Many police departments have set up Internet registries for sex offenders and drug offenders, and police also have begun posting the pictures and names of suspected johns online. Still, police groups took umbrage when a site called RateMyCop.com appeared in March.
Site founder Gino Sesto wrote to police departments across the country and obtained lists of the names and badge numbers of their officers. He then posted the names online in a format broken down by state and city, encouraging users to rate their experiences with individual officers.
All of the information Sesto posted was already open to the public, and he didn’t reveal the identities of any undercover officers. But police groups were outraged, making the dubious argument that posting publicly available names and badge numbers on the Internet somehow jeopardized officers’ safety. Jerry Dyer, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, told Wired the site could give citizens the opportunity to “unfairly malign” individual officers. He added that he’d be asking the state legislature to ban sites like RateMyCop.com.
Then in March, hosting service GoDaddy mysteriously terminated Sesto’s account and pulled RateMyCop.com offline. GoDaddy has offered several explanations to Wired, none of which has made much sense. Sesto gave up on GoDaddy and tried to get the site hosted at RackSpace. After initially accepting his down payment for hosting services, RackSpace sent a letter to Sesto saying, “We believe that the website to be found at www.ratemycop.com as described to our sales representative could create a risk to the health and safety of law enforcement officers.” At press time the site was back online, but its future is uncertain.