Cloudflare Removes Neo-Nazi Site From DDoS Mitigation Service

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Sounds more like a case of cowardice and censorship than anything else. This closes the door to open dialogue and opens the door to much darker things. If you can cite illegal activities the web presence was engaged in, that should be part of your argument, otherwise this reeks of nothing more than discriminatory virtue signaling.
 

RomeoReject

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"Sounds more like a case of cowardice and censorship than anything else. This closes the door to open dialogue and opens the door to much darker things."

What kind of a dialogue do you reasonably expect with literal Nazis? I mean, I'm all for open dialogues, and understanding, but there becomes a point where being open becomes detrimental to freedom, and personally, I'd say that point falls quite a bit before accepting an ideology of genocide.
 
Who said anything about accepting an ideology of genocide, or that the dialogue would even be with the Nazis? If the company can censor Nazis without concern, they can censor anybody without concern. My concern is the bad behavior of forcefully shutting up the people who's opinion is disagreed with, which is what Cloudflare has done. It would appear that Cloudflare has decided it will not render a service based on their feelings and their view of the feelings of others toward the person or group they are rendering the service for. I suspect if this was based on a legal matter, it may not have even made headlines. I find it unfortunate that there hasn't been consistency on allowing private businesses to exercise this sort of discretionary service. Other service businesses have been sued, with very heavy fines levied against them for refusing to provide their services, based on the private owner's discretion, so what makes Cloudflare special?
 

leoscott

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"What kind of a dialogue do you reasonably expect with literal Nazis?"
None actually. I ignore them. And had Antifa and BLM ignored them they wouldn't have gotten all the press they have received this last week.
The real question is where is the line drawn? And next, what will you believe when the line is drawn on the other side of you? Who is the decider? That is the problem with restricting free speech. Someone decides. Which is great as long as they decide the way you like. But it's never the same people always deciding. I prefer free speech as long as it passes muster defined by SCOTUS. If I don't like it, I don't listen and on comment sections, if I don't like it enough, I provide counter comments.
 

Kelavarus

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BIGPINKDRAGON286 - My guess is that the private service businesses used, or were at least found guilty of using, a reason to refuse service that is protected by law (race, sex, etc...). Ideology isn't protected. And Cloudflare doesn't have a monopoly on DDOS mitigation, nor is it (to the best of my knowledge) stated anywhere that DDOS mitigation is a requirement to run a website. It seems reasonable that they have the ability to decide what to protect and what not to with their service, especially in this case as the client presents extra risk and expense.
 

ibjeepr

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I'm glad the article focused on "should we" versus "can we?" The fact that Cloudflare did, is concerning. At least they realize it. I don't think they should have, but then, I think people should be smart enough on their own to see this garbage on the internet and treat it as such. Apparently far too many people aren't that smart. So, if you are in a position to help protect people from themselves for the overall greater societal good, what should you do? When the number of individuals that fail to do what's right grows, government and corporate control over individuals grows with it.
 

shrapnel_indie

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Okay... what I read, and hopefully is truth:
The company has avoided using that power, but Prince said The Daily Stormer forced Cloudflare to respond when it "made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology." He said:

Our team has been thorough and have had thoughtful discussions for years about what the right policy was on censoring. Like a lot of people, we’ve felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.
In the name of neutrality, i can see them not dropping these hateful losers just because of what they say. I can also see dropping them when they try to make out that Cloudfare actually were supporters secretly. Not to do so would also cast doubt to how neutral Cloudfare really was and doing so can cast some of the same doubts too. Unfortunately, there are unintended consequences that we all will have to face if this sets a precedent since it has been done.

Real and honest dialogue can be a good thing (especially when the dialogue is true dialogue and not just what might as well be a monologue of thought (dialogue between those who support the exact same thing.) Most of these people are beyond a dialogue and considerably more into the territory of monologue and you won't budge them even a millimeter anyway.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I don't like negative ideas. The internet should only be about buying things, watching kittens, and information from vetted reliable sources, like CNN.

It's not up to me to think for myself. It's different for my masters.
 
Actually, I disagree with you and say that ideology is selectively protected by law, and that's where the inconsistency comes from. I already know the reasons behind the lawsuits, but have no interest in steering the conversation in that direction. There may not be a special legal protection for this ideology, but the censorship is pretty blatant, along with the concerns it brings up.

I personally feel that if the requested service was not in violation of any laws, this either is, or is bordering on discriminatory refusal of service. Yes, there are exceptions, but I would consider the Daily Stormer's assertion that Cloudflare secretly supported them is pretty thin in the good reason department. The article doesn't even mention whether the Daily Stormer had violated any of Cloudflare's terms of service.

If Cloudflare is concerned about their image, dumping controversial customers seems rather short sighted. Furthermore, dumping a client from a service, such as mitigation from DDOS attacks, because they might have a higher need of those services sends the message that only customers that are on message will be protected, and only if they don't need too much of the service being provided.

In response to your statement that, DDOS mitigation is not a requirement to run a website, I will disagree again. Under normal circumstances, it may not be a requirement, but in the case of a site with controversial content or that presents as a very visible target, DDOS mitigation is required. The article points out that hosts are refusing the site due to the DDOS attacks. Nobody wants to deal with the excess traffic, and if the site can't obtain any mitigation services, the site is effectively taken down. So, you may be technically correct, a site can be hosted without DDOS mitigation services, but in reality the site is rendered unreachable.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
On behalf of the Tom's Hardware volunteer staff, I want to express my appreciation to the participants so far that have kept this a civil exchange. We appreciate it, especially since this story contains a potentially volatile mix of topics including censorship, net neutrality, and Nazis.

That being said, we are watching closely. We would much rather not have this devolve into something . . . unpleasant.

But in the mean time, carry on as you have.
 

g-unit1111

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Except that American freedom of speech doesn't apply to private corporations, many of which can make their own policies toward what they deem acceptable. Like our own website here, where the terms of service can dictate who can be a member and who cannot be a member. Every forum on the internet has rules. Every corporation out there can make their own policy toward who gets a membership and who doesn't. American freedom of speech laws *ONLY* apply to when the government attempts to censor speech, and this was not the case here. It does not apply to corporate entities.
 

Math Geek

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can't imagine how tough it was to make this call for the company. i'm sitting squarely on the fence here. as much as i detest those crazies on that site and in this world, i also hate the idea of censorship. but since this is a corporate decision and not a government one i am leaning a good bit in supporting their decision to abandon this trash to the deep chasms of the internet where it belongs.

DDOS away folks.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
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I can imagine it was fairly easy considering they were a new customer (after getting kicked off Google and Go Daddy) and an extremely controversial one. They're a hosting service. Their job is to make money by hosting sites. If they start losing money because one is causing them to lose sales, it's their job to make sure that customer is dealt with, is it not? That's one thing that people forget about the first amendment. It only applies to government policies and not private enterprise policies. This was a private enterprise decision, not a government decision.
 

Math Geek

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yah i agree completely. just a slippery slope. always starts with such an easy mark. then slowly morphs to much more controversial ones. i do agree that as a corporate decision it is their choice to make

they came for cigarettes and i was like "who cares it's bad for you anyway", then they came for my super sized McD fries and i was like "now wait a minute here" then they came for my soft drinks full of sugary goodness and i am now like "you better back the **** up cause i ain't taking this one lying down"

always a slippery slope. but i guess i'll start down this slope as well since it's a "the world is better off without them" type thing....... this time.....
 

ibjeepr

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Actually, the first amendment is right is guaranteed to every individual, American citizen by the constitution.
It applies directly to you. It is not applied to or derived from government policy.
You have the right to make your statement. True or false.

Your right is limited though.
As you stated, that doesn't mean a private service needs to allow it in their business.
Plus, even Federal law has limited what and where you can make certain statements.
If you know your statement is false and said it to harm someone's character, that's slander and illigal
Permits may be required to protest or march.
You can't scream fire (falsely) in a crowded place and risk harm to others.
 

Sveg

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Glad Tom's looked into this and reported on it. Though they did omit where the guy said in his leaked memo "Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn't be allowed on the internet" <-- THAT's the concerning part.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator


Yeah exactly. People think that the first amendment is absolute, and while it is in some aspects it is, but the actual text of the first amendment clearly states that the government can't impose restrictions on speech. It doesn't define that individual businesses can't impose restrictions on speech. I think there was a SCOTUS case about this several decades ago but I'm not entirely sure which one it was.
 

Math Geek

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Ambassador
even that is not unlimited. for example, the old "whites only" and "colored only" businesses was deemed unconstitutional many years ago. fighting a new version of it today with business's trying to exclude muslims and gays. the courts i don't think have seen any cases on this yet but i am sure they are coming. though i think the old rulings should still apply here as well.

so i do feel business's have a lot of leeway, they do not get absolute control of who/what comes and goes in my opinion. especially when it is a vital business. for instance, your local power company is likely a private business who gets a protected monopoly from the local gov. can they decide tomorrow they don't want gays, immigrants or muslims (insert whatever group is under fire today here) using their power grid? they are a private business.......

i saw again slippery slope, slippery slope.

 

velocityg4

Illustrious
As this was a corporate decision. I have no problem with it. If a business does not want to do business with someone. Regardless of the reason. That is the decision of the business. They should not even be expected to provide a reason.

However, if someone supports this as Cloudflares right. Then insists another business is legally required to serve clientele they don't want. They are being hypocritical. Either a business has the right to be selective in their clientele or they don't have a right. The public can then decide with their wallets if the decision is just.

Laws regarding a businesses abilities to be selective in clientele. Should not vary on which beliefs are considered bad, neutral or good by the general populace.
 

eathdemon1

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companies are well within their right to not sell services to someone they disagree with. ddos protection isnt a right.
 

ibjeepr

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I think you are confusing freedom of speech with discrimination laws. Very different.
 
There are many consequences, both immediately seen, and some that people may miss. The group in question may not be a nice group espousing healthy viewpoints, but they have been vicariously involved in spurring a reasonably well mannered discussion about censorship, the role of government in steering the decisions of private individuals in private enterprise, and whether the internet should be a place where there is freedom for all ideas.

If enough of these cases start making headlines, you may see other special interest groups lobby for and receive special legal status. The consequences for private enterprise at that point may be worse than a little lost business, which isn't actually mentioned as having happened.

The site was refused service because it is "vile." I imagine there are other sites hosted that too are considered "vile," but are not controversial and as such are likely profitable enough to remain.

The statement, "... have had thoughtful discussions for years,.." really smells of somebody wanting censorship and looking for a good way to get it across the threshold. The line has now been crossed, so further censorship will likely be of lighter consequence to the company.

On a broader note, how does this fall very far from the net neutrality argument? If a service provider that is transferring data wants to differentiate the value of bits based on their content, shouldn't this fall under the same private enterprise discretion argument given above? If Comcast decided that Netflix was "vile," would it then be okay for them to refuse routing of their service altogether? That would certainly get people's attention. I would love to see some consistency here.
 
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