- The Washington Times - Friday, August 25, 2017

The publisher of popular neo-Nazi website banned by the internet’s biggest companies said he’s relegating his site to the dark web, an unindexed and difficult to censor portion of the internet.

The Daily Stormer will only exist on the dark web after DreamHost, one of the world’s largest web hosting companies, followed in the footsteps of GoDaddy, Google, Cloudflare and others Thursday by permanently banning the white supremacist website, publisher Andrew Anglin said.

“Every webhost has given a different but equally nonsensical explanation for these bans, indicating that the site has officially been banned from the internet by some unseen force that gives orders on such things, and it is going to take more than a new registrar to get it back on the real internet,” Mr. Anglin, 33, wrote in a blog post.

The Daily Stormer can only stay online for now if it exists in relative obscurity beneath the surface of the world wide web indexed by search engines, he indicated, where it can operate without worrying about the rules enforced by the multiple tech titans that booted the website in the wake of Mr. Anglin’s controversial article about Heather Heyer, a counterprotester killed while demonstrating against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville this month.

Mr. Anglin published a scathing article within hours of Heyer’s death calling her an “overweight slob” and “the definition of uselessness,” and subsequently got The Stormer banned from GoDaddy, the web’s leading domain registrar.

He’s maintained a lengthy game of white supremacist whack-a-mole ever since by shifting the site from domain to domain, and on Thursday he triggered a wide-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack responsible for outages across the internet after he relaunched The Stormer on a site maintained by DreamHost.

“The site owner took advantage of our automated signup form to register a domain name and once again become a DreamHost customer. This activity is specifically forbidden in our Terms of Service” and grounds for termination, DreamHost said in a statement late Thursday.

“Unfortunately, determined internet vigilantes weren’t willing to wait for us to take that action. They instead launched a DDoS attack against all of DreamHost this morning,” the statement said, referring to an tactic used to knock web servers offline by overloading them with illegitimate traffic.

All but banned from the web, Mr. Anglin on Thursday described The Daily Stormer as “performance art,” decried the private companies and critics who’ve censored his speech and suggested rallying before the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN — a nonprofit that oversees internet domain addresses — to stay online.

“Right now, dailystormer.com remains in internet jail,” Mr. Anglin told The Washington Times. “But without a registrar that is willing to hold our site — which is legal, no one has argued otherwise — we will have to take this to ICANN. If ICANN has not given authorization to any registrar that will allow us to register, then this is effectively censorship by ICANN itself.

“They thought they could get away with just kicking people off the internet and saying ‘oh, but it’s all private companies, if they don’t want to do business with you that’s their choice, why don’t you go start your own internet?’ But this is not an explanation that the public is accepting,” Mr. Anglin added.

ICANN told The Times it was aware of Mr. Anglin’s situation but said the organization was neither involved in the matter nor had any role or technical capability to regulate the content either accepted or rejected by commercial domain services like those run by GoDaddy and Google.

“In this case and generally, domain name registrars are free to cancel, transfer or otherwise alter domain name registrations in accordance with the terms of their registration agreements,” ICANN said in a statement.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a watchdog that monitors hate groups, previously described Mr. Anglin as a neo-Nazi fond of fascism and included him on a recent list of leading figures associated with the so-called alt-right.

“I am not a ‘Neo-Nazi White Supremacist,” Mr. Anglin said this week. “Though we share the same name, the Andrew Anglin who appears on the site is not me but a character that I have created, an outrageously extreme individual who takes pleasure in being provocative, and maintains an unhinged desire to commit numerous genocides.”

“The Daily Stormer is a Performance Art Project,” he wrote. “Needless to say, I am extremely happy with the results of this particular piece of performance art.”

The Daily Stormer attracted about 3 million unique visitor each month prior to being booted the publication of Mr. Anglin’s article about Heyer, by its own account. The website received that same amount of viewers in a recent 24-hour span after the article’s publication.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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