Stealing Social Capital as a Crime for the P2P Era

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For further following up the recent socially disruptive case of Franco Giacomella, a statement to the broader public needs to be prepared. A "cybercrime of a new kind" can only be uncovered and further repetitions prevented by a network of trust. In a dialogue between Michel and Franz Nahrada, the following text emerged as a work in progress on bringing the case to the attention of a wider community. It contains assumptions about the motives which might be superficial, but only an assumption can provoque the truth. We call everyone to help us finding out the truth. We call everyone to consider that misbehaviour like this might not even be extinct by a societal change, like many leftists still tend to believe. Yet we do stress that beside legal action, there is a more drastic requirement for the community at large: become resilient to patterns of FUD. (Fear, Uncertainty, Destruction)

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Can you imagine a person using technological means to steal another persons reputation, using it to promote himself, make considerable material and reputational gains from it? You can't? Well, in a global network like the P2P Foundation, relying heavily on electronic means of communiocation and not really blessed with too many back channels, exactly this happened!

Introducing Michel Bauwens, the founder and central organizer of the foundation, known well by people all over the world as the librarian of social changes. His constant work on the manifold aspect of the upcoming shift towards a cooperative society - whose main requirements are openness, transparency and sharing, has earned him extraordiary credibility and the privileges that comes with it. He gets invited to conferences around the world, is a sought for contributor for future studies even from large corporations, and had decided to really jump into this arena and seek to make a modest living from his full time engagement for social change, even committing to feed a family back in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Many people regard Michel as an indispensible agent of the forthcoming social change, not just a reporter and librarian. They are willing to consciously engage and support with his activities. They are generous and sacrificial. Wherever in the world Michel goes, there are friends awaiting and supporting him. They are actively looking for engagements that not only pay the flight and the costs of research and communication, but help him survive outside a managerial job that would support such a lifestyle

Could it be possible that this makes him an atractive target for people willing to perpetrate frauds of all kinds - to consume parts of this social capital and ruin the rest? For predator kind of persons or groups that live on the exploitation of opportunities of any kind? Unfortunately, it seems exactly this has happened - and the P2P world has lost its innocence. A person named Franco Iacomella has possibly commited the first ever systematic social capital theft known in the P2P world ... and almost got away with it, but fortunately a collective effort of cyber-sleuthing uncovered the digital traces!

The Story, as told by Michel Bauwens: