Tim Rogers, lawbreaker?

April 27, 2009

The Open Letter is nothing new for Tim Rogers. He has publicly called out people of all demographics, including the person who stuck eating utensils in his front lawn. Nice.

But most of the time he was within his right to do that. I mean, who doesn’t hate drivers who take up two spaces?

This time, however, he went one step too far. In attempting to publicly humiliate someone who he claims he saw break the law, he himself might have broken it.

Here’s what happened. Tim called out someone by name in “An Open Letter to a Litterbug.” He says he saw someone flick a cigarette butt out of the window of a car. He then created a blog post and used the person’s full name several times, meaning he had gotten the information by using a license plate search at a Web site.

What’s wrong with that? Well, it’s illegal for a journalist (or anyone) to use that information in that way. That’s thanks to the Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994.

There are ways to be exempt from the law. This isn’t one of them. When Tim went to a reverse license plate search Web site to obtain the person’s name, he had to check a box agreeing to the terms. Here’s an example of what those terms look like:

I certify, and affirm, under penalty of perjury that the below identified DPPA exemption applies to this search and its follow-on displays. Further unauthorized disclosure of this information may result in penalties imposed under Title 18 U..S.C. Section 2721 et. seq., and applicable federal and state law.

He doesn’t qualify for an exemption. For more, check out the Society for Professional Journalists’ FAQ about the law. 

Here’s Tim’s original post. It has since been deleted from FrontBurner, which, to me, looks a lot like he’s admitting fault here. We removed the name of the alleged litterbug. Here’s the cached version of the post if you’d rather see it in its original format.

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As well-meaning as Tim might have been, he wasn’t in his rights to do that, and the person he named can press criminal and/or civil charges. It’s possible this all might blow over and that the alleged litterbug isn’t overly upset. Either way, let’s hope Tim learned his lesson on this one.

I have sent Tim an e-mail and will allow him the opportunity to respond if he wants. Don’t hold your breath.

Thanks to a very bright LodoWickian for sending me this info.

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Tim’s “Open Letter to a Litterbug” disappears

April 25, 2009

It used to be here. But now it’s gone.

Thoughts? I’ll have a complete story on this soon. Watch for it.

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Open Letter to Tim Rogers

April 22, 2009

Dear Tim Rogers, executive editor of D Magazine:

On behalf of the City of Dallas, we want to thank you for keeping the streets of Dallas clean. By posting your Open Letter to a Litterbug you found a way to end littering in Dallas, and we applaud you. Here’s what you wrote:

Dear Driver of the Mini Cooper Registered to [redacted]:

This morning a little before 9 a.m., as I was waiting at the light at Mockingbird and Airline, I saw you throw a cigarette butt out the window of the snazzy Mini Cooper registered to [redacted]. Does [redacted] know you are smoking in her car and littering while you drive it?

This site will provide you some information about cigarette butt litter. Perhaps you are unaware that cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow and that they can take decades to degrade. Ick! Maybe you’re also not aware that throwing a butt out of your window is a Class C misdemeanor and that if you’re convicted of doing it more than once, under Chapter 59 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, you can lose your car — or [redacted] can lose her car. Inconvenient!

One more thing: you can report litterbugs on this site if you see one. Let’s you and I get on the same side of this issue and make the great state of Texas a more beautiful place to live.

Helpfully, Tim

Rather than writing a thoughtful post on the harms of littering based on your recent experience, you chose to make an example out of one person. Thank you for that. Just like “Wanted” posters and the death penalty have ended crime, naming the person responsible for one cigarette butt will put an end to littering worldwide.

That’s because everyone on the streets of Dallas will drive around in fear that Tim Rogers might be following them. This should also deter cheating husbands, texting while driving, and AIDS.

So you’ve done it. You found a way to clean up Dallas (on Earth Day no less) while still coming across as a nice guy and offending nobody. Keep up the good work.

Helpfully, RayRay


That’s not very bright

April 21, 2009

Yesterday, three dozen or so commenters blasted Timmy Typer for his kneejerk reaction (emphasis on the jerk!) to a press kit sent by N3L Optics, a sunglasses retailer coming soon to NorthPark.

I sent an e-mail to Matt Moss to ask him if he’d like to respond to this senseless display of arrogance from Tim Rogers, and I’ll post a response if one arrives.

But in the meantime, let’s look back on the barrage of attacks at Timmy. Here were my favorites:

cbs had something else that ended up in the recycling bin:

I felt the same way when I got some ridiculous magazine that I did not want with a former President dressed in pastel casual wear foisted on me as I left Cotes du Coeur on Friday.

But I am sure this is different…somehow.

Richard thinks Tim didn’t make any friends at D‘s advertising department:

Methinks that anyone that can afford a lease at NorthPark should be a great potential advertiser………

Hard Bop is feeling me:

You recently complained about the negative posts in FrontBurner and, by extention, I assume you also mean the nasty posts about you.

Part of the reason you and FB are slammed are because of diatribes like this, which are filled with black bile and general douchebaggery.

And Michael Bluth has spoken:

Would it have utterly devastated your day to walk one of the packets to Sarah Evean’s office/cube/desk/whatever?

Nice job, everyone. It’s clear that this hit a nerve with Timmy Typer, because he usually has a comeback that is at least half decent. Instead, he went with this:

You guys are the best. I mean it. I’m typing this while wearing my new free pair of N3L Optics sunglasses. I can barely see the screen. So please forgive any misspellings.

Well it’s clear he’s lying, of course. I bet he doesn’t think we’re the best. What a jerk!

Also, duh, those envelopes weren’t big enough for sunglasses. And he obviously doesn’t realize that N3L Optics doesn’t make its own line of sunglasses anyway. If you’re going to bash someone, at least do your research, Timmy.

Have anything else you want to say? The comments section is all yours.