The Guardian reported on upheavals in the ongoing fight against the Kavkaz Center which does not abate in the information space and now affected a well-known American company that provides security services against DDoS attacks. In an article entitled "CloudFlare on censorship: 'A website is speech. It is not a bomb'," the newspaper writes:
"Content delivery network's chief executive responds angrily
to questions about whether it is 'terrorists' little helper' for refusing to
drop Chechen website.
The Kavkaz Center website is at the centre of the row over
Internet firm CloudFlare has hit back at a technology news site
over suggestions that by providing its content delivery network (CDN) services
to Chechen news site Kavkaz Center, it is supporting terrorism.
CloudFlare was contacted with questions about its policies by
journalist James Cook from The Kernel, and chief executive Matthew Prince chose
to reply with a sharply-worded blog post on its own site declaring its
commitment to free speech.
(According to an article, published on a rival website, Pando Daily, "Cook's inflammatory questions included: Do you support campaigns of murder and terror waged [by some controversial group]? If not, why would you allow such hateful material to be protected by your services?" - KC.
"One of the greatest strengths of the United States is a
belief that speech, particularly political speech, is sacred. A website, of
course, is nothing but speech", wrote Prince, who returned to the theme
later in his post.
"A website is speech. It is not a bomb. There is no imminent
danger it creates and no provider has an affirmative obligation to monitor and
make determinations about the theoretically harmful nature of speech a site may
Cook's piece is due to be published today as part of The Kernel's
relaunch after folding earlier in the year, but as its US rival PandoDaily has
noticed, the text is already available by viewing the source code of its
"Coming Soon" page.
The article - titled CloudFlare, Terrorists' Little Helper? -
makes allegations about the operators and members of the Kavkaz Center site,
and claims that it is "kept online" by CloudFlare in part through its
use of the company's services "to protect against the frequent DDoS attacks
That's something Prince accepted in his blog post: "Removing
this, or any other site, from our network wouldn't remove the content from the
Internet: it would simply slow its performance and make it more vulnerable to
attack," he wrote.
"As we have blogged about before, we often find ourselves on
opposite sides of political conflicts. Fundamentally, we are consistent in the
fact that our political beliefs will not color who we allow to be fast and safe
on the web".
His comments have in turn been incorporated into the article -
"Obviously his squeamishness about poking his nose where he shouldn't
doesn't apply to journalism about CloudFlare," retorts Cook - providing a
timely row to fuel the website's relaunch.
The issue is completely separate to the privacy debate fuelled by
the recent NSA revelations, but both highlight the fact that companies like
CloudFlare are likely to face growing scrutiny about their policies relating to
customers and the data flowing through their networks.
In his blog post, Prince maintained that CDNs like CloudFlare
should not be expected to take responsibility for cutting customers off until
ordered to by a court.
"If we were to receive a valid court order that compelled us
to not provide service to a customer then we would comply with that court order",
"We have never received a request to terminate the site in
question from any law enforcement authority, let alone a valid order from a
Department of Monitoring