Cloudflare Says Its Online Security Services Won’t Be Canceled Based on a Site’s Ideology
Posted by Cloudflare yesterday; I think this is the right decision, in part for reasons I sketch in my Reverse Spiderman Principle article (and see also this Twitter thread from Daphne Keller (Stanford)):
Giving everyone the ability to sign up for our services online also reflects our view that cyberattacks not only should not be used for silencing vulnerable groups, but are not the appropriate mechanism for addressing problematic content online. We believe cyberattacks, in any form, should be relegated to the dustbin of history.
The decision to provide security tools so widely has meant that we’ve had to think carefully about when, or if, we ever terminate access to those services. We recognized that we needed to think through what the effect of a termination would be, and whether there was any way to set standards that could be applied in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory way, consistent with human rights principles.
This is true not just for the content where a complaint may be filed but also for the precedent the takedown sets. Our conclusion — informed by all of the many conversations we have had and the thoughtful discussion in the broader community — is that voluntarily terminating access to services that protect against cyberattack is not the correct approach.
Avoiding Abuse of Power
Some argue that we should terminate these services to content we find reprehensible so that others can launch attacks to knock it offline. That is the equivalent argument in the physical world that the fire department shouldn’t respond to fires in the homes of people who do not possess sufficient moral character. Both in the physical world and online, that is a dangerous precedent, and one that is over the long term most likely to disproportionately harm vulnerable and marginalized communities.
Article from Reason.com