Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hosting providers and tech companies set a dangerous precedent in banning customers associated with white supremacy, even out of public pressure

It’s good idea to review the sudden eagerness of many private web services to ban right-wing extremism (or neo-Nazi’s) shortly after the Charlottesville incident, starting with Daily Stormer when it publishing an article belittling a car ramming murder victim (Verge article).  Receiving complaints, a domain-registrar gave the site 24 hours notice before Cloudflare also banned it (over an accusatory statement), and pretty much everyone else blackballed the site.

This has happened to a few others sites, also.

It is a slippery slope to single out one ideology for special banishment.  You could try to say the same about radical Islam. Of course, if the ideology calls directly for violence, there might be more justification.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has prodded the web services into strict TOS and into seizure of names to prevent reregistration.
While these private companies are within their legal rights, to do what they believe the public wants, their actions are deeply troubling and could spread into other areas, EFF argues. In past decades, association with communism provoked the same reaction. 
Play the embedded video on YouTube and read the filmmaker’s comments on the issue.

Update: June 20

Yahoo reports that Twitter users have had accounts temporarily disabled even for hyperlinking to mainstream stories that contain a public figure's (Stephen Miller) personal information (cell number).  If you visit this story on Yahoo, be advised that the cell number in the picture is no longer valid.  But it is particularly disturbing that a blind (non-embedding) hyperlink got a user in trouble.  This trend seems to be increasing.
  Update: June 24

Some hosting companies and services mention the idea of harm to their "goodwill" by unusual customer behavior in their AUP's.  "Goodwill" isn't a real dictionary word, but generally means reputation for acting in the best interests of most customers (it's a common term in the life insurance business).  This sounds more problematic given these times of "resentment politics", demands for "radical solidarity" and "skin in the game".  

No comments: