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António Marinho e Pinto and the Case of the Misplaced Viagra

Bruno Amaral

5 min read

This is a story about António, a Member of the European Parliament who voted in favour of the creation of censorship machines and having a link tax in all member states of the European Union.

In his talks with journalists he laid out how he feels people are making a profit by copying, remixing and deriving work and it’s not fair for the content producers. I agree, I strongly agree that people who produce content and choose to apply a restrictive copyright should be compensated if we want to use their work. I don’t think António really knows what that means. After I read his blog I noticed a large amount of photos that had no mention of copyright, and I tweeted about it, extensively.

You can read the whole thread here.

After this, I kept an eye on António’s tweets. My hope was that he might one day use twitter for more than sharing posts from his blog, and that I could reach out to him for a constructive talk. I wanted to convince him to change his vote.

Then I noticed an odd tweet. I came to the conclusion that his Wordpress blog, which is Open Source software by the way, had been compromised and was used for spam. I tweeted a warning.

Translation: Guys, serious business here. Let’s help @marinhoepintoeu because his blog was compromised.

You would think this was the end of it. In fact after a while the odd tweets were deleted, the blog cleaned up and the account went back to sharing the latest blog post. Life for António was back on track and he still would not budge about our #saveyourinternet Campaign. Even when he showed that his attitude was of someone who seemed to be above the law and was using copyrighted photos lacking any mention of authorship, copyright, license or good taste. (Seriously, the frame he uses around those photos is hideous.)

The other day, tweets piled on. Someone had discovered that it was possible to publish on António’s blog without any username or password.

A tweet, that has now been deleted, said the following:

Just go to my website and click “notícias” and then “adicionar notícias” to post on this twitter… — A. Marinho e Pinto (@marinhopintoeu)

16 de julho de 2018

They did, and soon António’s blog was filled with satire, jokes, tests, and Viagra advertisements.

There is an article, in Portuguese, explaining the ordeal and with António’s reaction.

Foi pirateado. Isso só demonstra que há necessidade de haver controlo na Internet. A Internet está ocupada por hordas de mujiques1 e enquadrados por legiões de técnofilos.

Translation:

It was hacked. It only goes to show the need to control the Internet. The Internet is crawling with hordes of rude peasants and legions of technophiles.

It was not hacked.

João Pina, known on Twitter as @tomahock was kind enough to explain that having a publicly accessible form on your website that allows anyone to publish on your behalf is not a hack. It’s just stupid.

And remember that tweet I sent trying to warn António that his blog was compromised ? I sent this email on the very same day:

image-20180717235507133

Translation:

Hello António, how are you?

I am sending this email because I have realised that the website https://www.marinhopinto.eu/ was the target of a spam attack.

In summary, someone was able to access the administration panel and publish on your behalf.

The good news is that your site appears to be using Wordpress, a free and open source software. This means that one of the programmers that helps maintain the software up to date and safe may already have created a security update.

If you have any doubts please don’t hesitate.

In a small recap, here’s the story so far. A member of the European Parliament with strong opinions on how the Internet should be governed uses twitter as a megaphone to blast out his views. He apparently refuses to listen to his constituents and does not care if his blog uses copyrighted material. Lacking technical skills, he hires a company to build a blog with a door wide open so that anyone can publish whatever they want using his name. António procedes to complain about it to a journalist, blames the scum of the internet and uses this as an example on why we need a stronger regulation.

The problem for him, is that there was no safeguard in the website. The blog was simply devoid of any user management. Which, again, is just stupid. This happens after someone had sent him a warning by email pointing out the problem and offering to help.

With all this I don’t think António is in any way suited to act as a Member of the European Parliament. So far he has shown to be an egotistic character, with little or no consideration for opposing views. His knowledge on the Digital Culture of the Internet appears to be very limited and it seems to limit his ability to drive legislation towards a productive path.

This being said, I will patiently wait for him to prove me wrong.

Header photo copyright by StockSnap


  1. Seriously, who uses the word mujiques? I had to google it to find out it’s a rude peasant; a Russian farmer before the revolution of 1917. [return]
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