Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) has handled internet domain registration for decades and now they have revoked the domain for the oldest white supremacist site on the web. NSI has blocked all usage of the domain stormfront.org for spreading hate and allegedly being connected to murder.
The founder of the internet’s oldest white supremacist site said he was trying to get back online Monday after a company revoked its domain name following complaints that it promotes hatred and is linked to dozens of murders.
Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who has operated stormfront.org since 1995, said he didn’t receive any warning before Network Solutions blocked the use of the stormfront.org name on Friday.
Stormfront.org had more than 300,000 registered users, Black said, with traffic increasing since a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Popular with the KKK and neo-Nazi groups, the site included forums where users sometimes promoted white power events.
“I’m talking to my lawyers, and that’s about all I can do right now,” Black, of West Palm Beach, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “I can switch to another domain, but it might wind up the same way.”
Stormfront has been praised by David Duke for being the first site devoted to protecting the rights of white people.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said the stormfront.org shutdown followed complaints it filed with Network Solutions alleging the site promotes not only hate speech, but deadly violence.
A spokesman for Network Solutions didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Users of Black’s website have been implicated in more than 100 killings, according to the complaint, including 77 people slain by neo-Nazi Anders Breivik at a camp in Norway in 2011.
— Engadget (@engadget) August 29, 2017
Looking at this strictly in terms of internet content, Black stands to lose an immense amount of data if NSI decides to delete stormfront.org. The site has been operating for 20 years and has in excess of 300,000 registered users.
The post-Charlottesville removal of neo-Nazi content from various web sources continues to power on as the long-standing website Stormfront has, for now, been taken down. A Whois search shows that Web.com domain provider Network Solutions LLC has put a hold on the website and as the Knoxville News Sentinel reports, the hold prohibits the site from being updated, transferred or deleted. If the domain provider decides to delete Stormfront, any subsequent version hosted elsewhere would have to be recreated from scratch.
While no one should mourn the loss of a neo-nazi web site or its garbage content, this does raise the questions about freedom of speech. The Electronic Frontier Foundation issued warnings about this recently when GoDaddy.com shut down another white supremacist site earlier this month.
The EFF acknowledged that the “situation is deeply fraught” legally and otherwise. “All fair-minded people must stand against the hateful violence and aggression that seems to be growing across our country,” the EFF wrote. “But we must also recognize that on the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with.”
It seems to be a fairly common phenomenon these days. Many people approve of or even celebrate actions like this taken against obviously bad elements in society, but they don’t stop to consider that it sets a dangerous precedent. In the current political climate where disagreement gets classified as “hate,” it isn’t hard to imagine similar actions being taken against groups far more benign than neo-Nazis.