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Site Claims to Reveal 'Tattle-tales'

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the true-capitalism-in-action dept.

Privacy 565

Dekortage writes "Have you ever ratted somebody out? If it was a legal case, you might end up on Who's A Rat, an online database of police informants and undercover agents, identified through various publicly-available documents such as court briefings. The data-mined information is now available online at a price. As reported in the New York Times, 'The site says it has identified 4,300 informers and 400 undercover agents, many of them from documents obtained from court files available on the Internet.' Understandably, U.S. judges and law enforcement agents are upset, although defense lawyers seem to like the idea. Where do you draw the line between legal transparency and secrecy?"

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565 comments

Undercover Agents? (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221045)

One would think this is a big time no-no.

----
OK, what is the speed of Dark?

Re:Undercover Agents? (2, Interesting)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221123)

Yeh, I see the murder rate going up a point or two in the next couple of weeks if this site doesn't get taken down.

I mean do they not see the dangers in doing this? Or do they just not care?

Re:Undercover Agents? (4, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221143)

They don't care. This is probably from the crowd that things the only thing wrong with comitting a crime is getting caught.

That being said, they need to put the creators/curators on the list - aren't they rats themselves now?

They deserve to be outed (2, Insightful)

Silkejr (856308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221815)

Let's face facts here, the vast majority of prison inmates, people whose lives have been ruined by our justice system, are in there for victimless crimes involving drugs. Undercover agents are often instrumental in putting them in there. They're not making the world a better place.

They use lies, deceit and misdirection as the tools of their trade, to put normal people in jails and prisons where they are systematically abused and indoctrinated into actual hard criminal activities, to the detriment of all society. Your average person who gets charged with the average crime that an undercover agent helps to bring about also has no chance of getting a job afterwards as well, because he's got a criminal record now. Which means he's now stuck with either a low paying job for the rest of his life, or a life of crime in order to pay the rent.

Re:They deserve to be outed (0, Flamebait)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221899)

having witnessed the results many with many people, I can honestly say only an ignorant or blind fool would find drugs to be a victimless crime.

Re:Undercover Agents? (5, Interesting)

thesolo (131008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221191)

I mean do they not see the dangers in doing this? Or do they just not care?
Based upon the fact that the person who started the site is awaiting trial for drug charges, I'm guessing the latter.

Sean Bucci, a former Boston-area disc jockey, set up WhosaRat.com after federal prosecutors charged him with selling marijuana in bulk from his house. Bucci is under house arrest awaiting trial.

Re:Undercover Agents? (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221359)

See? You lock a guy up in his house with nothing but an Internet connection and a bunch of pot, and this is the sort of thing that happens. I bet his next project will be cataloging the exact coordinates of every bag of Cheetos in the world.

Re:Undercover Agents? (0, Flamebait)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221611)

Maybe he can find where all the CIA secret prisons are while he's at it. Or the WMDs in Iraq. But with all the weed....yeah you're right, cheetos it is...

Re:Undercover Agents? (2, Funny)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221397)

Sean Bucci, a former Boston-area disc jockey, set up WhosaRat.com after federal prosecutors charged him with selling marijuana in bulk from his house. Bucci is under house arrest awaiting trial.

There's something about a guy being accused of selling drugs from his house being under house arrest that's just wrong.

At least his incarceration isn't hindering his enterprise.

Although from what I understand he'll have an easier time of it when he actually goes to prison.

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221319)

I find this to be incredibly irresponsible.

Now, I'm all for government transparency and accountability, but then again, we have such things as the freaking witness protection program. And I will be money that this leads to people getting whacked.

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

thisIsNotMyName (1019074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221141)

Yeah. . . when your website has a chance of getting someone killed it is probably time to pull the plug.

Re:Undercover Agents? (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221173)

If this site does in fact gather all its information from documents that are in the public domain (as it claims), then there's not much in the way of recourse.

I wonder if soon we'll see a prohibition on this sort of data mining...making it a crime, or at least a regulated activity, to collate publically available data into a more usable form. I don't see how such a law could be enforced, however, since data-mining technology is already available to practically everyone. Perhaps we'll see restrictions on data-mining technology we currently see on encryption algorithms.

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

Mephistophocles (930357) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221377)

If this site does in fact gather all its information from documents that are in the public domain (as it claims), then there's not much in the way of recourse.

True, which means it might be really hard to prohibit it. It seems to me that doing so would also require restrictions on ever printing the name of an informant in other publicly available documents. Probably some 1st amendment issues there...

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221745)

Actually the response was to remove plea agreements from the online docketing system.

According to several sources, the removal occurred due to concerns among federal judges nationwide about an Internet site, WhosaRat.com that publishes the plea agreements and names of informants and undercover agents. The Web site claims that by combing through state and federal court files, it has identified more than 4,000 informants and agents. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=117733177200 3 [law.com]

Re:Undercover Agents? (2, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221391)

If this site does in fact gather all its information from documents that are in the public domain (as it claims), then there's not much in the way of recourse.

Well individual acts may be legal, but still expose you to criminal and civil liability if you carry them out. It's not illegal for me to tell my friend that he can use my car any time he wants without asking, and it's not illegal for me to cut the brake lines on that car; but if I don't inform my friend that driving it might not be a good idea, and he subsequently drives off a cliff, that's probably murder on the criminal side, and wrongful death on the civil side.

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221555)

Do you equate gathering and republishing information that is already publicly available with cutting break lines? If you don't, what's your point?

Re:Undercover Agents? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221425)

Nah, as the story noted, it's already a crime to intimidate witnesses.
What will happen is that this guy will have the book thrown at him with such force that his great-great-great-grandfather will feel the pain.

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221539)

I'd prefer to see a law inhibiting data mining altogether myself. But you're probably right on what law we'll get.

Re:Undercover Agents? (3, Insightful)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221863)

Yea, we need to stop all the data mining going on to research the cure for cancer. In addition, we need to stop the data mining looking for intellegent life in space. Heck, we need to stop the data mining involved in global warming research. Dude, here's your sign.

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221655)

It would be hard to outlaw this kind of data mining without hitting marketing companies pretty hard. While there's a solid argument of "so what?" on that point, the marketing companies have a lot of money to ensure that laws stay in their favor.

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221747)

But, then maybe my telemarking and mail-box spam will decrease. :)

(Yeah, I know, opt-out / no-call and all......this was meant to be funny)

Layne

Re:Undercover Agents? (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221883)

>I wonder if soon we'll see a prohibition on this sort of data mining...

And the usual thing will happen - the companies and servers will move overseas. The only hope is if it starts to effect (affect?) elected officials - then governments will probably take steps to curtail this kind of activity, 1st amendment rights or not.

Re:Undercover Agents? (2, Interesting)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221317)

The cop that offers to buy or sell drugs on the corner is an 'undercover agent' and chances are their name if not even their picture is probably available on the wall of your local sheriff's office not to mention they're still going to have to come into court to testify against you. More worrisome would be if they're giving personal information about the individual like their phone number or home address.

Who is a rat??? (5, Informative)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221051)

...I am!

Registrant:
Sean Bucci
Sean Bucci
23 Marshall Street
North Reading, MA 01864
US
Email: SeanB00@aol.com

Registrar Name....: REGISTER.COM, INC.
Registrar Whois...: whois.register.com
Registrar Homepage: www.register.com

Domain Name: whoisarat.com

Created on..............: Fri, May 21, 2004
Expires on..............: Mon, May 21, 2007
Record last updated on..: Tue, Jan 02, 2007

Administrative Contact:
Who''s a Rat
Anthony Capone
9 Tanbark Circuit , Suite 1945
Werrington Downs, NSW2747
AU
Phone: (02) 9475-0699
Email: contact@whosarat.com

Technical Contact:
Who''s a Rat
Anthony Capone
9 Tanbark Circuit , Suite 1945
Werrington Downs, NSW2747
AU
Phone: (02) 9475-0699
Email: contact@whosarat.com

DNS Servers:

ns32.servershost.net

Re:Who is a rat??? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221213)

Anthony Capone? shit

Re:Who is a rat??? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221413)

And he's in Australia. As everyone knows, only convicts live in Australia...

Re:Who is a rat??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221487)

I think this website is a great idea. Excuse me, I need to go fight a land war in asia. Be back in a few minutes.

Re:Who is a rat??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221357)

It says the registration expired yesterday. Can we buy the name out from under him?

Re:Who is a rat??? (1)

Raistlin77 (754120) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221585)

Nah, it's been renewed

Domain Name: WHOSARAT.COM
Registrar: REGISTER.COM, INC.
Whois Server: whois.register.com
Referral URL: http://www.register.com/ [register.com]
Name Server: NS31.SERVERSHOST.NET
Name Server: NS32.SERVERSHOST.NET
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Updated Date: 02-jan-2007
Creation Date: 19-may-2004
Expiration Date: 19-may-2011

Re:Who is a rat??? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221629)

I just tested to see if its available, it isn't.

Re:Who is a rat??? (1)

Rick.C (626083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221565)

Domain Name: whoisarat.com

Created on..............: Fri, May 21, 2004
Expires on..............: Mon, May 21, 2007


Interesting that the expiration date was the day before this story broke.

Re:Who is a rat??? (1)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221597)

Point of order - did anyone see the expiration date on that domain name?

Haven't we seen this before? (4, Insightful)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221057)

Didn't some guy write an article something along the lines of "Who's a Government Agent Whose Husband Disagrees With the Policies of the Current Administration?"
There was a bit of a kerfuffle over that if I recall.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221183)

Oh! You are talking about that Richard Armitage guy, the big Democrat supporter who outted Valerie Plame.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221403)

Was that meant to imply that is somehow shocking to us that Republicans do not have a monopoly on stupidity? It is a free market and every side has their fair share of morons. I was simply pointing out that recent history has shown exposing agents is A Bad Thing. I find the very idea of this website reprehensible. If you want to help lawyers, make it a private software product licensable to a firm. Don't put it up for anyone with other, more evil motives (than lawyers?) to see.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221643)

There are plenty of people who don't use drugs who also don't think that buying and selling them is 'evil' and also believe that chasing around dealers and users is a waste of resources.

At the moment, police and other authorities spend much of their time doing 'good' things(that is, things I happen to agree with). I don't see this as any reason to label all their future activity as good. They might start doing things I disagree with, that they are 'authorities' is no reason to assume that my position is wrong.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221497)

Hmm, Richard Armitage

Aide to (Republican) Senator Bob Dole
Foreign policy advisor to (Republican) President-elect Ronald Reagan.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Pacific Affairs in the (Republican) Reagan administration.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy in the (Republican) Reagan administration.
Roving ambassador in the (Republican) first Bush administration.
Foreign policy advisor to (Republican) George W. Bush in the 2000 campaign.
Deputy Secretary of State in the (Republican) second Bush administration.

He clearly has deep roots in the Democratic Party.

Wow (1, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221095)

Talk about a list that you don't want to be mistakenly included!

I wonder about legal liability for releasing this information if it leads to the death of the undercover agents...

Re:Wow (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221135)

Simple: the site's owner is an accomplice then.

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221289)

Nonsense, this is a compilation of information that is already publicly available. All this site does it make it easier to reference. It isn't as if the site blows the whistle on anyone, the whistle is already blown.

That's like giving Slashdot credit for terrorism hysteria when all Slashdot did was post links to the stories on CNN, FOX, and the BBC.

MOD PARENT UP (2, Insightful)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221473)

If anyone *really* wants somebody from this list dead, doesn't it seem reasonable to think think they would've acted on that desire back when the information originally became public in the respective court case?

Re: Ripped from Law & Order (2, Interesting)

TheNicestGuy (1035854) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221669)

I wonder about legal liability for releasing this information if it leads to the death of the undercover agents...

Law & Order sort of tackled this in the 2004 episode Gunplay [tv.com] . A website very similar to WhosARat.com, run by a defense lawyer, got two undercover cops shot while they were trying to score some illegal guns. (The story was apparently inspired by the deaths of James J. Nemorin and Rodney Andrews on Staten Island in 2003, although I don't think the website element was present in that incident.) As is typical of Law & Order, they raise the tough question, but they don't answer it: The prosecutors are let off the hook when they discover a much more sinister wrinkle.

Anyway, if the site does not get shut down preemptively, I'm sure that a death like this is only be a matter of time. When that happens, the investigators and prosecutors will stop at nothing to make a very messy example of the site owners, First Amendment be damned.

Re: Ripped from Law & Order (2, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221797)

I wonder about legal liability for releasing this information if it leads to the death of the undercover agents...

Law & Order sort of tackled this in the 2004...


Yeah, all the best legal advice is on TV these days. I should catch up on all the episodes and memorize them so they are easier to cite the next time I defend myself in court.

Tattling (3, Funny)

Grax (529699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221099)

Did no one consider the irony that creating a web site ratting out the rats is rather a ratty thing to do?

Re:Tattling (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221435)

Who rats the rats? Rat rats. And who rats the rat rats? Rat rat rats rat rat rats.

(Aside: The German word for "rats" is "Ratten". The German word for City Hall is "Rathaus". No German I ever met, saw ANY potential for a pun in criticizing City Hall.)

Re:Tattling (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221733)

Rathaus sounds like a good name for a metal band. Maybe with a couple umlauts, like Räthaüs.

OT: Re:Tattling (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221755)

I've seen a number of "mistaken" confusions of Rathaus and Ratnest (abbreviation of Rattennest, "rat's nest") before.

Where do you draw the line? (4, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221113)

When you risk getting informants or cops murdered in reprisal killings. That seems like a good line to draw.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0, Flamebait)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221159)

I tend to think that in this case, it might actually be a desired feature.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221335)

In other words you're a sociopath.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221231)

What about government maintained lists of sex offenders? Like people on that list for crimes under the umbrella of "sex crimes" don't get death threats pledging to kill that pedophile pervert, even though they might have just been caught peeing in a bush? What about people falsely accused [slashdot.org] that get their names smeared in public?

This smacks of the same kind of "we're your lords and masters who dare not be questioned" as this topic [slashdot.org] does, as does this one [slashdot.org] .

IANAL, so now would be a pre-emptively good time for me to ask someone to detail what exactly "entrapment" is and how undercover infiltrators relate to it.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221659)

Just because there's a sex offender list doesn't mean that undercover cops and informants should be exposed on the Internet. There's no connection between the two.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0)

Computer! (412422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221783)

Why did you even post this? Of course there is a connection between two lists of publicly availible information on private citizens that could lead to danger for those on the list. The only difference is that one list is held by the state and the other is privately held.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (2)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221657)

Posting information about informants in a murder, rape, arson, theft case is reprehensible. But, I have no sympathy, none, nada for informants/undercover agents in drug cases. Drug laws are also reprehensible. And before anyone says "Well, a lot of the people higher up in the illegal drug trade are responsible for murder and other crimes", most of that would disappear, as well as a lot of money that funds organized crime, if drugs were made legal.

Just a bitter criminal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221177)


BOSTON, MA - A North Reading man was convicted late yesterday in federal court of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, money laundering, structuring financial transactions, and tax evasion.

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Douglas A. Bricker, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation in Boston; and June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England, announced that SEAN P. BUCCI, age 34, of 23 Marshall Street, North Reading, Massachusetts, was convicted by a jury sitting before Senior U.S. District Judge Morris E. Lasker on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering, two substantive counts of money laundering, seven substantive counts of structuring currency transactions, and four counts of tax evasion.


name and address correspond with the whois data

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/ma/Press%20Office%20-%20 Press%20Release%20Files/Feb2007/Bucci-Sean-convict ion.html [usdoj.gov]

Re:Just a bitter criminal (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221839)

That's a pretty stout conviction, I can't see him not doing time. Wonder who will update the site while he's "away"? Unless the government seizes it, the Web site should bring in good cigarette money while he's serving time in the federal pen...

And... (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221187)

And the entire list is tar.gz'd up and put on your file-sharing service of choice in 5..4..3..2..1..

Who is this going to help? (4, Insightful)

Luke Dawson (956412) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221195)

What exactly is the whole premise behind this idea, if not to protect those who do wrong from being called out or caught? Isn't the whole point of being a whistleblower or informant that you can either help put bad guys behind bars or expose a corporate scandal or safety breach without fear of reprisal, because your identity is kept secret? Or am I completely missing the point here? It just seems to be that the whole point of this website is to give bad guys the ability to track down and "punish" those who actually help the authorities curtail their wrongdoings.

On the bright side.... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221277)

If we keep it on the front page of /. and digg, the site will only give 'connection failure' messages ;)

-Rick

Re:Who is this going to help? (1)

joto (134244) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221861)

Isn't the whole point of being a whistleblower or informant that you can either help put bad guys behind bars or expose a corporate scandal or safety breach without fear of reprisal, because your identity is kept secret?

Nope. The "point of being a whistleblower or informant", is to inform the right authorities about wrongdoings so that they can be fixed.

If you feel more comfortable hiding your identity, they might be able to help you with that, to various degrees. But being without fear, or having your identity kept secret, is not "the point of being a a whistleblower or informant".

Actually, I would claim, that in the majority of cases, hiding the identity of the "whistleblower or informant" is bad. A society where anyone is free to snitch on anyone else, without fear of appraisal, is not a society I would like to live in. It smells too much of Stasi or KGB. In most cases, if you are afraid to make accusations in your own name, it's usually because your case is not particulary strong, it might even be an outright lie. Accountability is perhaps even more important than anonymity.

It just seems to be that the whole point of this website is to give bad guys the ability to track down and "punish" those who actually help the authorities curtail their wrongdoings.

Not necessarily so. It can also be used by criminals to see which people they should avoid talking too much with, or conduct "business" with.

Given that the information contained on the site is already publicly available, I believe that the criminals who would be likely to "punish" certain informants, already know which informants to "punish" from reading their own court documents.

That such sites show up, is actually a good thing. It forces policy-makers to review their preferences for what information should be publicly available, and which information should not. Just because it worked before the digital revolution, doesn't mean it should remain that way forever.

Re:Who is this going to help? (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221879)

Well, now, if someone offers to sell you drugs/stolen goods/his or her body, you can check the website to see if that person's an undercover cop. Seems fair to me. Besides, cops are supposed to solve crimes and arrest criminals, not commit crimes while becoming criminals to 'trick' other criminals. I'm not trying to denigrate the police who actually believe in 'protect and serve' but there are a great many shady things that happen in undercover operations. You know what they say about trying to catch monsters.

Not fair game. (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221225)

This definitely seems like attack on law and order - when properly authorized and overseen, undercover investigations are one of the few legitimate means of acting to prevent crime in a way that can be ethically and logically defensible for a state. And I'm very much in favor of more prevention (where compatible with human and civil rights), and less mindless punishment in terms of law and public order.

If this was a site devoted to outing torturers or other players in indefensible state actions, I'd understand - but this is just horrible. Oversight is certainly needed more over the modern executive branch, but this is just cruel undermining.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Not fair game. (4, Insightful)

Computer! (412422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221725)

"This definitely seems like attack on law and order - when properly authorized and overseen, undercover investigations are one of the few legitimate means of acting to prevent crime in a way that can be ethically and logically defensible for a state."

Bullshit [november.org] . Informants are often criminals themselves and are paid for their information. Undercover policework walks a very thin line to keep from crossing over into entrapment. Not to mention, almost all of the "wrongdoing" that this network of lies is trying to stop is victimless drug crime.

Re:Not fair game. (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221781)

Is the aggregation the problem, or the disclosure? The information is already publicly available, it is simply being pulled together and republished. If the disclosure is the problem, then the law surrounding the initial disclosure should be changed. If the aggregation is the problem, any remedy needs to give careful consideration to the fact that someone with sufficient resources can go ahead and get this information any time they want it, whereas people without those resources can not. Yet another reason to make sure that you are rich and powerful.

At the moment, it doesn't appear to be illegal. If there is no good way to change that, tough noogies for law enforcement.

Not no new news (0, Troll)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221247)

This site has been around for a little while so it is not news and I fail to understand why it is causing such an uproar. Here are the US Today article counterpoints I would throw out there...

Since then, it has grown into a clearinghouse for mug shots, court papers and rumors. All publicly available anyway (mug shots, papers, etc.). Rumors... Rumors will always be rampant no matter what.

Federal prosecutors say the site was set up to encourage violence, and federal judges around the country were recently warned that witnesses in their courtrooms may be profiled online. Where is the proof of the federal prosecutors' claim. Do they have substantial evidence that states "This crime happened specificially because of this site". If not then its speculation. Thats like saying "this shooting happened because there was a gun store in town"

"My concern is making sure cooperators are adequately protected from retaliation," Isn't that the job of the US Marshalls who offer snitches protective custody. They turned snitch most often under the agreement of something either financially motivated, or under the notion they would be protected. Not your problem Judge.

"Stop Snitching" T-shirts have been sold in cities around the country What does one have to do with the other. So what T Shirts are being sold across the city. Would it be correct for me to say... "And their is a car dealer in town. So it must be so that those who are committing drive by shootings buy their cars here since its the only car dealer in town." BS.

There is so much crapaganda on this discussion it is disgusting, and if the website is removed, like it or not the government is hindering free speech. Bottom line

Re:Not no new news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221601)

Where is the proof of the federal prosecutors' claim. Do they have substantial evidence that states "This crime happened specificially because of this site". If not then its speculation. Thats like saying "this shooting happened because there was a gun store in town"
What else would you set up a site like this for? Laughs?

Re:Not no new news (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221847)

Factual information you may not be aware of. A large number of rats are cooperating in attempts to save their asses and will feed anything, anyone to prosecutors to save their asses. Many times they will lie and when those lies are told what about the innocent people that are hurt. You never hear about the prosecution coming clean. Look at the feds and Whitey Bulger. In fact dig up information on over 85% of snitches and they almost always make things up (anything) to save their ass.

Re:Not no new news (2, Insightful)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221723)

There is so much crapaganda on this discussion it is disgusting, and if the website is removed, like it or not the government is hindering free speech. Bottom line

If the site puts law enforcement officers in danger, it should not be protected by free speech. It should be taken down.

I'm getting the feeling that many Slashdotters really, really hate law enforcement.

What goes around comes around (5, Insightful)

SourceVisigoth (141614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221273)

If judges and prosecutors are going to use people's MySpace, Facebook, and Google search results against them and claim, "Hey, it's a public record!" then they shouldn't be surprised or outraged by this. The whole trend of using publicly available online data to snoop on people is a two way street.

Pretty interesting. (4, Interesting)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221307)

I went to West Virginia University, and the other large University in the state was Marshall.

When anyone would get busted in Marshall for any reason, they were given 2 choices.

A. Go to Jail and pay the consequences.
B. Go to WVU to school and continue your education on US, while working undercover.

You would be surprised at how many times this happens. It also happened with people I knew (or thought I knew) when they were busted at WVU and sent to MU for "REHAB".

Nonetheless, it's funny they're doing this, simply because if someone's a supposed "rat" and they're found out... you're more than likely not messing with the scene anymore. If you're honestly doing anything that has risk, your best bet is to just not meet new people and don't deal with people that wouldn't go down for you.

In other words, you're going to get caught if you're stupid or deal with stupid people. When messing with drugs, you're usually messing with fucked up people. If you stay in long enough, those fucked-up people are going to get you caught.

My suggestion is, if you MUST, just do drugs, don't sell them.

;)

Re:Pretty interesting. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221477)

My suggestion is, if you MUST, just do drugs, don't sell them.

...or possess them in quantities sufficient for the law to presume you intended to sell them.

Re:Pretty interesting. (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221509)

Where I went to school, the hippies I hung out with SWORE that if you asked somebody if they were an undercover cop and they said no, then the charges could get thrown out for entrapment.

Rather than go through the trouble of defining entrapment, the point hit home easier by pointing out that, if it were true, the movie Donnie Brasco would have been 10 minutes long.

Public information... (4, Insightful)

TheBigBezona (787044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221309)

If they are using public records to compile the list, then how "secret" is the information expected to be?

Easy : commodity (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221593)

The same way knowing your neighbours is musulman/christian by waiting at the entrance of the moskee/church is one things (public knowledge), but having a read point and click available database showing the religion of people is a privacy offense in many country (in europe). This is the commodisation of the information which is protested, and I think it is arguable that without commodisation the chear effort to get the same information on a whole group of people de facto protect them (although this is quite not the definition of secrecy, I would call it "losing the key in the hay stake". Same with sex offender list. You can research every people looking for home in your4 neighbourghhood for sex offense in every court, but having a lsit make it incredibly easy to single out the people.

Poison the data (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221327)

Couldn't the Feds poison the data on this site by posting information that mobster A ratted on modster B, who ratted on C, who ratted on A?

Also, won't they be subpoenaing the subscriber list real soon now?

Re:Poison the data (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221463)

They're can't create false court documents.

Isn't this the same as a Janus List... (1)

Eyezen (548114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221337)

The show Numb3rs season finale was based on this.

Re:Isn't this the same as a Janus List... (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221607)

This has undercover agents and informants. A Janus list is specifically about double-agent spies. There's a subtle distinction between an informant and a double agent. An informant has information about one or a few crimes, and tells that to the cops in exchange for money or consideration. A double agent is actual inserted into the organization and used to extract information. Sometimes your double agent is already employeed by the adversary and you turn him to your purposes.

It's like the difference between a contractor and an employee, where the informant is more like a contractor brought in for a specific amount of time to do a specific job, while the double agent/employee is hired for a long time period to do multiple jobs.

Infinite loop (0)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221347)

Report them to themselves for ratting out rats. When they add that to their database, they'll be guilty of ratting themselves out for ratting out rats, which means they need to add another entry to their database...

Just don't tell them I sent you.

sounds 100% legal... (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221361)

...but I see this ending up like those "sexual predator" lists. It might possibly serve a good purpose but it is easily exploited. Still, if all of this is obtainable through the internets, then one would suspect Google would be able to find the info too. So, if some one had a real need or desire to discover an informant or under cover agent, then they'd be able to do it already.

i also question why defense attourney's would be for this. Do they not get proper access to witnesses and other info from the prosecutor before the trial?

get over it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221373)

As Sun Microsystems chairman and CEO Scott McNealy said, "You have no privacy, get over it."

Of course, the authorities are happy to use all sorts of public information & databases. When citizens complain of invasion of privacy, they say it's public information.

Either it is or it isn't.

Are court officers at risk? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221427)

That's really the question here. Are court officers and informants at risk of death or major injury due to this data being made public at this time. I do not argue that the information should be censored permanently. But a temporary court order to cease distribution of those names during court proceedings seems perfectly reasonable.

Which means that as long as those undercover officers have pending investigations and court dates, their names and faces should be protected from public disclosure until they're reassigned or they retire.

it's down now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221443)

the site is down already heh

This sort of thing should be illegal (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221517)

As if we didn't have enough problems with the "anti-snitch culture" that prevents law enforcement from finding witnesses in places like the inner cities when serious crimes are committed! Now we'd end up with a sex offender-style registry of people who have cooperated. This sort of thing has to go, unless you want such things as secret evidence and witnesses to start becoming topics for debates on constitutional amendments.

Sure, why not (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221567)

This goes along with the whole "Don't snitch" campaign taking place in Philadelphia, LA, and a whole host of other places including my own city and one a bit further south.


After all, why help the cops do their job trying to track down the person who murdered your son/daughter/husband/wife/whatever when it is so much easier to just go out, get a gun from the guy on the corner and shoot the person.

As far as the baby [newsdaily.com] shot [topix.net] in a drive-by [todaystmj4.com] , there is no need for you to be an eyewitness.

Bad news for Mr. X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221571)

Good news for the pool of mayor Quimby though.

Just Draw a Real Line *Somewhere* (1, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221587)

Like all open/reporting projects, this one is yet again drawing fire from the powerful to the messenger. The mob(s) have the money and IT staff to get this info the same way the Tattle-tale site does, without using the Tattle-tale site.

Because these people whining about publishing it have been irresponsible in not drawing a real line to protect real secrets. Of course, they draw all kinds of lines to protect public info from public view that isn't really secret, but on which their power depends.

So they're incompetent to actually protect secrecy, which any crypto person can tell you first requires minimizing the secret info any way possible, then controlling only secret data with nonsecret logic. While covering up all kinds of info people need and have a right to see.

So of course they react by blasting a mere demonstration of their own blabby, yet prohibitively inconvenient management of public data.

Yes, uh huh, yeah, but these days it's all secrecy; no privacy
Shoot first, that' s right... you know
Bye bye. Who's listening?
Right now somebody is listening to you
Keeping their eyes peeled on you
Mmm, mmm, what a price, what a price to pay
All right. Good night, sleep tight

"Fingerprint File [seeklyrics.com] ", by The Rolling Stones

Re:Just Draw a Real Line *Somewhere* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221761)

A former CIA officer once told me that the KGB already knew who the CIA guys were and vise versa. The real danger was that some nut job would get the information and decide to start shooting because the CIA is planting messages into his brain.

So yes the Feds have the data because they are the Feds and play by the Fed rules, and the mob has the data because they are the mob and play by mob rules, but both sides want to keep the info from the public. See what happens to this guy when he mistakenly indentifies some high powered mobster as an informant.

upshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19221619)

while the site doesn't seem like such a good idea, if the information was gotten in publicly available operations, then the agents and informants have not really been operating under secrecy all this time, and now perhaps they shall be disabused of the notion that they were. it could lead to better security in the future.

hmmm..... (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221703)

are they planning on adding themselves to that list? After all, they are tattling on tattlers. ^)^

Obl (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221717)

Wiggum: My bad! Can't work my answering machine, either. Now I
        need a new informant. Say, Lisa, people trust you. How'd
        you like to be a snitch? The pay stinks, but ...

reminds me of "stop snitching" (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221719)

in east coast cities like baltimore and philadephia, street violence continues unabated, and police have a problem getting witnesses to cooperate in shooting death investigations due to t-shirts, songs, and the like that demonize cooperating with the police [wikipedia.org]

but of course, you will hear the regular cacophony of folks here on slashdot who can only think of subjects like this in a vacuum, outside of real world effects, and support "who's a rat", just because it's vaguely antigovernment

as if the government is the source of all of our problems in the world. as if the police are only the brutal shock troops of tyranny

gee, i dunno, maye sometimes law enforcement is there to fight simple straightforward crime and protect us and we should help them do that?

i know, wacky reactionary ultraconservative fascist and authoritarian of me to say that, huh?

pffft

Re:reminds me of "stop snitching" (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221809)

Actually, the worst I've seen posted so far is "I don't like it but they're just consolidating already public available information."

On the "Don't Snitch," I find it fairly appalling that it exists. I fail to see what is bad about helping the police track down criminals. People wearing these shirts should be ashamed.

down (1)

collinc (899981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221779)

That was fast. Site redirects to a suspended page on their hosts server. http://xicom.biz/suspended.page/ [xicom.biz]

website removed (2, Funny)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221785)

I guess the IPO dislikes snitches on snitches.

It's the systems fault! (1)

stwf (108002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221835)

Isn't the real problem here that this information IS publicly available? I would never want to prosecute anyone for compiling and disseminating public info. Thats why we're all here, right?

In fact these people are doing us a service by showing us all the holes in the system. At least now this information is available to anyone, including people on the list, and could alert them they might be in danger. Previously this info might only be available to unscrupulous people with the resources to track it down.

Legal Remedy? (1)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19221889)

I'm generally not in favor of additional legislation making more things illegal, but perhaps it would be good to have a law making it illegal to reveal the identities of undercover law enforcement officers, or people known to be secretively aiding them, under certain circumstances, similar to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act [wikipedia.org] , so that these people could get in trouble [wikipedia.org] when they break it [wikipedia.org] .
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