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RateMyCop, Shut Down By GoDaddy, Is Online Again At Another Host

By Angelique van Engelen     Mar 12, 2008 in Internet
GoDaddy, the popular U.S. web hosting service, last Monday unceremoniously shut down RateMyCop, a controversial site that became an overnight success. The reason? Police didn't like being criticized by the public.
The site, which is modeled on the ratemyprofessor.com idea sparked outrage from US police officers all over the country. The shut down clearly is an act of censorship, but Godaddy claims bandwidth overload was behind the decision.
RateMyCop has quickly moved hosts and is already online again. Top hated officer in the US is a certain Charles Wheeler, an Oklahoma cop who, according to user comments “Very unethical in the way he uses his authority. Abuses his power at any given chance and is an overall horrible person to deal with. Even off the job at casual settings (ie thunder valley) he is general abrasive and isn’t liked by anyone who is around him. I would rate him as low as possible and would recommend that his badge be taken from him”.
and:
“This guy abuses his power, no question. He PROFILES sport bikes, writing tickets for something minor as cracking open a visor one inch to get a cool breeze on a hot summers day to THREATENING impound and/or jail because of his ability to “hear” how fast we are going. He is more suited to be a janitor or a 7-11 attendant rather than to be a cop.”
Various more comments on Mr Wheeler typify the man as rather unpleasant and with a penchant for clamping down on people riding mountain bicycles.
Wired.com reports unease among various US police departments as soon as RateMyCop announced its plans to ‘watch the watchers’ last January. RateMyCop, based in Culver City, California, has already published information requests for lists of uniformed officers since it went live two weeks ago. “It stores the names and, in some cases, badge numbers, but no home addresses of over 140,000 cops in as many as 500 police departments, and allows users to post comments about police they’ve interacted with, and rate them”, according to Wired.com. But cops all over the US are complaining that they’re ‘put at risk’.
Godaddy first told the website’s owners they were closed down due to ’suspicious activity’ but later on the web hosting service claimed a technical reason. RateMyCop apparently had surpassed its 3 terabyte bandwidth limit. Yet the site is hardly a blow away with 80,00 page views Monday and 400,000 Sunday, its owners say.
The site’s slogan is ‘you have the right to remain informed‘ and that’s poignant also because this is one of the more high profile cases of Godaddy censorship. RateMyCop’s closedown has attracted a lot of media coverage. Godaddy already has a name for being one of the more pull the plug prone web hosts, once again underscoring that online censorship is rife.
Of course the site, if it did commit illegal acts, should simply be taken to court. But anyone with a mind knows that there’s no existing legislation that would prove RateMyCop is a violation of the US Constitution. For the record; this Wednesday morning at 9.39 am (GMT+2) a total of 242 users and 2 guests were online.
bio: Angelique van Engelen reports for reporTwitters.com, a blog about Twitter and journalism.
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