Sean Bucci, a man jailed by the Boston Police Department for the possession of drugs, has taken revenge on his undercover police informant by setting up the website whosarat.com.
The online database, where members can post the name and description of a known ‘snitch’ or ‘rat’, reveals the identity of the individual publicly; either in a written document or in conversation.
While the website has recently been removed from the internet, and now requires an annual $70 fee to access its database, Nouse has managed to view some of the profiles of the ‘snitches’. Most of them are previously convicted criminals.
However, the popularity of the website has undermined the reputation of a number of innocent people. Names on the rapidly growing database usually have a corresponding picture of the person.
A disclaimer has been put on the site, stating it was founded with the intention to “assist attorneys and criminal defendants with few resources” in “investigating their accusers”.
The website also states that it will remove incorrect profiles of people who are not informants, but only after a minimum period of 14 days, during which time the integrity of that person’s reputation could be jeopardised.
However, once an informant’s identity has been revealed on the website with paperwork to prove it, it cannot then be removed. The way in which the information is obtained (purely through public documents and conversations) makes the site perfectly legal, and can in no way be attacked without breaching the US Constitution’s first amendment on freedom of speech.
Despite its declared good intentions, the site seems to be a way of keeping criminals informed of undercover police in their area. Google search terms that would bring up the whosarat.com website include the words ‘rat’, ‘FBI snitch’ and ‘secret police informants’.
The Department of Homeland Security has warned its officers not to access the website, as their IP could be cross-referenced with their computer and their name then revealed on the website.
The database, which now totals over 4300 names, is causing plenty of headaches within police departments across the United States. They are enraged that their operations are being seriously damaged and the safety of officers and informants compromised.
A Boston bookie, intent on punishing a former business partner, added his name and picture to the website without any hard evidence to uphold the claim. Although his ex-partner’s name was removed from the website, it took the minimum of two weeks to occur, in which time the partner’s reputation—and perhaps even his life—could have been in danger.
The authorities cannot seem to find a loophole to bring the site down. The only action that seems to have been taken is in the Courts of Law making the information less accessible, though ultimately not unavailable, thus ceasing to publish judicial sentences.
Even if a solution is found, this is not the only website of its kind, merely one of the more popular ones.
It remains to be seen what action will be taken against the website, if any can be taken. Either way, Bucci has created a dangerous phenomenon for police forces.
The ‘stop snitching’ concept has been endorsed by numerous rap stars in the USA, thus further undermining the work done by police.
Rapstar Cameron Giles (also known as Cam’ron), after having been shot in both arms in 2005, has failed to speak up about the occurrences, with neither he nor those that committed the crime cooperating with police.
When asked why, Cam’ron said, “It would definitely hurt my business. And it’s the way that I was raised, I just don’t do that. I was raised differently—not to tell.”