The White House website explains that it is the right of the people to petition the government, a right that is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Of course, the idea of petitioning the President is not something that is new, but the ability to use the Internet to create an online petition that may be considered and responded to by the Federal Government is indeed quite new. Not surprisingly, the Obama Administration, known for savvy use of the Internet both in governance and campaigning, pioneered this unique approach to making government reachable by the masses.
With this in mind, last week, a petition was created to petition the White House to take down the website Jerk.com. To date the petition has unfortunately not received many votes. Earlier today I was the 28th e-signer of the petition. My guess is that this is due to lack of publicity more so than anything else. Once people learn of the petition my guess is that the signatures will accumulate quickly, but will there be enough time to reach the 100,000 signature threshold by February 22, 2013?
The first order of business, however, is to get the required 150 signatures so that the petition will be searchable on WhiteHouse.gov. To view and/or sign the petition visit We the People.
Why are 100,000 signatures required? you may recall that recently the White House responded to a rather ridiculous petition asking the President to fund the building of a Death Star. See Knowing When You Have to Much Time on Your Hands. At that time the number of signatures required to provoke a response by the Administration was 25,000. After being asked to respond to such a ridiculous petition the number of signatures required for an Administration response was raised to 100,000. It will be an unfortunate tragedy if the Jerk.com petition achieves 25,000 signatures but falls short of the 100,000 signatures required for an official response.
The petition itself is simple. It says:
Jerk.com is a website where they post a PERSONAL picture of someone (taken without owners permission from Facebook usually) and let people post ANONYMOUS malicious slander about that person.
There are thousands upon thousands of complaints about this website and how they use people’s copyrighted material without permission. Some of the victims are even minors.
The company keeps in hiding, changing domains and locations of their “business”. The last known attorney for jerk.com is Maria Crimi Speth. The last known owners are John Fanning, Louis Lardas, Sonia M. Lardas. Take down jerk.com and the jerks who run it!
I have no illusions about the success of this petition. The petition, even if it achieves 100,000 signatures, will fail. President Obama does not have the authority to remove a website from the Internet, or otherwise punish a company or webhost. What he does have is control of the United States Department of Justice, and it is certainly conceivable that if this petition receives enough attention and is viewed by someone within the Administration that the President could direct the Department of Justice to open an investigation. That would be a fantastic outcome in my opinion, so obtaining the 100,000 signatures should not be viewed as a waste of time or futile.
We have followed the evolution of Jerk.com here at IPWatchdog. For more please see our most recent article Jerk.com: Who to Contact to Get Removed.