Someone broke the law when they sneakily—and creepily—filmed ESPN's Erin Andrews naked in her hotel room and now amateur sleuths are out to catch the culprit and bring him to justice.
This will likely lead to 1% actual useful information and 99% wild unfounded guesses. After all, how do you find someone on the internet who doesn't want to be found? Actually, finding them on the net is easy, but turning that online persona into an actual real world person that police can club with a baton is much more difficult. Don Chavez, purveyor of some of your favorite dirty cheerleader photos, is hot on the trail of the anonymous user who uploaded the videos to French tube farm Dailymotion—about four months ago. (They're gone now, as is the user who uploaded them, so don't bother.) Yes, they were there, virtually undetected, for weeks.
So Chavez combined some digging, direct messaging, and dart throwing to narrow the culprits down to someone who lives within driving distance of an SEC football stadium. That should help the dragnet. Of course, this assumes that the Dailymotion uploader was also the person who filmed the video, which is itself a giant leap of faith. That person could have found the videos almost anywhere. Underground message board and file sharing sites can traffic in this stuff years while remaining completely under the radar, and just because the guy is a fan of shady invasion of privacy videos, that doesn't automatically mean he's the one who films them. Or that we'll ever know who "he" is.
Of course, because it's the internet, there is always a contingent of folks assuming that it's all a stunt anyway. Because there's something "fishy" about the whole situation, that means Erin Andrews would pretend to be violated for ... what? More fame? A potentially ruined journalism career? Yes, the idea that someone could film such a video, undetected, through a peephole from a hotel hallway seems unlikely, but who ever said that's exactly how it happened? No one has claimed responsibility for it, so everything else is just guess work.
The only truth is that nobody knows anything and we are unlikely to ever know anything about the true original source of the videos. ESPN will continue to play whack-a-mole with bloggers who "discover" the video and try to post it, but it's hard to imagine it ever getting much beyond that. I would love to be wrong about that, but I'm not holding my breath.
Oh, and if you still haven't seen the video and are desperately searching for it, you're probably going to end up infecting your computer with spyware and viruses so you should probably just let it go.
What You Don't Know Yet About The Naked Erin Andrews Hotel Videos [screengrab via Don Chavez]
Erin Andrews Peephole Video Update: Who Was The Source [Don Chavez]
Erin Andrews peephole video spreads malware [Sophos]