Wednesday's HOT MIC

Wednesday's HOT MIC

Steve, this gal from BuzzFeed might not find a willing partner in Cloudflare if she marches over there demanding that objectionable accounts be shut down. The content distribution network company has been pretty vocal about their policy of not censoring content. Anonymous has criticized them in the past for providing services to ISIS-sponsored sites. Cloudflare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince explained the company's policy in 2015:

Prince told us hosting any content on his network is not an endorsement – there are millions of pages cached in his company's servers. And he said it was a bit rich for Anonymous to be pressuring CloudFlare to drop websites.

"I did see a Twitter handle said that they were mad at us," Prince told The Register on Tuesday. "I'd suggest this was armchair analysis by kids – it's hard to take seriously. Anonymous uses us for some of its sites, despite pressure from some quarters for us to take Anonymous sites offline."

If the cops or Feds come to San Francisco-based CloudFlare about one of its customers, and they have all the proper legal documentation to take down a site, then the Silicon Valley upstart is happy to cooperate, Prince said.

But more often than not, investigators want him to keep sites up rather than take them down. Read into that what you will.

"Even if we were hosting sites for ISIS, it wouldn't be of any use to us," he continued. "I should imagine those kinds of people pay with stolen credit cards and so that's a negative for us."

With more than four million customers, it's inevitable that some clients may be dodgy, he said. On whether a website should be allowed onto his cloud platform, he said he'd rather take advice from the police or the US State Department (which is also a customer) than from some faceless Twitter user.

It's not in CloudFlare's philosophy to just take down sites because management doesn't agree with the content, Prince said. Some hosting companies exercise tight control about what can be served, but his firm doesn't want that kind of power.

He cited a personal case from a few years back, after a hacker used stolen information about Prince to access his tax files and posted the details on a CloudFlare-hosted site. Prince says he didn't take the site down, although the US authorities did shortly afterwards since the hacker had also posted personal data from Michelle Obama and the head of the FBI.

Of course, that was 2015 and this is 2017. Funny things happen to free speech advocates when the SJW rage machine gets fired up and takes aim at them. They'll defend free speech for ISIS and Anonymous, but for 4chan? That might be a bridge too far.