A Newsweek cover story that purports to identify the previously anonymous creator of the digital currency Bitcoin has sparked an avalanche of outrage from readers who see the "outing" as a violation of privacy that could put the man, Satoshi Nakamoto, and his family in physical jeopardy.
The author of the story, Leah McGrath Goodman, has taken to Twitter this morning to answer her critics.
As of this writing, there are more than 400 comments on the article and virtually every one of them is expressing oftentimes intense anger toward the writer and Newsweek. A sample:
- "Not only did you out someone who just wanted to be left alone, you published photos of him and his house, as well as the location of it. Shameful and despicable."
- "It is extraordinary - the picture of his house is the same as the one on Google Streetview - the only difference is that the number plate on his car is clearer in this article than on Google (even they respect that bit of privacy)."
- "If something happens to him, the blood is on Leah Goodman's hands. It's too late now. What a sad day for journalism.
- "You really should take off the picture of his house... what are you, insane?"
- "This guy has potentially hundred millions in 'cash' in his house and you post photo & location? I hope you rot in jail if he gets killed."
Here's an excerpt from the story that has Nakamoto "tacitly" acknowledging his involvement with Bitcoin:
I'd come here to try to find out more about Nakamoto and his humble life. It seemed ludicrous that the man credited with inventing Bitcoin - the world's most wildly successful digital currency, with transactions of nearly $500 million a day at its peak - would retreat to Los Angeles's San Bernardino foothills, hole up in the family home and leave his estimated $400 million of Bitcoin riches untouched. It seemed similarly implausible that Nakamoto's first response to my knocking at his door would be to call the cops. Now face to face, with two police officers as witnesses, Nakamoto's responses to my questions about Bitcoin were careful but revealing.
Tacitly acknowledging his role in the Bitcoin project, he looks down, staring at the pavement and categorically refuses to answer questions.
"I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it," he says, dismissing all further queries with a swat of his left hand. "It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection."
On Twitter a few moments ago the author addressed the questions surrounding the publication of a picture of Nakamoto's home:
I've asked the Newsweek public relations department for comment.