from the thugs-and-their-thug-accomplices dept.
We've had multiple submissions on the confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia between white supremacists and counter-protesters. We lead off with a submission about the altercation which culminated with a car driven into a crowd which left 1 person dead and 19 injured. Then we continue with GoDaddy informing dailystormer.com — a white supremacist web site which called for the rally — that they had 24 hours to find another registrar for their site. They signed up with Google's domain registration service. Now there are reports that Google, too, has dropped the registration.
This story could very well cause a lot of heat, but it is my hope we can look beyond the details of this particular situation and focus discussion on the overriding questions of freedom of speech/publication raised by one of the submitters and the implications it may lead to. This saying comes to mind: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
Terrorism in Charlottesville: 1 Dead, 19 Injured
Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville, Virginia
At about 10 a.m. [August 12], at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.
Standing nearby, an assortment of Virginia State Police troopers and Charlottesville police wearing protective gear watched silently from behind an array of metal barricades--and did nothing.
[...] the white supremacists who flooded into the city's Emancipation Park--a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee sits in the center of the park--had spent months openly planning for war. The Daily Stormer, a popular neo-Nazi website, encouraged rally attendees to bring shields, pepper spray, and fascist flags and flagpoles. A prominent racist podcast told its listeners to come carrying guns.
[...] the white supremacists who showed up in Charlottesville did indeed come prepared for violence. Many wore helmets and carried clubs, medieval-looking round wooden shields, and rectangular plexiglass shields, similar to those used by riot police.
[...] The police did little to stop the bloodshed. Several times, a group of assault-rifle-toting militia members from New York State, wearing body armor and desert camo, played a more active role in breaking up fights.
[...] The skirmishes culminated in what appears to have been an act of domestic terrorism, with a driver ramming his car into a crowd of anti-racist activists on a busy downtown street, killing one and injuring 19 according to the latest information from city officials. Charlottesville authorities tonight reported that a 20-year-old Ohio man had been arrested and had been charged with murder.
[...] A good strategy, [said Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor who has worked on police reform efforts in Los Angeles], is to make clashes less likely by separating the two sides physically, with officers forming a barrier between them. "Create a human barrier so the flash points are reduced as quickly as possible."
GoDaddy Stomps 'Daily Stormer' -- Site Moves to Google
The Washington Post reports GoDaddy bans neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer for disparaging woman killed at Charlottesville rally:
After months of criticism that GoDaddy was providing a platform for hate speech, the Web hosting company announced late Sunday that it will no longer house the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that promotes white supremacist and white nationalist ideas.
[...] We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service.
— GoDaddy (@GoDaddy) August 14, 2017
[...] In the Daily Stormer post, [Andrew] Angelin characterized [victim Heather] Heyer as dying in a "road rage incident." He said she was a "drain on society" and disparaged her appearance. "Most people are glad she is dead," he wrote.
"@GoDaddy you host The Daily Stormer — they posted this on their site," Twitter user Amy Siskind said in an appeal to the Web hosting company. "Please retweet if you think this hate should be taken down & banned."
[...] GoDaddy has previously said that the content, however "tasteless" and "ignorant," is protected by the First Amendment. The company told the Daily Beast in July that a Daily Stormer article threatening to "track down" the family members of CNN staffers did not violate Domains by Proxy's terms of service.
After the incidents in Charlottesville it seems GoDaddy have decided, one can gather from and after a massive amount of pressure, to no longer provide Domain name access to the Daily Stormer. While a private company is free to do whatever they like, I wonder if there will or might be further implications. I think the interesting question here isn't what happened in Charlottesville or what kind of stories they provide over at the Daily Stormer -- they might be or are a complete shitfest filled with neo-nazi-news for all I know. The interesting aspect is if companies should now monitor their customers, which it seems the Daily Stormer has been one for years, and ban or block customers that no longer align with company beliefs or that other customers find offensive. It seems the Daily Stormer has previously posted "tasteless" and "ignorant" stories that one can only assume have not aligned with GoDaddy policy or Terms of Service, but this one was somehow over the line and the straw that broke the camel's back?
I'm fairly sure the Daily Stormer won't be knocked offline or anything, there will always be someone willing to host them somewhere. So today they try to knock a neo-nazi site offline, I doubt many people will lose any sleep over that, but who is going to be next? Is this part of the ramping up of the current online-twitter-socialweb-culture? Is there a slippery slope here?
Google Domains, GoDaddy blacklist white supremacist site Daily Stormer
Ars Technica is reporting that Google Domains and GoDaddy have blacklisted white supremacist site Daily Stormer:
The article prompted a response from the site's domain registrar, GoDaddy. "We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," GoDaddy wrote in a tweet late Sunday night.
On Monday, the Daily Stormer switched its registration to Google's domain service. Within hours, Google announced a cancellation of its own. "We are cancelling Daily Stormer's registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service," the company wrote in an statement emailed to Ars.
[...] A lot of outlets covering this controversy described GoDaddy, somewhat misleadingly, as the Daily Stormer's hosting provider. But GoDaddy wasn't storing or distributing the content on the Daily Stormer website. It was the Daily Stormer's registrar, which is the company that handles registration of "dailystormer.com" in the domain name system, the global database that connects domain names like "arstechnica.com" to numeric IP addresses.
GoDaddy has faced pressure for months from anti-racist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League to drop the Daily Stormer as a customer. But until this weekend, GoDaddy resisted that pressure.
"GoDaddy doesn't host The Daily Stormer's content on its servers," the investigative site Reveal reported in May. "Because it provides only the domain name, the company says it has a higher standard for terminating service."
"We need to evaluate what level of effect we can actually have on the abuse that's actually going on," said Ben Butler, director of GoDaddy's digital crimes unit, in a May interview with Reveal. "As a domain name registrar, if we take the domain name down, that domain name stops working. But the content is still out there, live on a server connected to the Internet that can be reached via an IP address or forwarded from another domain name. The actual content is not something we can touch by turning on or off the domain name service."
But GoDaddy abruptly changed its stance on Sunday evening. What changed GoDaddy's mind? In a statement to Techcrunch, GoDaddy said: "given this latest article comes on the immediate heels of a violent act, we believe this type of article could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service."
Reading GoDaddy's terms of service, this seems to support their stance that they could suspend the domain registration:
9. RESTRICTION OF SERVICES; RIGHT OF REFUSAL
[...] You agree that GoDaddy, in its sole discretion and without liability to you, may refuse to accept the registration of any domain name. GoDaddy also may in its sole discretion and without liability to you delete the registration of any domain name during the first thirty (30) days after registration has taken place. GoDaddy may also cancel the registration of a domain name, after thirty (30) days, if that name is being used, as determined by GoDaddy in its sole discretion, in association with spam or morally objectionable activities. Morally objectionable activities will include, but not be limited to:
- Activities prohibited by the laws of the United States and/or foreign territories in which you conduct business;
- Activities designed to encourage unlawful behavior by others, such as hate crimes, terrorism and child pornography; and
- Activities designed to harm or use unethically minors in any way.
As of the time of this being written, it appears that the Daily Stormer domain (dailystormer.com) is still being hosted by Google:
Domain Name: dailystormer.com
Registry Domain ID: 1787753602_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.google.com
Registrar URL: https://domains.google.com
Updated Date: 2017-08-14T14:51:45Z
Creation Date: 2013-03-20T22:43:18Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2020-03-20T22:43:18Z
Registrar: Google Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 895
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8772376466
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited