Cloudflare really wants that sweet, sweet Nazi cash to return

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince hated cutting off service to the infamous neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer, and he's determined not to do it again.

Cloudflare runs a popular content delivery network that specializes in protecting clients from distributed denial-of-service attacks. The Daily Stormer published a post mocking a woman who was killed during the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in August. That had made a lot of people angry at the Daily Stormer, attracting massive attacks on the site.

The Stormer was a Cloudflare customer. Cloudflare had ample technical resources to battle DDOS attacks. The problem was that other Cloudflare customers started calling and threatening to cancel their service if Cloudflare didn't cut the Daily Stormer off.

Gee, it's almost like the Free Market has decided that if your company takes Nazi money to help literal Nazis further their Nazi cause, then other, non-Nazis might choose to take their business elsewhere.

Isn't this the Libertarian Ideal?

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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49 Responses:

  1. raven says:

    It works great as long as people have an equal option to switch to. Less so when they're the only affordable game in town...

    • MattyJ says:

      Call me crazy, but I'd rather pay a little more for a service than give Nazi supporters my money. I find it hard to believe there's nobody that's near competetive to Cloudflare. But then I don't run any websites, especially ones that would attract a DDoS from some script kiddies. So what do I know.

      • raven says:

        Which is commendable, but not everyone has enough money to do that.

        • jwz says:

          "I don't have enough money to not financially support people calling for literal genocide."

          Yes. Yes you do.

          • John Bigboote says:

            I love internet Libertarians who believe that the Free Market should be somehow _regulated_ to ensure that hate speech should be protected from market pressures.

            It's some weapons-grade irony.

            I'm sure if CloudFlare had shut down Feminist Frequency (or, whatever) that they'd be all like "THE INVISIBLE HAND HAS SPOKEN! ALL HAIL THE INVISIBLE HAND!" [which... I assume there's some kind of invisible hand salute they'd have for this.]

      • Web Guy says:

        That business seems like a natural monopoly, so I don't know if there will even be a plan B in the long run.

        That we accept an unaccountable private company as the de facto mall cop of the internet seems like a far bigger problem than any of fringe groups they piss off.

        The whole enterprise is very law-enforcement-y in nature. A federal bureau of DDOS mitigation would make more sense.

        • phuzz says:

          The internet is more than just the USA, so a 'federal bureau of DDOS mitigation' wouldn't be much use for most sites or users.
          And that's without getting into all the problems with a government agency deciding what kind of sites it will and won't protect.

          • Web Guy says:

            Other countries have already followed the state-cybersecurity route far further than we ever will. It doesn't even have to be an all-or-nothing thing--like post office vs FedEx.

            The thing about a government agency, at least in most western countries, for now, is that the public has some degree of oversight and recourse. Privately held company like cloudflare can do whatever they want, whenever they want, opaquely.

            As for the international aspect, collaborate, just like in every other area of law enforcement.

      • Russell says:

        Call me crazy, but I'd rather pay a little more for a service that does not drop me, or anyone else, for an opinion. Yes even the fuckin nazis.

        "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" --Voltaire

        • MattyJ says:

          This sounds an awful lot like “Stalin made the trains run on time.” Which, by the way, he didn’t. What he did do was send 10s of thousands of people to their deaths to build that railroad, which was no more punctual than any otherr railroad of the day.

          As a society we get to decide what is acceptable. Nazis are not acceptable.

          Your chief misunderstanding about history and life in general is that Nazism is merely ‘an opinion’. It was merely an “opinion” that Jews should be exterminated. A harmless opinion. Sure.

          But that’s okay. At least you have adequate DDoS protection for your shitty blog or whatever it is that’s so important for the world to see. Please send a URL to your ever so important site so I can revel in it’s transcendence.


  2. Cutting people you don't like off the internet works great until you're the one who doesn't control the congress, or the presidency, or the FCC, etc. — not that such a circumstance would ever happen of course, since we know bad people never get control of such institutions.

    It also works great until the people who are unhappy are not unhappy with a Nazi, but rather are unhappy with you and your politics and want you, and not some "bad person", to be thrown off the network.

    I suppose the self-deluded can always imagine that they'll never be the objects of censorship, etc., and that they'll always be the ones doing the censoring. For myself, even though I'm the child of a holocaust survivor and grew up knowing that Nazis had killed a large chunk of my family, I'm happier in a world where no one is going to censor me, and thus, I have to accept that other people that I don't like will also have their ideas visible to the world. As soon as the Nazis actually hurt someone, I will not object to them being arrested.

    Yes, I get that being in favor of free speech, even for people that we don't like makes me a horrible human being, or perhaps even subhuman. You can assume I'll take that as a given. (It's strange to me how everyone is in favor of free speech for those they do like. Odd, eh?)

    • jwz says:

      Put yourself in this hypothetical.

      You own a company, called Floudclare. It is a private, for-profit corporation, not a public utility.

      Today, you have to pick one of the two checkboxes that read,

        Be in business with actual Nazis;
        Do not be in business with actual Nazis.

      In a world full of gray areas, that's pretty fucking charcoal.

      • Kyzer says:

        Matthew Prince doesn't want an in for any group to strong-arm his company into forcing someone else off the Internet:

        ☑ Do not be in business with actual Nazis.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual furries.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual NAMBLA members.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual drug abusers.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual victims of Twitter mobs.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual morally reprehensible people.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual people who oppose the Trump wall.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual people who oppose Trump.
        ☑ Do not be in business with actual Net Neutrality supporters.

        Let's face it, a sanctimonious Twitter brigade should NOT decide who gets to have a presence on the Internet, regardless of whether that hosting and infrastructure is public or private.

        In much the same way that phone companies don't actively listen in on all your calls and hang up the moment they hear someone say "kill the Jews", Matthew Prince wants network neutrality. He doesn't want to know whose websites he's caching, because quite a lot of them are piracy and gambling sites with BIG enemies (the MPAA/RIAA, rival gambling companies). Why waste money on a DDOS against your rival, if the weakest link is Twitter opinion? Just get a mob going, most people on Twitter are the perpetually offended, they'll happily join in and demand the removal of from the Internet because they heard it was racist to a disabled child once.

        • Scott says:

          Except it wasn't a "sanctimonious Twitter brigade" that caused CloudFlare to kick the Daily Stormer off their service.

          It was CloudFlare customers saying they didn't want to be associated with Nazis.

          CloudFlare is not a utility. They don't have to (by law) take any business that comes their way and (more importantly) no other business is forced to give them money.

          How do you prevent people from not giving CloudFlare money for idealogical reasons?

          • Kyzer says:

            It was CloudFlare customers saying they didn't want to be associated with Nazis.

            That's an invented narrative. It was Matthew Prince's own reaction to a PR storm (caused mainly by Twits and other social media users) that caused him to abruptly refuse service to DailyStormer.

            And now he regrets it, and wouldn't do it again - this article is him doing PR to win back customers he lost because he arbitrarily ended services with an existing customer - customers get nervous if they think you might capriciously drop the banhammer on them to appease a baying mob. They look for other suppliers; suppliers who have their backs even if there's a political campaign against them. Do you think EA would use CloudFlare if CloudFlare gave in to an angry Twitter mob complaining that CloudFlare allow EA to spread vile use of microtransactions?

            If CloudFlare customers think they're associated with Nazis, they're fucking morons. Nazis eat food, drink water, live in houses, use heating, register domain names, host websites, cache their websites etc. Did you know your supplier of these things also supplies Nazis? You're clearly associated with Nazis! You'd best join our baying mob and boycott that supplier until we strongarm them into cutting off supply to Untermenschenactual Nazis.

            Or, if you don't join our cause, we'll keep hounding you and screaming to all your friends, customers, etc. that you're a Nazi-enabler and we need to boycott/shun you too!

            How do you prevent people from not giving CloudFlare money for idealogical reasons?

            There's no need to prevent it. People join and leave services all the time. If, through magic, the bulk of CloudFlare's customers chose their caching providers for ideological reasons (hint: they don't), then CloudFlare would be more sympathetic.

            However, most people and companies don't give a flying fuck about your pet political cause and choose companies for cost and quality, and that's about it. If the combined economic power of all Arab states can't force Israel out of existence by boycotting an entire nation's businesses, and all other businesses that trade with it, I don't think a few Twitter rabble-rousers are going to get a caching provider's customers to care about Yankee Nazis.

            • Scott says:

              I don’t get it. If it’s only sanctimonious twitter users, how exactly do they manage to shut down Cloudflare?

              Oh right, they publicize the fact that Cloudflare is voluntarily doing business with literal nazis and then cloudflare’s more sane clients leave.

              (Also, you should go read the letter again. He made the decision because Anglin started saying CF supported the DS and he was worried customers would begin to leave based on that)

            • Scott says:

              I mean: You literally say that boycotting would work and then say that boycotting could never work.

              • Kyzer says:

                Boycotts are a tool of political warfare. A sudden, high-pressure, targeted PR move against an unsuspecting opponent is very effective. That was the Twitter mob vs anyone involved in hosting Daily Stormer - they capitalised on the intensity of outrage created by the Charlottesville demonstrations and murder.

                Where are they now? Oh, that's right. Now that the outrage has dissipated, Nazi rallies aren't in the 24 hour news cycle any more, and people have better things to do with their lives, these terrible websites are both back up and running. The Twits, having ticked their "I participated!" box, feel very happy and no longer have any interest in hounding the DNS registrars, hosts, CAs or caching CDNs of these Nazi websites.

                So no, boycotts don't work, unless you measure victory in minutes. Per my example of the Arabs vs Israelis, boycotts don't work in the long term, especially if your opponent is just as belligerent as you (if not more so).

                • Scott says:

                  Boycotts are the most protected form of speech we have under our current economic and governmental system.

                  That you call them “political warfare” exposes your inner dictator.

                  You’re also completely wrong about their effectiveness.

        • jwz says:

          Your "slippery slope" argument is 100% bullshit.

          Drug abusers do not have literal genocide as one of their core tenets.

    • Micah says:

      That deal only works if you think the people who you're against care about maintaining normative cultural values. If Nazis got in power, they wouldn't give a second thought to shutting down the speech of people they disagreed with. They even say so.

      • Marxists rarely give a second thought to censoring people, or destroying commonly held cultural values, and Marxism killed, roughly, 100 million people in the 20th century. Yet it is so rare that anyone says "I'm cutting off these people who are in favor of destroying society" when it comes to Marxists. Wearing a Che shirt is wearing the image of a man who murdered homosexuals for being gay, and who murdered children for being political subversives, and yet we still let people run around wearing them.

        I wouldn't cut off Marxists or Nazis, because I think the way that we prevent them from coming to power is not by glamorizing or censoring them but by disputing their ideas in public.

        It used to be, until recently, that essentially every liberal in the US agreed with me. Unfortunately, most people have gotten infected by extraordinarily illiberal ideas that originated mostly with, dare I mention it, academic Marxists. It's kind of stunning to me that it is now necessary to defend basic liberal ideas like "it is best to fight bad ideas with good ideas rather than to create a censorship apparatus".

        • Scott says:

          What do you think the death-toll of Capitalism is, since we're engaging in "whataboutism" anyway?

          • So far as I can tell, free markets have brought the bulk of the world's population out of crushing poverty (the default state of mankind) into something like reasonable lives over the last few centuries, and this trend has dramatically accelerated over the last fifty years with the reopening of international trade. This is the first time in human history that poverty has been reduced fairly consistently decade upon decade worldwide.

            There have been exceptions to this rule, mostly places where Marxists have had power for prolonged periods, though there have been notable other failures such as various sorts of regimes composed of religious maniacs (see Iran and the like) and various crosses of populism and fascism (such as Argentina's Peronists).

            Places with free markets have almost always gained in prosperity with time, and generally proportionately to the degree of economic freedom, resulting in marked reductions in poverty, starvation, etc. Even partially free economies beat unfree ones, and the most radically free economies, like Singapore and Hong Kong, have had the greatest reduction in poverty and greatest growth.

            Places with unfree economies have almost always been disasters for poor people, often resulting in mass starvation. Even now, India still sees at least hundreds of thousands of people starving to death every year — a median member of the wealthiest 5% of India's population still, to this day, would improve their standard of living by trading places with someone in the bottom 5% of the US population by income, and the difference is largely one of economic policies. Similarly, the difference in poverty between Mexico and the United States is largely one of economic freedom, resulting in a difference of about 1% per annum in economic growth, which is enough to mean poor people in Chiapas live in huts without running water, and poor people in Louisiana have air conditioners and cars.

            As just one example of this effect, I will point at Venezuela, a country with larger proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and once the wealthiest country in South America. A regime took over there promising people far better results than Capitalism could bring, and it was widely praised by everyone from Sean Penn to Jeremy Corbyn. Today, thanks to years of socialist rule by Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro, all goods are scarce, and people are starving to death in the country on a regular basis.

            By contrast, I will note that China, ever since they abandoned Marxism, has seen massive reductions in hunger, and massive increases in the standard of living of ordinary people. They claim to be communists, of course, but they've largely adopted market capitalism.

            I recognize that many people love to claim that capitalism is evil, but many people also love to claim that there are supernatural beings who created all life and who care deeply about whether we touch our own genitals. The mere fact that an idea is deeply popular does not mean it is even remotely correct.

            JWZ himself seems to be a capitalist for all his complaints about capitalism. Under the Russian regime that gained power in 1917, he would have almost certainly had his property expropriated, and may very well have been shot for the crime of owning a nightclub and having employees. The government would have taken over his establishment and then decided who could play music there on the basis of whether they were considered politically appropriate. Again, it is easy to complain about markets and freedom when one lives in a free country and can express any idea one wants with relative safety, more difficult to live with the actual consequences of censorship, state control of the economy, etc.

            However, in spite of the enormous damage socialism has done to the world over the course of the last century, I would not censor Marxists, even though they are a far more immediate danger than Nazis, even though they have caused millions of deaths, even though they care currently causing deaths in a number of countries, even though their ideas are horrible. I would not do this because, as I've said, I retain what until recently seemed to be the default position of Western liberals, which is that bad ideas should be countered with good ideas.

            If, however, you feel I should be advocating for jailing anti-capitalists rather than simply providing long winded explanations of why they are incorrect, please tell me, and we can discuss when your imprisonment should begin instead.

            • jwz says:

              You still seem to be missing the point that believing "Person X should be allowed to say things" does not imply "I personally should go ahead and be business partners with Person X".

              When someone makes the choice to be business partners with a Nazi, I am going to judge them on that choice. And I will choose to not do business with either of them.

              See? The Market Works!

              If you think what I just said above was "Repeal the First Amendment!", it's not.

              • It's true, nothing prevents private parties from starting to intrusively discriminate against their neighbors for their political beliefs. However, if we erode the norms against that, I suspect that the losers won't be Nazis. To begin with, there just aren't many of them — a few hundred hardcore people of that sort nationwide altogether if we can believe the people who study the matter (and I suspect we can.) Who would the actual losers be? Well, just a few years ago the losers would have been people who advocated for gay rights for example, who were enormously politically unpopular when that idea was first proposed. Such people would have been subject to enormous pressure of this sort if people started deciding, as a matter of business, not to allow unpopular people to use their printing presses, or their telephone lines, or their internet connections, etc.

                Most people who want to erode such norms don't seem to notice that there are a lot of people in the US who might not like them, and that if we end up with everyone deciding to kick out all customers they don't like, the end results might not be congenial for themselves, either.

            • Scott says:

              “So far as I can tell”

              So, read more, maybe?

              Unrestrained, capitalism is quite happy to enslave, impoverish and degrade the people living under it.

              • Free markets are not legally compatible with slavery. On the other hand, Marxist governments ran slave labor gulags with literally millions of prisoners, and that's ignoring the fact that under Marxism, literally everyone is a slave.

                Want to become a writer? Well, not if a government official doesn't decide to allow you to become a writer. Want to write music? If your music is judged politically incorrect, you will not be allowed. Decided you would like to program computers or study mathematics? Well, sadly, a bureaucrat can decide that you will be working on a farm instead.

                As for "impoverishment", what part of the statistics I gave above do you specifically dispute? In capitalist societies, the poor become progressively wealthier with time, not poorer. This has been the case for so long there isn't much room to dispute it. We might contrast that, though, with societies like Venezuela, where with time, the poor have become poorer and poorer, to the point where mass starvation is now in progress.

                Indeed, so far as I can tell, what you describe is what happens in Marxist countries, not in capitalist ones.

                However, if you really hate capitalism, perhaps you should picket in front of JWZ's club. After all, he employs other human beings for wages, owns property, etc. Sounds like capitalism to me. Presumably, by your lights, he's enslaving, impoverishing, and degrading those people. Go forth and let him know how bad a human being he is.

                • Scott says:

                  You might want to read some US history.

                  There was no legal problem at all with free market slavery.

                  • You might want to understand what "freedom" means. If there are people held in legal bondage, it isn't a free market. The fact that the US wasn't a fully free country when it had slaves should be obvious, just as it wasn't fully free when women lacked equal rights under the law. (It still is not fully free, fyi.)

                    Your comment is like claiming that since East Germany called itself a "Democratic Republic" that it was a democracy, and we may therefore conclude that democracy is a form of government under which there are no free elections.

                  • Scott says:

                    So you are willing to call ruthless dictatorships operating in clear violation of Marxist principals “Marxist governments” and attribute all the brutality that occurs under those regimes as a failure of Marxist ideals, but unwilling to admit that slavery happened under capitalism, even though it did, historically and you’re willing to “no true Scotsman” it away?

                    Yeah, I’m done here. You’re not a rational individual

                  • But such ruthless dictatorships were indeed following Marxist principles. I used to be a Marxist, and have read most of his corpus of work. Everything Marx said about how future Communist regimes would work was completely compatible with what happened in Russia and China and elsewhere. He explicitly advocated for violent repression. If you aren't aware of that, you haven't read Marx.

                    Even countries where most of the worst excesses were avoided but the state still took over most industry, like the UK from the 1950s through the late 1970s, ended up miserable and far more poor at the end of the exercise than before.

                    Indeed, every country in which socialism has been tried has become miserable in proportion to how far into socialism it has gone. The more socialism, the more misery. The countries that only lightly flirted with socialism, like Sweden, mostly just had economic stagnation, while the ones that went in whole hog became hellholes.

                    By contrast, every country that has tried freedom has become wealthier and happier, and in proportion to the extent to which it was implemented. China is now vastly better off than it was under Mao. Hong Kong, one of the economically freest places on earth, became vastly wealthier than its colonial masters in London. The fact that the greater the freedom, the better the result, is in itself rather suggestive.

                    Anyway, the claim that "the true socialism hasn't been tried" might or might not be true, but we can again note that:

                    1) Marx ABSOLUTELY called for violence on a massive scale, and anyone denying that his actual words in this regard meant what they said is delusional

                    2) You cannot force people to behave in utterly unnatural ways, like failing to engage in free exchange of goods and services or making their own decisions about how to live their lives, without violence, and claiming that the violence is somehow not a part of the vision is crazy. Capitalism is precisely that condition in which people decide for themselves what they want to make, buy, and sell, and so to impose anything else requires the threat of force. The pretense that this is not the case, that you can be free even in conditions where your every decision is dictated to you, is ludicrous.

                    3) there has been no serious Marxist regime in history without violence, while the more capitalist a country has become, the less violent its society has become, and this has happened over and over so many times that it is hard to believe it is a coincidence

                    4) we can easily see that misery increases as state control of the economy increases, but decreases as it goes down.

        • jwz says:

          Come back when your genocidal Marxists are getting 48% of the popular vote and actually murdering people in U.S. streets on a regular basis and I'll be more concerned about the clear and present danger of some hipster in a Che shirt.

          • jwz says:

            I'd say that in my life I've seen more dumbasses running around in Charles Manson shirts than Che shirts, and yet, unlike Elon Musk, I'm not so worried about serial killers on Muni.

            Oddly enough! All things are not equivalent!

          • There are no Nazis getting popular votes right now. The number of actual Nazis, KKK members, etc. in the US according to the people who track such things is so small they could all probably fit in a hotel ballroom together. If they really were 48% of the electorate, talk of censoring them would be useless as well.

            Hyperbole is not a good way to reason about the world, though it's a common vice to indulge in.

    • Aristotle says:

      That’s not the real problem with cutting Nazis off the internet. It is a problem, but can be counter-argued the way Micah did – by pointing out that Nazis in power won’t care to maintain justice the same way in return –, and there is no very good resolution to that particular conundrum.

      No, the real problem with cutting Nazis off – and especially with other things like punching Nazis in the face – is that after you’ve done that, now what? Those Nazis are still around. And they’re still Nazis. Probably more so than before you reinforced their victim complexes.

      What do people stuck outside of mainstream society do? They flock together. So the Nazis create their own Nazi infrastructure, as you can see happening with Nazi alternatives to Twitter and Reddit etc already created upon even the hint of threat of a crackdown. These will likely be slow(ish) to get off the ground, because the Nazis will lack experience to operate infrastructure, and they’ll be dependent on other infrastructure operated by non-Nazis who’ll want nothing to do with them. But time and numbers solve both of these problems. And with mass and autonomy then comes power.

      Now what?

      Kill them?

      (Well… I suppose WW2 was in fact the “kill them” option. As was the civil war, actually… in the case of another “there’s a class of sub-humans” ideology. Huh. So I guess historical precedent says get ready to shoot at them sometime not too far off… ugh. That’s not where I thought I was going with this when I started writing.)

  3. Michael Sternberg says:

    At issue here is that free speech must include allowing speech that one does not like. The only defense against such speech is counter-speech.

    When speech is being censored or speakers being "de-platformed" as is the current fashion on campuses, speech is no longer free, and someone has to decide what is and is not acceptable. Who would you want the Decider to be? Your internet provider? Their other business customers, Twitter mobs? The current or the next government? Always keep in mind that whichever office you nominate could someday be held by someone whose values much diverged from yours and they will cut off speech that you think should be heard.

    Allow me to recommend one of the best arguments along these lines, the video Christopher Hitchens on Free Speech (20-minutes).

    Under the current net neutrality consensus still embraced by the public (yet no longer by the FCC) surely Nazi content should not be banned by an ISP. You may say that Cloudflare is not an ISP, but would it be far fetched to imagine that in the near future any major publishing entity might require an anti-DDOS service to protect against Twitter mobs or bad actors? That brings such services on a level very similar to that of an ISP, and it would be hard to argue that neutrality rules should apply to ISPs, but not to supporting services.

    • jwz says:

      At issue here is that free speech must include allowing speech that one does not like.

      If Cloudflare, a for-profit private corporation, is so important to the public sphere that they get to play the "free speech" card, then they are too important to be an unregulated for-profit private corporation. Nationalize them and make them a public utility. Give them as little choice over who their customers are or what their service area is or what their profit margins are as formerly-private, now-essentially-nationalized highly regulated utilities like PG&E.

      You can't have it both ways. Either they are an essential part of the societal commons, in which case they have to act like Government, or they are mere venal profit-seekers, chasing money wherever they choose, who don't get to play the "free speech" card when justifying who they decide to partner with.

      Let me remind you that unlike most of you, this is not a theoretical issue for me. I own a nightclub. Sometimes, people come to me and want to rent the hall. Sometimes those people are literal Nazis. Or sometimes the free speech they'd like to exercise is singing songs about lynching homosexuals.

      I tell those people to get lost. I don't owe them a microphone. I don't owe them a pulpit. I don't owe them a debate. And I don't choose to make my money by giving them a platform.

      It's blood money.

      • Kyzer says:

        Either they are an essential part of the societal commons, in which case they have to act like Government, or they are mere venal profit-seekers,

        Or the third way, they are private companies that adhere to regulation made by government in the public interest.

        Grocers are totally for-profit, but are required by law not to poison their produce, even if they know a Nazi is going to eat them.

        Network companies can be totally for-profit, and yet be required not to discriminate their network traffic by political ideology. They should only cut their customers off if a court orders it, or they stop paying their bill. They shouldn't cut their customers off because a Twitter mob is baying for blood.

        • Scott says:

          This is tantamount to saying they are required to do business with anyone willing to write a check.

          Grocers are not required to allow nazis in their store. I am not required to allow you on my network. JWZ is not required to allow nazis on his stage.

          Freedom of association is a real thing, political affiliation is not a protected class and what you are suggesting is unconstitutional in the extreme.

          • Kyzer says:

            Agreed, businesses generally are allowed to pick and choose their customers. However, when they are network companies and handle an enormous portion of the internet (be that domain registration, hosting, CDNs, etc), they become a juicy target for censoring shitbags. I don't want censoring shitbags to get their way. I think that legal network traffic shouldn't be censored, and I condemn mobs of people trying to bully network companies into pulling plugs. In their zeal to attack their political opponents, the fucking fools don't see that they set up a precedent for others to do exactly the same to them.

            I doubt you'd be happy if, for example, Comcast, Verizon and Time-Warner decided today that nobody in the US should be allowed to view "left-leaning media" or all Democratic Party affiliated websites, etc.

            Private companies can do what they want, right? It's not their fault the only other ISPs in your area are limited to dialup.

            Politics not a protected class, right?

            Have a read of what the EFF have to say before you applauding censorship just because it's directed at Nazis. I have no like of Nazis or their ideology, but I am very concerned when group X gets the ability to censor group Y on the Internet. Even if I don't like group Y.

            I'm not against you if you oppose Nazis. But, how about you go about opposing Nazis without normalizing Nazi tactics in the fight against them?

            • Scott says:

              You cannot tell a business that they have to take on a customer they find destable.

              I don’t care if you think that’s a bad idea or not. I don’t care if you think you’ve somehow “solved” this thing. What you are advocating is in direct contravention of the first amendment and my right to freely associate.

              Additionally, Cloudflare is not an isp, so they do not get protection/have requirements under title 2. Thanks to our shitbag president, even isps won’t have that restriction soon.

              So they’ll be able to stop passing traffic for damn near any reason they want.

              Also, those “censoring shitbags” are simply citizens exercising their first amendment rights. Why do you want to suppress their freedom?

              It’s almost as if you have no idea how the constitution works.

              • Kyzer says:

                You cannot tell a business that they have to take on a customer they find destable.

                Yes, you can: State of Washington v. Arlene's Flowers

                But this topic isn't even about new customers, it's about existing ones, and can a Twitter mob attack part of a site's network setup in order to achieve the goal of silencing its speech?

                CloudFlare did the wrong thing, let the bullies win, and now they're on a charm offensive to assure customers they won't drop them when the bullies come back for their next victim.

                Additionally, Cloudflare is not an isp, so they do not get protection/have requirements under title 2

                I'm thinking they should. Why not you?

                Also, those “censoring shitbags” are simply citizens exercising their first amendment rights.

                So are Citizens United. I'm still going to call those people shitbags, and I'm still going to call a Twitter mob trying to take sites offline (whether they be nazis, paedophiles or bronies) censoring shitbags.

                • Scott says:

                  Protected class. Politics is not a protected class. Say it with me. Politics is not a protected class.

                  And don’t even bother to explain how you can write a law that prevents someone from firing a customer without it also applying to new customers. It’s oretty clear by now that your grasp on constitutional law is terrible.

                  And again. It’s not the mob that causes the problem, it’s the OTHER CUSTOMERS.

                  I’m sorry you don’t want to allow those “shitbags” their freedom of speech, just so you can protect some literal nazis.

                  You’re quite literally throwing out the thing you are trying to protect in an effort to shield a single business from their own bad decision.

    • Elusis says:

      If only there were some kind of sensible counter-argument to the idea that in order to protect liberty, everything must be allowed, including speech and actions that directly undermine liberty and deny it to others.

      • Michael Sternberg says:

        Thank you for pointing this out – I did not know about Popper's Paradox of Tolerance. Frustratingly, neither Popper nor his successors had much of a solution to offer.

        As with free speech, who is to decide which person or group are the intolerant parasites to reject? Keep in mind that most religions are deeply and inherently intolerant of outsiders and merely mask that to varying degree. They will suppress outsiders once in power or once no longer shamed by society for such efforts. See the current slew of "religious freedom" lawsuits here in the US, incl. Masterpiece Cakeshop versus Colorado Civil Rights Commission, currently before SCOTUS.

        • Elusis says:

          The imperfect, humanistic way to deal with Popper's Paradox, AFAICT, is "don't give safe harbor to speech that is trying to deprive others of their basic human rights." So when Milo, who is known to out trans students and has declared he will out undocumented students, wants to come to your campus and speak, don't give him a platform. When Techbro Chad wants to use company networks to speculate about how women are unqualified to be his coworkers, fire him. When Nazis pull their "Jew conspiracy, lynch black people" bullshit, eject them with great prejudice. The marketplace of ideas cannot survive people whose idea of participation in it is to run through it with a torch setting fire to the stalls and shooting people as they flee.

  4. The seemingly throwaway bit at the bottom is also a timely reminder that if one is feeling charitable and wishes to engage in some healthy philanthropy, there are literally tens of thousands of choices superior to the ACLU's Bitcoin division.

  5. bibulb says:

    Yeah, I'm shedding tears for the company that doxed people who reported existing child porn hosted by CF clients.

    Because Frozen Peaches.

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