Every so often things happen behind the scenes at AVNation HQ that Tim and I believe are worth sharing with our audience. During the week of August 25th there were some challenges with connecting to the AVNation servers. Our hosting company, Dreamhost, was under a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The attack resulted in basically everything AVNation.tv related not working, in total I had about 45 domains and subdomains I could not communicate and maintain while in China on a business trip.
The reasons for this attack has not been formally announced nor has anyone taken responsibility for the attack. There are two likely causes, with one more likely than the other. Dreamhost had been in the news for two stories during that week;the first was telling the US Department of Justice that it would not supply IP addresses of who visited a site. The second reason was that “The Daily Stormer” used the automated registration process to start a new site, “Punished Stormer” after being denied hosting by other companies. For those that are not familiar, these sites are aimed toward spreading hate speech.
I indicated these reasons to Tim as well as telling him that I did not plan on changing hosting or DNS (Domain Name Server) services. There were practical reasons, changing hosts and DNS would take at least 48 hours to propagate by which time the DDoS would likely be addressed. More importantly I personally support the decisions that Dreamhost made. I explained to Tim that I would like to continue to support Dreamhost but if the business risk was too high I would start changing once I got back to the United States. I would not be changing my personal hosting as I believe the issues causing the problems are important.
A federal judge signed a search warrant against DreamHost for information sought by federal prosecutors investigating the disturbances that occurred in Washington, D.C. during President Trump’s inauguration. The Department of Justice wanted the IP address of anyone who had visited the website http://www.disruptj20.org/. Yes, basically if you looked at the website the government wanted to know. I liken the situation to looking at the cover of a magazine, not peruse it or purchase, but the government wanted to know that you looked at it. Librarians for years have been fighting this issue, http://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/oif. The government knowing what you are reading is not appropriate in my opinion. Dreamhost’s account of the situation can be found here https://www.dreamhost.com/blog/we-fight-for-the-users/ as well as EFF https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/08/j20-investigation-doj-overreaches-again-and-gets-taken-court-again.
The Daily Stormer after being denied service by multiple hosting companies, GoDaddy, Cloudflare, and Google to name a few, created a DreamHost website. The process The Daily Stormer had quietly registered the new domain, Punished Stormer, using an automated signup form. It is the same process I use to purchase my domains. Once Dreamhost became aware of the domain they terminated the website. “Unfortunately, determined internet vigilantes weren’t willing to wait for us to take that action,” DreamHost said in a statement to Ars Technica. “They instead launched a DDoS attack against all of DreamHost. We were ultimately able to declaw that attack, but the end result was that most of our customers experienced intermittent connectivity issues to their sites today.”
I explained that these are issues of Freedom of Speech. Before I could continue, Tim said, “Okay”. We both believe very strongly that supporting the principles of Free Speech are an important part of AVNation.
Yes, we believe that The Daily Stormer has the right to free speech as well, however the government is not censoring them. The companies refusing to host or support a website under their terms of service is mostly legal. [Yes, discrimination is not legal.] If it becomes Hate Speech and inciting violence it is no longer free speech. [Yes, also a slippery slope.]
We are supporting our beliefs even if it means an occasional problem, not all business decisions are made soley by dollars.