This piece was originally published at AVNation.tv September 7, 2017. I have updated it to reflect my personal opinions.
Bradford September 18, 2020
During the week of August 25, 2017 Dreamhost, a hosting company, was under a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The attack resulted in basically everything AVNation.tv and my domains not working. In total I had about 45 domains and subdomains that were non functioning. I was also in China on a business trip.
The reasons for this attack has not been formally announced nor has anyone taken responsibility for the attack. There are two likely causes. Dreamhost had been in the news for two stories during that week; the first was telling the US Department of Justice that it would not supply IP addresses of who visited a site. The second reason was that “The Daily Stormer” used the automated registration process to start a new site, “Punished Stormer” after being denied hosting by other companies. For those that are not familiar, these sites are aimed toward spreading hate speech.
I indicated these reasons to AVNation and that I did not plan on changing hosting or DNS (Domain Name Server) services. There were practical reasons, but more importantly I support the decisions that Dreamhost made. I explained to AVNation that if the business risk was too high I would start changing once I got back to the United States. I would not be changing my personal hosting as I believe the issues causing the problems are important. Yes, there was no debate within AVNation that it was the right thing to do.
The first reason I decided that three years ago was a federal judge signed a search warrant against DreamHost. The Department of Justice (DoJ) was looking for information sought by federal prosecutors investigating the disturbances that occurred in Washington, D.C. during President Trump’s inauguration. The DoJ wanted the IP address of anyone who had visited the website http://www.disruptj20.org/. If you looked at the website the government wanted to know. I liken the situation to looking at the cover of a book or magazine, not peruse or purchase, the government wanted to know that you looked at it. Librarians for years have been fighting this issue, http://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/oif. The government knowing what you are reading is not appropriate in my opinion. Dreamhost’s account of the situation can be found here https://www.dreamhost.com/blog/we-fight-for-the-users/ as well as EFF https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/08/j20-investigation-doj-overreaches-again-and-gets-taken-court-again.
The Daily Stormer being denied service by Dreamhost and others is not a 1st Amendment issue. The government did not make a law banning the Daily Stormer; multiple hosting companies, GoDaddy, Cloudflare, and Google to name a few, did not want to host them. The Daily Stormer had quietly registered the new domain, Punished Stormer, using an online signup form. IOnce Dreamhost became aware of the domain they terminated the website. “Unfortunately, determined internet vigilantes weren’t willing to wait for us to take that action,” DreamHost said in a statement to Ars Technica. “They instead launched a DDoS attack against all of DreamHost. We were ultimately able to declaw that attack, but the end result was that most of our customers experienced intermittent connectivity issues to their sites today.”
I believe that The Daily Stormer has the right to free speech as well. The government is not censoring them. The companies refusing to host or support a website under their terms of service is mostly legal. [Yes, discrimination is not legal.] If it becomes Hate Speech and inciting violence it is no longer free speech. [Yes, also a slippery slope.]
I am supporting my beliefs even if it means an occasional problem, not all financial decisions are made solely by dollars.
September 20, 2020