Following weekend events in El Paso, Texas, CDN Cloudflare stopped supporting 8chan, the platform where the actor uploaded his manifesto.
In one statement, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince cites "breaking the law" as the primary reason for terminating the service, a word often used to describe the activities of pirate websites also supported by Cloudflare.
This is another devastating attack on innocent victims, which froze the world with its announcement. And while authorities are looking for the reasons that led the killer to commit the crime, online services are looking for the responsibility that lies with them, at least for transmitting the messages of all his hate speech.
Not surprisingly, internet service providers are often reluctant to take any responsibility for their users' actions.
However, in a statement, the company Cloudflare stated that it will stop its cooperation with 8chan, a "hate" message page, where it is claimed that the killer published his manifesto.
Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince says:
8chan is one of the more than 19 millions of Internet sites that use the Cloudflare service. We have just sent a notice that we are terminating our services with 8chan.
The logic is simple: they have proven to be illegal and lawlessness has caused many tragic deaths. Even though 8chan does not violate the letter of the law by refusing to mitigate its hate speech, it has created an environment that allows for violations.
Thousands of publications are now circulating online that focus on the human aspect of this weekend's horrific events.
Our publication reports the problems that affect Cloudflare after each such unpleasant event. For example, company involvement in copyright infringement actions. And there are many complaints almost every month.
Cloudflare is not a copyright infringer and always acts legally, but if 8chan is guilty of violating the "spirit" of the law and the company decides to terminate its services, copyright-focused groups will rub their hands.
The Pirate bay, perhaps the biggest "pirate" client of Cloudflare, gives us the most obvious example of a website with a stated goal of violating the law (on copyright).
However, to date nothing has been done because Cloudflare with the CDN service does not violate any law. A similar argument is used by hundreds or even thousands of similar "pirate" platforms that use Cloudflare in the same way.
It would be unfortunate to compare last weekend's events with movie, TV and music sharing, but copyright holders have had no trouble doing so in the past.
In a case brought against Cloudflare by ALS Scan, the company reminded the court that Cloudflare stopped providing services to the Daily Stormer (a Nazi website) but did not stop supporting pirate sites.
Eventually, Cloudflare and ALS Scan agreed to settle their case, which means that the claim for copyright infringement - in the light of the Daily Stormer disconnection - was not heard in court, and so there is no precedent.
A year later, the company terminated its services at 8chan.
In his message this morning, CEO Matthew Prince stressed that Cloudflare realizes that having a company-wide conservative policy would undermine the efforts of its customers to run their pages as they please. So as the CEO says, the company sometimes turns a blind eye, up to a point of course.
"Unfortunately, we tolerate content that we consider critical, but we have set red lines. 8chan has gone through one of them. Therefore, they will no longer be allowed to use our services, "said Prince.
Copyright holders claim that pirated websites are "illegal" by nature, but none of them have ever caused or inspired tragic events that claim innocent victims.
Cloudflare's decision to shut down a site for violating the "spirit" of the law may return in another form. Of course I do not imply that the company's decision was not entirely correct.
No brand wants to be associated with those who help kill. However, the copyright holders will use it for another purpose and more specifically to support a case against Cloudflare and its customers.
It has already happened once, and will definitely happen again.