If you tried to use our library’s contact form on February 15th or 16th, you may have had some trouble. Yesterday, I received an email from JotForm, the service we used to create and host our form. The email stated that the JotForm.com domain had been suspended by GoDaddy, and proceeded to give instructions on how to get the form up and working again easily. I must say I was very impressed by the speed at which JotForm users were contacted with a solution to this issue. In fact, no one had even complained about the form on our site being broken yet! I am thankful we weren’t one of the users who had upwards of 50 forms to fix, though.
Because the email was vague, my curiosity got the better of me, and I did a bit of research. As it turns out, GoDaddy was responding to a government order, and JotForm was under investigation by the Secret Service. Despite my initial panic (what had I gotten the library into?!?), I read on to learn that one of JotForm’s millions of users *might* be using JotForm for a phishing scam. JotForm was eager to work with the government to resolve the issue, but was put off because “a few days” were needed to review the case. Meanwhile, those millions of users are stuck finding staff/personal time to fix all of those forms. My question is, why couldn’t the case have been looked at *before* shutting down an entire domain with no warning, inconveniencing all those people and companies? I can appreciate the interest in protecting the public from a phishing scam, but the reaction seems a bit like clear-cutting a forest to take care of a single diseased tree. It also feels a bit like SOPA/PIPA to me. Is anyone else nervous?
For more on the JotForm story, see this c|net article.