H-1B Bodyshop vs. U.S. First Amendment: The Case Of “Tunnel Rat”
The blogger who goes by the nickname
has the status of a folk hero for American computer/IT
and engineering professionals. He is celebrated for his
acerbic commentaries on his website, ITGrunt. At least a
portion of Tunnel Rat`s mystique derives from his
persona as a
masked hero. The internet has been rife with
speculation by both by his fans and
detractors as to his identity and whether his
writings represent reality or fantasy. All of that buzz
adds to his legendary status.
expresses the popular rage of
American high-tech professionals as they are
dispossessed by immigration and outsourcing. His blogs
are hard-hitting, profane and politically incorrect,
especially in regards
corporate politics, stupid managers, and unqualified
visa-holders from India hired as programmers and
high-tech companies. VDARE.COM`s
Patrick Cleburne has
described ITGrunt as
“the go-to source
H-1B/ American Worker Displacement atrocities“.
But don`t bother going to
ITGrunt`s website now,
because it and several other websites have been removed
from the internet. (Remnants of the site are
still in Google`s cache but they are disappearing
fast). This happened on December 23rd because of
litigation by the
APEX Technology Group.
Apex is run by Sarvesh Kumar Dharayan [email
him]. APEX has been demanding that various
apparently run by
desis from India!—remove all mention of its name.
Judge James P. Hurley of The Superior
Court of New Jersey
ordered the internet service provider Godaddy.com to
cancel the domain addresses associated with
and endh1b.com . In
addition, discountASP.NET was ordered to remove the
pages from its web servers. Although Judge Hurley`s
order was issued right before
Christmas, these companies were required to act
within 3 calendar days.
Godaddy even went one step further: it
confiscated the domain name ITGrunt, and so far has
refused to release the domain back to its owner,
Godaddy`s action prevents
from moving his website to a different web server.
once moved his website to
Panama to avoid censorship in the United States. It
could be argued that Godaddy has no right to keep the
domain address because it would normally be considered
property of ITGrunt.
The judge issued a similar order to
NetworkSolutions to shut down
guestworkerfraud.com. But at this time of writing,
it remains live.
Judge Hurley has also embarked on a
search to discover who is behind ITGrunt is. He has
ordered Comcast and Yahoo to reveal the identity of one
emailer, although it is not clear that the email address
“Tunnel Rat”. Whoever owns that email address could
be sucked into this conflict without even knowing what
hit him for no other reason than he posted information
on ITGrunt. In addition Judge Hurley ordered Facebook,
Rat” has a page,
to divulge his identity by Monday, December 28.
The judge is in
New Jersey, but the defendants and the websites are
in other states. Attorney
former President of the Programmer`s Guild,
practices in New Jersey but was unable to stop the
court from in effect claiming jurisdiction over
the entire Internet.
So what, you may ask, did ITGrunt do
to deserve this? In a
of Notice“, a law firm representing APEX claimed
that blog posts on the ITGrunt website damaged the
bodyshop`s reputation and therefore makes it more
difficult to recruit H-1Bs.
Ironically, the statements Apex
complains of were not made by Americans but, apparently,
by an H-1B worker who`s complaining that APEX was
ripping him off. The reputation of APEX in the desi
community was established way before ITGrunt came along.
You can still read some of the posts
The APEX rampage against
“Tunnel Rat” began when an anonymous Indian poster who claims to
work for APEX posted a copy of an APEX employment
agreement that he asserted imposed penalties of up to
$35,000 for quitting. He wrote:
“If you join a company (including
any level between you and APEX) then pay $35,000 or face
a law suit, $9,000 for legal, training and guest
services when you quit. $35,000 if you quit in between a
contract…etc. The legalities of the agreement are
convoluted, abstract and can/will be used against you if
you displease APEX Technology Group Inc. So once you
sign that document you are at the mercy of the employer
much worse than a
bonded laborer in India."
APEX hasn`t denied the authenticity of this
agreement, but it asserts its copyright has been
Suing websites for postings made by
third parties is problematic. The Electronic Freedom
describes Section 230 of Title 47 of the United
States Code (47 USC § 230) as follows:
“No provider or
user of an interactive computer service shall be treated
as the publisher or speaker of any information provided
by another information content provider.” This federal
law preempts any state laws to the contrary: “[n]o cause
of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed
under any State or local law that is inconsistent with
So why APEX is taking such drastic
actions against ITGrunt and other web sites?
The explanation could be as simple as
corporate self-interest. Or there could be something
deeper going on.
Perhaps we are seeing a clash of
cultures between Americans who believe in values such as
speech in the
First Amendment of the Constitution, and foreign
that don`t share the same enthusiasm.
Immigrants of this type won`t hesitate
to subvert our
Anglo-Saxon heritage when it suits their needs.
My question: why we are allowing people into this
country who are antithetical to our value system and
Rob Sanchez (email
him) is a Senior Writing Fellow for
Californians for Population
and author of the "Job
Destruction Newsletter" (sign up
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