科技公司拒绝为极端团体提供服务 Tech Firms Bar Extremist Groups

上周末美国维吉尼亚州夏洛茨维尔“团结右翼”的示威游行引发极端团体和反示威者的暴力冲突后,一些白人至上主义者和新纳粹团体在网上的生存空间迅速缩小。

他们被服务商删除域名,登录不了自己的网站,有些人不能发表博客。他们的电子支付系统被取消账号,就连他们的音乐也再也无法被世人听到。

据报道,上周末示威活动的组织者之一,一个叫“每日风暴”的新纳粹和白人至上主义者的新闻网站被俄罗斯一家互联网域名提供商下线。据法新社报道,该域名提供商是应俄罗斯一个互联网监督机构的要求采取这一行动的。

每日风暴是因为被美国服务商狗爹(GoDaddy)和谷歌下线,才于最近转向这家俄罗斯公司的。截止到星期四晚上,每日风暴的网站仍处于下线状态。

尽管高科技公司一直受到政府压力,要求他们打击国家支持的恐怖团体的活动,但是科技公司在选择客户时,一般不太愿意扮演审查者的角色。他们在服务指南里经常会列举一些禁止从事的活动,但是他们往往不愿对具有冒犯性的言论进行监管。

上星期夏洛茨维尔暴力冲突发生后,科技公司这种放任自流的态度似乎发生了改变,他们意识到,极端团体要依靠一系列的网上服务来召集人马。不过,这种转变也带来了矛盾。

美国云火炬公司决定停止为“每日风暴”提供服务,但是公司首席执行官普林斯说,这不是一个容易的决定。他说:“我宣布将终止每日风暴合约时,团队里有人问我,互联网是不是就此死亡了呢?”

提倡数字世界公民自由的非营利机构“电子前沿基金会”星期四对这些科技公司的决定提出批评。在科技公司跟美国政府就监管展开的斗争中,该基金会始终站在科技公司一边。

电子前沿基金会在博客上发表声明说:“我们坚信,狗爹、谷歌和云火炬的做法是危险的”。

声明说:“这些科技公司没有多少竞争对手,他们控制网上言论的权力越来越大,他们的决定对世界各地的言论自由会产生深远的影响。”

新纳粹和白人至上团体的生存在其他领域同样受到了影响。夏洛茨维尔示威活动前,空中食宿(Airbnb)公司就禁止前来参加示威的人通过他们的平台在夏洛茨维尔预订住处。

贝宝(Paypal)表示,不允许提倡仇恨、暴力或种族排斥的三K党或新纳粹团体等组织使用贝宝的支付服务。苹果支付(Apple Pay)也停止为出售极右色彩商品的团体提供服务。

流媒体音乐平台“声破天(Spotify)”也删除了服务器上“仇恨乐队”的账号。

For some white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, operating online has become much harder in the wake of last week's "Unite the Right" protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in violent clashes between extremist groups and counterprotesters.

They are being booted off or locked out of their websites. Some can no longer blog. Their electronic payment systems are being canceled. Even their music can’t be heard.

On Thursday, the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist news site and one of the organizers of last weekend’s demonstrations, was reportedly ejected from a Russian internet domain provider that was hosting its site. Its removal came at the request of Russia's internet watchdog, according to the French news agency.

The Daily Stormer had recently turned to the Russian firm after being knocked offline by its U.S. providers, first GoDaddy and then Google. As of Thursday night, the Daily Stormer was not online.

While tech firms have been under government pressure to crack down on state-sponsored terrorist groups, they have mostly resisted efforts to play the censor when it comes to who uses their services. Their terms of use guidelines often outline restrictions, but they have traditionally declined to police offensive content.

That laissez-faire approach appeared to be changing after last weekend’s demonstrations prompted by the rally's violence and the recognition that extremist groups rely on a host of digital services to organize. But the shift comes with great ambivalence.

CloudFlare, which makes websites secure and fast, decided to stop serving the Daily Stormer. But it wasn’t an easy decision, wrote Matthew Prince, the firm’s chief executive. “Someone on our team asked after I announced we were going to terminate the Daily Stormer: ‘Is this the day the internet dies?’”

On Thursday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit that advocates for civil liberties in the digital world and one that has stood with tech companies in its battles with the U.S. government on surveillance, criticized the tech companies’ actions.

“We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare did here was dangerous,” the organization wrote in a statement on its blog.

Tech companies, with few competitors, increasingly have more power to control online speech, EFF wrote, and “the consequences of their decisions have far-reaching impacts on speech around the world."

While Google, GoDaddy and Cloudflare refused to host the Daily Stormer site, other extremist groups and supporters were affected in other ways, such as where they could stay, how they exchanged money and the music they listened to.

Ahead of the protests, Airbnb banned users from staying in Charlottesville if it appeared they were coming for the protests.

PayPal said it does not allow groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazi groups engaged in “activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance” to use its service for processing payments. Apple Pay also pulled its services for groups selling far-right merchandise.

Spotify removed “hate bands” from its service.