Covert support for ISIS : CloudFlare refuses to block service to pro-ISIS websites
While the online hacktivist group Anonymous have been fighting tooth and nail to bring down ISIS and its affiliated websites, the worlds leading content delivery network, CloudFlare seems to be safeguarding these website behind their CDN.
This was brought to notice by Anonymous member, GhostSec who said “by far the largest offender” was CloudFlare along with Google, Yahoo! and GoDaddy. GhostSec said that the Anonymous had compiled a list of websites and their hosts and found that most of the ISIS websites hid behind the CloudFlare curtain making it difficult for Anonymous to bring them down.
Speaking with IBTimes UK, co-founder and CEO of CloudFlare, Matthew Prince, said that his company would not be blocking its service to websites listed, as it would mean submitting to “mob rule”.
“Individuals have decided that there is content they disagree with but the right way to deal with this is to follow the established law enforcement procedures. There is no society on Earth that tolerates mob rule because the mob is fickle,” Prince said.
CloudFlare’s justification is simple, it says, it itself host the content of the websites, meaning blocking its service would not actually make the content go away. The service instead protects sites from malicious traffic and cyber threats, meaning without it websites would be more vulnerable to attacks from Anonymous.
“We’re the plumbers of the internet,” Prince said. “We make the pipes work but it’s not right for us to inspect what is or isn’t going through the pipes. If companies like ours or ISPs (internet service providers) start censoring there would be an uproar. It would lead us down a path of internet censors and controls akin to a country like China.”
Other hosting companies have started removing the ISIS and its affiliated sites including UK-based Web Hosting UK (WHUK) after Anonymous had published the list of websites.
Frank Tighe, CTO of WHUK’s parent company Hyperslice, has said that pro-Isis content breaches WHUK’s terms of service – which states that content must not contain any material that is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory.
“We take matters like this very seriously and actively remove websites such as this, that breach our acceptable use policy as soon as we are made aware of them.”
“Whilst we try to ensure that all our customers adhere to our acceptable use policy at all times, we host hundreds of thousands of websites and logistically speaking it’s extremely difficult for us to keep track of the content of all of them all of the time.”