Cloudflare has removed the renowned stalking and harassment website Kiwi Farms from its internet security services, citing an "imminent threat."
The AP: SAN FRANCISCO After being pressured publicly by transgender Twitch broadcaster Clara Sorrenti, Cloudflare has removed the renowned stalking and harassment website Kiwi Farms from its internet security services, citing an "immediate threat to human life."
As an Internet infrastructure provider, Cloudflare's CEO Matthew Prince stated in a blog post on Saturday, "This is an extraordinary decision for us to make and a hazardous one that we are not comfortable with." Earlier, Prince had insisted that the business would not block the website. But over the past 48 hours, the rhetoric on the Kiwifarms website and the targeted, specific threats have intensified to the point where, in our opinion, there is an unprecedented emergency and an immediate threat to human life that is unlike anything we have ever seen from Kiwifarms or any other customer before.
Members of the website founded and run by 29-year-old Joshua Conner Moon have gathered for years to plan brutal harassment campaigns against transgender individuals, feminists, and other persons they find mockable on what they refer to as a "lighthearted discussion forum." In a method known as "doxxing," they group up on victims and use their private information, such as addresses and phone numbers, to spread hateful rumors and target businesses, friends, families, and homes. Shattering, or placing fictitious emergency calls to summon armed police to a target's home, has become a popular technique. Some victims of the group's abuse committed suicide.
Sorrenti, also known online as "Keffals," has been driving an effort to get Cloudflare to remove Kiwi Farms. She left her Canadian home in August for Europe after being doxxed and swatted. But just as her campaign against Kiwi Farms and its supporters was getting steam, her online stalkers discovered her in Belfast, Ireland, and started to step up their harassment of her.
It is no longer a matter of free expression when a multibillion-dollar company like Cloudflare is forced to remove Kiwi Farms due to an "imminent and immediate threat to human life." For the protection of every single person online, Kiwi Farms must be taken down from the internet, she tweeted on Saturday.
Kiwi Farms was unreachable on Sunday. However, the a.ru version of the website was momentarily operational; however, it was unclear if it would remain so.
The choice to remove Kiwi Farms Cloudflare and Prince made a U-turn on Saturday after publishing a 2,600-word blog post earlier in the week that doubled down on the decision to protect the website and compared Cloudflare to a phone provider that "doesn't terminate your line if you utter nasty, racist, bigoted things."
Sorrenti and other site users claim it was far worse than that, with trolls persistently pursuing their victims offline – frequently for years on end.
"They want people to lose their employment," said the speaker. According to transgender former Google engineer and cloud computing expert Liz Fong-Jones, "they're aiming to get people to lose their housing, to be famished and homeless." Then they attack people's families and advise them that their only option is to commit suicide.
Moon founded Kiwi Farms almost ten years ago as a wiki site devoted to harassing a transgender woman; in fact, Moon even used the woman's initials in a preliminary version of the site's name. Over time, its users started to target others, primarily those internet users who are transgender, autistic, or suffer from other mental illnesses. In its current form, Kiwi Farms was established in 2015.
Users' vehement resistance to transgender youngsters receiving gender-affirming medical care is a recurring feature of the site's debates. Members frequently utilize language that conservatives are increasingly using to oppose LGBTQ rights, such as calling individuals who support such treatment "pedophiles" and "groomers."
"In the history of our site, there has never been a violent event, which cannot be stated for many other sites who are still using Cloudflare. In reaction to Cloudflare's cutoff, Moon, who uses the alias "Null" and posts on Kiwi Farms, wrote: "This narrative feels like a fiction cooked up to save face. When contacted by The Associated Reporters earlier to comment on the campaign against his website, Moon only offered the remark, "The press is slime."
The Russian company DDoS-Guard, whose prior clients have included Russian government websites such as the Defense Ministry and cybercriminal forums where stolen credit cards are bought and sold, is the one that registered and is protecting KiwiFarms.ru.
After Amazon discontinued hosting services for Parler.com last year, DDoS-Guard provided temporary protection. Given that KiwiFarms.ru was registered on July 12, it is likely that Moon knew Cloudflare could shut down his site and took precautions by setting up a backup.
An inquiry for comment sent to DDoS-Guard on Sunday did not receive an immediate response. VegasNAP, a Las Vegas-based business that indicated in response to inquiries last week that it does not divulge information about its clients, provides Kiwi Farms' internet connection. When contacted again on Sunday, the business did not react right away.
"DDoS-Guard has a history of discontinuing support for some extremely troublesome websites, reportedly in response to press inquiries. In this case, it very well could happen again, but I wouldn't bet on it, according to independent internet analyst Ron Guilmette. A lot has changed since February 24, 2022, and I do feel that Russians today, and specifically over the past six months, have learned to care a whole lot less about what the rest of the world thinks of them and/or their conduct.
2022 The Associated Press Copyright. Toutes droits réservés. This content cannot be written over, aired, published, or transmitted again.
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