan Chris Brown who was reportedly contacted by police for distributing, via Twitter, an image (and promising to distribute a video in the near future) of the club’s new kit before its official launch. This material was apparently obtained from a third party marketing company’s website who work on behalf of the club and run, the sort of place where you’d expect such an image to be!

The site managers were quoted as saying that “We knew security was very important to Norwich and although we believe we took appropriate security measures to secure the site we were devastated to learn there was a way for images to be obtained earlier than the planned launch.” You can understand why they were so devastated – this must be incredibly embarrassing for them with what is likely to be one of the better known names on their client list (which is why I’m not naming the marketing company).

I don’t know the situation in any detail whatsoever, or exactly how the material was obtained from the website, but this subject got me wondering – at what point is material “published” online? If you have an image on a server that’s not protected from public view, can you complain when someone views it? It certainly doesn’t need to be embedded on a public page in order to be public. The site owners thought that they’d secured the site (or part of the site) with a password, suggesting that they password protected the page content and not the media files. While I acknowledge that Mr Brown is an IT student, and probably knows his way around such things, a quick view of the source code reveals that the site itself is built in WordPress so locating the image directory on the theme would hardly be a challenge. The fault obviously lies with the marketing company for even uploading the image to their servers in the first place.

I am in no way condoning Mr Brown’s actions once he got hold of the image but for the club to react in the way it did was nothing short of shocking. It’s obvious that there was nothing malicious involved and that this was just an excited fan looking to spread a bit of gossip. Sadly it’s yet another story in the long, long list of episodes where blind faith – or perhaps lack of thought – in technology has got people into trouble. At least, though, there was a relatively happy ending with the club acknowledging that it over-reacted and no further action is being taken against Chris.


Image: Naypong /

Related Links: BBC News;; Norwich City FC

This entry was posted in Geeky Stuff, Social IT, Web, Websites.

One Response to Football Fan Distributes Image

  1. Sharee says:

    Great posting, I watch for up-dates from you.