Champions Of Net Neutrality Ban Far-Right Website The Daily Stormer

Chris Menahan
Aug. 16, 2017

Net Neutrality advocates Google, GoDaddy and Cloudflare have banned the far-right website The Daily Stormer from using their services.

Google and GoDaddy dropped the site from their DNS services earlier this week and Cloudflare has dropped them from their DDoS protection services.

Under current FCC rules (47 CFR 8.5), "A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content..."

The domain name appears to be in limbo with Google controlling it and was seized and shut down as well as

For all intents and purposes, the site has pretty much been banned from the internet. The catalyst was an offensive article written in the wake of the events in Charlottesville which mocked Heather Heyer's death.

While deeply offensive, such words are not illegal. Net Neutrality, which all these companies championed and signed onto, says lawful content should not be blocked, and yet this is lawful content which is being blocked.

The liberal website noted why this is so dangerous in an article, "The One Big Problem With Godaddy Dropping The Daily Stormer":
[S]ome of the internet advocates who opposed SOPA find themselves conflicted to see that same punishment applied in a different context.

“I’m torn here,” says Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University and a director of its High Tech Law Institute. He supports the right of companies such as GoDaddy and Google to exercise discretion as to the content they host on their servers. But he points out that GoDaddy wasn’t actually hosting the Daily Stormer’s files; it merely served as the site’s domain registrar, directing internet traffic toward it. “The domain hosting is a relatively rarely focused-on chokepoint” for political pressure, Goldman told me. “Turning on or off content at that level is much deeper into the infrastructure layer than we’re used to seeing.”

Nate Cardozo, staff attorney for the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, expressed similar concerns to the Verge’s Russell Brandom: “We feel that the infrastructure that serves up the internet must remain neutral. It’s pipes versus houses.”

[...]Goldman, the Santa Clara law professor, told me domain hosts such as GoDaddy and Google Domains are well-protected by the law when it comes to providing or denying service to any given client. But he takes issue with the way they seemed to use their terms of service as a cover for what was at root a business decision. Indeed, it’s hard to see how the Daily Stormer’s article mocking the Charlottesville victim crossed a line that the explicitly racist and anti-Semitic site—which was read by Charleston, South Carolina, mass killer Dylann Roof—hadn’t crossed many times before. What changed was the degree of public pressure on domain hosts to take action. Because domain hosts have such power over the structure of the web, Goldman says, “We assume they’ll exercise that discretion in the best interest of society. If they’re really just going to exercise it in the best interest of their profits, we should be worried about what we’re going to lose.”

[...]Those back-end service providers may look like attractive targets for progressive activists today, when they hold the power to exile a noxious and violent white supremacist group to the web’s shadows with the flick of a switch. And perhaps this will all end well if it leads to a sustained campaign to get web infrastructure providers to enforce their terms of service more consistently—that is, if it reinforces rather than removes the high bar for taking action against blatant offenders. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that concentrating editorial discretion in these companies’ hands is a gambit that will eventually backfire.
Conservative site PJMedia wrote similar in an article, "The Slippery Slope of Internet Blacklisting":
Where could all this lead? What's to stop GoDaddy (which is the domain name registrar for PJM, by the way) from deciding to stop providing services to other sites that the mob decides shouldn't exist? Daily Stormer is among the most extreme examples, but don't be fooled. The same people who are screaming loudest that the site shouldn't be allowed to exist would do the same to PJM or any other conservative site in a heartbeat. In a day when the terms "racist" and "hate speech" have been redefined to include basically anything that the left disagrees with, conservatives could easily find themselves in the crosshairs. (In fact, a writer at Vox suggests that "racist, homophobic chants" are not even protected by the First Amendment, contra a myriad of court decisions.) It's just a short jump from saying that vile, debauched sites like Daily Stormer should be banned to insisting that all "hate speech" (defined by the left) should be erased from the Internet. This is nothing new. Conservative YouTubers have been demonetized in recent months and even the mild-mannered Dennis Prager has had his videos restricted from the platform. And now, with the firing of a Google employee for voicing verboten conservative opinions, it's obvious that the threat is real. Increased and even widespread censorship and blacklisting of other conservative sites could be imminent.

One could argue that these privately owned companies have a right to discriminate and refuse service to certain clients with whom they don't want to do business. It's what many of us have argued in the cases of bakers and photographers who don't want to participate in gay weddings. Beyond the religious liberty argument, the case can be made that anti-discrimination laws violate such basic tenets of our founding principles as the right to free speech and the freedom of association. And therein lies the conflict. In a free market (one that's free from government intrusion), a private company should be permitted to choose the individuals or companies with whom they do business. First Amendment rights pertain to government censorship of free speech, not to private transactions and communications. This all gets convoluted when government entities get in between individuals and their customers, using the jackboot of government to regulate speech and force individuals to comply with an ever increasing array of speech codes and acceptable behavior mores.

Ken White, who writes at Popehat, told Ars Technica that even though Daily Stormer is a "sewer of humanity" that "advocates for killing people in general," GoDaddy's decision to drop them is "not actionable incitement under the law." He added that "GoDaddy, of course, can kick Nazis off its platform as it likes."

But Milton Mueller, a public policy professor at Georgia Tech, warns that GoDaddy has set a dangerous precedent. "As much as I hate the Daily Stormer and I think this attack on this murdered person is disgusting, the idea that you go after the domain to shut them down makes me uneasy," Mueller told Ars Technica. "It seems to be essentially a de facto form of hate-speech regulation."
This blacklisting and banning is only going to expand. According to the modern left, everyone to the right of Karl Marx is a "Nazi" who deserved to be "punched."

Free speech 101 is you defend the rights of those you disagree with, yet former CNN host Piers Morgan is actually calling for the 1st amendment to be "amended again" "to ban Nazis."

Illinois has similarly passed a measure to designate "Neo-Nazi groups" as domestic terrorists.

As Glenn Greenwald (who is also now being called a "Nazi" for supporting free speech rights) noted, this is another crisis being exploited by the political class to curtail Americans' rights.

Any law passed to censor "Nazis" can be used to censor whoever those controlling the state deem to be their enemy.

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