A major neo-Nazi and white supremacist website has been taken off of the clearnet when several of their service providers suspended their accounts. The site, known as The Daily Stormer, has been called the “top hate site in America” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On Sunday, August 13th, GoDaddy announced on Twitter that The Daily Stormer had violated their terms of service and that the site had 24 hours to move their domain to another domain hosting service provider. The Daily Stormer came back online briefly after it switched to Google domain hosting services, but the return was short lived, as Google decided to terminate their account as well for violating Google’s terms of service.
The site had used Contact Privacy, a service which allows people to privately register domains, and Tucows, another domain hosting service terminated The Daily Stormer’s account. Cloudflare then terminated its services with The Daily Stormer, which allowed the site to become vulnerable to DDOS attacks. Hackers under the banner of Anonymous have declared war on The Daily Stormer, and defaced the neo-Nazi website in response to a post made on the site mocking Heather Heyer, a woman who died during violence at a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hacktivists hacking under the Anonymous banner have attacked racist groups in the past, such as with 2015’s Operation KKK. During Operation KKK hundreds of KKK members names were leaked. After the neo-Nazi site was hacked and taken down through the series of domain hosting account suspensions, the founder of The Daily Stormer explained that the site would be moving to the darknet. With sites which are run as hidden services on the Tor network, a 16 character alphanumeric hash is generated from a public key and is used for the .onion address, unlike with sites hosted on the clearnet which depend on registering with domain name registrars and domain name hosting services.
“The Daily Stormer will be live internet prison with drug dealers, terrorists, and perverts, which is where we’ve been exiled to, for all time. We should have a real domain online within 24 hours. If it gets shut down again, people will know we are on the black web,” Andrew Anglin, founder of The Daily Storm, told VICE News. “The Tor hidden service will now be a permanent part of our infrastructure and always accessible,” Anglin continued in his statement to VICE News. Later in the statement Anglin made to VICE News, he went on to complain about the state of free speech. In a tweet from The Daily Storm’s Twitter account, the administrators of the site complained that they were now receiving very few Bitcoin donations, and accused Coinbase of shutting down accounts of people who donate to their site. Apple and PayPal have also cut off financial services to racist organizations. Facebook and Reddit have begun to crack down on allowing their sites to be used for racist discussion groups.
The Tor Project issued a blog post recently in which they condemned The Daily Stormer’s racism. In the blog post, The Tor Project said that it was “disgusted, angered, and appalled” by everything The Daily Stormer stands for. The Tor Project goes on to say in their blog post that because their software is designed to protect human rights and privacy and to fight censorship, they have no way of stopping neo-Nazi groups from using their software to run and host darknet websites. When tools are designed to protect privacy and free speech and free expression, then they must also protect the rights of people who espouse even the most unpopular views. If such anti-censorship software cannot protect people who espouse unpopular views, then it cannot protect anyone. In the Tor Project’s blog post they note how the project works to protect the very human rights The Daily Stormer opposes. It is ironic that the neo-Nazi site must flee the clearnet and use software which is designed to protect the rights of many of the people the neo-Nazis oppose.