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On the Internet, no one knows if you’re a dog. Or a well-tailored lawyer in the London office of Covington & Burling. That fact has guided Peter Anaman’s entire career over the last seven years. The 33-year-old British-trained attorney is the head of Covington’s Internet monitoring and investigation unit, and he uses multiple online personas to nail bad guys: sellers of counterfeit goods and pirated software, hackers, phishers, you name it.

One time Anaman was hired by several software companies to investigate a group of Lithuanian students who were suspected of selling some 2,000 different pirated software programs for $10 to $20 apiece on the Web. For years the group had eluded Lithuanian police. Anaman, a 6-foot-plus lieutenant reservist in the French Army, managed to infiltrate the ring in a matter of months by pretending to be a flirtatious 27-year-old female programmer who complained a lot about her boss in online chat rooms. After a few months, he was able to befriend members of the group and obtain encryption codes and other personal information while chatting with them online. The information helped the software companies to shut down the Web sites and led to the arrest of the pirates. “I help send people to prison, and they don’t even know me,” Anaman says.

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