The U.S. government is continuing its happy-go-lucky censorship of Web sites for reasons blown way out of proportion.
It was revealed yesterday that JotForm.com had its domain suspended. The reason behind the suspension was not exactly clear. Aytekin Tank took to the JotForm.net blog to explain exactly what had happened and what users can do to retrieve their documents.
What Tank calls an “ongoing investigation about content posted in our site” is the cause behind the JotForm.com domain being suspended by the U.S. government. The company claims to be “fully cooperating” with the authorities, but doesn’t have a clue as to when the site will be back up.
For those who don’t know what JotForm is, it’s a service that allows users to create various forms for use on their Web sites. It allows users to create anything from application forms to bug reports.
This is likely the cause for the criminal investigation. Tank recently updated the situation on Hacker News to say that it was most likely people creating phishing forms using their service that led to the suspension.
It doesn’t make it any better to know the cause, however, when the Secret Service refuses to work with your company. He says that he called the Secret Service agent in charge of the case and was told that it would be a few days before he could get them to look at his case. While he’s waiting to hear back, hundreds of thousands of users are locked out of their forms.
Tank does offer some form of respite in the form of their .net domain. He says that any user can just change the URL of their form to .net from .com to get any forms up and running again.
At the end, he issues a word of warning to any Web site that allows user created content. He says to contact your most active users quickly after any URL take down or similar actions to let them know what went down and what they can do to retrieve their files.
The case raises some striking similarities to the MegaUpload case. Both sites depended on user generated content as their primary business. While illegal content was present on the site, it didn’t make up the majority of the content. It was primarily used by legitimate users who are now being punished by a government that doesn’t know the difference between an IP address and a DNS.
We’ll keep you updated on this and other stories of Web sites being supended for little to no reason.