Legal group pressures CloudFlare to sever ties with Hamas-linked sites
An Israeli legal group is putting pressure on CloudFlare to stop doing business with terrorist groups, questioning why the web company was quick to oust a white supremacist website but still hosts accounts linked to Hamas.
CloudFlare cut ties with the Daily Stormer earlier this month, saying the website violated company policy by claiming to have support of CloudFlare.
Company CEO Matthew Prince said at the time that he was afraid of the standard he was setting, and promised to work through the issues.
Now he’s getting his first test as Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of the Israeli legal center Shurat HaDin, says CloudFlare is still serving many websites linked to Hamas and other designated terrorist organizations, which have amassed higher body counts than American neo-Nazi sympathizers.
She said while CloudFlare’s decision to cut off Daily Stormer was a choice, the company has legal obligations — which it might be violating — to stop providing assistance to U.S.-designated terrorist groups.
“This is not a matter of free speech. We are urging the company to comply with U.S. law,” she said in a letter to Mr. Prince. “By providing Hamas support, CloudFlare aids and abets terrorist attacks and makes itself liable for the dangerous violence being perpetrated.”
She said her group is considering taking legal action against CloudFlare if it doesn’t satisfy her request.
A spokesperson for CloudFlare told The Washington Times the company is aware of obligations under U.S. law and is in compliance.
However, the spokesperson said compliance is challenging for tech companies because the U.S. government doesn’t provide a list of IP addresses or websites that might be connected with sanctioned individuals and entities.
“Over the past few years, we have been engaged in ongoing discussions with a number of law enforcement and national security organizations to determine the best way forward in this area and continue to review and update our compliance efforts,” the spokesperson said.
Internet freedom advocates said CloudFlare’s move raised big questions about the company’s claims to want to preserve an open web.
“It’s difficult to get upset about Nazi speech being banned, but the long term precedent set by CloudFlare’s capitulation to pressures for censorship are much more of a concern,” said Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.