Cloudflare defends providing security services to transport website Kiwi Farms | Technology

Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare has indicated it will continue to provide services to a notorious trolling website that harasses and misleads trans people, admitting it regrets taking action against other sites in the past.

Cloudflare, which protects websites from distributed denial-of-service attacks, has been under pressure to stop protecting Kiwi Farms, a community forum website that frequently targets trans people online, including by repeated publication of your personal information.

More recently, members of the forum have targeted Clara Sorrenti, a Canadian Twitch streamer and trans activist whose personal information has been repeatedly posted on the site. Sorrenti has also been crushed, where people trick emergency services into calling a person’s home.

Kiwi Farms is blocked in New Zealand for hosting the Christchurch terror video, and had been blocked in Australia for the same reason: the Australian block was lifted once the site stopped hosting the video.

Guidance from Sorrenti, as well as from other gender-diverse individuals online, led to a campaign to have Cloudflare, and the website host Fibrehub, stop providing services to Kiwi Farms.

In a blog post on Wednesday, which did not mention Kiwi Farms or the campaign itself, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince and its vice president of public policy Alissa Starzak said the company regretted taking similar action against the extreme right. websites 8chan and Daily Stormer in 2019 and 2017, saying there was then a “deeply worrying” response from authoritarian regimes calling on Cloudflare to take similar action against human rights websites.

The pair argued that Cloudflare, which claims to serve 20% of the internet, should be treated as a utility and should not be asked to take a stand by denying services to websites they personally find abhorrent.

“Just as the phone company won’t cut your line if you say horrible, racist or bigoted things, we have concluded in consultation with politicians, legislators and experts that turning off the security services because we believe what you post is despicable is wrong policy. ,” they said. “To be clear, just because we’ve done it before in a limited set of cases doesn’t mean we were right when we did it. Or that we ever will.”

The couple justified their stance by saying that in one case, where they provided DDoS protection services to an anti-LGBTIQ+ website, they donated 100% of the fees earned to an organization fighting for LGBTIQ+ rights.

“We do not and will not speak about these efforts publicly because we are not doing them for marketing purposes; we do them because they are in line with what we believe to be morally right,” the executives said.

The pair also pointed to the company’s terms of use, which include Cloudflare’s right to terminate service to a site that contains “content that discloses sensitive personal information, incites or exploits violence against people or animals, or seeks to defraud the public.” “. .

The post did not specifically address how Kiwi Farms users cheating people did not violate these terms. Cloudflare had not responded to questions from Guardian Australia at the time of publication.

Cloudflare’s stance is commonplace among tech companies, which have been reluctant to act as content moderators. The company’s position is similar to that of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter before they began to step up their moderation activities in response to the rise of the far right and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organizers of the campaign against Kiwi Farms responded to the post by saying that by trying to take a neutral position, Cloudflare was actually taking a stand.

“There is no such thing as a morally neutral policy…they made a decision based on their own personal ethics and it is one that allows them to run away from making another ethical decision,” organizers said.

“Cloudflare’s response to mounting pressure on them to discontinue their relationship with far-right harassment forum Kiwi Farms is inadequate, inconsistent and an abdication of moral responsibility.”

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