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GoDaddy boots white supremacist web site after offensive post

GoDaddy boots white supremacist web site after offensive post

Postby smix » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:30 pm

GoDaddy boots white supremacist web site after offensive post
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virgi ... SKCN1AU0CV
Category: technologyNews
Published: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 00:56:59 -0400

Description: (Reuters) - The web hosting company GoDaddy said on Sunday it had given The Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider after the extremist web site posted an article denigrating the woman who was killed at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. "We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," GoDaddy Inc said on its official Twitter page. The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi, white supremacist website associated with the alt-right movement, which was spear-heading the rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia which resulted in violence, including the death of Heather Heyer, who was fatally struck by a car allegedly driven by a man with white nationalist views. The hosting company's rules of conduct ban using its services in a manner that "promotes, encourages or engages in terrorism, violence against people, animals or property." Company representatives could not immediately be reached for comment. The post on Heyer denigrated her physical appearance and what it said were anti-white male views. On Monday, a note appeared on the Daily Stormer's home page, which claimed that the site had been taken over by Anonymous, a loose-knit collective of hacker activists that intended to permanently take it offline in 24 hours. Other original content remained on the Daily Stormer site, including appeals for financial support and the article attacking Heyer. YourAnonNews, a Twitter feed that promotes attacks conducted by hackers who identify with Anonymous, said it had no confirmation that members of the group were involved. It said it suspected the notice was posted as a "stunt." Daily Storm publisher Andrew Anglin could not immediately be reached for comment. Scottsdale, Arizona-based GoDaddy, is one of the largest U.S. web hosting providers with some 6,000 employees.



Neo-Nazi site moves to Google after GoDaddy dumps it
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virgi ... SKCN1AU0CV
Category: technologyNews
Published: August 14, 2017

Description: TORONTO (Reuters) - Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer moved its domain registration to Google after hosting firm GoDaddy said it would sever ties with the site that promoted Saturday's deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. A "whois" search of Internet domains on Monday listed Alphabet Inc's Google as registrar for The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist website associated with the alt-right movement. Representatives with Google could not immediately be reached for comment. GoDaddy Inc disclosed on Sunday via Twitter that it had given The Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, saying it had violated the company's terms of service." GoDaddy has previously come under sharp criticism for hosting The Daily Stormer and other sites that spread hate. The company decided to boot the on Sunday out of fear that it could be used to incite further violence after the events in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, who was fatally struck by a car allegedly driven by a man with white nationalist views. "With the violence that occurred over the weekend, the company believed this site could incite additional violence," said the person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter. The hosting company's rules of conduct ban using its services in a manner that "promotes, encourages or engages in terrorism, violence against people, animals or property." Daily Storm publisher Andrew Anglin could not immediately be reached for comment on GoDaddy's ban. Scottsdale, Arizona-based GoDaddy, is one of the largest U.S. Internet services firms with some 6,000 employees.



Neo-Nazi site's registration canceled by GoDaddy then Google
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virgi ... SKCN1AU0CV
Category: technologyNews
Published: August 14, 2017

Description: TORONTO (Reuters) - Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer had its domain registration revoked twice in less than 24 hours, in moves that threatened to take it offline if it does not find a replacement for GoDaddy and Google, which both said the site had violated their terms of service. GoDaddy Inc disclosed late on Sunday via Twitter that it had given The Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, saying it had violated GoDaddy's terms of service. The white supremacist website, associated with the alt-right movement, helped organize the weekend rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent. GoDaddy feared the site might be used to incite further violence after the events in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, who was fatally struck by a car allegedly driven by a man with white nationalist views. "With the violence that occurred over the weekend, the company believed this site could incite additional violence," said the person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter. The Daily Stormer responded by moving its registration to Alphabet Inc's Google Domains, which offers transfers through an automated online process that the Internet company says typically takes 20 minutes or less to complete. The domain was registered with Google shortly before 8 a.m. California time and the company announced plans to revoke it at 10:56 a.m., according to somebody familiar with the revocation. "We don't want our services to incite violence," said the person. It was not immediately clear when Google's move would take effect. The Daily Stormer was online and its Internet registration listed Google Inc as the registrar as of midday California time. GoDaddy has previously faced sharp criticism for hosting The Daily Stormer and other sites that spread hate. The internet hosting company's rules of conduct ban using its services in a manner that "promotes, encourages or engages in terrorism, violence against people, animals or property." Meanwhile, Cloudflare, a private firm that also provides internet services to The Daily Stormer, declined to say if it was looking at severing ties. "Cloudflare is aware of the concerns that have been raised over some sites that have used our network. We find the content on some of these sites repugnant," the company said in a statement. "While our policy is to not comment on any user specifically, we are cooperating with law enforcement in any investigation," it added. Daily Storm publisher Andrew Anglin could not be reached for comment.



Tech companies in the crosshairs on white supremacy and free speech
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virgi ... SKCN1AU0CV
Category: technologyNews
Published: August 14, 2017

Description: TORONTO/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer had its internet domain registration revoked twice in less than 24 hours in the wake of the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, part of a broad move by the tech industry in recent months to take a stronger hand in policing online hate-speech and incitements to violence. GoDaddy Inc, which manages internet names and registrations, disclosed late on Sunday via Twitter that it had given Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, saying it had violated GoDaddy's terms of service. The white supremacist website helped organize the weekend rally in Charlottesville where a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a man plowed a car into a crowd protesting the white nationalist rally. After GoDaddy revoked Daily Stormer's registration, the website turned to Alphabet Inc's Google Domains. The Daily Stormer domain was registered with Google shortly before 8 a.m. Monday PDT (1500 GMT) and the company announced plans to revoke it at 10:56 a.m., according to a person familiar with the revocation. As of late Monday the site was still running on a Google-registered domain. Google issued a statement but did not say when the site would be taken down. Internet companies have increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs over hate speech and other volatile social issues, with politicians and others calling on them to do more to police their networks while civil libertarians worry about the firms suppressing free speech. Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc, Google's YouTube and other platforms have ramped up efforts to combat the social media efforts of Islamic militant groups, largely in response to pressure from European governments. Now they are facing similar pressures in the United States over white supremacist and neo-Nazi content. Facebook confirmed on Monday that it took down the event page that was used to promote and organize the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Facebook allows people to organize peaceful protests or rallies, but the social network said it would remove such pages when a threat of real-world harm and affiliation with hate organizations becomes clear. “Facebook does not allow hate speech or praise of terrorist acts or hate crimes, and we are actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville,” the company said in a statement. Several other companies also took action. Canadian internet company Tucows Inc stopped hiding the domain registration information of Andrew Anglin, the founder of Daily Stormer. Tucows, which was previously providing the website with services masking Anglin’s phone number and email address, said Daily Stormer had breached its terms of service. “They are inciting violence,” said Michael Goldstein, vice president for sales and marketing at Tucows, a Toronto-based company. “It’s a dangerous site and people should know who it is coming from.” Anglin did not respond to a request for comment. Discord, a 70-person San Francisco company that allows video gamers to communicate across the internet, did not mince words in its decision to shut down the server of Altright.com, an alt-right news website, and the accounts of other white nationalists. “We will continue to take action against white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and all forms of hate,” the company said in a tweet Monday. Altright.com did not respond to a request for comment. Meanwhile, Twilio Inc Chief Executive Jeff Lawson tweeted Sunday that the company would update its use policy to prohibit hate speech. Twilio’s services allow companies and organizations, such as political groups or campaigns, to send text messages to their communities. Internet companies, which enjoy broad protections under U.S. law for the activities of people using their services, have mostly tried to avoid being arbiters of what is acceptable speech. But the ground is now shifting, said one executive at a major Silicon Valley firm. Twitter, for one, has moved sharply against harassment and hate speech after enduring years of criticism for not doing enough. Facebook is beefing up its content monitoring teams. Google is pushing hard on new technology to help it monitor and delete YouTube videos that celebrate violence. All this comes as an influential bloc of senators, including Republican Senator Rob Portman and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, is pushing legislation that would make it easier to penalize operators of websites that facilitate online sex trafficking of women and children. That measure, despite the non-controversial nature of its espoused goal, was met with swift and coordinated opposition from tech firms and internet freedom groups, who fear that being legally liable for the postings of users would be a devastating blow to the internet industry.



Neo-Nazi group moves to 'Dark Web' after website goes down
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virgi ... SKCN1AV1HY
Category: Politics
Published: August 15, 2017

Description: TORONTO (Reuters) - Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, which helped organize a gathering in Virginia on Saturday that turned violent, moved to the so-called Dark Web on Tuesday because its registration to use the open internet was revoked. GoDaddy Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google canceled Daily Stormer's Internet registration on Monday, saying the group had violated terms of service, which prohibit clients from using their sites to incite violence. Andrew Anglin, the founder of Daily Stormer, did not respond to requests for comment. Supporters of Daily Stormer took to Twitter on Tuesday to tell people they could gain access to the website on the Dark Web, a portion of the Internet that is not indexed by popular search engines. It can only be seen with a special browser, which hides the identity and location of the users. A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 other people injured when a man rammed his car into a group of people objecting to a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The man has been charged with murder. The violence presented President Donald Trump with one of his biggest domestic political challenges so far in how he has responded to right-wing groups that are a segment of his political base.



Internet firms shift stance, move to exile white supremacists
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virgi ... SKCN1AW2L5
Category: Politics
Published: August 16, 2017

Description: SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Silicon Valley joined a swelling backlash against neo-Nazi groups in the United States on Wednesday as more technology companies removed white supremacists from their services in response to weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media networks Twitter Inc and LinkedIn, music service Spotify Ltd and security firm Cloudflare Inc were among the companies cutting off services to hate groups or removing material that they said spread hate. Earlier in the week, Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and GoDaddy Inc also took steps to block hate groups. The wave of internet crackdowns against white nationalists and neo-Nazis reflected a rapidly changing mindset among Silicon Valley firms on how far they are willing to go to police hate speech. Tech companies have taken down violent propaganda from Islamic State and other militant groups, in part in response to government pressure. But most internet companies have traditionally tried to steer clear of making judgments about content except in cases of illegal activity. Cloudflare, which protects some 6 million websites from denial-of-service attacks and hacking, on Wednesday afternoon dropped coverage of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. "I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the internet," Cloudflare founder and Chief Executive Matthew Prince said in an email to employees. Cloudflare is well-known for defending even the most distasteful websites, and services like it are essential to the functioning of websites. Daily Stormer helped organize the weekend rally in Charlottesville where a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a man plowed a car into a crowd protesting the white nationalist gathering. Daily Stormer has been accessible only intermittently the past few days after domain providers GoDaddy and Google Domains, a unit of Alphabet, said they would not serve the website. By Wednesday, Daily Stormer had moved to a Russia-based internet domain, with an address ending in .ru. Later in the day, though, the site was no longer accessible at that address. Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin said on a social network used by many of his supporters, Gab, that his site would be back soon. "The Cloudflare betrayal adds another layer of super complexity. But we got this," he said. He could not immediately be reached for further comment. Prince, the Cloudflare chief executive, said in an interview that despite his decision he was conflicted, because it could become harder to resist pressure from governments to censor. "You don't have to play this game too many moves out to see how risky this is going to be," Prince said. "'What about this site? What about this site?'" Only the biggest companies will be able to navigate the varying laws in different countries, he added. "We've lost a lot of the fight for a free and open internet." Twitter on Wednesday suspended accounts linked to Daily Stormer. The company said it would not discuss individual accounts, but at least three affiliated with the Daily Stormer led to pages saying "account suspended." The social network prohibits violent threats, harassment and hateful conduct and "will take action on accounts violating those policies," the company said in a statement. Larger rival Facebook Inc, which unlike Twitter explicitly prohibits hate speech, has taken down several pages from Facebook and Instagram in recent days that it said were associated with hate speech or hate organizations. It also took down the event page that was used to promote and organize the "Unite the Right" rally. "With the potential for more rallies, we're watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Wednesday. Facebook also said it had removed accounts belonging to Chris Cantwell, a web commentator who has described himself as a white nationalist and said on his site that he had attended the Charlottesville rally. Cantwell's YouTube account also appeared to have been terminated. Cantwell could not immediately be reached for comment. LinkedIn, a unit of Microsoft Corp, suspended a page devoted to Daily Stormer and another page belonging to a man associated with the site, Andrew Auernheimer. LinkedIn declined to comment. Reddit this week eliminated one of its discussion communities that supported the Unite the Right rally, saying that the company would ban users who incite violence. The company says it has more than 250 million users. Spotify, based in Sweden, said it was in the process of removing musical acts from its streaming service that had been flagged as racist "hate bands" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. "Illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us," the company said in a statement, adding that record companies should also be held responsible.



U.S. digital rights group slams tech firms for barring neo-Nazis
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virgi ... SKCN1AY07L
Category: Politics
Published: August 17, 2017

Description: SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A digital rights group based in San Francisco on Thursday criticized several internet companies for removing neo-Nazi groups from servers and services, saying the actions were "dangerous" and threatened free expression online. GoDaddy Inc, Alphabet's Google, security firm Cloudflare and other technology companies moved this week to block hate groups after weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists had gathered to protest removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park. "We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous," Cindy Cohn, executive director of Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in a blog post along with two other staffers. The blog post reflected years-long tension in Silicon Valley, where many company executives want to distance themselves from extremists but are concerned that picking and choosing what is acceptable on their platforms could invite more regulation from governments. "Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected," Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote. "We do it because the power to decide who gets to speak and who doesn't is just too dangerous to hand to any company or any government." The group called on companies that manage internet domain names, including Google and GoDaddy, to "draw a hard line" and not suspend or impair domain names "based on expressive content of websites or services." The blog post echoed concerns expressed by Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince, who on Wednesday said he decided to drop coverage of neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer but said that his decision was conflicted. Prince told Reuters he "wholeheartedly agreed" with the Electronic Frontier Foundation's post and said he was hopeful it would help spark a more thoughtful debate about internet regulation. Google and GoDaddy did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the blog made outside normal business hours. The Daily Stormer helped organize the protest in Charlottesville, at which a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a vehicle drove into counter-protesters. The website cheered the woman's death. It was removed from GoDaddy and Google Domains after they said they would not serve the website.
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GoDaddy to Pull Plug on Daily Stormer After Article Mocks Charlottesville Victim

Postby smix » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:22 pm

GoDaddy to Pull Plug on Daily Stormer After Article Mocks Charlottesville Victim
NBC News

URL: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/god ... im-n792406
Category: Politics
Published: August 14, 2017

Description: Domain hosting company GoDaddy said Monday that neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer has 24 hours to find a new provider before its service is canceled following the publication of a disparaging article about the woman killed in the Charlottesville protests. Shortly after the announcement, the Daily Stormer - the top hate site in America, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center - appeared to be hacked by activist group Anonymous. On Sunday, the Daily Stormer published an article about Heather Heyer, who died after a vehicle plowed into a group of counter-protesters demonstrating against white supremacists. A Twitter user flagged the offensive content by taking a screengrab of the article, and tweeting it at GoDaddy. The article, which had the byline of the Daily Stormer's founder Andrew Anglin, mocked Heyer’s looks and degraded her for not being a mother. It also elevated the suspected driver, James Alex Fields, Jr., saying, “despite the cool demeanor he shows in his social media profile pictures, it appears that road rage got the best of him.” “We have informed the Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service. If no action is taken after 24 hours, we will cancel the service,” GoDaddy spokesman Dan Race wrote in an email to NBC News. Race also noted that GoDaddy does not host the Daily Stormer on its servers — it only hosts the domain. The Daily Stormer, which takes its name from the gutter Nazi propaganda sheet known as “Der Stürmer,” promotes anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the past, GoDaddy said it could not disable the Daily Stormer’s domain or that of other neo-Nazi website, because of Anglin and others’ First Amendment right and freedom of speech. “Given their latest article comes on the immediate heels of a violent act, we believe this type of article could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service,” Race said. By Monday afternoon, the Daily Stormer had moved its domain from GoDaddy to Google, according to Reuters. A search of Internet domains on Monday listed Alphabet Inc's Google as registrar for The Daily Stormer, Reuters reported. Representatives with Google could not immediately be reached for comment. Following the article about Heyer and the announcement that GoDaddy would be ending the Daily Stormer’s service, the site appeared to have been hacked by internet activist group Anonymous. An article with Anonymous’ signature Guy Fawkes mask appeared at the top of the page on Monday morning with a headline reading, “END OF HATE: ANONYMOUS NOW IN CONTROL OF DAILY STORMER.” However, an Anonymous Twitter account noted that it could not verify the authenticity of the hack and warned its followers to “remain cautious.” Later on Monday, a story on the Daily Stormer with Anglin's byline on it said the site was back in the hands of its founder.
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Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer moves from GoDaddy to Google

Postby smix » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:48 pm

Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer moves from GoDaddy to Google
CNET

URL: https://www.cnet.com/news/neo-nazi-webs ... main-name/
Category: Politics
Published: August 14, 2017

Description: GoDaddy told the white supremacist site it had 24 hours to find a new domain provider. So the site registered with Google.
The Daily Stormer, which has been called the "top hate site in America," has moved its domain to Google after GoDaddy said over the weekend it was dumping it. The site, which was involved in organising the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, was told by GoDaddy to move its domain or have it cancelled. GoDaddy was the website's domain provider, directing internet users and search engines to its URL. GoDaddy didn't, however, host The Daily Stormer's content. "We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," the company said in a tweet Sunday, adding in an emailed statement, "If no action is taken after 24 hours, we will cancel the service." Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. A "whois" search of internet domains shows the change in registration happened Monday, according to Reuters.
We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service. — GoDaddy (@GoDaddy) August 14, 2017

GoDaddy's tweet followed a hate-filled post on The Daily Stormer, which focused on the woman killed during anti-fascist protests over the weekend. The victim, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car drove at speed into a crowd of people protesting the alt-right demonstrations. "Given this latest article comes on the immediate heels of a violent act, we believe this type of article could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service," said a company spokesperson in an emailed statement. GoDaddy's decision was part of a tumultuous day for the Daily Stormer, which was the subject of a CNET profile last month. Hours after the statement, a post on The Stormer said it had been taken over by hacktivist group Anonymous. "WE HAVE TAKEN THIS SITE IN THE NAME OF HEATHER HEYER," the post read, adding she was "A VICTIM OF WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORISM." Anonymous acknowledged the post through a Twitter account but didn't confirm it was involved. Instead, the hacking collective suggested it might be an elaborate stunt by The Daily Stormer and its publisher, Andrew Anglin. Anglin didn't respond to a request for comment. The Daily Stormer takes its name from Der Stürmer, a Nazi tabloid. It's unclear what sort of traffic the site receives but it attracts a fringe readership. Readers have included Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a 2015 mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the man who last year killed Jo Cox, a British member of Parliament.
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Should web-hosting companies restrict who's on their platforms?

Postby smix » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:38 pm

Should web-hosting companies restrict who's on their platforms?
CNN

URL: http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/14/technol ... y-stormer/
Category: Politics
Published: August 14, 2017

Description: White supremacist and neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer is having a hard time finding a place on the web. Internet-domain provider GoDaddy gave The Daily Stormer the boot after the site published a derogatory story about a 32-year-old woman killed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Earlier on Monday, Google Domains became the registrar for the site. However, Google later said in a statement it's canceling The Daily Stormer's registration for violating its terms of service. This game of internet-domain whack-a-mole raises issues around what domain-hosting companies are responsible for, and where they draw the line on objectionable material. "Legally, they don't have any responsibility around this, unless it's a federal crime [such as child pornography] or intellectual property," Daphne Keller, the director of intermediary liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told CNN Tech. However, as a private business, website-hosting companies have the right to decide with whom they conduct business, and GoDaddy's decision does not violate the First Amendment, according to experts. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and expression from government censorship and government punishment. But private organizations and companies can censor speech in their offices and on their platforms, said Lata Nott, the executive director at the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center. "If GoDaddy doesn't want to host a certain site on its platform, that's within their rights," she said. In general, GoDaddy says it doesn't condone content that advocates expressions of hate, racism and bigotry. But the company usually doesn't take action on complaints that are considered censorship of content or those representing the exercise of freedom of speech and expression on the internet. "While we detest the sentiment of such sites, we support a free and open Internet and, similar to the principles of free speech, that sometimes means allowing such tasteless, ignorant content," a GoDaddy spokeswoman told CNN Tech. In this case, GoDaddy said The Daily Stormer crossed the line and "encouraged and promoted violence." "In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in violence against any person, we will take action," the spokeswoman said. The company did not immediately respond to a question about how it determines what content encourages and promotes violence. Roy Gutterman, director at the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University, said he understands why GoDaddy doesn't want to associate its platform with neo-Nazis, but their move will just push the group to another platform or "back underground." "Kicking the Nazis off will not make them go away, but not everybody wants to associate themselves with these types of speakers, even though these speakers have a right to express themselves," Gutterman said. Other companies aren't making restrictions about who can be on their platform. DreamHost, another web hosting provider and domain name registrar, said it will host any website as long as its content is legal in the U.S. "As stalwart supporters of the Constitution's First Amendment, we believe that hosting providers should not be in the business of dictating acceptable content among its users," a DreamHost spokesman told CNN Tech. "We are a resource for publishers of all backgrounds, not a clearinghouse for thoughts and opinions (however distasteful some of them may be)," he said. DreamHost is the domain registrar for neo-Nazi groups like American Nazi Party and the National Alliance. Some experts think content policies could be a slippery slope if companies such as web hosts and domain registrars, who are deeper in the infrastructure of the internet, start making and enforcing their own rules outside established legal parameters. "The internet was built on having all of the machines in the middle be completely neutral so that anybody could transmit any content. If we start having the machines in the middle exercise their own judgment beyond what the law requires, that starts looking a little weird," Keller said.



Neo-Nazi website is back online with Russian help
CNN

URL: http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/16/technol ... index.html
Category: Politics
Published: August 16, 2017

Description: Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer has found a home on the Russian internet after American tech companies refused to host it. GoDaddy canceled the website's registration on Monday after The Daily Stormer published a derogatory story about Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia at the weekend. Google briefly became the registrar for the site, before it too canceled the site's registration later on Monday for violating its terms of service. The site, which calls itself "The World's Most Genocidal Republican Website," was forced into the "dark web." That meant it could not be accessed through standard web browsers. The original website, Dailystormer.com, was still offline on Wednesday afternoon. But the site could be accessed at Dailystormer.ru after the domain was registered with the Russian Network Information Center, or RU-CENTER. Russia's largest domain name registrar confirmed it had registered the site. "I should point out that registry is automatic, so RU-CENTER registers thousands of domains per day," spokesperson Egor Timofeev said in a statement emailed to CNNMoney. "If we figure out that the domain owner's work doesn't correspond to the legal system, we will act according to Russian web standard regulation," he added. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, says the site spreads "anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism, primarily through guttural hyperbole and epithet-laden stories about topics like alleged Jewish world control and black-on-white crime." Russia has recently dialed up its censorship of the internet. The government's media and telecommunication watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has blocked thousands of websites and maintains a long list of banned content. The list includes websites taken down because of data protection concerns and laws prohibiting the distribution of "gay propaganda", as well as political content the government deems "extremist." Roskomnadzor did not respond to CNNMoney's request for comment.
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Russian Web Host Suspends Daily Stormer After Government Inquiry

Postby smix » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:09 pm

Russian Web Host Suspends Daily Stormer After Government Inquiry
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

URL: https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s-neo-nazi-we ... 80409.html
Category: Politics
Published: August 17, 2017

Description: A Russian web-hosting provider says it has suspended the Russian domain of the prominent U.S. neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer after the government's media regulator asked it to look into the site's "extremist content." Ru-Center, a private Moscow-based domain registrar, told RFE/RL on August 17 that the company received an official letter from Roskomnadzor requesting that the company look into possibly suspending the domain Dailystormer.ru. The Daily Stormer lost control of the Dailystormer.com domain earlier this week after Google and GoDaddy refused service to the publication. The two domain registrars were responding to a social-media campaign against the website spawned by its attacks on a woman who died protesting against racism at a white-supremacist rally in Virginia over the weekend. The Silicon Valley firms' decisions made the controversial website inaccessible on August 15, but by the morning of August 16, the Daily Stormer -- which takes its name from Der Sturmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda -- was back online with the Russian domain name Dailystormer.ru. The Russian domain was registered with Ru-Center on August 15, according to public records. But the site quickly became unavailable. Ru-Center spokesman Yegor Timofeyev told RFE/RL in an e-mail that Roskomnadzor's letter asked the company "to look into [the] possibility of register suspension due to extremist content of this domain." "So we decided to suspend [the] domain Dailystormer.ru," he said. Roskomnadzor head Aleksandr Zharov confirmed in an August 17 statement that the agency had sent the letter to Ru-Center. "Russian law has established a very strict regime for combatting any kind of extremism in the Internet," Zharov said. He said that the agency appealed to Ru-Center "with a request to quickly examine the question" of canceling the Daily Stormer’s Russian domain because the publication "propagates neo-Nazi ideology and stirs up racial, national, and other forms of social discord." The Daily Stormer's publisher declared earlier that he has been "completely banned from the Internet" after the site briefly secured the Russian domain name and then disappeared again on August 16. Andrew Anglin told The Associated Press that after being booted off platforms in the United States and Russia he could no longer find a place to air his white-supremacist views. "Clearly, the powers that be believe that they have the ability to simply kick me off the Internet," Anglin told AP in an e-mail. Anglin for a while kept up his inflammatory statements through the Russian domain, mocking Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed when a suspected Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into a crowd of demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia. Anglin's original story called Heyer, among many other things, "the definition of uselessness," provoking an outraged response on social media. Anglin told AP that he had been kicked off four domains and had run out of options since most domain registries explicitly ban "hate speech." "They have effectively banned me from registering a domain," he told AP. Also late on August 16, Twitter and Facebook said they had suspended accounts and removed websites linked to the Daily Stormer, which helped organize the rally in Charlottesville that resulted in Heyer's death.
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Too Much Power Lies in Tech Companies' Hands

Postby smix » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:19 am

Too Much Power Lies in Tech Companies' Hands
Bloomberg News

URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles ... nies-hands
Category: Politics
Published: August 17, 2017

Description: A libertarian case for caution after the Daily Stormer is booted off the public internet.
The Daily Stormer is finally off the internet. Well, the public internet anyway. Earlier this week, the hate-spewing white supremacist site lost its domain name registration when it was kicked off first GoDaddy and then Google for violating terms of its contracts. Activists had been trying for years to get the Stormer suspended. After the site’s vicious post attacking Heather Heyer, the protester who was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, the domain registrars decided they’d had enough. The site relaunched on a Russian server, but swiftly vanished from that host too. Now the Stormer exists only with an anonymous .onion address on the Tor network. Good luck tracking it down. 1 Meanwhile, a Twitter campaign naming the companies that provide the Daily Stormer with various web services has deprived the site of web security, cloud computing and other technology. The fury of the techies, once aroused, is awesome to behold. Tech companies ranging from Airbnb to Reddit and Facebook have been purging other perceived supremacists from the ranks of their users. The libertarian part of me ought to be fine with all of this. Apart from the most exceptional circumstances, such as invidious discrimination, a business should be free to contract with whom it pleases. And I will shed no tears for the Daily Stormer, which fully earned its expulsion from rational discourse. One might protest, correctly, that there is a lot of evil in the world, but history teaches that Nazis and white supremacists are a special case. When their views vanish, we will all be better off for it. Yet I find myself troubled. For one thing, as tech columnist Will Oremus pointed out in Slate, the same companies currently being told that they should not serve all comers made essentially the opposite argument in their campaign during the previous administration to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act. Having now decided that they can indeed pick and choose customers, the tech companies will be ill-placed to reverse field should Congress once more try to crack down on them for hosting sites that make unlicensed use of intellectual property. It’s worrisome, moreover, that so many activists are cheering the demise of the Daily Stormer not on the narrow ground that white supremacy is a special case but on the more general ground that groups promoting “hatred” should have no place on the web. Given the contemporary left’s broad and wondrously flexible definition of the word “hate,” the implications of that particular slogan (calling it an argument would be too charitable) are unsettling. The triumphal tumult on social media naturally leads one to wonder which groups that progressives deem wrong on the issues might be the subject of the next banning campaign. This leads to my largest concern. Libertarians tend to worry about concentrations of power in the hands of the state. There is no consensus about the danger of concentrations of power in private hands. But when the private hands in question control access to the principal media of communication in the world, one has to hesitate when they decide that not everyone should be granted entree. For the power they are exercising is almost state-like. My concern is not with the neo-Nazis, who fully deserve both their opprobrium and their sudden internet obscurity. And there’s nothing new in using the refusal to deal as a tool for enforcing social conformity. I’m old enough to remember signs in store windows barring boys whose hair was too long and women whose skirts were too short. The problem is that unlike the social nonconformists of my youth, it’s not as though those who are booted off the web can go shop across the street. When the gatekeepers of the internet turn on you, you’re effectively done. That’s an awful lot of power to place in a small number of hands. Those who run tech companies are very smart, and the ones I know are all wonderful people. But by anointing them judges of who should be allowed to use the web, we place enormous trust in their moral perspicacity. It’s no knock on the techies to ask whether anyone should wield that authority. Matthew Prince, chief executive of Cloudflare, seemed to recognize the problem in an internal memorandum obtained by Gizmodo: “I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. It was a decision I could make because I'm the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company.” He added that he was uneasy with his decision, and that the internet was better off if such companies as his remained “content neutral.” After all, to borrow from Salvor Hardin (whose many epigrams all geeks should know), “An atom-blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways.” I hope the tumult will die down, and that the bannings stop with the Daily Stormer and its kin, who regularly serve up hatred and vitriol in support of vicious ideologies that cost many millions of lives. I hope, in other words, that we will be able to draw reasonable lines. But where the exercise of the power to shut people up is concerned, that’s rarely a safe bet.



Keep the Internet's Backbone Free From Censorship
Bloomberg News

URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles ... censorship
Category: Politics
Published: August 17, 2017

Description: Banning haters like The Daily Stormer is well-intentioned but dangerous.
It was inevitable that the fallout from violent protests in Virginia organized by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups would extend to the virtual world of the web. The internet is our modern commons. But the past few days have shown how fast we can glide down the slippery slope to web censorship. Facebook and Twitter were perfectly within their rights, legally and ethically, when they banned accounts of certain hate groups and their leaders. These are private companies enforcing their own rules about how their services and platforms can be used. Providers of web infrastructure, however, must be held to a stricter standard since they act as choke points that can prevent an individual or group from being able to express themselves online. Soon after the Charlottesville events, domain name registrars GoDaddy and Google separately decided to no longer serve the Daily Stormer after the neo-Nazi site wrote a disparaging story about Heather Heyer, the woman who died after being struck by a car while protesting the Charlottesville rally. Registrars act as a sort of phone book for the internet by turning a raw IP address -- like 62.23.150.94 -- into a line of text, like "Bloomberg.com." Without GoDaddy or Google, it would be impossible for people to find the Daily Stormer online. Shortly afterwards, CloudFlare, which offers firewall services for websites to help them ward off attacks, kicked the Daily Stormer off its servers. In a refreshingly candid email to his employees and blog post, CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince admitted that his decision was "arbitrary" and "dangerous," and departed from years of maintaining strict neutrality about the content of the sites his company protected. As Prince told Gizmodo: “I think the people who run The Daily Stormer are abhorrent. But again I don’t think my political decisions should determine who should and shouldn’t be on the internet.” It's hard not to cheer Prince's courage and his motives. But his decision and those of the registrars have big implications for the debate over how the internet should be regulated. To reach web users, publishers of content small and large rely on a complex machinery of web hosts, domain registrars, transit providers, platforms, proxy servers and search engines. While the companies that provide the back-end services of the web are less well known than the Facebook and Snapchats of the world, they're indispensable to its smooth functioning; they are effectively the plumbing that allows the whole system to function. When they take sides, everyone loses. Many may be happy to see the Daily Stormer pushed into web oblivion, myself included, but we probably wouldn't feel the same way for publishers of content we agreed with. What if a dissident politician or a corporate whistle-blower got similar treatment? Currently there are no U.S. laws or regulations to prevent web infrastructure providers from taking such actions. Under federal law, private corporations can deny service to groups or individuals, as long as it's not because of their race, religion or sexuality. Nor does the principle of "net neutrality" really apply since that just calls for broadband providers like Verizon or Comcast to treat all data equally. We may need new rules in the U.S. that specifically bar web infrastructure providers from cutting off services to publishers based on their content. This would limit firms like GoDaddy's ability to use their terms of service to silence people with controversial views. It would be preferable to keep efforts to eradicate hate speech at the platform level and not among the providers of internet infrastructure services. After long resisting, platforms like Facebook and Twitter now acknowledge that they bear some responsibility for what people post. Since they are governed by local laws where they operate, they fall under the jurisdiction of elected officials with the legitimacy to regulate. Just look at Germany's tough new law that levies fines up to 50 million euro ($58.5 million) if social networks don't remove hate speech promptly. Regulators will make mistakes and may even overreach. But they have more standing to make tough calls on free speech than the internet's plumbers.
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Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

Postby smix » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:18 am

Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression
Electronic Frontier Foundation

URL: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/08/f ... expression
Category: Politics
Published: August 17, 2017

Description: In the wake of Charlottesville, both GoDaddy and Google have refused to manage the domain registration for the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is “dedicated to spreading anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism.” Subsequently Cloudflare, whose service was used to protect the site from denial-of-service attacks, has also dropped them as a customer, with a telling quote from Cloudflare’s CEO: “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power.” We agree. Even for free speech advocates, this situation is deeply fraught with emotional, logistical, and legal twists and turns. All fair-minded people must stand against the hateful violence and aggression that seems to be growing across our country. But we must also recognize that on the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with. Those on the left face calls to characterize the Black Lives Matter movement as a hate group. In the Civil Rights Era cases that formed the basis of today’s protections of freedom of speech, the NAACP’s voice was the one attacked. Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one—not the government and not private commercial enterprises—should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t.
What Happened?
Earlier this week, following complaints about a vitriolic and abusive Daily Stormer article on Heather Heyer—the woman killed when a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators—GoDaddy told the site’s owners that they had 24 hours to leave their service. Daily Stormer subsequently moved their domain to Google’s domain management service. Within hours Google announced that it too was refusing Daily Stormer as a customer. Google also placed the dailystormer.com domain on “Client Hold”, which means that Daily Stormer’s owner cannot activate, use or move the domain to another service. It’s unclear whether this is for a limited amount of time, or whether Google has decided to effectively take ownership of the dailystormer.com domain permanently. Cloudflare, whose service was used to protect the site from denial-of-service attacks, subsequently dropped them as a customer. We at EFF defend the right of anyone to choose what speech they provide online; platforms have a First Amendment right to decide what speech does and does not appear on their platforms. That’s what laws like CDA 230 in the United States enable and protect. But we strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous. That’s because, even when the facts are the most vile, we must remain vigilant when platforms exercise these rights. Because Internet intermediaries, especially those with few competitors, control so much online speech, the consequences of their decisions have far-reaching impacts on speech around the world. And at EFF we see the consequences first hand: every time a company throws a vile neo-Nazi site off the Net, thousands of less visible decisions are made by companies with little oversight or transparency. Precedents being set now can shift the justice of those removals. Here’s what companies and individuals should watch for in these troubling times.
Content Removal At the Very Top of The Internet
Domain registrars are one of many types of companies in the chain of online content distribution—the Internet intermediaries positioned between the writer or poster of speech and the reader of that speech. Other intermediaries include the ISP that delivers a website’s content to end users, the certificate authority (such as EFF’s Let’s Encrypt) that issues an SSL certificate to the website, the content delivery network that optimizes the availability and performance of the website, the web hosting company that provides server space for the website, and even communications platforms—such as email providers and social media companies—that allow the website’s URLs to be easily shared. EFF has a handy chart of some of those key links between speakers and their audience here. The domain name system is a key part of the Internet’s technical underpinnings, which are enabled by an often-fragile consensus among many systems and operators. Using that system to edit speech, based on potentially conflicting opinions about what can be spoken on the Internet, risks shattering that consensus. Domain suspension is a blunt instrument: suspending the domain name of a website or Internet service makes everything hosted there difficult or impossible to access. The risk of blocking speech that wasn’t targeted is very high. Domain name companies also have little claim to be publishers, or speakers in their own right, with respect to the contents of websites. Like the suppliers of ink or electrical power to a pamphleteer, the companies that sponsor domain name registrations have no direct connection to Internet content. Domain name registrars have even less connection to speech than a conduit provider such as an ISP, as the contents of a website or service never touch the registrar’s systems. Registrars’ interests as speakers under the First Amendment are minimal. If the entities that run the domain name system started choosing who could access or add to them based on political considerations, we might well face a world where every government and powerful body would see itself as an equal or more legitimate invoker of that power. That makes the domain name system unsuitable as a mechanism for taking down specific illegal content as the law sometimes requires, and a perennially attractive central location for nation-states and others to exercise much broader takedown powers. Another lever that states and malicious actors often reach for when seeking to censor legitimate voices is through denial-of-service attacks. States and criminals alike use this to silence voices, and the Net's defenses against such actions are not well-developed. Services like Cloudflare can protect against these attacks, but not if they also face direct pressure from governments and other actors to pick and choose their clients. Content delivery networks are not wired into the infrastructure of the Net in the way that the domain name system is, but at this point, they may as well be. These are parts of the Net that are most sensitive to pervasive censorship: they are free speech’s weakest links. It’s the reason why millions of net neutrality advocates are concerned about ISPs censoring their feeds. Or why, when the handful of global payment processors unite to block certain websites (like Wikileaks) worldwide, we should be concerned. These weak links are both the most tempting, and most egregiously damaging places, to filter the Net. The firmest, most consistent, defense these potential weak links can take is to simply decline all attempts to use them as a control point. They can act to defend their role as a conduit, rather than a publisher. And just as law and custom developed a norm that we might sue a publisher for defamation, but not the owner of a printing press, or newspaper vendor, we are slowly developing norms about who should take responsibility for content online. Companies that manage domain names, including GoDaddy and Google, should draw a hard line: they should not suspend or impair domain names based on the expressive content of websites or services.
Have A Process, Don't Act on the Headlines
Other elements of the Net risk less when they are selective about who they host. But even for hosts, there’s always a risk that others—including governments—will use the opaqueness of the takedown process to silence legitimate voices. For any content hosts that do reject content as part of the enforcement of their terms of service, we have long recommended that they implement procedural protections to mitigate mistakes, or are pressured by states to secretly censor—specifically, the Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability. The principles state, in part:
* Before any content is restricted on the basis of an order or a request, the intermediary and the user content provider must be provided an effective right to be heard except in exceptional circumstances, in which case a post facto review of the order and its implementation must take place as soon as practicable.
* Intermediaries should provide user content providers with mechanisms to review decisions to restrict content in violation of the intermediary’s content restriction policies.
* Intermediaries should publish their content restriction policies online, in clear language and accessible formats, and keep them updated as they evolve, and notify users of changes when applicable.
These are methods that protect us all against overbroad or arbitrary takedowns. It’s notable that in GoDaddy and Google’s eagerness to swiftly distance themselves from American neo-Nazis, no process was followed; CloudFlare’s Prince also admitted that the decision was “not CloudFlare’s policy.” Policies give guidance as to what we might expect, and an opportunity to see justice is done. We should think carefully before throwing them away. It might seem unlikely now that Internet companies would turn against sites supporting racial justice or other controversial issues. But if there is a single reason why so many individuals and companies are acting together now to unite against neo-Nazis, it is because a future that seemed unlikely a few years ago—that white nationalists and Nazis now have significant power and influence in our society—now seems possible. We would be making a mistake if we assumed that these sorts of censorship decisions would never turn against causes we love. Part of the work for all of us now is to push back against such dangerous decisions with our own voices and actions. Another part of our work must be to seek to shore up the weakest parts of the Internet’s infrastructure so it cannot be easily toppled if matters take a turn for the (even) worse. These actions are not in opposition; they are to the same ends. We can—and we must—do both.



10+ Years of Activists Silenced: Internet Intermediaries’ Long History of Censorship
Electronic Frontier Foundation

URL: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/08/1 ... censorship
Category: Politics
Published: August 23, 2017

Description: Recent decisions by technology companies, especially “upstream” infrastructure technology companies, to drop neo-Nazis as customers have captured public attention—and for good reason. The content being blocked is vile and horrific, there is growing concern about hate groups across the country, and the nation is focused on issues of racism and protest. But this is a dangerous moment for Internet expression and the power of private platforms that host much of the speech on the Internet. People cheering for companies who have censored content in recent weeks may soon find the same tactic used against causes they love. We must be careful about what we are asking these companies to do and carefully review the processes they use to do it. A look at previous examples that EFF has handled in the past 10+ years can help demonstrate why we are so concerned.
Complaints to “Upstream” Speech Intermediaries
This isn’t just a “slippery slope” fear about potential future harm. Complaints to various kinds of intermediaries have been occurring for over a decade. It’s clear that Internet technology companies—especially those further “upstream” like domain name registrars —are simply not equipped or competent to distinguish between good complaints and bad in the U.S. much less around the world. They also have no strong mechanisms for allowing due process or correcting mistakes. Instead they merely react to where the pressure is greatest or where their business interests lie. Here are just a few cases EFF has handled or helped from the last decade where complaints went “upstream” to website hosts and DNS providers, impacting activist groups specifically. And this is not to mention the many times direct user platforms like Facebook and Twitter have censored content from artists, activists, and others.
* The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a complaint about a parody website created by activist group The Yes Men not merely to its hosting service, May First/People Link, but to that service’s upstream ISP, Hurricane Electric. When the hosting service May First/People Link resisted Hurricane Electric’s demands to remove the parody site, Hurricane Electric shut down MayFirst/PeopleLink’s connection entirely, temporarily taking offline hundreds of "innocent bystander" websites as collateral damage.
* Shell Oil sent a takedown notice to the ISP of activist group Oil Change International after it launched a campaign aimed at Shell’s sponsorship of New Orleans Jazz Fest. The ISP removed the site, abruptly halting the campaign.
* Unhappy with a single document published on the giant website Cryptome.org, Microsoft sent complaints to Cryptome’s domain name registrar and web hosting provider, Network Solutions. As a result, hosting provider Network Solutions pulled the plug on the entire Cryptome website — full of legal content — because Network Solutions was not technically capable of targeting and removing the single document. The site was not restored until wide outcry in the blogosphere forced Microsoft to retract its takedown request.
* Threats to the domain host of a critic of South African diamond conglomerate De Beers resulted in the temporary takedown of a New York Times spoof website that included, in part, a critical fake ad announcing that diamond purchases "will enable us to donate a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in diamond conflicts."
* Swiss bank Julius Baer pressured the domain name registrar for Wikileaks.org to lock the domain name after the organization posted documents demonstrating financial wrongdoing, and then obtained a court ruling confirming the censorship. In response to legal briefs by EFF and others objecting to this tactic, the district court dissolved the order, leading Julius Baer to dismiss its case.
* Media giant ABC sent a cease and desist letter on behalf of KSFO-AM radio in San Francisco to the webhost of the blog www.spockosbrain.com, after that site criticized the offensive and violent rhetoric on the radio station aimed at Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and then-Senator Barak Obama.
You’ll notice that complainers in these cases are powerful corporations. That’s not a coincidence. Large companies have the time, money, and scary lawyers to pressure intermediaries to do their bidding—something smaller communities rarely have.
When Governments Get Involved
The story gets much more frightening when governments enter the conversation. All of the major technology companies publish transparency reports documenting the many efforts made by governments around the world to require the companies to take down their customer’s speech. China ties the domain name system to tracking systems and censorship. Russia-backed groups flag Ukrainian speech, Chinese groups flag Tibetan speech, Israeli groups flag Palestinian speech, just to name a few. Every state has some reason to try to bend the core intermediaries to their agenda, which is why EFF along with a number of international organizations created the Manila Principles to set out the basic rules for intermediaries to follow when responding to these governmental pressures. Those concerned about the position of the current U.S. government with regard to Black Lives Matter, Antifa groups, and similar left-leaning communities should take note: efforts to urge the current U.S. government to treat them as hate groups have already begun.
The Risks of Embracing Censorship
Will the Internet remain a place where small, marginalized voices get heard? For every tech CEO now worried about neo-Nazis there are hundreds of decisions made to silence voices that are made outside of public scrutiny with no transparency into decision-making or easy ways to get mistakes corrected. We understand the impulse to cheer any decisions to stand up against horrific speech, but if we embrace “upstream” intermediary censorship, it may very well come back to haunt us.
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Did Google and GoDaddy Set a Dangerous Precedent by Dropping a Neo-Nazi Website?

Postby smix » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:15 pm

Did Google and GoDaddy Set a Dangerous Precedent by Dropping a Neo-Nazi Website?
Pacific Standard

URL: https://psmag.com/social-justice/did-go ... zi-website
Category: Politics
Published: August 17, 2017

Description: A digital civil liberties lawyer weighs in.
On Sunday, the domain registration service GoDaddy announced that it was no longer providing a domain name to the white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, citing a terms-of-service violation. This announcement came in response to outcry over an article the Daily Stormer published mocking a counter-protester killed on Saturday at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Shortly after, GoDaddy re-registered with a Google domain name. Google then followed suit, citing a terms-of-service violation to drop the Daily Stormer. GoDaddy's decision comes at a particularly fraught moment in the debate over whether freedom of speech can be reconciled with attempts to quell hateful discourse and actions. Additionally, with the Internet becoming the preferred mode of public discourse, abusive trolling and rampant falsehoods have led some to call for increased accountability from Internet service providers and social media companies for the content they host and support. The central question of this debate continues to be: Is freedom worth its consequences? For the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit group that has fought unwaveringly for Web freedoms since 1990, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Pacific Standard spoke to Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to discuss GoDaddy, the monitoring of digital hate speech, and whether our current laws are equipped to hold accountable Internet service companies for the content they enable.
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How do you view the GoDaddy decision?
Cutting off the Daily Stormer's domain is a purely symbolic move. GoDaddy is, of course, free to do so. They're not required to host anyone; they're allowed to cut service off to anyone who they want for essentially any reason, and cutting off the Daily Stormer is well within their rights. But it's symbolic. The Daily Stormer is going to find another domain provider. Or if they can't find anyone to host dailystormer.com, they'll find a different top-level domain to host under, so it's not like the Daily Stormer is going to go away. Preventing people from reaching the Daily Stormer's website does nothing to actually combat the ideas. There's the old, famous saying that the remedy for bad speech is more speech—it's not silencing the bad speech. Hate speech is legal in the United States. And people are going to continue to express themselves in awful ways, and cutting off the domain name isn't helpful for the dialogue.
If GoDaddy kicking the Daily Stormer off their domain name is purely a symbolic move, how is it a substantive threat to free digital speech?
At this point it's not a particularly bad threat to free speech—the registrar market is broad enough, the Daily Stormer is going to find somewhere else. But if you look at it in other contexts, in contexts that aren't so distributed—payment processing being the most obvious example—there's only a handful of payment processors in the United States, and when payment processors cut off a client, such as what Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal all did to WikiLeaks a few years ago, that actually does have a real world effect. It made it next to impossible for WikiLeaks to raise money. That does have problems for free speech. So although in this particular instance with domain names, this corporate enforcement of norms isn't going to have a particular effect on people's ability to reach the Daily Stormer, the idea that the information that we can receive is moderated—not by the government, not by courts, and not even by the court of public opinion, but by a handful of small companies—should be troubling to all of us.
Airbnb removed some of its users who tried to book housing for the Unite the Right rally. Do you view that similarly, as a threat to online speech?
That's more complex. If GoDaddy had been the Daily Stormer's hosting provider and not just the domain registrar, I would actually feel significantly different. You don't have a responsibility to host activities that go against your core beliefs. Hosting [a website] is building a house. And if GoDaddy doesn't want the Daily Stormer living in its house, I have a lot more sympathy for that. Similarly, if Airbnb doesn't want people living in their houses, literally, then I have a lot more sympathy for that.
If both are essential to the Daily Stormer's operation, why distinguish between the domain name and the hosting infrastructure?
The way that the domain system works is that the registrars are really just resellers for the registrants, so that's all that GoDaddy was doing here. The domain name registrar isn't actually providing anything other than resale. So it's not like the Daily Stormer was using GoDaddy's servers; GoDaddy was just the agency that accredited them as the owner of dailystormer.com. That's just a line item in a database; it's not providing substantive service.
GoDaddy said they booted the Daily Stormer because the type of article they posted "could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service." Isn't that different than kicking someone off for their viewpoint?
I think those are actually pretty similar, because GoDaddy, as far as I understand it, was using "incitement" in the plain English meaning and not in the legal use meaning of "incitement." To be incitement in a legal sense, there has to be an immediate threat of violence. You can't say, "I wish someone would kill the president." It's more like, "You there, with the hammer, standing next to Trump, hit him in the head." That's incitement. "Let's go beat up some antifa protesters" isn't incitement if there aren't a bunch of people standing in front of a bunch of antifa protesters. It has to be much more immediate than the speech that was on the Daily Stormer.
Public Reaction to GoDaddy's decision has been largely supportive. Do you think that the political tide has started to turn against Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents Internet services from being held accountable for the content they host or support?
That's a perfect segue, because Section 230 does two different things: It immunizes service providers from most types of actions against them for the speech of their users, but it also immunizes service providers for the editorial judgments they make. And here, actually, GoDaddy is relying on Section 230 to shut off the Daily Stormer—230 immunizes GoDaddy for that editorial decision in a very important way. So no, I don't think this shows a tide against CDA 230.
So GoDaddy was able to kick the Daily Stormer off their domain name because of section 230?
That was actually the original point of 230. 230 was passed as part of the Communications Decency Act, which would have made porn as we know it illegal on the Internet. And one of the points was that, if service providers were going to be required to police the content of their sites, Congress wanted to immunize them for the decisions that they made, so that they couldn't be second-guessed. 230 is the only part of the CDA that survived, so service providers are certainly not required to police their content like the Communications Decency Act contemplated, but they are immunized from doing so. So, CDA 230 is amazingly versatile in that respect.
Given the kind of hateful trolling and fake news that have become prevalent during recent years, is there justification for more robust accountability of these online providers of domain names or hosting infrastructure?
Any attempt to try to hold service providers responsible is absolutely bound to backfire. In the marketplace of ideas, we need to have exposure to all sorts of ideas. Good ones, bad ones, fake ones—all of them are valuable in their own way. The reader is the only one whose judgment matters. If we want to hold infrastructure providers responsible for fake news, then we're happy with the state of human knowledge and we don't need to try to advance it in any way. A good deal of scientific theories that are now accepted started out as fringe. And if we were to try to hold infrastructure providers acceptable for hosting scientific theories that turned out not to be true, I don't see how we, as a free and open society could progress. The concept of holding infrastructure providers responsible for fake news or bad ideas or hateful ideas is a quick recipe for disaster.
Our experience on the Internet is shaped by algorithmic and financial forces that elevate certain ideas and forms of content above others—these forces are not neutral. So it seems like the "marketplace of ideas" is not really "free."
That may well be true, but the solution, again, the remedy for bad speech is more speech. It's not shutting off the bad speech.
The exponential growth of the Internet has resulted in vastly more speech. Has this growth only resulted in better speech?
It hasn't only resulted in better speech; it's resulted in more speech of every kind. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. The problems in Charlottesville were not problems of speech, they were problems of violence. And I think the concept that the violence was caused by speech and speech alone is silly; the violence was caused by people committing acts of violence.
So the best way to prevent hate online is just more speech against hate?
Well, there are all sorts of ways to prevent hate online. One of them would be trying to increase media literacy among the general public. Another would be for platforms to up their moderation habits. YouTube is doing something pretty innovative with hate speech. They're not shutting it down, they're doing other things. They're de-promoting it in search results, they are de-monitizing it, but it's all still there. And I think, taking YouTube's lead as an example, as opposed to what GoDaddy did, is useful.
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Bokhari: The Week Silicon Valley Killed Free Speech

Postby smix » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:43 am

Bokhari: The Week Silicon Valley Killed Free Speech
Breitbart News

URL: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/08/1 ... ee-speech/
Category: Politics
Published: August 18, 2017

Description: To those who followed the trajectory of Silicon Valley over the past few years, their abandonment of free speech last week would not have come as a surprise. Indeed, social media platforms like Twitter, which previously styled itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party,” abandoned it long ago. Even so, the decision of first GoDaddy and then Google and then Cloudflare to cut off support for Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer – effectively banning them from the internet – came as a shock to many. To those who believe that all content, no matter how deplorable, should be able to exist on the web, it heralds nothing less than the end of free speech in cyberspace. It is not just the right and far-right who have seen the danger. The Electronic Frontier Foundaton, the most prominent defenders of digital rights, also raised the alarm last week. “Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one—not the government and not private commercial enterprises—should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t.” “We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous.” To underline the gravity of what happened last week, it is important to remember that up until this point, the web has hosted every form of speech, no matter how vile. Sites dedicated to the Islamic State, to serial killers, and to pedophiles are still in operation at this verymoment. Indeed, Cloudflare’s CEO once stood up to defend his platform’s right to offer their services to ISIS-linked websites. This is because, as the EFF points out, up until now, the platforms that facilitated access to the web — GoDaddy and Google, which manage domains, and Cloudflare, which protects sites from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, have remained content-neutral. Up until now. If you’re looking for one sure-fire confirmation that web freedom as we know it is about to disappear, it’s that even establishment conservatives have started to take notice. To anyone concerned with web freedom, that should be frightening. Establishment conservatives frequently fail to spot the left’s creeping overreach until they wake up in one morning in a gulag. Leftists and their allies in Silicon Valley boardrooms are now brazenly open about their war on free speech. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom – and the Wired reporter who interviewed him – all but admitted their contempt for the idea in a feature last week, which heaped praise on Systrom for attempting to “clean up the internet,” and described Twitter’s founding commitment to free speech as a “moment of naive idealism… the creation of young men who didn’t understand the depths to which sexism, and maybe even fascism, lurk within the human id.” It wasn’t just Neo-Nazis who felt their presence on the web threatened last week, (although to anyone seriously concerned about free speech, that should be enough to cause alarm. The ACLU knows this.) It was also Milo Yiannopoulos, Sargon of Akkad, and other conservative commentators. Milo was kicked off MailChimp, the web’s leading email marketing platform, and later had a book-signing event cancelled on EventBrite. Sargon was thrown off Twitter without explanation. Other right-wingers were thrown off Instagram, and still others found their access to PayPal suspended. Milo has called it “the great shuttering.” Most tellingly of all, Gab.ai, a content-neutral platform committed to free speech for everyone, lost their access to Google play, on the grounds of “hate speech.” In other words, morons who believe this begins and ends at Neo-Nazis have already been proven wrong. Free speech is not meant to protect uncontroversial people. Their speech does not need protecting. It was created to protect the most despised and hated groups in society — the people whose speech is most at risk of suppression. There can be no question then, that Silicon Valley killed free speech on the web this week. The question now is, how might it be resurrected?
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The Daily Stormer, infamous neo-Nazi site, resurfaces at .lol address following Cloudflare ban

Postby smix » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:36 am

The Daily Stormer, infamous neo-Nazi site, resurfaces at .lol address following Cloudflare ban
Washington Times

URL: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/201 ... rfaces-lo/
Category: Politics
Published: August 18, 2017

Description: The Daily Stormer white supremacist website refused to die Friday and resurfaced instead at a new domain safeguarded by a Seattle-based cyber protection firm in the aftermath of being nearly driven offline in the wake of this week’s deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The notorious website was accessible Friday afternoon at dailystormer.lol, at least its fourth domain since being all but ejected from the internet this week after its publisher penned an article mocking the woman killed protesting Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally, 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The Stormer was booted from its .com web address after being blacklisted by first GoDaddy and then Google in the aftermath of the article’s publication Saturday and has struggled to stay online ever since. DailyStormer.wang launched Wednesday but was offline within hours, and DailyStormer.ru suffered a similar fate the following day after attracting the attention of Russia’s state-run internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor. The game of neo-Nazi whack-a-mole continued with the launch Friday of dailystormer.lol and an agreement with Bitmitigate, a Seattle-based content delivery network company contracted by The Daily Stormer to provide pro bono protection from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, a tactic used to knock websites offline by overloading them with illegitimate internet traffic. “We are offering protection to the Daily Stormer simply as a protection of free speech,” Bitmitigate owner Nicholas Lim told The Washington Times. “It comes down to the fact that our decision has nothing to do with the contents of the website, but rather the fundamental underlying principles at play,” Mr. Lim said Friday with respect to protecting The Daily Stormer from DDoS attacks. “In regards to whether or not customers will react negatively: I am sure that they will, but if this progression continues, unfortunately, we may live in a society where they may not be able to react at all.” Cloudflare, a competing DDoS protection firm, made headlines for arbitrarily dropping The Stormer as a client Wednesday, further fueling the debate surrounding Silicon Valley’s role in policing the web. “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power,” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told employees. “We agree,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a California-based digital rights organization, reacted Thursday. “All fair-minded people must stand against the hateful violence and aggression that seems to be growing across our country. But we must also recognize that on the internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with.” When asked what it’d take to silence The Daily Stormer, Andrew Auernheimer, one of its administrators, told The Washington Times: “a global empire headed by the white european race at the altar of which all kneel.” In addition to garnering bans from GoDaddy and Google, tech titans including Facebook and Twitter have taken action against The Daily Stormer after its publisher, Andrew Anglin, unleashed on Heyer within hours of her death Saturday. James Alex Fields, an Ohio man identified as a participant of the “Unite the Right” rally touted by The Daily Stormer prior to Saturday’s event, killed Heyer and injured 19 others by driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters Saturday, according to police. Neither Mr. Anglin, nor Namecheap, the domain registrar used to create the .lol web address, immediately responded to requests for comment Friday.
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