After being booted from multiple domain registrars for its hate-filled content, neo-Nazi media outlet The Daily Stormer (TDS) has found a new home on the dark web. It tweeted the URL to the new site in the past few hours; you’ll need the Tor browser to access it.
Shortly after it published a piece smearing a victim of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, TDS’ domain registrar GoDaddy dropped the site from its service; an attempt to move to Google Domains also proved unsuccessful.
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In migrating to the dark web, TDS no longer has to worry about registrars clamping down on it over the content it publishes.
This incident raises an interesting question about which sorts of tech firms should concern themselves with the matter of how their clients use their services.
Quartz noted in a story that Cloudflare, a company that provides security and performance solutions for websites, refused to comment on whether it’d continue to work with the likes of TDS, but pointed out that the content published by such sites would continue to exist even if it dropped its clients.
That’s true, but the difference between Cloudflare and GoDaddy’s decisions are that the latter is choosing not to work with a client whose values are in direct opposition with its own.
Cloudflare rightly states that it doesn’t host its clients’ content, but in continuing to offer its services, it provides sites like TDS protection from opposing parties who might try to take down the site with a DDoS attack.
To play devil’s advocate for a moment: It may not entirely make sense to say that this means that Cloudflare okay working with white supremacists. There’s a chance that the company may face legal troubles if it begins dropping sites over the content they host, and the company may not be geared to handle that sort of backlash effectively.
The trouble is that, according to security expert Brian Krebs, Cloudflare also happens to offer services to hackers-for-hire who launch DDoS attacks and then protect their own sites by using the company’s cloud security platform.
It seems like it might be time for service providers across the tech industry to start thinking about who they want to do business with. Enabling those who spew hate-filled speech can be construed (and perhaps rightly so) as supporting those messages; depending on which side you’re on, that may or may not be the best thing for your company – and your soul.