So, here I am, and everything appears–for the first time in three days–to be back to normal with my web host. I’m looking at a very normal control panel, and a very normal editing screen. Yesterday, I wound up with a situation where I could only see my own website from my phone (not my home computer) or from a different network, but at least some of my readers got through. And the day before that it seemed to be completely and totally down. (although the thought that I could get there on my phone hadn’t actually occurred to me, yet.)
So, this is a free speech issue.
Dreamhost has a policy of hosting any content which is legal in the United States, and the hack-mob didn’t like it. (specifically mentioned, a neo-nazi website) Neither did the Department of Justice (which feels that Dreamhost should turn over records regarding users of a website that organized Anti-Trump Protests.)
And here’s the thing… the neo-nazis managed to piss off Dreamhost with a terms of service violation. (They’d already been thrown off once, and when they came back–for about a week–they got thrown off again.)
In the course of that week, the mob brought down 400,000 websites, and gave freedom of speech a real nice shiner.
The way this particular attack works–and it takes basically no skill–is that the annoyed teenager (lots and lots of annoyed teenagers) downloads software to his mom and dad’s computer, and then sets it to load the same websites (in this case, my host’s DNS servers) over and over and over until the server can’t handle it. There’s a twitter account, or a website that sends out “calls to action.” Type in the new information for whatever reason the guy on the other end of the IP says, and away you go.
Suddenly you’re smashing in shop windows in shops you had no idea even existed, and putting people you don’t know out of business.
There’s a lot of collateral damage.
And I’m sure that most people–regardless of age–just see that one website they want taken down. That one neo-nazi site, or that one Facebook page with the embarrassing picture of them when they were six.
There are a lot of people I’d like to shut up.
But I’m aware that when you curtail freedom of speech, you’re handing a set of ready-made laws and precedents to whoever happens to be in power at the moment. And in a democracy, sometimes, that’s the other guy.
And if you’d like it to stay a democracy, you probably shouldn’t build the censorship laws for him.