H-1B Bodyshop vs. U.S. First Amendment: The Case Of “Tunnel Rat”

The blogger who goes by the nickname
“Tunnel Rat”
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


Lucha libre-type

masked hero
. The internet has been rife with
speculation by both by his fans and

as to his identity and whether his
writings represent reality or fantasy. All of that buzz
adds to his legendary status.

“Tunnel Rat”
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
engineers by

high-tech companies

Patrick Cleburne

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
]. APEX has been demanding that various
apparently run by

from India!—remove all mention of its name.

Judge James P. Hurley of The Superior
Court of New Jersey

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

, these companies were required to act
within 3 calendar days.

[Email them]
and discountASP.net [Email
] complied with the order with no further

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,
“Tunnel Rat”.

Godaddy`s action prevents
“Tunnel Rat”
from moving his website to a different web server.
“Tunnel Rat”
once moved his website to

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

of ITGrunt.

The judge issued a similar order to
NetworkSolutions to shut down

. 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
belongs to
“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,
where “Tunnel
has a page,
to divulge his identity by Monday, December 28.

Unmasking “Tunnel Rat” could expose him to reprisals such as

so he
get jobs.
Or worse—he has even received

death threats

The judge is in

New Jersey
, but the defendants and the websites are
in other states. Attorney
John Miano,
former President of the Programmer`s Guild,

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

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
this section.”

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
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 (
him) is a Senior Writing Fellow for

Californians for Population

and author of the "Job
Destruction Newsletter"
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