Monday, February 20, 2012

CEDO 540: Week 3 - Jotform Continued

Bedfellows?: Secret Service & Godaddy 


Since last Saturday night when I found out about the Secret Service shutdown of survey site I've been following this story because I'm truly interested in whether or not this story will make mainstream media or not. I think SOPA/PIPA or any related action of the like is a very important issue. It can become very scary.

How can this impact educators? Think of all the nice new Web 2.0 tools you've come to know and love. Now think of the time you have spent (or will spend) convincing admins to allow use of it and then the time training teachers and students to sign up and use it. Then...BAM! Tuesday morning just as your class is ready to go to work, the service has been shut down. "Wait. Wait. I don't understand? I was working on it last night getting everything all set up and now it doesn't work???"

I know the issues involved in SOPA/PIPA are complicated and believe that, yes, there needs to be some kind of legislation in place for people who are misusing privileges and content on the Internet. I don't believe the latest versions SOPA/PIPA are the answers.

Tuesday Update: To be fair, here is an article I found that provides some insight from Godaddy.

Other interesting artifacts in the aftermath:

I sent Fox 6 News Milwaukee an investigative tip about this and perhaps they may do a story on it. We'll see. I'm not counting on it but it may be good for them because as far as I know this story has not hit the mainstream yet. Here's what I sent them.


To editorial/investigative teams at Fox 6,

SOPA/PIPA Internet piracy and related issues Acts did not pass congress recently. However, the issue is still very active. Last week on Feb 15, the Secret Service shut down a legitimate online survey site,,  without warning or judicial warrant to its owners or users. Reasons for the shutdown were not given and the company is still in the dark about why it was done. The Secret Service has not provided them with any information so far. Business for Jotform as well as thousands of their legitimate clients was disrupted by an act of the Secret Service that did not follow Due Process. This disruption may cause loss of business for Jotform as well as loss of business that rely on Jotform's services.

This single act is prompting many people and businesses who do business in the USA using USA domain names to consider moving business to other countries, moving revenue and jobs to other countries. This act by the Secret Service is not good for USA business.

I encourage you to investigate this story. It has not showed up in any major media so far that I know of. It is of an issue that is increasingly important for the American people and business. The issue has many sides and is a complicated one. Basically, if a business on the Internet allows some form of misuse of its services, SOPA/PIPA would be able to shut down the entire website based on the misuse of just one person, including the use of it for the thousands/millions of legitimate users. Even though SOPA/PIPA did not pass, this is what the Secret Service has just done with Jotform.

Official Jotform response:
An article about it:

There are several more articles about it but none mainstream TV or Newspaper.

Google Search, Google+ or Twitter search for "Jotform" and you will get an idea of the reaction this act by the Secret Service has caused.

Also research SOPA and PIPA to understand the issue more.

Your kind attention to this matter and a report would help your viewers become more informed about some important issues with the Internet and doing business in the USA.

Thank you,

Curtis Siegmann

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CEDO Week 2: SOPA/PIPA & Survey Shutdown Shut Down By US Secret Service: SOPA/PIPA v. 2

I knew there must have been a reason that this post was late in coming. In doing work for our Survey Scavenger Hunt, I revisited many services that I had found previously while independently looking up the  subject of online surveys. During our group meeting I talked about the features of Jotform and it ended up being the online survey form of choice.

After our meeting on Tuesday night, I decided to go back to my Jotform account and check things out again a little further. My form wouldn't load. Google could not locate the nameservers for Jotform. Oh great I thought! Here I go and suggest a service and closes just as I give it a good recommendation. Just like Web 2.0 for this to happen.

I did a Whois to see if anything was going on with the domain. I noticed something strange. Something in the record said this about the Nameserver, "NS1.SUSPENDED-FOR.SPAM-AND-ABUSE.COM". I didn't give it much further thought.

On Saturday night, I was checking some mail and found a message from Jotform. It told me to direct my form URLs to instead of . Checking further into this, I searched and found out that Jotform had been shut down by the US Secret Service without any judiciary approval (meaning no warrant or judge's orders). GoDaddy, the domain registrar for Jotform and a SOPA/PIPA friendly domain registrar and web host appears to have let the Secret Service walk right in and flip the switch to off for Jotform. Apparently, it all has something to do with content on somebody's form. had and has continued to be uninformed about details of the investigation from either Godaddy or the Secret Service. Jotform also responded quickly to events and within 2 days of being shut down, had services up again under a new domains (.net & .us) not registered with Godaddy. Jatform appears to be very successful online survey service and has lots of corporate customers.

Reading the comments on the on the official Jotform response to this, it appears that a lot of the customer responses indicate that they are clueless about SOPA/PIPA and are demanding information from Jotform that they are not even privy to.

So, the online survey business is big business but as seen now, it too is subject to Big Brother's watchful eyes. Even though SOPA/PIPA did not pass, it is not stopping non-judicial action from the Secret Service. Just as opponents of SOPA/PIPA have claimed, this kind of action is disrupting the legitimate business interests and concerns of many (thousands, millions) based on the (perhaps) wrongful action of one person (the person whose content is suspect).

Monday, February 6, 2012

CEDO 540: Week 1 - Stats 101 (revisited)

I enjoy stats as much as the next guy. How much the next guy enjoys stats would require a little bit of polling and some standard deviations so go figure for yourselves. I've always been leery about the "every 3 seconds another [insert a catastrophic phenomena]" stats you always see. If half of these were true the population of the world would be about 537 right now and there would be exactly 2.468 acres of forest left.

I was ok with the stats class I had way back when. The part I liked most was learning how (true/valid) numbers can be manipulated to tell just about any kind of story you wanted. It was good fuel for my BS detector.

I haven't check out all the materials yet and not quite sure where this course will take us but I'm hoping we get into data driven instruction as that is one area I know nothing about at this time.

I liked Hans Rosling's videos #1 & #2 from the getting hooked on stats suggestions in the course sidebar. I had found Gapminder a while back when I was searching for a topic for some project. The data visualizations are pretty cool to play with. I just downloaded their desktop app but haven't played with it yet. I found a lot of other good sites about data and visualization that I didn't pursue for my project but are in my Diigo bookmarks/tags: datadatasources, and visualization. These may come in handy in this course??? I've also seen/used some nice Google Fusion Tables as well.

So here below is a visualization from It cites 7000 high school dropouts per day. Hmmm .... (continued below)

From Google/US census data, there are about 40 million 10-19 year olds. Now follow some rough calculations with me.
  • 7000 dropouts/day X 180 school days per year = 1,260,000 dropouts per year.
  • 4 years of dropouts = about 5 million = about 12.5% of the 10-20 year old range.
  • Are they really saying about 1 out of 8 students eventually drop out? If this is true then WOW!