back to article Anonymous: We've leaked disk images stolen from far-right-friendly web host Epik

Entities using the name and iconography of Anonymous (EUTNAIOA) claim to have leaked server disk images extracted from Epik – the controversial US outfit that has provided services to far-right orgs such as the Oath Keepers and Gab, provided a home to social-network-for-internet-outcasts Parler, and hosted hate-hole 8chan. …

  1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Inalienable rights

    means rights aliens arent allowed to have...

    1. A random security guy Bronze badge

      Re: Inalienable rights

      Assuming you mean aliens are people who are not citizens, do you mean if we travelled to France or Germany or some other country they can shoot us without a fair trial as we are aliens there?

      Unless you mean alien as a real extraterrestrial being.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Of course not. Aliens means everyone who is not white.

        Racists don't care if you were born there, they just see your skin color and react according to their (very) limited intelligence.

        1. Cybersaber

          Hating hate is still hate.

          Hating haters still makes you a hater, just with a disagreement over why it's OK for you to hate those you think are causing problems in society but not OK for them.

          Calling them stupid also underestimates those who are currently against you. Being racist doesn't make you stupid. Some of the brightest minds in the world still held racist ideas. That's sad and terrible, but history proves you wrong. For instance, some of the leading scientists of the world were not racist/facist (That's how we got Einstein and Von Braun) but there were equally smart people who drank the hate Kool-aid and stayed with the Nazis.

          So to sum up: Labeling them as stupid is unhelpful in solving the actual problems that lead to racism. I imagine few racists ever changed their minds because of themselves being subjected to scorn or hatred.

          Compassion, reason, and humility are the beginnings of the answer.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: Hating hate is still hate.

            For instance, some of the leading scientists of the world were not racist/facist (That's how we got Einstein and Von Braun)

            Which von Braun was that? Presumably not the enthusiastic and forever unrepentant Nazi who personally requested that slave labour be used to build his rockets.

            1. Youngone Silver badge

              Re: Hating hate is still hate.

              Let's not forget that Werner von Braun would expect to be addressed as "Sturmbannführer".

              Especially when he was wearing his SS uniform.

          2. noboard

            Re: Hating hate is still hate.

            You can be clever and stupid, they're probably attributes in different fields

          3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: Hating hate is still hate.

            This just in. It's fine to hate some things. Knowing what it's fine to hate is what matters.

            1. Cybersaber

              Re: Hating hate is still hate.

              I was talking about hating people, not things. I hate lots of things, like my blasted space bar that is malfunctioning just now while trying to type.

              People can believe evil things. They're still people. Maybe you can change their mind. Maybe you can't and you instead concentrate of the source of the thing that made them believe it, but never hate the people. That could be you if you'd been raised differently, or had different life experiences. We are all the same flawed Human Being Mark I.

              It's up to your personal beliefs as to whether there will be a product recall on humanity or not. ;)

              1. Snake Silver badge

                Re: Hating hate is still hate.

                ' Never hate the people'.

                Which means, essentially, never react to *their* hatred.

                So when they 'overdo their French holiday', as James May put it, with thousands of troops and several thousand motorized vehicles, make sure you don't respond, and welcome them in, because we're all to love people.

                ...

                It's the most hairbrained thing I've heard recently.

          4. Auntie Dix

            Re: Hating hate is still hate.

            I'd think twice before putting Einstein's and von Braun's names in the same sentence.

            Also, you're aware the paradox of tolerance is already well-trodden ground, yes?

            > Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hating hate is still hate.

                Karl Popper (quoted) isn't discussing the acceptibility or moral valence of refusing to tolerate intolerance; he's saying that if you want to have a tolerant society at all in the future, you cannot afford to tolerate intolerance -- that perfect logical consistency on the matter will inevitably subvert and destroy itself, because intolerance takes a mile every inch you give it.

                1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

                  Re: Hating hate is still hate.

                  When you start choosing what to tolerate and decide that the people you don’t like don’t have rights, you are the main source of intolerance, not them.

                  You can’t have a tolerant society when you think you have the right who can and cannot be tolerated.

                  1. trindflo
                    Go

                    Re: Hating hate is still hate...but tolerating it is insane

                    Perhaps when 'I' choose what is intolerable and to enforce my own sense of justice, I am incontrovertibly wrong. When 'we' decide what is intolerable it is a legal system. We, long ago decided torts are intolerable. If someone is advocating torts as a reasonable political tool, they are a problem and the state has a duty to preserve the peace.

                    It seems to me that what Anonymous has done here is to put light on crimes being planned. Anonymous would have committed crimes if they were doing this to just anyone or if they set about destroying things. When you do certain things to criminals, you have limited sorts of immunity. For instance, subduing and holding someone is called false imprisonment...unless you are holding a criminal for authorities (but you had best be sure they were actually committing a crime or you will be in deep pucky.)

                    The legal systems in all English speaking countries I know of support citizens reporting and under some circumstances preventing crimes.

                    You don't need to hate someone planning a crime to want to report and possibly stop them and let the authorities deal with them.

          5. ghp

            Re: Hating hate is still hate.

            "Compassion, reason, and humility are the beginnings of the answer". Indeed, that's how the nazi's and the serbs were forced to retreat.

          6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Hating hate is still hate.

            " Labeling them as stupid is unhelpful"

            So is labelling someone as a "hater". Twee labelling and phraseology is rarely helpful.

          7. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hating hate is still hate.

            Compassion, reason, and humility are the beginnings of the answer.

            There is also no conflict ever won by throwing flowers and being compassionate.

    2. General Purpose Bronze badge

      Inalienable possession

      Demonic ability to control ET

    3. Danny 2 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Inalienable rights

      Any Alpha Centaurian who can drive a heavy goods vehicle is welcome in the UK until 24th December.

      Current New Yorker cartoon: Boris at a podium, "The shortages are all British made and British owned, and that is something we can be incredibly proud of."

    4. martyn.hare
      Flame

      Re: Inalienable rights

      Inalienable is to inflammable what flammable is alienable. Or for those God-fearing southerners: A bit like what Free Will is to Old Testament! Remember that your rights always end where judge says you’re wrong!

  2. vektorweg

    anon who?

    I'm confused by all the different anons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: anon who?

      SeeYouAnon ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: anon who?

      I'm Anon and so's my wife!

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: anon who?

      this particular 'anonymous' appears to be more left-leaning and 'woke' than the previous one(s).

      I would normally expect a group like 'anonymous' to be about freedom, not about 'cancel'.

      Obviously NOT the same 'anonymous'.

      I'm curious how they cracked into an ISP though. What security malfunctions and craters enabled this?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: anon who?

        The original Anonymous was left (in US terms) leaning. It was when the incels and alt.right got in on the act that the "Anon" nomenclature made an abrupt turn to the extreme right.

      2. georgezilla

        Re: anon who?

        Woke is just a meaningless word invented, and used by ignorant people, who don't actually have an actual argument against whatever it is that they claim is "woke".

        I'm woke.

        Okay.

        But what's your actual argument against it ( whatever it is that makes me woke )?

        Come on.

        I'm waiting.

        Crickets ...................................

        1. ZeroPete

          Re: anon who?

          No. 'Woke' is a moniker to describe post modernist identity politics. Since you claim to be woke, but leave everyone guessing as to why you consider yourself woke, implies two things :

          - You yourself have decided on what woke means to you, which is in line with aforementioned identity politics, where everything is 'personal', and

          - you are being dishonest, which is exactly what is to be expected from the woke crowd.

          So whatever you think of yourself, you're at least half way on your way to being woke.

          Kind Regards,

          Pete

    4. NonSSL-Login

      Re: anon who?

      I am not sure if this is an oxymoron or not but... Anons are a collective of individuals and individual groups

      The way to think about it is anyone can call themselves Anonymous xyz and release/hack something and attribute it to Anonymous or a subset of it.

      While there was a core anonymous community and some hacker groups affiliated with the core community, the idea was to not have a leader or core group which could be targeted while letting the name and idea spread far and wide

      1. vekkq

        Re: anon who?

        so i guess what happened, is that the idea got hijacked and now its a mess?

        1. georgezilla

          Re: anon who?

          No.

          It was a mess from the start.

          And that's what makes it genius .

          1. NonSSL-Login

            Re: anon who?

            Trying to control an organised mess is like trying to keep hold of a cat covered in baby oil

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > far-right-friendly

    Saying free speech is a "far-right-friendly" concept is like saying having a legal process before throwing people in jail is "criminal-friendly". When are we going to get away from the biased headlines and just report news?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Free speech is, and should be, a concept that transcends political allegiances. It has never, however, been unbounded. Everyone agrees that you can't shout fire in a crowded theatre, or post classes of obscene images, or advocate terrorism. Exactly where willful hate speech, overt racism etc. falls in the spectrum of allowable might be up for debate. However 'you are denying me my rights to free speech' is a whinge that over recent years has become associated with the far right of US politics. Ironically usually said by very rich old white guys on television stations owned by richer old white guys, just after they have ranted about some action by the the private sector that they previously said should be free to do whatever it wants.

      Anonymous...obv.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Indeed

        It's always surprising that a large number of those making noises over the right to free speech are often those with opinions, ideas and intentions not aligned with modern civilised society because many find such things abhorrent.

        It's also amazing how much shouting, screaming and death threats head to those who challenge, oppose and question their standpoint thus failing to realise the irony of screaming for free speech whilst simultaneously refusing to listen or worse to those who don't agree with them...

        1. ratcatcher67

          Re: Indeed

          Ahhh so one has to align their speech with a "modern civilized society", free speech is only free as long as you agree with it. maybe you'd be happy living in uae.

          1. trindflo

            Re: Indeed

            Yes. If you are being uncivilized, civilized society needs to deal with you, or society breaks down.

            Yelling "FIRE" in the crowded theater is the classic (and outdated - it was more like a nightclub) example.

            Police go to great efforts to collect speech involving the planning and execution of crimes, and subsequently imprisoning people for that speech. We really don't want the authorities to wait until the crime is being committed: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1998-nov-29-mn-48977-story.html

            1. FeepingCreature

              Re: Indeed

              What? They're not arresting people for the speech! By the same logic you'd be arresting, say, an author for researching how to plan a heist. They're arresting them for the intent to commit a crime. The planning is just evidence.

              Describing how to break into a building is and remains completely legal.

              (Unless it's software I guess, then it's a "hacking tool"...)

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Megaphone

          Re: Indeed

          'free speech' means NOT censoring (or canceling) those who DISAGREE with you.

          (slander, libel, and advocating lawlessness notwithstanding)

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Indeed

            No it doesn't. It means THE STATE not censoring the views of those who disagree with it. You don't have any right to force me to hear your speech and certainly not any right to demand I publicise or forward your speech to others. I can choose to censor anything I like. Personally I don't like Meercats.

            1. DrSunshine0104

              Re: Indeed

              It seems that in the US the freedom of speech has been greatly bastardized. The first amendment only prevents the government, or government bodies (public schools and the like) from censoring your speech. It doesn't prevent private individuals or companies from deciding they don't want you being a nutter on their property or servers. The first amendment doesn't mean you are free of the societal implications of your speech; you can lose you job, be ostracized, told-off, ridiculed, etc, for the stupid ideas you shamelessly share with the world.

              It doesn't mean they have to do business with you, being a jackass, racist, or a generally unpleasant person isn't a protected class in the US. So if you lose your job for being a neo-nazi, calling the police on black bird watchers, go cry to some who gives a shit. There is always the option to keep your mouth shut.

              1. FeepingCreature

                Re: Indeed

                Yes, but freedom of speech is also not synonymous with the first amendment.

            2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

              Re: Indeed

              “ THE STATE not censoring the views”

              Very convenient. So the woke can use their brown shirts to do whatever they like with the state turning the blind eye and it will be ok provided it is not the state doing it?

              You are the fascist, you are the problem is you think this is ok.

              1. trindflo

                Re: Indeed

                You are railing against how the law actually works. If you have evidence of police collaborating with criminals you should present your evidence to the next higher authority: I believe that would be the FBI in the US and National Crime Agency in Great Britain.

              2. georgezilla

                Re: Indeed

                Cool.

                Then I can exercise my right to free speech without fear of you reporting me for it.

                Ignorant asshole!

                And yes, exercising the same rights as you do IS OKAY.

                Moron.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Indeed

              > No it doesn't. It means THE STATE not censoring the views of those who disagree with it

              You're (pointlessly) narrowing the scope of the phrase to the US Constitution's definition. It's a general concept, which has a specific meaning in the US Constitution.

              I can't think of a good reason for doing this. Either you've seen people on Twitter doing this, and seen all the likes it gets, or you think it's fine for people to try and shut down speech as much as possible, as long as they aren't the US government. Neither seems great.

          2. georgezilla

            Re: Indeed

            Sorry.

            But the 1st Amendment doesn't apply to me "censoring" or "canceling" speech that I disagree with.

            And that's where people get free speech wrong.

            I am actually exercising my right to do it.

            Constitution is very clear who your speech is protected from.

            It's the first word of the 1st Amendment .................

            Congress.

            My name is not, nor am I CONGRESS.

            So I am not prohibited from kicking your ass because you said something that I disagree with.

            Assault laws do.

            But not the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

            1. FeepingCreature

              Re: Indeed

              "Free speech" is still not synonymous with the first amendment, unless you believe that nobody else in the world has freedom of speech. It's not even synonymous with a class of laws. The first amendment is an instance of the general moral principle of freedom of speech, which is part of liberalism. The Constitution did not invent free speech.

        3. FeepingCreature

          Re: Indeed

          > It's always surprising that a large number of those making noises over the right to free speech are often those with opinions, ideas and intentions not aligned with modern civilised society because many find such things abhorrent.

          Why would that be surprising? Of course those who complain tend to be the ones who are threatened. That's not an argument for or against.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There is a difference

        Between free speech on a soapbox, and a private conversation between two or more individuals.

        I am not familiar in Epik - I dont know which this system is.

        Was the leak a public posting (if so, then so what?) - or a conversation? It makes an interesting thought. Its not cool to have your personal conversations shared with the world - even if they are something which may be counter to the prevailing opinion.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I disagree.. Who decides the boundaries of the speech, you??.

        1. georgezilla

          No.

          The Constitution.

          And the only entity that it expressly prohibits from doing it is ...................

          CONGRESS.

          From me doing it?

          Nope.

          Not so much.

          Freedom FROM speech, is my right to freedom OF speech.

          Just like my right to freedom FROM religion is my right to freedom OF religion.

          It's not really a hard concept to understand.

          Well for some it appears to be.

      4. Eric Olson

        *looks around quiet, crowded theater* FIRE FIRE FIRE!

        You can shout fire in a crowded theater, at least in the US. And advocating terrorism is no more illegal than saying someone is a Nazi.

        In the US, there are few(er) bounds on speech. There used to be more, allowing the government to jail people for saying critical things about the government.

        Did you know that the Supreme Court ruled the government could arrest and jail someone for distributing pamphlets telling people to peacefully resist the draft and petition for its end?

        Oh wait, that's where Justice Holmes wrote that it was unprotected just as shouting fire in a crowded theater would be unprotected.

        Thankfully, that terrible opinion was struck down a few decades later and replaced with a more logical test. Speech advocating for illegal behavior or violence is only illegal if it is intended to create imminent lawless action.

        Saying we should kill God is not illegal. Pointing to God and saying, "Kill the bastard!" to a group of people armed with pointy sticks and copies of Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" may be considered incitement.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: *looks around quiet, crowded theater* FIRE FIRE FIRE!

          this "yelling FIRE in a crowded theater" trope example is SO hackneyed it should NEVER be mentioned again.

          1. trindflo

            Re: *looks around quiet, crowded theater* FIRE FIRE FIRE!

            OK. How's this: intentionally causing harm to others, even if only through your words, will and should be treated as the crime it is. The state has immunity for it when following specific guidelines (e.g. a judge at a trial).

            1. Eric Olson

              Re: *looks around quiet, crowded theater* FIRE FIRE FIRE!

              The time gate component is critical, IMO. If someone is murdered for an opinion, it would be dangerous to people if the government could round up anyone who ever said the victim should be punished for their opinion.

              The Jan 6 insurrection is an interesting case, as many strong free speech advocate are looking at it and saying, "Yeah, those speakers may not be protected by the 1st Admt given the crowd, what they said to the crowd, and what the crowd did a few minutes later."

              And also, harm can (and is) defined so many ways that your simple definition could be used to prosecute people for things like calling someone fat, or saying a person's faith is evil, demonic, etc. Words harm, there is no doubt about that. But we can't make it all criminal, because that means the wrong person in power will use it to suppress, harass, or even imprison a group of people because they are seen as enemies.

          2. Dr_N Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: *looks around quiet, crowded theater* FIRE FIRE FIRE!

            Especially as it is "theatre" not "theater".

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In the USA free speech is like having no restrictions on carrying guns in your pocket - both guaranteed by the constitution.

      6. Pinjata
        Facepalm

        You just posted hate speech against old white guys ....

      7. scrubber

        Who is this "Everyone"?

        AC: "Everyone agrees that you can't shout fire in a crowded theatre"

        Firstly, yelling "Fire!" in a theatre is much more likely to cause a crowd of people to form around you with their cameraphones running. Secondly, theatres have very clear, safe and tested evacuation policies, so there is absolutely no danger to life or limb from a real, mistaken or even malicious attempt to cause a mass panic hence absolutely no need for any criminal sanctions this particular utterance. Civil suits on the other hand...

        Another problem with your comment is that one person's view of an "obscene image" differs significantly from his neighbour's. This leads to absurdities such as "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it" which was rightfully struck down. Similarly with "terrorism", one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. The US funding of the IRA makes this perfectly clear as does their willingness to overuse "terrorism" as a catch all get out of jail free card for the LEOs otherwise illegal activities.

        It appears that "Everyone" is not quite as universal as you thought.

      8. Jim-234

        Who's religion gets to dictate to everybody else what is "obscene"?

        In general practice when people go on about "obscene", usually they mean something that they are not comfortable with based on their social / religious viewpoints.

        "Obscenity" was routinely used in many western countries, for decades, to punish those who's artistic viewpoints did not perfectly align with the hetero-normative, christian viewpoints.

      9. Horst U Rodeinon
        Mushroom

        U B F O S

      10. Dog11

        Anonymous Coward

        "Free speech...has never, however, been unbounded. Everyone agrees that you can't shout fire in a crowded theatre, or post classes of obscene images, or advocate terrorism. "

        No, "everyone" does not agree. You can't falsely shout fire. Some of us don't give a crap about what classes of obscene image you post, so long as they're not in the El Reg comments. And the problem with advocating terrorism is, that's always defined by the government in a way that excludes their own acts (e.g. drone rocket attack on automobile containing family with many small kids doesn't count, assassinations don't count if they're done by government employees, etc.).

        In any case, in the US "free speech" is (in theory) free from government interference, but that doesn't mean that any private party is obliged to aid your saying it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Personally I'm happy with the idea that images aren't speech.

      11. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        So many woke lefties are talking about “free speech” and how it should be limited using the same phraseology as comrade Stalin used.

        What they are really supporting is totalitarianism.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Free speech?

      Where did the article say "free speech is a "far-right-friendly" concept"?

      The article described Epik as a far-right-friendly platform. Which it is.

      The owner of Epik - Rob Monster - described letting anyone on his platform as a "free speech issue", showing a great deal of constitutional ignorance since freedom of speech refers strictly to the repression of speech by government or the state.

      Freedom of speech has nothing to do with private businesses publishing, hosting or broadcasting a customer's content (or conversely choosing not to and declining the business).

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Free speech?

        There are no problems with Free Speech - the problems appear when people lie and are not held responsible for their lies ...

        However claiming "Free Speech" when you reveal a nation's secrets will get you jailed ... but lying about things to promote far-right, far-left, upper(god), or lower(Devils) is fine if you do it on Facebook.

        1. Zolko Bronze badge

          Re: Free speech?

          the problems appear when people lie and are not held responsible for their lies

          like Tony Blair about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, which lead to the Irak war and its hundreds of thousand of dead ? Does that count ?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Free speech?

            What lies? They are all slimy lawyers I'm sure there were no actual lies.

            Copy a fantasy from the Internet. Send it to MI5 and have it returned with a note saying "this is bollocks", classify it so nobody finds out.

            Make a statement in the house saying: "We have received Top Secret intelligence from MI5 about Iraqi WMDs" = totally 100% truthful. It's all just a student debating society game - only with a million dead.

        2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Free speech?

          “ lying about things to promote far-right, far-left, upper(god), or lower(Devils) is fine”

          Every totalitarian regime always explained the reason they jailed opposition was because the opposition lied.

          All you really need is to assign to yourself the right people to decide who is lying.

      2. llaryllama

        Re: Free speech?

        There are a lot of problems with the "private business is free to decide who and what they host" thing.

        Should a business be allowed to refuse hosting services to a gay website, or one run by black people or atheists or Christians?

        Shouldn't it be up to the courts to decide what is legal or not? I certainly don't want companies like GoDaddy deciding whether or not I'm allowed a domain name.

        Remember we are not even talking about platforms like Facebook that could possibly seen as promoting or publishing this stuff, we are talking about access to critical infrastructure. If we are getting to the point where hosts are deciding who is allowed to register domains then the private business argument kind of falls flat as in 2021 Internet access is an essential part of modern life just like a phone line would be pre-90s.

        This touches a nerve for me not because I want anything to do with right wing nutjobs but because I have been actively censored on American platforms for critical speech against the Chinese communist party (I'm Taiwanese and Chinese govt media threatens to nuke Taiwan on a daily basis). It's all fun and games cheering censorship until you find yourself censored.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Free speech?

          For furriners: Answers relate to UK law, equivalent laws in your country may vary or not exist. Don't @ me.

          Should a business be allowed to refuse hosting services to a gay website

          Yes. And they are.

          This precedent was set by the Asher Bakery "gay cake" case (not to be confused with a similar "gay cake" case in Colorado which I am not going to get into because US law is subtly different on this point). In Asher's case they were demonstrably not discriminating against the customer (or his sexuality) because they did offer to bake him a cake, they just refused to decorate it in a particular way.

          A webhost can't refuse to serve a customer because they are gay, but they can decline to host content relating to such.

          or one run by black people or atheists or Christians?

          See, what you've done there - whether deliberately or through blissful ignorance of the law - is conflate content with the creator. It would be unlawful to refuse to do business with someone because they are black. It is not unlawful to be offered a job printing a load of BLM banners and say "nah, don't fancy it thanks".

          Shouldn't it be up to the courts to decide what is legal or not? I certainly don't want companies like GoDaddy deciding whether or not I'm allowed a domain name.

          It is. If you think a host has acted unlawfully in it's implementation of company policy (or the law) then you are entitled to sue them. In court. Are you suggesting that webhosts should allow anything to fly and then sort it out in court? Just do away with Terms of Service? We're going to need a lot more courts and judges!

          Remember we are not even talking about platforms like Facebook that could possibly seen as promoting or publishing this stuff, we are talking about access to critical infrastructure. If we are getting to the point where hosts are deciding who is allowed to register domains then the private business argument kind of falls flat as in 2021 Internet access is an essential part of modern life just like a phone line would be pre-90s.

          Critical infrastructure? There are many thousands of ASNs which make up the web. There is nothing stopping someone running their own server. With Gb domestic connections increasingly available this can even be done from home. Very few western hosts are going to stop you running an anti-China/pro-Taiwan site. The fact that AWS and a few big players decided to boot Parler (who let's not forget were in breach of AWS' Terms of Service. They weren't booted simply for being right-wing) does not mean that "critical infrastructure" is a closed shop.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Free speech?

            Suppose in return for future favorable tax environments, Google and Bing decided not to index any Democrat websites and VISA/MCard decided not to accept donations for Democrat candidates ?

            1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

              Re: Free speech?

              That case is clear... because you said "in return for future favorable tax environments". The government (in the US) is not allowed to take actions to incentivize others to deny freedom of speech.

              However, if you delete the "in return for future favorable tax environments" then it is legal. However, that is itself becoming a serious problem as Google and the credit card processors are effective monopolies. Ask Onlyfans.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Free speech?

                Of course it could always be <wink>in return for "expected" future favorable tax environment<\wink>

                I'm sure Lockheed Martin don't demand written proof of a future war before funding hawks

              2. cornetman Silver badge

                Re: Free speech?

                The OnlyFans situation is different. They already use payment processors that happily facilitate paying for porn. It was been reported that what OnlyFans are looking to do is attract investors to expand and they're having trouble on that front. A different situation.

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. llaryllama

            Re: Free speech?

            Last year I caught YouTube and Facebook censoring comments and videos that were critical of the Chinese Communist Party. This ended up being covered by a few media outlets and the censorship was quietly refined so instead of outright blocks any "unfavorable" content became harder to find. Unlike censorship that YouTube does for e.g. hate speech or adult content they appeared to allow posting comments or videos that were then secretly deleted a few seconds later. I only found out about this because I was researching history of the Chinese civil war and found my comments containing some archaic (non offensive) Chinese words were mysteriously disappearing.

            As far as there being thousands of ASNs the fact is that very few people or organizations have the resources to directly feed into an Internet exchange, and there is still the possibility of getting booted off an IX for political reasons.

            For most people on the planet in 2021, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc. ARE "the Internet" and getting deplatformed from these services cuts you off from a large part of the public web.

            I have to stree the point of my complaining about censorship and cheering on illegal behaviour against people you disagree with is that winds change very quickly. I don't want these huge social media behemoths having power to decide who gets to say what because anything could happen in the next 20 or 30 years.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Free speech?

        > since freedom of speech refers strictly to the repression of speech by government or the state

        It doesn't have to. He's not saying that it's a legal requirement. He's saying the principle of free speech, rather than the constitutional protection you're referring to, is constitutionally important, and facilitating it online is therefore important.

    4. georgezilla

      The problem is that most people that whine about free speech is that they don't actually know what it is.

      Or who it protects them from.

      And the answer is the very first word of the 1st Amendment .................

      Congress.

      Your right to free speech doesn't cover me kicking your ass for saying something stupid.

      No it doesn't.

      There are laws against assault that keep me from doing it.

      But your right to free speech isn't one of them.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Epik happily hosts services and individuals who hold those views"

    On the one hand, I'd like that platform to be shut down.

    On the other hand, it's a treasure trove for the FBI.

    So go free speech. Let those assholes hang themselves.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "Epik happily hosts services and individuals who hold those views"

      Except for the fact that it actually operates and didn't involve years of objections from Oracle I assumed it was

  6. Tired and grumpy

    So hacking is OK if you disagree with the political stance of the target? Is that the message we're supposed to take from this exercise in flummery? I realise that we face a new puritanism where dissent is not tolerated, but I'd hoped the Register might stay a little more neutral for a little longer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Split decision

      TV stations / networks have had "censors" for decades so offensive material stayed off-air. Private businesses, not government, and it was (and is) their right. All of social media including YouTube have this right, but the prior market-entry fee of "build your own station/network" is now so much higher due to the global entrenched user base. As such, I am concerned about the amount of power these platforms have to silence certain viewpoints.

      I adamantly disagree with "stop the steal", anti-vaccine, and other far-right viewpoints. They are acting like closed-minded fools, to put it mildly.

      However, I have certain religious convictions regarding sanctity of life (ALL human life, not just post-conception/pre-birth), marriage/sexuality/etc., and other lifestyle/cultural issues, and these convictions do have some overlap with those "deplorables" and also go against the social media status quo.

      Growing up, I thought the liberals were more open-minded than the conservatives, but it seems in trying to combat real misinformation they are becoming closed-minded to religious belief that isn't universalist or humanist. How long before I and folks like me -- politically moderate, party agnostic, socially conservative but trying to ACTUALLY love our neighbors liberally -- are silenced online for having firm beliefs?

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Split decision

        TV stations / networks have had "censors" for decades so offensive material stayed off-air. Private businesses, not government, and it was (and is) their right

        Actually, no. In the US at least, over-the-air TV and radio stations still face hefty fines for airing "offensive" material, as determined by the FCC. They have zero choice. Cable stations have a bit more freedom, but they still have legal limits.

        For example, in the '60s, you couldn't show a pregnant woman, a bedroom with a single bed, two people in the same bed, or bellybuttons.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Split decision

          I will take the rare step of saying thank you for that additional info. I forgot about FCC regulations on broadcasting.

          However, my argument still stands: on top of any gov't regs, any private business has the right to additionally censor any information coming out of it.

          Newspaper and magazine "letters to the editor" are allowed to be edited or chucked straight in the bin; you agree to that when you send one. YouTube, et al have less articles, way more user-submitted content, and about the same ratio of ads, but I have a feeling you agree that they all do have the right to not re-publish content they don't want to.

          My nearest big city has two newspapers that lean politically opposite, but even the right-wing pulp gets its facts right on actual news stories. If YouTube et al become opposed to religion and religious-driven lifestyles/opinions, what's the alternative? (Certainly not Parler and Friends -- there's a difference between religious-guided living and cuckoo-crazy conspiracies, and I wish more folks in my church weren't off the deep end.)

          1. Zolko Bronze badge
            Pirate

            Re: Split decision

            any private business has the right to additionally censor any information coming out of it

            does that also apply to restaurants ? Like: "I don't agree with your political views, therefore I won't serve you in my restaurant". I hope you see where I'm going with this argument. Therefore no, a private business cannot choose its clients. It can refuse clients based on some factual evidence - like proper cloths for entering a night-club for example - but it can't refuse clients because of political views. Or religion, or skin-color, or sexual orientation, or ...

            The really funny part of this is that it's the self-proclaimed "left-leaning liberals" who are the most venomous arguing for the right to censorship by private mega-corporations. Icon, obviously.

            1. WolfFan Silver badge

              Re: Split decision

              Yes, it does apply to restaurants. As long as you’re not a member of a protected class (black, disabled, female, a few others) they can’t refuse service _for just that reason _. Now, if they can think of another reason (improper dress, aggressive behavior, lots of other possible reasons) they can, and will, toss you out, and you will lose any subsequent lawsuit unless you can _prove_ that the real reason was that you were a member of a protected class.

            2. Paul 195
              Headmaster

              Re: Split decision

              The restaurant argument doesn't quite hold here. Nobody should be refused service for being gay, black, or even being a member of the proud boys. However, the service offered by web hosting is not the same as the service offered by a restaurant. Offering a service to enable people to incite hatred and plan violence against others is unequivocally a bad thing.

              1. Zolko Bronze badge

                Re: Split decision

                However, the service offered by web hosting is not the same as the service offered by a restaurant.

                it's exactly the same, they both say: "please come in and give us your money, in return we give you this service". If one would now add: "... unless I don't like you're political opinions (skin colour, religion, sexual orientation ...), in which case I can throw you out without notice" : that would be illegal.

                Offering a service to enable people to incite hatred and plan violence against others is unequivocally a bad thing.

                you're confusing bad with illegal.

                1. Paul 195

                  Re: Split decision

                  > you're confusing bad with illegal.

                  I'm really not. Because while it may be illegal in some jurisdictions and not in others, I think the consensus view is likely to be that inciting hatred and planning violence is wrong.

        2. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Split decision

          For example, in the '60s, you couldn't show a pregnant woman, a bedroom with a single bed, two people in the same bed, or bellybuttons.

          Off the top of my head, no wait I'll fact check that myself, yes, that was due to the Hays Code in 1932. Before that Hollywood was fairly raunchy. There was even a movie with Ginger Rogers in a bath with a man - and please look away if you are easily triggered - in a state of undress! As the Irish say, sod them and gomorrah.

          Some of the comments here seem to be,

          "First they came for the Nazis, and I did not speak out because...oh, damn, I remember where that meme came from".

          Some Americans seem confused by European Hate Speech laws, but give us a break, there is clear historical reasons for those - around the same time as the Hays Code.

          Real life, kind of unreal, elected US politicians today claim mask mandates are as bad as the holocaust. It does not reflect well on any nation that elected such idiots to express an opinion on anything.

          Anonymous can be a bit hit and miss too - not just the groups but the comments here - but on this occasion they did good.

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      Facepalm

      re: but I'd hoped the Register might stay a little more neutral for a little longer.

      Your post is still up.

      Neutral on what, whether racism is good? I'm happy for them to come right out and say it's bad!

      You seem to have a problem with the content of the article, surely you're not suggesting they censor themselves.....

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      "So hacking is OK if you disagree with the political stance of the target? Is that the message we're supposed to take from this exercise in flummery?"

      Did the article say it was acceptable? No, it didn't. It just reported that it had been done and reported the facts. It never said the action was morally valid, legally acceptable (it wasn't, it's a crime), or condoned by the paper. Just as it would have reported a different kind of data breech, the article covered whose data was taken, by whom, what was claimed by those who took it, and the findings of people looking at the dump.

      As for your assumption that dissent isn't being tolerated by the register, I note that your comment was not removed by the moderators who are undoubtedly reading this topic closely, nor have they prevented the upvotes you have received. They are allowing your views, negative to them though they are.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Must have taken them HOURS

    To do that ASCII header alone....

    1. keith_w Silver badge

      Re: Must have taken them HOURS

      there's probably a program to do that. you just have to be sure, when copying and pasting it, to be sure that you are using a monospaced font.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Must have taken them HOURS

      Hours, only back in the 2400 baud, BBS era. Downloading FigLet using Kermit, then finding that it had been packed with a compression program new to you so you had to download _that_ too. And your telephone line was cursed with crosstalk from hell by a chatty neighbour. Using a modem that did not yet have these newfangled Hayes commands, so dialling had to be done using a Real POTS Phone, then flipping a switch once the screech started.

      1. Agamemnon
        Pint

        Re: Must have taken them HOURS

        *Roaring Laughter*

        Truth.

        I owe you a beer for the laugh.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    public interest?

    I can, easily, appreciate the public interest in digging up and publishing classified government documents. They spent our money to produce them and they're supposed to reflect policy chosen by people we elect.

    I can, with a little bit of difficulty, appreciate the public interest in digging up and publishing confidential corporate documents, at least where they show efforts to commit crimes, subvert justice, and manipulate the course of both private choice and public policy for the executives' benefit.

    I can, with greater difficulty, accept that there is some degree of public interest in digging up deeply private information like banking, travel, and medical records of individuals and publishing them if (and really only if) they show clear evidence of criminal acts like human trafficking, tax evasion, or smuggling.

    But I cannot see any legitimate public interest in stealing and publishing "passwords and API tokens". That's nothing but criminal mischief, made no different from any other credential theft or personal information compromise by the mere fact that the media and other powerful institutions are filled with people who happen to disagree with the ideas the owners of those credentials are more likely than average to hold. If there's any public interest associated breaking into Epik's private computer systems and stealing the information they contain, that interest has to be associated with the data itself: whatever evidence of criminal acts (not merely opinions unpopular with the shrill and noisy) they found should be published. That's still theft and computer misuse, but there is at least a reasonable claim of competing public interest: evidence of crimes.

    There is no public interest in stealing and publishing access credentials. None at all. If that's what they're going to do, they are nothing but a terrorist gang trying to frighten people away from expressing their political opinions. That's exactly what the FBI was for many decades, and why there was legitimate public interest in defeating it. This is no better, and the public interest here lies in sending these people to prison.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Nazis bad at computer security

    Would only be funnier if it was a gay guy that hacked them

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nazis bad at computer security

      I suspect there's strong correlation between being so afraid or ignorant of large sections of society that you hate them, and not being terribly clever.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Nazis bad at computer security

        Fortunately our own political leaders are big fans of experts, whatever their race, creed, colour and school

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nazis bad at computer security

      They named themselves “Hackers on Estradiol,” so there’s a chance trans women did it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nazis bad at computer security

        That's possible. Or it could be a false flag operation by people wanting to make trans women look bad. Or it could be a false flag operation to make people think it's false flag operation by people wanting to make trans women look bad. It's best not to assume anything criminals tell you about themselves is true.

  10. DJ
    Mushroom

    Oops - I thought I was at the Register site...

    ...not Reddit.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Oops - I thought I was at the Register site...

      That's what they want you to think !

  11. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    Racists and other Nazis

    More fail to them all

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So who are these "far right" of whom you speak?..

    The tern "far right" has in the last few decades gone from having at least some basis in reality to a pure weasel words phrase for anyone that does not agree with the political agenda of the op-ed writers of the Guardian and NYT. Newspapers I might add that went from a very traditional respect and defense of the fundamentals of liberal democracy to now little more than (badly written) agit-prop in defense of the current ruling elites. Written mostly by the children of the current ruling elites.

    Back when I were a lad people with political opinions now described as "Far Right" used to be known as "New Deal Democrats". Reasonable people, with a live and let live attitude to others. In other words honest hard working folk who made good neighbors and friends.

    What is also fascinating is how few of the posters here have even the most basic understanding of what free speech is. Once you start using terms like except, apart from, within certain limits etc then you show that you really dont understand what the term means. Free speech is not speech you find acceptable, free speech most certainly involves speech that some will find objectionable. But mostly it seems only when said by certain people. The very basis of liberal democracy involve the right of people to say things you dont like. If you dont believe this then you dont understand what liberal democracy is. You are either authoritarian or as it seem so many are now, verging towards totalitarian. No dissent allowed.

    As for the "hackers". Just the usual sociopaths. These type of people always are. Nothing like living in a city like SF for many decades to learn to equate the term "political activist" with sociopathic nasty pieces of work. Usually utterly vile people in person. A personal opinion based on a very large sample covering the whole political spectrum.

    And here is a heads up for all those believe those "far right groups" conspiracies. For as long as I can remember at least one quarter to one third of members of the (very small) number of people involved with these groups is ether a Fed or LE asset. One way or another. It was the same for the ultra left groups back in the 1960's and 1970's. In fact it was these lefty groups in the 1960's who first coined the phrase - The Fed is always the person shouting loudest for direct action..

    Plus sa change as they say in land of the Bobos and the Bien Pensant.

  14. poohbear

    Journalism without ad hominem attacks would be nice....you know, convey the impression of objective reporting ...

    El Reg is not what it used to be ... :-(

  15. Colin Bain

    In the old.days we.got.news from papers. They were.entities.that often had a view, often censored themselves or were censored by govt. We had laws to protect us and so could sue.to.determine what was appropriate. They were private companies. Now we need and opinion from every one on a "we are not a publisher platform. But by censoring, they are essentially performing a publishing function. However the censoring is not challengable. It is also somewhat arbitrary. I agree personally that antivaxxers are harmful and distribute misinformation. However a light perusal of every political promise is a direct deceipt. Should we stop that? There are many more dangerous deceipts currently up and running without being taken down. Who in the social media world is capable and qualified to make those decisions? Have private companies for so large and government like in the sense that everyone buys into them, that they can now censor without impunity, but hide behind the "private company" to avoid responsibility? Dystopia, you are already here

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