Mark and Connie are, of course, trying to protect the 8 pseuds caught up in Warman's law-suit against FreeD (these 8 "John Does" apparently fight for Freedom by defaming people anonymously, by the way). M&C are refusing to turn over sign-up and forum posting details that might lead to the 8's identification. Warman is trying to compel them via a court motion. M&C argue:
One of the notable aspects of Richard Warman's motion was its obvious lack of technical expertise. In a nutshell, they don't know what they are talking about. They don't understand the software, they don't understand what information is captured and stored and they don't have a clue about what IP addresses actually are.
Second, what little data we do have, IP’s from the posts in question, is quite literally useless because the website’s clock has been wrong for years and we have never been able to figure out how to fix it.
Think about that a moment.
Also, though we all know, or should know, the difficulties inherent in tying an IP address to a particular forum participant, this post makes clear that Connie and Mark could collect such information if they chose. For example, when I tricked Padraigh (one of the anonymous 8) into commenting several weeks ago, his IP became available for the harvesting by the forum administrator. Apparently, this was not done. On the other hand, they didn't have any trouble finding (and bandying about) my IP address way back when...
Most if not all common bulletin board systems have the ability to store IP addresses and match them to user-names. Certainly phpBB, the one FreeD is using, does. In fact, I would suspect that all the IPS employed by all the FreeD pseuds are sitting in the data-base.