Internet first amendment rights were threatened yesterday when RateMyCop.com was shut down. As the name implies, the site allows users to rate local uniformed cops. The host, GoDaddy.com, told the owner that it was taken offline for "suspicious activity." The site is back up, but Rate My Cop's inevitable failure is a good reminder that the internet is still a playground for rich kids.
The site is based on a Wikipedia model, with users adding and editing information about their local cops. The only problem is that people who are interested in wasting their time on online directories don't really notice their local cops. Until they're mugged and need help (A+ cop would call again) or they're unexpectedly harassed by the pigs for smoking on a train platform (abuse of power!). There's a reason this model works best for rating the hotness and lax grading policies of college professors.
The people who might actually benefit from a site like this are likely poor, and since they're poor, they can't contribute via iPhone or BlackBerry. In fact, they might not even have an internet connection in their home. (I don't know how they survive either.) Gawker jailbird Sheila is the exception. The internet has democratized knowledge, sure, but only for the people who can afford a DSL connection.