The Dark Side of Web 2.0
We could go on and on about perceived problems with social websites such as MySpace.com but last week I discovered a website which really disturbs me and shows a darker side of Web 2.0. The site is www.whosarat.com and its purpose is to identify undercover law enforcement officers, police informants, and witnesses who cooperate with the law enforcement officers.
I am not going to debate the merits of 1st Amendment free speech in this particular case but I would hope people who wish to interact with the web would show more restraint and not singlehandedly aattempt to bring down our society which is based on people showing respect for law and order. Many times criminal elements will attempt to find out who may have turned them in to the police to pressure witnesses or informants not to testify in court or worse, outright kill these people to send a message. Already in some segments of our society cooperating with law enforcement is considered the wrong thing to do. Popular culture have demonstrated a willingness to tell audiences not to snitch or face consequences which are justly deserved. Unfortunately these segments of society view law enforcement as the enemy and criminals as heroes.
The author of the website is a radio disc jockey who was busted on federal drug charges and is on house arrest awaiting trial. I have heard people who have been arrested for drugs lash out at what they perceive are harsh laws which serve no purpose. Another debate about drug laws could last until doomsday but the fact remains, it is still the law! This short-sighted person forgets that our society can only maintain order by the willingness its members to respect the laws passed by a governing body. Once citizens stop respecting laws then society breaks down. Unfortunately, what happens is people will turn to anyone who will restore order, usually at the cost of civil liberties. This is how some totalitarian governments got started.
Hopefully, the author of Whosarat.com will come to their senses and voluntarily take the site down. However, this Pandora's Box has been opened and it will be hard to reign in those who will follow in these footsteps and produce similar websites with graver consequences. I also hope this person or one of his loved ones does not fall victim to a violent crime which may never be solved because witnesses and informants are afraid they will be on Whosarat.com.