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Guess who is censoring an Iranian blogger?
August 10, 2007 7:51 PM   Subscribe

A cowardly webhost censors a critic of American foreign policy. On August 10, the web hosting company Hosting Matters deleted the website of MetaFilter's own Hossein Derakhshan, itinerant Iranian blogger based in Toronto and a consistent critic of the Bush regime's foreign policy as it regards Iran. Hosting Matters completely erased his website, including his blogging software, his web directories, and his database. According to Derakhshan, Hosting Matters then went a step further and threatened to sue him if he mentioned what they had done. He claims it was done as a result of his criticism of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's fellow Mehdi Khalaji. hoder's criticism of Khalaji available via Google Cache (Part 1, Part 2)
posted by chlorus (60 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
1. Wow, what fuckers.

2. I'm confused, mostly because I don't read Arabic- the first link is dead but the main link shows a site that is up, including a post from today. That seems way too short a time to switch hosts so I'm confused as to what's down and what was deleted.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:00 PM on August 10, 2007


your first link is 404'd, your second is in Farsi. so far the pieces really aren't coming together for me.
posted by Avenger at 8:01 PM on August 10, 2007


Jesus christ, those links were working for me a minute ago... holdon.
posted by chlorus at 8:04 PM on August 10, 2007


Ok, well the permalinks to those blog posts are fucked for some reason - here is the link to his English speaking weblog which has the rundown - for posterity's sake maybe we can update it to working permalinks later.
posted by chlorus at 8:06 PM on August 10, 2007


That's fucked up. Sympathies and soforth to Hossein.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:06 PM on August 10, 2007


And if there are still problems accessing it, here are his latest two posts that I can see just pasted into the thread (admins feel free to delete this if his links are working):
---------------------------------------
Land of Liberty and Lawyers
August 11, 2007

Last night Hosting Matters abruptly terminated both my accounts on their server, because I noticed they had removed ANY English post where Mehdi Khalaji was mentioned. Not only from my web directories, but also from my blogging software database. Then they threatened me not to reveal anything about what they had done or they would sue me!

Fortunately, I had backed up all my data on both servers. But I'm still frustrated and puzzled at why were they so scared?

I'm considering taking legal action against Hosting Matters for its unethical conduct that has and is going to cost me a lot of time and money and energy.

Anyway, I'm now using a new hosting account I have recently bought. But I have to migrate dozens of domain names, software and plugins, blogs and databases to the new server and this takes a lot of time and energy -- and also technical expertise which I don't have when it comes to Virtual Private Servers.

So in the past 24 hours I've just managed to setup my email address and my main domain names and a tiny part of my archive, especially for my Persian blog.

I'm writing these lines using manual HTML coding and I guess I would have to do this until I finish the migration process, most likely in the next few days.

Let's see what Mehdi Khalaji, the Washington Institute's fellow, is going to do next to silence someone who thinks he is helping the enemies of Iran and humanity.

Here is the backgroud of the story, in case you don't understand what is happening here: Part one, part two
# Direct Link | Comments (0)
-------------------------------------------
Hosting Matters, intimidated by Mehdi Khalaji, removes my posts and kicks me out
August 10, 2007

I can't believe this!

Hosting Matters, my hosting company, has removed two of my posts abot Mehdi Khalaji's attempts to shut down this blog from my movable type database without even letting me know. (Cached versions: here and here)

They have threatened me to remove anything I've written about Mehdi Khalaji, or they suspend my account. After objecting to it and telling them that I would consider suing them for violating my rights, they have now asked me to leave!

I'm beginning to think that this guy is really supported by the people who are on the board of where he works for, i.e. Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey.

Why does Mehdi Khalaji want no one know about whom he work for?
# Direct Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
posted by chlorus at 8:07 PM on August 10, 2007


Hosting Matters Homepage : Support Emails
posted by Mr_Zero at 8:09 PM on August 10, 2007


I'm considering taking legal action against Hosting Matters for its unethical conduct that has and is going to cost me a lot of time and money and energy.

I hope he sues the hell out of 'em. I don't know if I'm more disgusted by the initial action, or their threat to sue him if he told anyone about it. Where do they get off?
posted by itchylick at 8:12 PM on August 10, 2007


Pope Guilty - Sympathies and soforth to Hossein.

This will not end well.
posted by Poolio at 8:13 PM on August 10, 2007


I can't tell from the links what the hell this is all about. It's an interesting topic, and I agree that Hosting Matters are bastards if they did this, but there's not much link support to go on.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:17 PM on August 10, 2007


Please see the comments I just posted in reference to that problem.
posted by chlorus at 8:21 PM on August 10, 2007


That's too bad, but I'd caution trying to paint him as just another blogger whose speech has been silenced. When I tried to engage him, he ignored me completely, understandable given his views.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:24 PM on August 10, 2007


I'm tempted to contact him with an offer of using my Simon Fraser University hosting account. I've got absolutely nothing going on with it, and I'm pretty sure SFU is in support of free speech and all that jazz...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:25 PM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


He claims it was done as a result of his criticism of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's fellow Mehdi Khalaji

He criticized Mehdi Khalaji of all people? And the Institute for Near East Policy? No wonder they nuked blog. It all makes so much sense now. Mehdi Khalaji is big time, after all.

I wouldn't pay any attention whatsoever to the people who might suggest that Khalaji may have continued to post provocative and libelous content despite repeated warnings from his web host.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:30 PM on August 10, 2007


Er, that should have been:

I wouldn't pay any attention whatsoever to the people who might suggest that **Hossein Derakhshan** may have continued to post provocative and libelous content despite repeated warnings from his web host.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:36 PM on August 10, 2007


If, the posts about Mehdi Kaladji were not libelous, or call for violent action of any kind, even in jest or as tongue in cheek, and if this is true, Hossein Derakhshan should not just sue "the hell out of 'em", as itchylick hopes. He should make it a priority to destroy this company.

Call the ACLU and the EFF. If you are arab or muslim, find the arab or muslim equivalent of the Jewish Defense League, and call them.

He should sue for trespass, theft and destruction of property, breach of contract (you can find something in the terms of agreement). Data and blogs are property. A website is a valuable thing. Deleting a blog post that gerneates keywords taht are crawled by google are valuable. Get a lawyer who is creative and innovative. The suit should also name The Washington Institute, and Mehdi Kalahdji. He should also name the principals of Hosting Matters personally, and see to it that they are served with the suit and the most humiliating time possible - leaving church, at a public event, when they are out with their families, etc.

And you should sue for no less than $100 million dollars. And no, I am not kidding. You live in Toronto, but this appears to be a US company. This is how it's done here. If this was 1934, you'd hire someone to break his legs. In 2007, you sue him for everything he has, everything his family has, everything. If everything Hossein says is true, that this company deleted selected blog posts because of some political affiliation and then threatened to sue him to shut him up, then it's fucking go time.

If it were me, my objective would be to find out who at the company authorized this, and destroy their lives. You want that person to get divorced, lose their kids, fall into a depression, and ultimately kill themselves is a filthy motel room. And I'd want all of that publicized. If this is story is true, I almost wish it happened to me, so I could finally put all this aggression and blood lust to good use.

You should post on your blog that it is your intention to bankrupt this company. You should send a note to the admin of every domain on Hosting Matters, describing what happened, that you intend to shut the company down, and that because you intend to deprive the company of the entirety of its assets, which would include severs, etc, they will unfortunately and inadvertently suffer as a result. You should give them the name of another hosting company that will let them transfer their sites over unconditionally and conveniently, to ensure that they do not suffer any disruptions as you proceed with your suit.

Also, you want to sue as soon as possible. In the US, when you are sued you automatically have the obligation to retain any documents and records that may be evidence in the suit. Because they threatened to sue Hossein already, that obligation has, in fact, already attached.

So, again, if this is true, cry "havoc", and let slip the dogs of war.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:46 PM on August 10, 2007 [9 favorites]


He should sue for trespass, theft and destruction of property, breach of contract (you can find something in the terms of agreement).

Have you read the contract, or are you just assuming? I would imagine there's [also] something in the TOS that allows them to do what they've done. If not, they're pretty fucking stupid.
posted by Poolio at 8:51 PM on August 10, 2007


Hosting Matters, my hosting company, has removed two of my posts abot Mehdi Khalaji's attempts to shut down this blog from my movable type database without even letting me know. (Cached versions: here and here)

They have threatened me to remove anything I've written about Mehdi Khalaji, or they suspend my account. After objecting to it and telling them that I would consider suing them for violating my rights, they have now asked me to leave
.

Well I wouldn't have removed his posts, but if he had threatened to sue me I would have terminated his account as well. The only reasonable course of action against someone who threatens to sue you is to cut off all contact.
posted by delmoi at 8:52 PM on August 10, 2007


Pastabagel: Are you serious. I mean yeah you say "if this is true" which we don't know at all. I'm always vary weary of taking the word of one side of an issue. Has hosting matters said anything about this?

It's my view that internet hosts and other information transport companies (like TV networks) should not be able to censor information. However they can. We don't know exactly what happened. For all we know, he just didn't pay his bill.
posted by delmoi at 8:55 PM on August 10, 2007


I wasn't reading this guy's stuff before they started trying to censor him. Now that they're trying to censor him, I'm supposed to start reading his stuff? What makes it more relevant to me now that they're trying to make it so I can't read it if I want to? I didn't want to before.

I mean, I probably agree with him, but I'm getting sick and tired of the whole topic. I can't stop what my country is doing, cuz it's not really my country, any more than Iraq is the Iraqis' country or Iran is the Iranians' country. Not the Common Man's. It's operated and controlled by the politically powerful and financially elite. I don't care if the diplomacy is through a gun or a pen; if it's not We The People governing, it's a crock pot of unicorn horns.

Without true democracy, no one really has any capability of controlling the gov'ts that claim to represent them.

Frankly, I'm bored with the argument, because there isn't a way of fixing what's broke.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:59 PM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


delmoi: considering that hoder has been blogging for so long, I seriously doubt that the suspension of his service has to do with delinquent invoices.

Here is Hosting Matter's AUP. Tell me where in that they reserve the right to restrict legal political speech on websites they host.

Also, this issue is so new that I doubt Hosting Matters has had a chance to respond - also, it's the weekend, eh?
posted by chlorus at 8:59 PM on August 10, 2007


For all we know, he just didn't pay his bill.

I think the "if this is true" indemnifies Pastabagel in the event that it's not true.
posted by Poolio at 9:00 PM on August 10, 2007


Zachsmind: what the hell are you whinging about? You have a say, but there is no such thing as true democracy, and if there was, how is that a panacea? 50% + 1 (DEMOCRACY, THAT) is enough to tyrannize the rest of us. See U.S. General Election, 2004 for more info on that.
posted by chlorus at 9:02 PM on August 10, 2007


I read the post a week or two back talking about how he was issued a take down notice but didn't think anything would come of it. That's pretty interesting. Well lucky for him there are no shortage of hosts on the Internet.
posted by chunking express at 9:02 PM on August 10, 2007


He might want to try nearlyfreespeech.net. This whole scene is fucked up; I guess it's no longer just the "evil" Iranian government who wants to shut down Iranian bloggers...he must have been onto something.
posted by Jimbob at 9:11 PM on August 10, 2007


Here is Hosting Matter's AUP. Tell me where in that they reserve the right to restrict legal political speech on websites they host.

Did you actually read it?
Other activities:
Any activity not defined above but judged by Hosting Matters to be harmful to other clients or general operations of the network will be addressed on a case by case basis.
posted by delmoi at 9:15 PM on August 10, 2007


he's hardly free speech deprived. there are a million web hosts. if i run a newspaper, television station, billboard company, what have you, i don't have to accept advertising from people i don't like, for any reason or for no reason at all. if i own a printing shop i'm under no obligation to accept work from people who want me to print crap i disagree with. all this "hurf durf gonna sue the fuckers for violating my rights" is inane. you guys are fucking laughable.
posted by quonsar at 9:17 PM on August 10, 2007


if i run a newspaper, television station, billboard company, what have you, i don't have to accept advertising from people i don't like, for any reason or for no reason at all

That's true, but that's not good. I don't know anything about this case, and I don't care. But in general corporations should not be able to censor views they don't approve of.
posted by delmoi at 9:20 PM on August 10, 2007


delmoi: You are absolutely correct. I kept saying "if this is true" because I don't know if it is and because I want to communicate that to fight this kind of a fight, you need to have all of the truth and the right on your side.

In other words, like you say, he has to have paid his bill, and not sent spam from his account, and not violated all the other stuff in the TOS.

If Hossein did not pay his bill and made some inflammatory speech, and they shut him down, then, Hossein, you have to assume they are shutting you down for not paying your bill. If there is another, less inflammatory reason for them to justify shutting you down, then you have to assume that's what it is, and then you become an ass for suggesting otherwise. Also, you're suggesting some political conspiracy on their part approaches libel, because if you know the real reason they shut you down, and you accuse them of something like this, its defamatory, and they can sue you, and they SHOULD sue you.

I'm not being naive here. I have known plenty of people in my life who are activists or the like and are sloppy about the things they say or how they conduct their activities, so that when someone drops the hammer on them for the sloppiness (a certain someone who hadn't paid their phone bill for 6 months and had the phone deactivated the day before a rally), they blame conspiracy against their activism.

The fact is that major companies like Yahoo have censored bloggers in china at the request of the Chinese government. We know this. It's only a matter of time before some blogger in china gets wise and opens a blog on the U.S. How long before China asks for that US blog to be deleted? After all, it's only one fact different from what has already happened.

We have an election coming up in 2008, and there's the potential for all kinds of monkey business. It wouldn't surprise me if certain sites trying to organize voter drives suffered DDOSs before elections.

IF this is true, if Hossien has been a good little boy and not broken any contractual rules, and they shut him down for non-defamatory, non-violent, non-hate, plain old political speech, then that company should be completely ruined.

But, here's a little secret, between us kiddies here on the blue - I actually don't believe a single word of this. Here's why (from the comment above):

"But I'm still frustrated and puzzled at why were they so scared? I'm considering taking legal action against Hosting Matters for its unethical conduct that has and is going to cost me a lot of time and money and energy."


When this kind of thing happens for real to people as politically active and aggressive as hoder appears to be, there are basically two reactions, fear (my nightmares are true and the Grand Conspiracy is going to have me killed) or blind rage (see my comment above).

Intellectually detached statements like "Why were they so scared?" are not part of the profile, nor is the half-hearted I-can't-be-bothered-to-sue line. If you are politically active, you look for a a chance to sue.

So I'm not convinced, personally. But I wanted to express clearly what I think is the appropriate level of outrage someone should feel if their political speech is silenced by the company that hosts their blog.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:22 PM on August 10, 2007


delmoi: fair enough. Provided we get more information, while Hosting Matter's decision may be technically legal (though one might argue it is a breach of contract), it is still entirely shabby.
posted by chlorus at 9:23 PM on August 10, 2007


Hosting Matters used to host all the kooky right wing blogs, but I don't know if they still do. I seem to recall the entire service got DDOS'd once and claimed it was Al Queda online terrorists.

Anyway, pretty much any host can cut you off for any reason -- that's what it says in the AUPs for pretty much every one of them. Shouldn't be too hard to find a new host.
posted by mathowie at 9:25 PM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Michelle Malkin's coverage of the DDOS attack on Hosting Matters.
posted by Poolio at 9:31 PM on August 10, 2007


i don't like censorship, i don't know all the equities in this situation, but if i ever start a hosting company (not hard to do, i promise my clients i won't let my cat sleep on the server) i'll charge you premium prices for premium tolerance, i.e., contractual guarantee you can say anything you want.
posted by bruce at 9:32 PM on August 10, 2007


Also, I'm not your or Hossein's lawyer; this doesn't constitute legal advice; consult a lawyer; consult your doctor; my comments do not represent those of my employer, this PBS station, Metafilter, my bartender, or my shrink; at the time of writing I have no positions in any of the securities mentioned; side effects may include, nausea, headache or diarrhea; this is a work of fiction and any relation to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, etc. etc.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:33 PM on August 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


i'll charge you premium prices for premium tolerance

Free speech isn't free. It costs an additional $9.95/month.
posted by Poolio at 9:34 PM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Guess who is censoring an Iranian blogger?

See, a random hosting company I've never heard of would not have been my first guess.
posted by smackfu at 9:43 PM on August 10, 2007 [6 favorites]


Anyway, pretty much any host can cut you off for any reason -- that's what it says in the AUPs for pretty much every one of them. Shouldn't be too hard to find a new host.

I think the issue is not so much that the hosting service cut this person off, but that they also (allegedly) threatened to sue the guy if he told anyone about it.
posted by washburn at 10:15 PM on August 10, 2007


"they reserve the right to restrict legal political speech "
"if i run a newspaper, television station, billboard company, what have you, i don't have to accept advertising from people i don't like, for any reason or for no reason at all"

A better argument might be that a newspaper can put in or take out whatever it wants in the letters to the editor (or in an online-comments section).

Except even this argument doesn't hold here. Freedom of speech doesn't mean you can speak anywhere you want--you can't walk into people's houses and start talking, you can't force newspapers to print your letters.

But it does mean that you can speak freely in public. You could argue that a hosted website or a blog is a public forum (even if payed for and statements are made about having the right to remove political speach). Censoring it, I think, could be argued as censoring free speech.

The newspaper ad argument is interesting. If a newspaper takes a political ad, it cannot legally refuse an ad from an opponent--it has set itself up as a public forum and cannot therefore restrict free speech.

I'm not a legal expert, but by golly I read google search links, so I couldn't possibly be wrong about this.
posted by eye of newt at 11:38 PM on August 10, 2007


The newspaper ad argument is totally fucking bogus. You are no legal expert.

A newspaper can chose to not print whatever the fuck it wants. They have free speech too, you know.
posted by blasdelf at 12:05 AM on August 11, 2007


Metafilter: This is a work of fiction and any relation to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
posted by tehloki at 12:31 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


chlorus: 50% +1 is in most cases the best kind of vote in a democracy. Any higher vote, and the will of the majority can be hijacked by the will of the minority.

If the required vote, for example, is 75%+1, then a minority of 25% can control what gets passed/who gets elected, etc... If that minority organises well, the other 75% will have to get used to compromises which pleases the minority, which destroys the power of the 75%.

Election math can get pretty complex, but this basic principle remains.
posted by honest knave at 12:37 AM on August 11, 2007


We've been seeing the sort of thing honest knave is talking about in Congress recently.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:31 AM on August 11, 2007


What a bunch of pussies.

I hope someone hacks into Hosting Matters and fucks up their site real good.
posted by hadjiboy at 2:53 AM on August 11, 2007


though one might argue it is a breach of contract

No, really, did you read it?
Service and Reporting
Hosting Matters reserves the right to refuse, cancel, or suspend service at its discretion.
posted by splice at 2:55 AM on August 11, 2007


... There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed ...
posted by homodigitalis at 4:06 AM on August 11, 2007


[I changed the main link to the main weblog link, email me if the permalinks come back]
posted by jessamyn at 4:47 AM on August 11, 2007


The following is the response that Nazli Kamvari, almost the only iranian blogger who has supportet Hoder in her weblog, has written to one of her weblog's commenters. Many of comments are in english.

link
"""""""""""
Ehsan,
Thank you for your comment. I am very ignorant when it comes to technology and law, in particular internet laws and regulations. I just received an email from khorshid that enlightened me a bit! I think you might be right and Hossien is not being entirely truthful about the correspondences he has had with the hosting company and the following consequences. And I guess khorshid and others are right that I cannot blame this whole shut down of Hoder ’s weblog on Khalaji’s lawyer’s letter because that is not exactly what he had asked for (I just learned this now) and we are not completely involved in the correspondences Hossien might have had with the hosting company. I think this seems to be more between Hossien and the ISP than it is between Khalaji and Hossien as far as the free speech problem goes (and one legal expert told me).
However, I have a serious problem with the whole defamation part. Lets say one works for an institute and is paid regularly by governmental and non-governmental sources to attend meetings with the staff of the Bush administration as a political analyst and adviser. Would it be a deformation to say that they work for the Bush administration? See many of the men and women that I personally am very critical of do just that!
And truth to be told I am not “really” trying to help Derakhshan. I am just opening the debate in case similar things happened to me and fellow bloggers in the future.
I have no idea why people are so rude in this commentdooni. They break my heart everyday by calling me a jendeh just because I do not moderate their comments out! So unfair! I should file legal action against myself for defaming my own self and having no self respect!""""""
posted by erinther at 5:29 AM on August 11, 2007


Meta: I have no idea why people are so rude in this commentdooni. They break my heart everyday by calling me a jendeh just because I do not moderate their comments out! So unfair! I should file legal action against myself for defaming my own self and having no self respect!
posted by infini at 6:09 AM on August 11, 2007


Look, obviously I didn't think he just "didn't pay his bill" that was a bit of hyperbole. But the point is, we don't really know what happened, just one guy's story. I think in general hosting companies should not be able to do things like this, but I'm not going to take a position in this case.
posted by delmoi at 6:55 AM on August 11, 2007


If the required vote, for example, is 75%+1, then a minority of 25% can control what gets passed/who gets elected, etc... If that minority organises well, the other 75% will have to get used to compromises which pleases the minority, which destroys the power of the 75%.

IMO, compromise isn't a bad thing at all. We're all in this together, so, yes, the rights and needs of the minority of voters has to be taken into account.

Look at the parliamentarian system: A small bloc of representatives can wield tremendous power by aligning with a larger bloc, if the larger bloc can come up with a compromise it's comfortable with. This often forces the small bloc to compromise, as well. Win-win situation.

The tyranny of the majority scares me, even if I'm in that majority.
posted by John of Michigan at 7:45 AM on August 11, 2007


Here you can read the correspondences between Hoder and hostingmatters.

Hoder: "I think you for all you help and service you have given me in the past
few years. But you are just giving in to some warmongers here.
This guy is working for the Israeli-lobby's think-tank where Richard
Perle and Paul Wolfowitz serve on its board. If saying this is libel
then I think there is something wrong with you."

Hostingmatters:
"You have clearly failed to grasp the nature of their complaint and the specified content and just as clearly failed to understand why you are being informed to seek hosting elsewhere - it is certainly not because we are being "bullied" in any way, nor are we supporting "warmongers". Rather, your failure to abide by the terms of our acceptable use policy regarding defamatory or libelous material, plus your absurd conduct in this matter, have resulted in your removal from this service. You have also not learned anything about free speech in the US, since, once again, we are NOT a governmental agency and not required to allow you to say anything at all within this network if we choose not to..."
posted by erinther at 9:21 AM on August 11, 2007


No, I'm considering to sue YOU for violating my free speech, just because of someone's hollow threats.

Hoder's a bit of a dumb ass sometimes.
posted by chunking express at 9:25 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


See, I read hoder's blog before...page after page of criticism of other Iranian activists, big and small. I'm surprised he hasn't had to change hosts before...if this were a conservative blogger criticizing liberals, I think many more people in this thread would be happy chalking it up to karma. If hoder's voice is silenced, the biggest loser is likely the current Iranian government.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 9:40 AM on August 11, 2007


"The newspaper ad argument is totally fucking bogus. You are no legal expert.
A newspaper can chose to not print whatever the fuck it wants. They have free speech too, you know."

Did you not read the part about how I could not possibly be wrong because I read google links? (And what's with the swearing?)

"Stations can reject ads for any reason from political groups other than candidates. And they may reject ads from all candidates for a given office. But if they take ads from one candidate, they can't legally refuse ads from opponents "

"Simply put, a station which sells or gives one minute to Candidate A must sell or give the same amount of time with the same audience potential to all other candidates for the particular office. "

Except for this, newspapers can reject anything they want, because the newspaper is their exercise of free speech.

But a hosted web site is not a newspaper. If it isn't a public forum then what is (in the online world)?

But I have no details about this particular case. Libel is not protected speech. If he was being libelous, then they not only have the right, but the legal obligation to shut him down.
posted by eye of newt at 9:54 AM on August 11, 2007


Meh. A web hosting service terminated the account of some blogger. He should get a new account somewhere else.

Must be a slow news day.
posted by Slap Factory at 10:34 AM on August 11, 2007


Eye of Newt -- If you're talking about the First Amendment, then a "public forum" is actually a special kind of place, where time immemorial individuals had a right to exercise their freedom of expression. Think public parks and downtown plazas. There are heightened restrictions on the government's ability to regulate speech in public forums.

In answer to your question, "if it isn't a public forum then what is (in the online world)," then answer is probably, "nothing," or "maybe but probably not some sort of public bulletin board that was erected by the government for the sole purpose of encouraging expression." Unclear why a hosting service would ever be considered anything more than a contractual relationship, a rented bullhorn.
posted by Slap Factory at 10:38 AM on August 11, 2007


Chlorus: "but there is no such thing as true democracy, and if there was, how is that a panacea?"

That's precisely why I said "I'm tired of the argument because there isn't a way of fixing what's broke." I'm no longer of the opinion that any man-made political solution is a solution. We got people in the middle east wanting to undermine western civilization because we're corrupt and decaying from within, and they want to replace it with their tyrannical religiously restrictive insanity.

Someone in NASA got caught purposefully sabotaging the next mission. For all we know, the Colombia mission was sabotaged in a similar way and that guy just didn't get caught. The saboteurs didn't have to bother though; the whole drinking scandal is doing enough to damage NASA and that was unintentional. Again, corruption from within.

Show me an ism and I'll show you a failure: humanity. It's not the isms that are at fault, but the idiots executing them.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:01 PM on August 11, 2007


heh. that whole drinking & flying thing is a frickin' joke. "piloting" a space shuttle launch isn't flying, it's strapping yourself to a bomb and lighting the fuse. probably the drunker one is, the better.
posted by quonsar at 1:52 PM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Chlorus : "A cowardly webhost censors a critic of American foreign policy...According to Derakhshan, Hosting Matters then went a step further and threatened to sue him if he mentioned what they had done."

...and then you go read the actual correspondence between the web host and him, and you find it's more like:

"A webhost tells a customer that they don't want to get in the middle of a legal battle between the customer and a third party. They request that he remove material related to the third party. They even suggest that the customer might go after the third party for barratry or harrassment. The customer refuses to pull the material, effectively telling the web host "I'm paying you $10 a month, not just to host my material, but also to fight my legal battles for me." The webhost pulls the account, and says "If you libel or slander us, we'll take you to court".

And, if what Chlorus has said is true, this ex-customer then proceeded to make the libelous statement that the hosting company threatened to sue him if he mentioned what they had done, when in fact they had threatened to sue him if he libeled them.

It's like one of those movies where the big twist is that the person you thought was the hero was actually the madman, and the person you thought the villain was actually the hero.
posted by Bugbread at 6:03 PM on August 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Black is white, up is down, war is peace!

Not feeling so sorry for the doofuses — all of the involved parties — now.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on August 11, 2007


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