Clarifying the Daily Stormer issue

Written by
August 15, 2017

Tucows (which owns the Enom, OpenSRS, and Hover brands) finds racism and its proponents detestable. We are proud to be a diverse company based in the most diverse city in the world. As well, Charlottesville, Virginia is home to a Tucows office and many of our employees there. We have all been shaken and deeply saddened by recent events.

In regards to the current issue around the Daily Stormer website, Tucows was never the webhost nor the registrar for the domain. Tucows provides a domain privacy service for millions of domains belonging to our wholesale domain resellers and to other registrars. The domain in question was transferred to one of our registrar partners and the privacy service was automatically applied.

Like Google, and GoDaddy before them, we felt this domain clearly violated our privacy service terms of service by inciting violence, and removed the privacy protection from the domain.

We are also monitoring our systems for incoming transfer requests for the Daily Stormer domain so that we can give our resellers the opportunity to deny those requests.

Domain names are gateways to speech and we take our responsibilities towards free speech and expression extremely seriously. Incitement to violence is not protected speech and the Daily Stormer regularly conducts such incitement, which is why we no longer provide it with any service.

The process of balancing free speech and the ugly opinions that people share is neither easy nor pleasant. Every day we receive many, many complaints about the content on any number of the 24 million domains on our platform. Let us be exceptionally clear: we find the content of many of these pages patently abhorrent and evidence of the worst that humanity can stoop to. Nevertheless, there are legal mechanisms and processes in place for dealing with issues of free speech and we consider it our responsibility to follow them.

We have and will act in what we call “exigent circumstances” where there is an imminent threat of violence or crime. GoDaddy responded to the Daily Stormer appropriately under these circumstances. However, these circumstances aside, we have found that the clearest path forward, to protect freedom of speech and expression, is to act where we have evidence that due-process has been observed. When such is provided to us, we act on it.

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