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How Telstra stole my identity

You can’t have a burner phone without a prepaid SIM, so I guess it’s only fitting that Telstra is using my Fake ID to illustrate their identity requirements

There is a long history of people having their photos nicked without attribution and payment by large corporations. It is the reason the very excellent ‘for exposure’ exists. I’ve never actually had a photo deemed steal-worthy til now, as alerted to me by an AllThingsVice reader.

Terry Davis was recently filling out an application for a prepaid Sim card “for a friend” when he thought something looked oddly familiar.


He clicked on the photo of the sample licence to enlarge it and sure enough, there it was:

Yep, our biggest Telco, Telstra, is using one of my photos without permission. In my early days of dark web blogging, a Fake ID vendor on Silk Road who was having trouble convincing people of the quality of his product sent a freebie to the only out and proud (i.e. non-anonymous) member of the site for critique. I used my photo (in fact, I used my Age byline photo) but the name and address of the Mother of Dragons:


What can we make of Telstra using my fake ID as their sample ID to instruct people signing up for prepaid phone plans? Is this a tacit wink-and-a-nod by the telco: ‘We know you are signing up for a burner phone; here’s how to use your fake ID’? Was it a bit of a sly troll by a disgruntled employee? Or just a fluke in a Google image search?

And most importantly, how much am I owed in royalties?


Big thanks to eagle-eyed reader Terry Davis, who must have a hell of a memory too

If you’re thinking of signing up for a burner phone, you probably should use a VPN. I use IP Vanish

2 Responses

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