It should come as no surprise that people hate CYFS. Any organisation which separates parents from their children, however justified, is going to attract a fair amount of strong feeling - even if they had a perfect record and their interventions were never based on vicious smears by ex-partners, and never resulted in tragedy. Being composed of fallible human beings, working in often very murky situations and against the backdrop of a society which will not tolerate children being left in reportedly abusive households (which in turn promotes a "better safe than sorry" attitude), CYFS' record is far from perfect - which hardly encourages those they deal with to like them. Apparently, though, people aren't allowed to express this hatred or criticise their actions on the internet. The Ministry of Social Development's response to the CYFSWatch blog, which provides an anonymous platform for people to recount their bad experiences with CYFS, and "names and shames" the social workers involved, is simple: lawyers have been instructed to
do whatever is necessary to get rid of this website
In a democratic society, this response is simply chilling.
A comparison with the (now departed) RedWatch is appropriate here. RedWatch was a neo-Nazi site established to "build a catalogue of information and pictures of the Left" - including names, addresses, phone numbers, and pictures of where people live. The purpose was clearly intimidation and to encourage violence against those listed on the basis of their political beliefs. However, while its content was vile and its purpose clear, it stopped short of criminal incitement, and no specific crimes were linked to the site (unlike the UK version).
Compared to this, CYFSWatch doesn't even come close. Oh, its abusive and defamatory, but it doesn't encourage violence to anything like the same degree as RedWatch. And while it has threatened to publish addresses, it doesn't seem to have posted photos of people's homes, partners and pets. While its content was loathsome, there was no justification to close RedWatch down, and the same is even more true in this case. I may not like it - but people I don't like are as free to speak as those I do. And in a free and democratic society, that is something the government should remember.
As for the defamation angle, CYFS or those named can of course try suing - but I expect they will quickly learn the joys of the internet. We have a free market in legal jurisdiction now, and this provides a great deal of insulation from legal action. More importantly, even if a site can be taken down, the "victory" may only be temporary, as it can easily be put back up elsewhere, usually within a day. The government can try playing whack-a-mole with CYFSWatch, but this will simply make them look thuggish and stupid. A better response would simply be to ignore it, and accept the fact that in this day and age, they cannot stop people from saying bad things about them.