"This Is Dangerous": Digital Activists Slam Tech Firms For Banning Neo-Nazi Websites

As social media and internet companies scramble to ban or otherwise cut ties with extremist and far right-wing websites like the neo-nazi Daily Stormer, which were unceremoniously dropped by the likes of GoDaddy, Google and security firm Cloudflare earlier this week after helping to organize last weekend's deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, a prominent nonprofit has come forward to defend them.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, best known for its activism surrounding net neutrality has a simple message: even though you don’t agree with their message, banning people from the internet is a slippery slope. Which is why it called on domain-name companies like Google and GoDaddy to “draw a hard line” and not remove or suspend websites based solely on their content.

Quoted by Reuters: Cindy Cohn, EFF CEO wrote in a blog post that "We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous."

In a blog post, the EEF argued that the power to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for the internet is too important to entrust to any company or government.

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 EEF echoed some of the criticisms expressed by Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who said in a message to employees that he banned the Daily Stormer from his service because he “woke up in a bad mood” before adding that no one should have the power to ban someone from the internet.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, in his comments to Reuters, Prince said he "wholeheartedly agreed" with the EFF’s post and said he hoped it would spark a “thoughtful debate about internet regulation.” The Daily Stormer helped organize the protest in Charlottesville where 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed. The site then cheered her death.
 

Comments

dogismycopilot Fri, 08/18/2017 - 07:36 Permalink

Funny, Cloudflare are the same assholes who said it was "OK" to host Al Qaeda and ISIS websites: In 2013, they faced similar accusations with a website linked to Al Qaeda.Prince wrote a blog post in response, suggesting they were protecting free speech. He said: 'A website is speech. It is not a bomb. There is no imminent danger it creates and no provider has an affirmative obligation to monitor and make determinations about the theoretically harmful nature of speech a site may contain …'If we were to receive a valid court order that compelled us to not provide service to a customer then we would comply with that court order. 'We have never received a request to terminate the site in question from any law enforcement authority, let alone a valid order from a court.'Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3338580/Anonymous-accuses-Silicon-Valley-firm-helping-ISIS-protecting-websites-cyber-attacks.html#ixzz4q6cWoFIt 

Dindu Nuffins Gaius Frakkin'… Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:15 Permalink

What angers me the most about the Heather Heyer incident is that news media deliberately used a cat-fishing pic of the fatty, which is dishonest when the girls themselves do it on Tinder, but even worse when the whole nation is being tricked by a complicit media with a misleading pic that had formerly only ensnared a few hundred minority men into an half-hearted shag.

In reply to by Gaius Frakkin'…

Multi Swampster (not verified) Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:07 Permalink

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." Voltaire.You can have all type of porn all over the Internet, you can have Jihadist with FaceFuck accounts, you can have neocons cheering 24x7 for the bombing and killing of Arabs, but...  BUT....    do not fucking dare to even mention THE JEWS. In Germany you can go several years to jail for simple stating an obvious truth: the Holocaust claim is idiotic. How German Arians, 72 years afterwards, allow themselves to be subjugated in such way; it is beyond pale.We don't need States regulating shit, for fuck sake people. If you want to ease the way Elites control you, then concentrate the power in State officials. Did not people learn anything from Central Banking (e.g. the Federal Reserve).What's the fucking problem with Internet as of today? I have the Daily Stormer open right now in another window, and I'm reading it just fine. Download a TOR browser, put in this URL http://dstormer6em3i4km.onion/, voila!!!   the Daily Stormer right there for you entertainment.People is so fucking eager to trade freedom for comfort. Yes, the free market will figure out its own problems, just have a little bit of fortitude and don't use their services something better will pop up. E.g. I don't use Twitter, I use https://gab.ai/There is not replacement there, who cares? I don't use FaceFuck. Fuck them. They need ME, I don't need them!!!   

In reply to by Swampster (not verified)

Uninvited null Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:50 Permalink

It's not like (((they've))) admitted before... right?  Oh wait... From 1926"You have not begun to appreciate the depth of our guilt. We are intruders. We are subverters. We have taken your natural world, your ideals, your destiny, and played havoc with them. We have been at the bottom of not merely the latest great war, but of every other major revolution in your history. We have brought discord and confusion and frustration into your personal and public life. We are still doing it. No one can tell how long we shall go on doing it. Who knows what great and glorious destiny might have been yours if we had left you alone." - Marclis Eli Ravage, Century Magazine - February, 1926

In reply to by null

Shift For Brains null Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:03 Permalink

He was referring to Dresden, you fucking moron. You know, the place where the (((Allies))) decided to firebomb civilians, making their basements places where they literally melted into puddles of fat.The story is getting out. Notice how what once was Far Right truth, then became Alt Right truth is rapidly become Truth truth? THAT is the reason they want to shut it up...the Truth shall set US free.

In reply to by null

Paul Kersey AlexCharting Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:19 Permalink

We ZH commenters shouldn't get all that sanctimonious, because, even on this site, some comments are removed for their political content. Meanwhile, there are spammers' comments that are never removed. Is there some pay-for-play going on?

Who is responsible for posting the unchallenged Gatestone Institute neocon propaganda posts? Selective sensorship is alive and well on Zero Hedge. This censorship, however, seems to be a fairly new development.

In reply to by AlexCharting

Sgt_SOS Big Brother Fri, 08/18/2017 - 10:58 Permalink

Are you crazy?!? Turning these companies into "Utilities" means that the government will now regulate them, and just how do you think this will help Free Speach on the Internet? You won't be allowed to post anything online without first giving your SSN and a blood sample, and all posts must be translated into 5 languages so that those infiltrating the country with no intension of assimilating will be able to be offended, leading to your arrest. I'm afraid there is no good answer, but I know turning any more aspects of our lives over to central government control is not the answer. A little more anarchy perhaps?

In reply to by Big Brother

Cash2Riches dogismycopilot Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:35 Permalink

We are looking at a period of increased turmoil and unrest. This will correct itself, just as it did in the 90's, but the center is going to have to band together and cast these extremist fools into the dirt. Unfortunately, the Left has proven that they are currently the most cancerous. We are going through a huge paradigm shift and will be experiencing it for years to come.

In reply to by dogismycopilot

cherry picker Fri, 08/18/2017 - 07:37 Permalink

The Daily Stormer is not banned.  Neither is anything else. All the need is another ISP.People should have the right to say no to a customers content.  for example I wouldn't want child por on my servers.

Spinkbottle cherry picker Fri, 08/18/2017 - 07:42 Permalink

The Daily Stormer has no difficulty with servers and none of its content is illegal. What it is being denied is its domain name, and protection from DDoS vigilantes. The State is not capable of protecting its citizens or upholding their rights in this area and so it is beholden to the will of large corporations. By their actions they have chosen to un-person its proprietor, who cannot publish anywhere online under his real name.

In reply to by cherry picker

Sean7k Dindu Nuffins Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:51 Permalink

Perhaps people will choose to reject technology. While we all discriminate, there are costs to doing so.

No one needs the internet to live and prosper. We can do just fine without Walmarts, Google and Facebook. However, it will create difficulties and changes in lifestyle.

At what point is the trade off worth it? More and more, I find the trade off appealing. Why live in an urban thought jail? Why participate in internet echo chambers with social police? Why read the "news"?

We have choices to make, but do we have the will to make them?

In reply to by Dindu Nuffins

Shift For Brains Sean7k Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:15 Permalink

Very thoughtful response...and that is the heart of it. Most of us grew up learning about the sacrifices--including lands, homes, wealth and sometimes life--that the Founders were willing to make for the sake of liberty. But now, we want it cost free, without the least bit of inconvenience to us, or loss of some frivolous pastime. This system will be FINISHED when enough people want to hurt it bad enough that there is a huge collective FUCK YOU to the corporations and institutions that promote this garbage. Withdraw from their schools, don't seek "prestigious jobs" at places like Google/Alphabet, pay a little more to support independent businesses and those who manufacture in the USA...all those things will undermine profits, the lifeblood of these businessess that wish to use OUR money to strangle freedom.

In reply to by Sean7k

techpriest Dindu Nuffins Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:41 Permalink

The main issue is licensing - it is not so easy to become a domain registrar, and if it was, then someone out there would take in unpopular sites.

I don't like any of the sites in question, but this is what you would need to do. However, right now the goal is to fence in media with licensing rules, so that competition is not permitted. Without regulations, this isn't possible.

In reply to by Dindu Nuffins

M4DM4N cherry picker Fri, 08/18/2017 - 07:44 Permalink

You either affirm that a private company has a right to do business with whom it pleases, or you don't. I don't have to like Go daddy, Google, or Cloudflare for their decisions, but they have every right to make them. When we start down the path of restricting a business' right to refuse services (hello cake-bakers of the mountain west), we tread on an even slipperier (more slippery?) slope.

In reply to by cherry picker

Abaco M4DM4N Fri, 08/18/2017 - 08:35 Permalink

I upvoted you in principle but there is a caveat to that. Government subsidies, investments, protections, favors all need to be banned in order for that to be the case.  You run a domain registrar then you have a defacto government franchise. You can't discriminiate. Almost every ISP these days is operating under some sort of government monopoly and Google and Facebook were the recipient of CIA investment funds. 

In reply to by M4DM4N