Go Daddy Grounds “Rate My Cop”

Image: Profiling is so unfair….and hurtful.You rate restaurants with online reviews. Same with contractors, professors, even blogs. Now a new web services allows the public to rate and comment on the work of uniformed law enforcement officers.  Some sites already provide aggregate data for neighborhoods, but let’s face it, sometimes you may want to discuss the work of a particular officer.

That’s where Rate My Cop comes in. Though no personal information is posted on this site, police departments are understandably concerned. Nobody likes the kind of happy slander that anonymous web communities so easily spawn.  Reputations will certainly be maligned, or for that matter falsely inflated, through such posts. However, isn’t that risk part of free speech generally?

Last week, Wired’s blog raised concerns of censorship when Rate My Cop’s traffic was redirected to a “site not available” notice by its host, GoDaddy.  Eventually, the host explained that the site had outstripped the bandwidth provided by its hosting contract. However, Rate My Cop claimed to have received no notice or invitation to upgrade their service.

Censorship or not, the somewhat clunky site is back up. Rate My Cop uses public information laws to assemble names and badge numbers of thousands of officers. So they are ready to be a marketplace of ideas about our protectors. The challenge for the site is to avoid taking responsibility for potentially libelous statements posted, while still cultivating a useful forum.

And set your watch: a writer somewhere is already working on this as plot twist for a Law & Order-type drama. In fact, I’ll provide a prize which is barely be worth the effort to the first person to identify a Rate My Cop service being used in a plot of any kind.

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