Which Senator’s Staff Is Reading This Entry?


We here at Co-Op sometimes get hits from the Senate Master-At-Arms IP domain. That domain had masked the individual IP addresses of the individual Senate offices. No longer. In a great follow-up to the Wikipedia senate editing story, investigative reporters from Wikinews have apparently cracked the code. (Solove predicted this resolution when the story broke.)

So, staffers of Senator X’s office: no more nasty anonymous comments for you! At least that is until the Master-At-Arms randomizes the outcoming address labels. I wonder which side of the aisle will be making that request first?

(Hat Tip: Boing Boing).

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Simon says:

    Well, according to the image you posted, the IP address of your visitor was, and the WikiNews article suggests that the third octet corresponds to the state’s position in an alpabetical listing. That could work two ways: is Alaska /24, or is one of the two Senators from Alaska /24 and the other /24?

    Presuming the Wikinews story is right, you have four possible answers to the question posed (“which Senator’s staff is reading this entry”): if each state gets a /24, your visitor is from Minnesota (offices of Sen. Coleman or Sen. Dayton; if each Senator gets a /24, your visitor is from Idaho (office of Sen. Crapo or Craig).

    Since it’s highly unlikely that the Senate renumbers its network every two years, working out which suite of offices has which range would be a major feat, so I think we’ll have to settle for a range of indeterminacy rather than a hard-and-fast answer. If I had to guess, though, I’d suggest that it would be more likely that each Senator would get their own /24 (large organizations tend to favor assignments that make sense in terms of their organizational chart over being frugal with IP space), so personally, I’d say your visitor is from one of the Idaho delegation’s offices.

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    Nice detective work, Simon.

    As I read the report, there are 100 unique IPs reserved for the Senators – one for each. I agree with you that this reading would suggest that Idaho visited the Apple entry. I also think that it is likely that the IPs are assigned based on the seniority system – so my money is on Sen. Craig’s staff.

    To really know, we’d have to (as the wiki folks did) email the senators and get replies.

  3. Simon says:


    As I read it, either each state or each Senator (probably the latter) gets a full /24 subnet (i.e. 254 usable addresses), not a single IP address – so theoretically (that is, unless they’re using NAT, which seems a little pointless when you’ve got such a big IP space to work with), if the Senate Master-at-Arms’ office is reading this, they can look at and say exactly which machine in which Senator’s office was reading that thread instead of doing what they’re paid to do. 😉

  4. 3L Epiphany says:

    Prof. Hoffman,

    This may seem like an ignorant question, but how do you copy and paste a page from your Sitemeter records to your blog? It doesn’t seem to work when I try.