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Site Claims to Reveal 'Tattle-tales' 565

Posted by Zonk
from the true-capitalism-in-action dept.
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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Site Claims to Reveal 'Tattle-tales'

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  • Who is a rat??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by D-Cypell (446534) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:23AM (#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
  • by Tofystedeth (1076755) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:23AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sycodon (149926)
      Oh! You are talking about that Richard Armitage guy, the big Democrat supporter who outted Valerie Plame.
      • by mbone (558574) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:48AM (#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 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheWoozle (984500)
    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...
    • by polar red (215081)
      Simple: the site's owner is an accomplice then.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by shaitand (626655)
        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 (Score:3, Insightful)

          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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by magarity (164372)
      Talk about a list that you don't want to be mistakenly included!

      Yes, but a FAKE list like this might be brilliant:

      1. Identify 2nd/3rd highest ranking members in gangs
      2. Post their names as rats on a website claiming to out undercover agents
      3. Gang leader has them killed
      4. Go to step 1 a few times
      5. Post leader's name as supposed agent
      6. Any remaining members kill leader

      The resulting gang, much reduced in leadership and too paranoid to work effectively as a team, would be much easie
  • Tattling (Score:3, Funny)

    by Grax (529699) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:26AM (#19221099) Homepage
    Did no one consider the irony that creating a web site ratting out the rats is rather a ratty thing to do?
    • 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.)
  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:27AM (#19221113) Homepage
    When you risk getting informants or cops murdered in reprisal killings. That seems like a good line to draw.
    • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:33AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        There is a slight difference between sex offenders and undercover agents.
        Sex offenders are convicted felons.
        People bing falsely accused is a valid problem.
    • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)
      Except that's the whole point of the list. Giving us something to fight back against government oppression. The US government is waging a war on it's own citizens, to the point where it has the highest proportion [commondreams.org] of it's population imprisoned of any country in the world. The cops are not necessarily the good guys.
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @10:33AM (#19222255)

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

      Reprisal killings are this big scary monster that is blown way out of proportion. About 50 officers a year are murdered, and in '04, there were ~850,000 officers in the US. That's a homicide victim rate of 0.00058%. Guess what it is nation-wide? 0.0056%. You read that correctly. Police officers have a homicide victim rate that is one tenth that of the general population despite working a job we'd assume puts them at more danger of being murdered. The #1 cause of death for police? Traffic collisions, overwhelmingly. Don't believe me? Go check out the DoJ and FBI statistics; they spend a lot of effort compiling these stats.

      On the flip side, "snitches" are a huge problem, as are "expert" witnesses. If you want to be scared out of your mind, read John Grisham's The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, ISBN 0385517238. A hick prosecutor and police department, with plenty of help from a state crime lab "expert", put SEVERAL men on DEATH ROW despite massive flaws in the evidence and witnesses against them and horrendously flawed trials.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:31AM (#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]
  • And the entire list is tar.gz'd up and put on your file-sharing service of choice in 5..4..3..2..1..
  • by Luke Dawson (956412) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:31AM (#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.
    • If we keep it on the front page of /. and digg, the site will only give 'connection failure' messages ;)

      -Rick
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kabocox (199019)
      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
  • 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 unders
    • Re:Not fair game. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Computer! (412422) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @10:01AM (#19221725) Homepage Journal
      "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.
  • by SourceVisigoth (141614) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:35AM (#19221273) Homepage
    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. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mockylock (1087585) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:36AM (#19221307) Homepage
    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.

    ;)
    • by dr_dank (472072)
      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.
  • by TheBigBezona (787044) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:36AM (#19221309)
    If they are using public records to compile the list, then how "secret" is the information expected to be?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Angst Badger (8636)
      If they are using public records to compile the list, then how "secret" is the information expected to be?

      Actually, this is pretty typical of privacy issues that have arisen in recent years. There has always been shit-tons of information about you that was public information, but it was scattered through paper files in dozens or hundreds of offices, and collecting any of it, much less all of it, was such an expensive and time-consuming task that the very difficulty involved provided a great deal of protecti
  • 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?
    • by Applekid (993327)
      They're can't create false court documents.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The hell they can't. Example. In most states, judges are allowed to "correct" trial transcripts at will with no oversite. If the judge were biased, and didn't want his ruling to be overturned on appeal...

        Anyway, I'm sure that with a helpful judge, the witness relocation project has created tons of false court documents. As long as no one is convicted based on a falsified document, I'm not sure it's even illegal.

        Besides the document wouldn't have to exist anywhere except for this site. You could e
  • 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
  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArsenneLupin (766289)

      Now we'd end up with a sex offender-style registry of people who have cooperated. This sort of thing has to go
      You are completely right. These kinds of registries have to go. First the sex offenders' list, and then the rats' list.
  • 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.

    • Re:Sure, why not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @10:13AM (#19221923)
      If the police really wanted to turn those "No Snitch" movements around, they should go back to doing what they have written on their cars: To Protect and Serve.

      As opposed to racial profiling. As opposed to beating suspects mercilessly when they present no danger to the officer. As opposed to taking their sweet time to respond to inner-city disturbances while rushing to rich neighborhoods. As opposed to villifying teenagers that are just bored and want to hang out in a public place and not causing any trouble. As opposed to the "we are above the law" attitude that many many officers seem to have.

      I remember getting pulled over by an undercover detective for looking at him wrong. Quite literally. He parked his unmarked vehicle with illegally dark tints across two handicapped spaces at my local bank branch and some old lady had to park considerably farther. As I left the ATM I saw him getting into his vehicle and I saw this poor thing with the appropriate handicapped tag in no more complicated than a nightgown struggling with her walker.

      I stared at him nastily. I wanted him to feel the shame that others were judging him. Obviously I rubbed him the wrong way since I drove off maybe three blocks before this guy turned on ol' red and blues mounted on his dashboard. I was pulled over and given a lecture about how HE was keeping me safe.

      Pro tip: in those situations, the only thing you should do is "Yes, officer" lest you get tazered.

      Hell, I live in South Florida... NBC did a story on filing complaints to police stations. Most of the stations just wanted a verbal report and wouldn't provide him with the anonymous forms required under law. To top it all off, when the report got on the air, the investigator had a BOLO notice posted! "Fuck da police" isn't just because we're rebellious: it's because so many DO WRONG.

      Questioning witnesses for murders is movie-time. Law and Order on CBS time. It happens, but it's not so prevalent that doors are being knocked on day in and out to find out where they were on August the 11th at 3:19am.

      If the police stopped intentionally being antagonists to the citizenry maybe we'd cooperate more.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WhiteWolf666 (145211)
        Silly Personal Anecdote:

        One time, when I was following my girlfriend in her car (I was driving my car), I saw her pulled over. To make a long story short, after a few minutes, the cops walked away from her car, and we continued on home. I called her up, expecting her to be crying over a ticket, or scared about a warning.

        In reality, they pulled her over to ask for her phone number, and her friend's (who was sitting in the passenger seat) phone number.

        This made my blood boil.

        You see another man hitting on you
  • 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

  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @10:04AM (#19221785)
    I guess the IPO dislikes snitches on snitches.
  • by dbc (135354) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @10:22AM (#19222079)
    He only charges a fee to read the list. He's missing half the market.

    He should also charge to *not* publish a name on the list. *sheesh* some people just don't know how to write a business plan.

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