APEX vs John Does
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This is an update with new information about the case of ”Tunnel Rat” vs. APEX. It's assumed you have read the first and second story that I wrote on this issue so I don't have to repeat stuff about what is going on.

  • John Doe #1: Goes by the name "Tunnel Rat". He runs two websites that were shut down (ITGrunt and endh1b) as a result of the court order. The trouble began when an H-1B visa holder working at APEX posted a link to an employee contract at ITGrunt’s web site. APEX decided to take ITGrunt down merely for having the link to the document on his blogs. ITGrunt’s caustic commentary about APEX was never mentioned in the complaint although it’s rather obvious that he provoked APEX and the desi community. Doe #1 is a top level programmer/consultant who has a good paying job at a major company. He doesn't want his identity revealed because he fears that he will be put on employer black lists, and says that death threats make him worry about the safety of him and his family if he loses his anonymity.
  • John Doe #2: His email name is [email protected]. Doe #2 is active replying in blogs. He was outraged when the law firm Herten, Burstein, Sheridan, Cevasco, Bottinelli, Litt & Harz filed a complaint to a New Jersey Surpreme Court to shut down Doe #1’s websites. He sent an angry email to the law firm. From his email the law firm got his IP address, and then ordered Yahoo and Comcast to reveal his identity. Doe #2 is an unemployed programmer in Detroit. He is a victim of the ethnic cleansing of Americans in the auto industry in general and Ford in particular. Doe #2 has a Master’s in programming but couldn’t find a job after being laid off by Ford so he went back to school and is nearing completion of an MBA. He is close to living in the cold streets of Detroit and believes that losing his anonymity will push him over the curb.
  • John Doe #3: He runs the website guestworkerfraud.com. He ran afoul of APEX because he picked up a lot of Tunnel Rat’s info and added his own inflammatory commentary. His website is still working even though the court ordered it to be shut down. Like ITGrunt, he feels that public exposure will hurt his career. He is a top level Apple computer programmer that has been unemployed for several months.
  • John Doe #4: A disgruntled H-1B visa holder going by the pen name Panjak Jain was angry that APEX required him to sign a contract that indentured him to the company. He posted his contract document on some desi sites such as desicrunch, and then put a link to the document on one of the sites run by ITGrunt. APEX claims they already know who he is, and if true he may be in big trouble. APEX has offices in India so going there probably won't serve as a refuge from retribution. He hasn't been heard from since APEX went on their rampage.
  • Status of court orders:

    Facebook — conditional compliance with court order
    Network Solutions — no response yet
    Comcast — agreed to comply with court order
    Yahoo — agreed to comply with court order
    discountASP — agreed to comply with court order
    Godaddy — agreed to comply with court order

    Facebook sent the following email to Tunnel Rat. They may appear to be giving Tunnel Rat a way out, but there is a catch: A Motion to Quash takes a court order, and of course expensive lawyers. Facebook doesn’t give a deadline so there is no telling how long they will wait before obeying the Judge Hurley.

    To: tunnelrat
    Subject: Re: Court Order To Violate My Privacy


    Facebook has been recently issued a civil action court order regarding Docket No. MID-L-7879-09, which has been issued by the Honorable James P. Hurley. Please note that unless Facebook is issued a Motion to Quash, we might be legally obligated in responding to the judge's order. We strongly suggest that you contact your local legal representative regarding this matter as soon as possible due to the time sensitivity of this matter. Your legal representative may contact us at [page] http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=legal_inquiries if they wish to further correspond with a Facebook representative.

    Thank you for your understanding,

    User Operations

    Judge James P. Hurley of The Superior Court of New Jersey initiated what is called a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), in this case a cyberSLAPP.

    Lawsuits targeting individuals who post anonymously on the Internet, usually because their posted messages criticize the actions of public figures or corporations, are sometimes called cyberSLAPPs. Like a regular SLAPP, a cyberSLAPP aims at chilling free speech by intimidating critics with the prospect of defending an expensive lawsuit. But it also often aims at uncovering the identity of the anonymous critic.

    In the year 2000 Hurley was nominated for "Worst Family Court Judge in New Jersey" by FACE. It seems that things haven’t gotten much better since then.

    So, APEX is using the document posted by an angry Indian employee as an excuse to go after the John Does. The John Does got caught in the middle of a labor struggle between bodyshop and one of their H-1B workers. Without doubt ideology is playing a major role also. The Indians that run APEX just plain don't like what those Americans had to say about APEX and H-1B. Computerwold reported the following (remember that the term "racist" is used to label anybody that wants to control immigration):

    Patrick Papalia, an attorney representing Apex, said that the company has already identified an employee who left the initial comment. But he said the issue goes well beyond the agreement and involves threatening and racist comments against company officials, as well as ongoing allegations that it is engaging in illegal activities. "Apex has an outstanding reputation in the information technology field," he said.

    For those that feel that Judge Hurley is overstepping, the state of New Jersey has a form called: How to File Complaint About a Judge.

    So far, none of the John Does have lost their anonymity so at least the news isn’t all bad. At this point in time it’s not clear what else is going to happen. Hopefully APEX and the NJ court will get so much negative publicity they will offer to drop the case.

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