Home Opinion Cloudflare finally drops cyberstalking site citing ‘imminent’ threat to life

Cloudflare finally drops cyberstalking site citing ‘imminent’ threat to life

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Cloudflare finally drops cyberstalking site citing ‘imminent’ threat to life
The Cloudflare logo, an orange cloud with a lens flare shape in its negative space.

The ongoing campaign to deplatform cyberstalking website Kiwi Farms led by Clara Sorrenti has had a major success. Cloudflare, who offered security services to the site, have now dropped their protection for it which saw the site go offline for some time.

Cloudflare had become the focus of the #DropKiwiFarms campaign after their deafening silence following the repeated harassment and abuse targeted at LGBTQIA+ people. Clara Sorrenti is one such person in the crosshairs of the cyberstalking website and was subsequently raided by armed police after her address was posted there.

She has since been tracked by the website across the globe who first discovered her location by matching patterns on bed sheets to local hotels. Then they found her again when she fled to another continent and someone showed up outside of the flat she was staying in, which they found by comparing doorknobs in the background of her livestream.

Cloudflare remained silent throughout most of this despite numerous social media users, customers and industry professionals vocally supporting the #DropKiwiFarms campaign and in turn also having their information posted to the site. In fact, with thousands of social media users calling on them to act they initially began turning off replies on Twitter. They eventually broke silence to issue a statement likening themselves to firefighters who still have to put out fires whether they like the person living there or not.

Initially they were adamant that it isn’t their decision who does and doesn’t get protection. However in their latest blog post, Cloudflare detail that an ‘imminent’ threat to life which has emerged over the last 48 hours has led to them taking the ‘extraordinary’ position of no longer protecting them. This in part due to the fact that law enforcement is not able to deal the problem in any kind of a timely manner.

In principle, I agree with the concepts they are working with ie firefighters, cops and doctors shouldn’t get to choose who they protect and serve. In reality they do all the time, but in theory they shouldn’t, I agree. I just don’t think Cloudflare are any of the above in this situation. A friend put it best; Cloudflare are bouncers. Their security services are offered to businesses and they stand at the door checking people on entry to make sure they are legitimate users and not say… a DDoS attack

As bouncers they are absolutely entitled to not offer protection to clubowners who allow and do not attempt to curb awful things or the organisation of awful things happening under their roof. In fact I would go as far as to say that it’s a moral obligation to not work for – whether voluntary or otherwise – a business who allows, encourages or does nothing to prevent awful things happening to people on their turf.

I support a free open internet and for the most part completely agree with the idea that even the reprehensible should have access to security services like Cloudflare. But at some point the tolerance paradox has to kick-in and we’re going to have to make a decision as a society where we draw that line.

In my view, you shouldn’t tolerate the intolerance of people who have repeatedly demonstrated that they will hound and harass people to suicide, cause armed police raids or show up outside your friends flat on another continent. To have a free open internet with a diversity of opinion, ideas and beliefs – whether reprehensible or otherwise – all people must be protected, not all behaviours.

It seems paradoxical, but the principles Cloudflare claims to stand for can only be achieved through not protecting those determined to undermine a free and open internet.

A statement from Clara Sorrenti’s #DropKiwiFarms campaign site says that “the battle is won but the war is not over”. Kiwi Farms has been dropped by Cloudflare and went down for some time but has since come back up. The campaign now looks towards other services supporting the site such as FibreHub in Las Vegas where the servers are allegedly located and CloudVPS who the campaign group claim run Kiwi Farms’ email services. “We must continue fighting” their statement closes.

I wish the campaign group every success, as someone also targeted by cyberstalkers and who had my home address posted online by those actively wishing to do harm to me; it’s terrifying. For so many people like me the damage is already done and can’t ever be undone, but that’s no reason to not work to prevent it happening to other people too.