Protect those who serve

As we all well know, domain name is one’s primary identity in the modern Internet. It can be associated with your nickname, your real name, your trademark, your organization, your hobbies, your pets etc. And of course, one has to be serious about own domain names. However, I’m not going to discuss what I like and dislike about current worldwide DNS system today. I’m going to tell you about one thing that happened yesterday to the DNS registrar/provider I have been using for quite a long time…

So, I tried to log into my domain dashboard where there already were 9 domains registered at that provider. I just wanted to adjust bananahackers.net subdomains to accomodate the newly planned structure. And guess what… the whole dashboard and registrar’s website was offline (while I remembered that I managed to get into it in the morning that day). Wondering, WTF had happened, I started looking for the info on the Web.

And the info was shocking. I mean, I was not only shocked by the reasons of this downtime but also at how they were represented in such a seemingly “neutral and independent” resource as Wikipedia):

In August 2019, Epik and BitMitigate briefly provided services to the imageboard 8chan after Cloudflare stopped serving the site following the 2019 El Paso shooting, and at least two other mass shootings linked to the site in 2019. In response, Epik’s hardware provider Voxility terminated services and banned Epik from its servers, causing 8chan to go offline.

What. The. Fuck.

Sorry, I don’t normally use profanity here, but now I have no other words to describe this. And when I started reading the linked resources, they literally made me switch the playlist from The Prodigy and Underworld to Amon Amarth and Kroda. See this, for example, and let me respond to some excerpts:

Internet hate forum 8chan has gone dark after web services company Voxility banned the site — and also banned 8chan’s new host Epik, which had been leasing web space from it. Epik began working with 8chan today after web services giant Cloudflare cut off service, following the latest of at least three mass shootings linked to 8chan. But Stanford researcher Alex Stamos noted that Epik seemed to lease servers from Voxility, and when Voxility discovered the content, it cut ties with Epik almost immediately.

First of all, calling anonymous image boards “hate forums” is as cringy as it can possibly get. For me, all chans are equal, although, I must admit, equally stupid. But that cannot be a real cause for such actions. I know what can but let me explain it later.

“As soon as we were notified of the content that Epik was hosting, we made the decision to totally ban them,” Voxility business development VP Maria Sirbu told The Verge. Sirbu said it was unlikely that Voxility would work with Epik again. “This is the second situation we’ve had with the reseller and this is not tolerable,” she said.

So, merely providing a domain name for a website you don’t understand is not tolerable, but cutting the access of thousands of legitimate customers to their DNS dashboards somehow is? Again, a real cause seems to be much deeper than that.

CEO Rob Monster confirmed that Epik was serving 8chan this morning, though he said Epik had not proactively solicited business from the site. “Our services fill the ever growing need for a neutral service provider that will not terminate accounts based on arbitrary reasoning or political pressure,” Monster wrote. “From what little we know so far, the chans are not lawless and do have moderation, especially in regards to DMCA and content which is illegal in the United States.”

This is a response from a real man who is ready to fight for freedom. And by the way, if you read Epik’s TOS, you’ll find this explicit statement:

Further, You may not use the Site or the Services provided through or in connection with the Site to: (a) defame, abuse, harass, threaten or otherwise violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others; (b) conduct or forward illegal contests, pyramid schemes, or chain letters; (c) publish, post, distribute, disseminate or link to any: (i) unlawful content, topic, material, or information, any of which are of an obscene, adult, nude, prurient, or indecent nature…

And trust me, they monitor TOS violations very rigorously. They even sent me a warning email when they discovered a JS miner on one of my test subdomains, and I had even forgotten it was there. So, if there was any really illegal or even harassing/threatening content on 8chan or whatever they provided the domain for, it would have been banned in virtually no time. But there wasn’t, there was another reason to do so…

Cloudflare, by contrast, said that while 8chan “may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.” Cloudflare noted that its actions were unlikely to keep 8chan offline, but Voxility has at least temporarily done so.

So, some chan doesn’t break the law but they, Cloudflare, somehow don’t like what people do there, so they collaborate with GoDaddy in banning it, the chan moves to Epik, and Epik is somehow to blame for not banning the website that doesn’t violate its TOS or the laws or anything, so Voxility cuts the dashboards for all Epik’s customers? Are you mad folks?

And you know what shocked me the most? The very first line in that Wikipedia article (as of now, but I hope it gets edited out):

Epik is an ICANN-accredited domain registrar and web hosting company known for providing services to websites that host far-right, Neo-Nazi, and other extremist content as well as those that sell illegal drugs and counterfeit medications. It has been described by Vice as “a safehaven for the extreme right” because of its willingness to host websites that have been shut down by other web hosts.

Seems like the SJW moron who wrote this didn’t even read the TOS of this domain registrar. Note that I’m not endorsing anyone here but I guess the real reason for such coordinated actions of marginalizing Epik is that they are among the few ICANN-accredited registrars left who value the privacy of the customers to the extent they don’t perform any ID verification, provide a free WHOIS anonymizer with every bought domain and even allow to pay with cryptocurrencies for their services. Hence, in this world not very welcoming real freedom (especially in hierarchical structures like DNS), they are the closest to the ones who do. And this was the very reason I chose them several years ago. But apparently, some don’t like this, and some even consider all free-thinking people as extremists. Welcome to the 21st century witch-hunting. Did I already write that we already live in dystopia? Seems so.

Anyway, the dashboards got restored in the evening. And today, Epik got the tenth domain registered by me, for a new upcoming hacker initiative. Because now I know for sure: they will not surrender. And neither shall we.

_