Cloudflare: We dumped Daily Stormer not because they're Nazis but because they said we love Nazis

Hey, hey, It's cool, Matt, 'they're Nazis' is reason enough


Cloudflare has explained why it made a rare exception to its strident free-speech policy in its decision to cut ties with white supremacist cesspit Daily Stormer.

As noted by El Reg a few hours earlier, Cloudflare today terminated the hosting and anti-DDoS services it was providing the neo-Nazi website.

After GoDaddy and Google pulled their DNS hosting services for Daily Stormer, Cloudflare took a neutral position, arguing it wanted nothing to do with policing people's content. It provided the site's DNS and a proxy service – in other words, the California biz hosted the fascist bloggers' pages and shielded it from any DDoS attacks. Daily Stormer hit the headlines this week when it celebrated the slaying of an anti-fascist protestor over the weekend.

Cloudflare boss Matthew Prince has now explained, in a long statement, that he terminated Daily Stormer's account after the web blog's administrators suggested Cloudflare was protecting them because it secretly agreed with the site's neo-Nazi articles.

"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," Prince explained.

"We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare."

The Cloudflare CEO and self-described recovering attorney said that until now, his company's support for enabling free speech has been ironclad, even when it was for sites he and others at Cloudflare found distasteful or outright vile.

This, Prince says, is because Cloudflare believes it and other service providers are playing an increasingly important role in keeping sites online.

"The size and scale of the attacks that can now easily be launched online make it such that if you don't have a network like Cloudflare in front of your content, and you upset anyone, you will be knocked offline," Prince explained.

"In fact, in the case of the Daily Stormer, the initial requests we received to terminate their service came from hackers who literally said: 'Get out of the way so we can DDoS this site off the internet'."

Indeed, it seems that just hours after Cloudflare terminated its service, the latest incarnation of the Daily Stormer was blown offline by a likely DDoS attack.

While Cloudflare says it will continue to strive for strict protections on free speech and resist any effort by a government to shut down or obtain access to any of its customers, Prince admits that the decision to dump the Daily Stormer has come at a price for his company.

"It's powerful to be able to say you've never done something," Prince explained.

"And, after today, make no mistake, it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they don't like."

The Stormer, accused of inciting violence and infamous for its deranged ultra-right articles, has now fled to the dark web. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022