The background on EQC Truths
The EQC Truths blog was set up by an anonymous blogger on November 1 last year. The blog purports to be an exposé of ‘What Really Happens at EQC from an ex-EQC Employee’. Since inception the blogger has posted 80 posts about EQC (roughly a post every other day), averaging over 400 words per post. That’s to say it’s taking up a lot of their time.
The blogger’s username is publiuskiwi, and under that name they’ve also made 64 post comments. Publius is Latin and translates as ‘public’ or ‘for the people’; and in the vein of the ancient Roman Publius Valerius Publicola, the blogger is on a crusade against the establishment.
The EQC Truths blog has come into notoriety in recent weeks, as the blogger received an EQC Excel spreadsheet which had a pivot table containing claim information for 87,000 Christchurch properties (complete with sensitive address details and contractor quoting). Despite EQC obtaining an interim injunction to stop the dissemination of information contained in the spreadsheet, EQC Truths went ahead and posted links to where the information can be downloaded from.
What we do know about EQCTruths
Inside knowledge of EQC (both Wellington and Christchurch offices)
The blogger claims to have worked at the EQC and to have played their ‘small part trying to help the good people of Christchurch recover from the devastating earthquakes’ before leaving shortly after August 27 2012.
It is evident reading through the blog that the blogger has a knowledge, beyond what could realistically be known by an outsider, of both the Wellington and Christchurch EQC offices along with an understanding of some of the EQC’s processes.
Providing Dated Information
There are two documents on the EQC Truths blog that have date information attached; a photograph of a satirical card for Gerry Brownlee, taken on 28 September 2012 and an internal email from EQC boss Ian Simpson which references the dates 24 and 27 August 2012.
Interestingly, the leaked claims spreadsheet is also old, as it’s linked to a dataset dated 12 September 2012 (and password protected by the user BertO).
Educated but lacking Business knowledge
The blogger appears university educated (in the likes of English and Classics) and is highly literate with an above average vocabulary, but as is evident on the blog, their ideas around business are idealistic and naïve.
Blog posts on EQC Truths don’t have a full date/time stamp. However, the RSS feed lists the last 11 posts along with the full date/time of the posts and all comments have full date/time information. Looking at this information, there’s only one post (on 8 April) and five comments (on 7 & 8 March) that have been made during normal business hours. This would suggest that the blogger is currently working full time.
Jealous, bullying and threatening behaviour
There are several posts that identify EQC staff which are of a bullying and threatening nature, and many that are malicious and spiteful.
The blogger is a self-described family man who’s (presumably recently) ‘single and ready to mingle’. He describes himself as handsome, smart, and funny. But since the blogger is trying to stay anonymous, there’s no reason to believe his description of himself or that he’s a man at all.
The blogger also claims to be spiritual and notes in a comment that ‘the golden rule is to treat others the way we want them to treat us and that is what I am trying to do’. Seeing how he treats others on his blog, I assume that his application of the golden rule doesn’t allow him to keep many friends.
The half-truths of EQCTruths
For a site that has ‘Truths’ in its title, there appear to be many half-truths and inconsistencies among the posts. Listed are some of the key ones.
The blogger has both insinuated that they’re a Cantabrian and then again that they’re not:
December 3: I will post your story so that you can share it with your fellow Cantabrians
February 23: One of the primary gripes that I, and many other Cantabrians…
April 9: Being as far away from Christchurch as I can possibly be…
The blogger normally boasts about how many informants he has, except for one post where he admits they’re dwindling:
February 19: I currently have several sources in different departments who furnish information
February 23: According to one of my sources at Fletchers
February 25: Like my other sources in Christchurch
April 8: However, I suspect that the true reason for EQC’s decision to manoeuvre me into outing myself is so that it can launch a witch-hunt against my dwindling number of sources remaining at EQC
April 12: Thus far, my network of operatives at EQC grows.
Ian Simpson has been the target of most of the bloggers scorn. It’s interesting to note that EQC Truths didn’t start out this way (but it didn’t last long either):
November 1: Many people might rush to blame Ian Simpson. Despite the myriad of problems at EQC, very few of them are his fault.
Ian Simpson is quietly doing some good work as far as negotiating good rates with reinsurers, which ensures that New Zealanders can still purchase insurance at a reasonable price. He is also receptive and amenable to suggestions, but unfortunately, he is one man and he cannot do miracles, especially against the bureaucratic behemoth of EQC.
April 8: In the meantime, keep living in your broken homes and shut up because Ian Simpson and the bureaucratic bosses know more than you do.
April 8: I will bet Ian Simpson any sum of money that I could run EQC at least twice as well as he does for half his $400,000 pay.
April 11: Ian Simpson and the bureaucratic bumpkins at EQC are to blame for tonight’s leak.
April 11: This spreadsheet has about as much “commercial value” to EQC as Ian Simpson, who is currently $400,000 overvalued.
While it looked good to boast of having a team of lawyers, it appears that when push came to shove as the EQC took up legal proceedings, the blogger admitted to having no legal representation after all:
April 4: Presently, I am communicating with my lawyers to decide how best to get this information into the public domain whilst complying with all legal requirements.
April 5: At this stage, my lawyers and I are discussing how best to proceed…
April 6: After consulting with my lawyers…
April 8: I do not have a solicitor and I am physically unable to attend proceedings today.
April 9: …unlike EQC, I do not have a team of lawyers…
Leaked Spreadsheet Source
The blogger initially indicated that the source of the ‘leaked’ spreadsheet was an EQC employee, a week later we’re expected to believe that this source has gone overseas (and presumably isn’t coming back). Then we’re meant to believe that the blogger, in their ineptitude didn’t think to check that the file was sanitised of sensitive information before releasing a link to the public:
April 4: I received an e-mail this morning from a disgruntled EQC employee containing what appears to be the same spreadsheet that Susan David mistakenly e-mailed last week.
April 5: I am still devising a process for releasing the information on the spreadsheet.
April 5: I do not want to release information indiscriminately because of the Privacy Act, and more importantly, common decency. It would be hypocritical for me as a blogger who anonymously does good work to compromise the privacy of other people.
April 8: Unlike EQC, I have punctiliously safeguarded the privacy of the information entrusted to me. I had the opportunity to publish the entire database for all to see, but I chose to err on the side of caution…
April 9: Given EQC’s malevolent and underhanded manoeuvres masquerading as legal tactics, I shall release the entire database within the next twenty-four hours.
April 9: I am presently consulting with my IT technician to find a practical format for releasing the information.
April 10: EQC might have won an injunction, but it is powerless to enforce it if my overseas source goes through with the leak
April 11: The original source of the leak is overseas and happily leaked everything. I implored him to delete the addresses and just use claim numbers and he promised he would, but evidently, this is not the case.
Through their crusade, the blogger has maintained that they’re not in it for the glory. On the face of it, that’s not consistent with their actions:
February 24: If EQC genuinely wishes to improve things, then I am happy to have a dialogue with Ian Simpson, the EQC Board, and even Gerry Brownlee in person. In fact, I will treat them all to a free dinner.
March 11: My offer to the EQC board is to let me run EQC. In fact, I will volunteer my time and energy as I do now. I will quickly rid EQC of the dead weight and get things moving again.
March 16: I have used the “appropriate channels” at EQC and I found them utterly ineffective. This blog is forcing EQC to clean its act and my conversations with senior elected officials offline has enlightened them about what happens at EQC. My hope is that my discussions with them will prove fruitful and they will sort out the “leaders” of EQC
April 3: I do not seek glory, the approval of men, or personal self-aggrandisement.
EQC Truths is single and ready to mingle, as cliché as that sounds. My only “requirements” are that you are (1) single (2) female (3) friendly and (4) have nice boobs!
Several people have commented that EQC Truths is handsome, smart, funny, and a family man with a cheeky and subversive side.
April 6: I spent yesterday evening being the EQC Truths Superhero rather than meeting happy women with nice boobs!
I do not do this out of vanity or glory.
April 12: Contrary to what some EQC trolls think, I am not seeking glory from this
Knowing that the blogger subscribes to the golden rule through their belief in spirituality, one has to wonder if they also subscribe to the other religious gem: As you sow, so shall you reap.
Being anonymous from the general public is one thing. The likes of WordPress.com, Paypal.com, Hushmail.com and Hotmail.com (all of which the blogger is using) won’t divulge personal details of their users. That is, except for when the law enforcement comes knocking…