Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cloudfare CEO, after kicking off Daily Stormer, admits he set a bad example that could invite Internet vigilantism


Other companies are terminating connections to hate sites (especially Nazi-related).

Cloudflare, which does DNS resolution, terminated Daily Stormer. CEO Matthew Prince said he terminated D.S. after the site falsely claimed secret support from CloudFlare (which would normally be libel).  But then Prince wrote that he acted impetuously and has argued that the Internet needs a “due process” procedure for removing service when bad behavior of users comes to its attention.  Here’s his blog post. Note the wide variety f hidden services and entities that “your” own Internet domain probably uses. 

Prince’s remarks perhaps provide an interesting twist in the evolving problem of Backpage and Section 230.  Prince seems to believe that often the fact that a site is facilitating sex trafficking, child pornography, terrorism recruiting, or gross hate speech will probably find out from the public with no pre-screening necessary (the “knowingly” standard proposed by Bob Portman). 


It’s also important to review what service providers mean by “hate speech”.  Generally, it is speech that attacks a person merely for belonging to a protected group, particularly if the speech advocates violence or coercion against members of the group.  Service providers usually regard sexual orientation and gender identity or fluidity as creating protected classes even if not quite true in US law.

Timothy B. Lee writes on Ars Technica that Prince has regrets on his decision, admitting it sets a dangerous precedent, inviting politically motivated vigilantism.


Ken Schwencke reports on Ars Technica that D.S, actually found a new DNS provider. 

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