Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Communications Network

Cloudflare: FOSTA Was a 'Very Bad Bill' That's Left the Internet's Infrastructure Hanging (vice.com) 192

Last week, President Donald Trump signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) into law. It's a bill that penalizes any platform found "facilitating prostitution," and has caused many advocacy groups to come out against the bill, saying that it undermines essential internet freedoms. The most recent entity to decry FOSTA is Cloudflare, which recently decided to terminate its content delivery network services for an alternative, decentralized social media platform called Switter. Motherboard talked to Cloudflare's general counsel, Doug Kramer, about the bill and he said that FOSTA was an ill-consider bill that's now become a dangerous law: "[Terminating service to Switter] is related to our attempts to understand FOSTA, which is a very bad law and a very dangerous precedent," he told me in a phone conversation. "We have been traditionally very open about what we do and our roles as an internet infrastructure company, and the steps we take to both comply with the law and our legal obligations -- but also provide security and protection, let the internet flourish and support our goals of building a better internet." Cloudflare lobbied against FOSTA, Kramer said, urging lawmakers to be more specific about how infrastructure companies like internet service providers, registrars and hosting and security companies like Cloudflare would be impacted. Now, he said, they're trying to figure out how customers like Switter will be affected, and how Cloudflare will be held accountable for them.

"We don't deny at all that we have an obligation to comply with the law," he said. "We tried in this circumstance to get a law that would make sense for infrastructure companies... Congress didn't do the hard work of understanding how the internet works and how this law should be crafted to pursue its goals without unintended consequences. We talked to them about this. A lot of groups did. And it was hard work that they decided not do." He said the company hopes, going forward, that there will be more clarity from lawmakers on how FOSTA is applied to internet infrastructure. But until then, he and others there are having to figure it out along with law enforcement and customers. "Listen, we've been saying this all along and I think people are saying now, this is a very bad law," Kramer said. "We think, for now, it makes the internet a different place and a little less free today as a result. And there's a real-world implication of this that people are just starting to grapple with."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cloudflare: FOSTA Was a 'Very Bad Bill' That's Left the Internet's Infrastructure Hanging

Comments Filter:
  • Why blame Trump... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2018 @10:15PM (#56468925)

    When the majority of Democrats in the House and Senate voted for this?

    • by thaylin ( 555395 ) on Thursday April 19, 2018 @10:54PM (#56469055)

      what "blame" all they said was he signed it, which is factual.

    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      Funny you should only mention Democrats. That's probably telling.

      People blame the president because people always blame the president. They want a single person to point at.
      • Presidents always tend to get the blame, regardless of party. Example on the other side: "Obamacare," even though Obama had nothing to do with it's writing. It was primarily written up by Kennedy's team.

        • A better example would be blaming Bill Clinton for signing the DMCA. I think the Senate vote was something like 99-0.
    • democrats?

      you mean the party that has ZERO POWER in this era?

      the R's have all 3 power bases.

      you wanna blame the D's though?

      you truly are an anonymous asswipe.

      • by Lothsahn ( 221388 ) <Lothsahn@@@SPAM_ ... u_bastardsyahocm> on Friday April 20, 2018 @12:59AM (#56469429)
        Look, the Democrats and Republicans both voted overwhelmingly to pass this. In the senate, only TWO senators voted against it (Rand Paul and Ron Wyden), both who have historically stood up for civil liberties and privacy.

        I'm blaming the D's AND the R's. Regardless of who's in power, every representative gets a vote, and nearly everyone used it to pass FOSTA. Had the D's mostly voted against FOSTA, it would have still passed, but I wouldn't blame them. That's how it works.

        By the way, if you are a civil liberties person and concerned about privacy, Paul and Wyden would be great to donate to. If you're partisan, donate to the one on your party.
        • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @02:29AM (#56469655)
          Nope. The Republican Speaker of the House can kill any bill by refusing to put it to the vote. He did with the "don't fire Comey" bill. He could have done it with this. The leader of the Senate is also a Republican. The President is a Republican. Any one of those three people could have killed the bill. All three are Republican. The blame goes to the Republicans.
          • And the Democrats could have filibustered it had they not been wildly in favor of it.
            • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @10:48AM (#56471181) Homepage Journal
              True. This is basically a repeat of the Assault Weapons Ban but with the parties reversed. The Republicans will get stick for it (as the Democrats did the AWB, despite it having near unanimous Republican support), but in practice everyone voted for it because nobody wants to be seen to be "for" sex trafficking, even if it's a stupid bill that hurts more innocent people than guilty.
            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
              A filibuster doesn't kill it. A filibuster allows a close vote to be delayed, targeting times when the "other side" won't be present to vote. They have also been "eliminated" by provisions that eliminate the ability to call a vote on the end of a filibuster. In the old days, the Last Man Standing won. These days, a filibuster will end with a delay to allow voting members to return and vote. So the power has ended. But apparently it's used extensively to blame the minority for letting something bad pas
          • The President is a Republican. Any one of those three people could have killed the bill.

            In practice, Trump couldn't have killed it. He could have made an empty gesture and vetoed it, but unless more than 30 senators changed their mind because of the veto, it would still become law.

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          I have no problem with both the Dems and the Reps being against self employed people like sex workers and making the job safer. (Perhaps not clear in my wording, but I am pro-prostitution. There is a demand, so supply will be given. Better regulated than unregulated.)
          It clearly shows the downside of a bi-party system. However the "winner takes all" means that the bi-party is the default that will happen.

          There are way better systems of voting where a multi part system is a given AND where the majority of peo

        • Ron Wyden is amazing. Warren too, but she voted for this travesty.

        • Maybe because, even if you think that legal prostitution is a good idea, it's a very politically difficult vote to make. You only have so much political capital. Why invest it voting against this bill when you have other priorities than making life easier for the Johns.
    • They have the reign of power of all houses THEREFORE they are responsible , no matter what the other party vote.
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @02:26AM (#56469647)
      Passed the senate 92-2. The vote was "Vote no if you are you a child rapist'

      The vote would have gone no other way. So it lands on the President to veto crap like that if it passes. Even with a "veto proof majority". Especially with a veto-proof majority.

      The problem is politics, where everything is framed by the bullies. If you don't vote for it, you'll be vilified.
    • The applicability of blame to one does not alleviate the applicability of blame to others. Trump signed this PoS, so he gets blame. The vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans in congress voted for it, so they get blame. It's not a zero-sum game.
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday April 19, 2018 @10:32PM (#56468981) Journal

    Okay, maybe it is indeed the selling of ass, but not far behind is the often uncompensated occupation of righteous indignation... undoubtedly founded by a special interest group previously in charge of a monopoly on the delivery of ass... not entirely an objective political action committee.

    Clearly legalized prostitution is a deterrent to sexual assault. If I hear one more person claim rape isn't a sex crime, I think I might run outside with my hands over my ears and complete those fucking chores I've been putting off... or have another whiskey. I can't be certain.

    • If I hear one more person claim rape isn't a sex crime

      ??? Do people say this?

      • ??? Do people say this?

        I've heard it most of my life. "It's a crime of power and control." They don't mean it isn't *categorized* as a sex crime, though. They're talking about motivations, etc.

        Personally, I've always though that it's probably overly-simplistic to boil an entire category of crime down to a single, universal motive.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        Not really. What they will say that the motive is not sexually motivated. The idea that "rape =/= forced sex". The sex is seen as a tool, rather than the motivation. This often comes up if people say "castrate the rapist" as it would not remove the motive, just the penis.

        In many cases the rape is to be seen as a power play resulting in sex. So it is a sexual crime causes by power. So the motivation is power, not sex. That makes people think that what is said is that it is a power crime, not a sex crime and

        • by stdarg ( 456557 )

          In many cases the rape is to be seen as a power play resulting in sex.

          You can apply that to just about any crime. Tax evasion is about power, forcing your will over the government and beating the system, not about wanting to pay less money.. it just happens to result in paying less money on your taxes.

          I'm sure it is true for some perpetrators but I wouldn't say "many" without some evidence, which I've never seen. I don't know how you'd even collect such evidence. How do you determine the "true" motivation for a crime? Ask the criminal and trust the answer? On the other hand w

          • I think most people who do tax evasion are just trying to be richer, they're not doing so to make a statement against the government. Rape, on the other hand, does appear to be about power - it might involve a supposedly sexual act, but it's not "sex" given sex is pretty much a two person thing. Reportedly many (most?) rapists don't even show signs of arousal during the attack, and the attack is frequently done primarily with objects, not the attacker's genitalia.
            • by epine ( 68316 )

              Reportedly many (most?) rapists don't even show signs of arousal during the attack, and the attack is frequently done primarily with objects, not the attacker's genitalia.

              You haven't hung out around very many drunken, entitled frat boys, have you?

              And the guy was probably packing serious heat (in his pants) until that last beer shooter vaulted him into the "you wish" whiskey dick clover.

    • "We should no more be encouraging rapists to find a supposedly safe outlet for it than we should facilitate murderers by giving them realistic, blood-spurting dummies to stab...to make such a solution available is to risk normalizing rape by giving it a publicly acceptable face."

      -- The New York Times

      • by pots ( 5047349 )
        I don't think the parent was encouraging the raping of prostitutes...

        Was the parent encouraging the raping of prostitutes? In what way is legalized prostitution a deterrent to sexual assault? Now you've got me all confused.
      • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @03:38AM (#56469813)

        After myredbook went down, rapes of sex workers went up almost 20% as they were forced to become streetwalkers again. Already articles are starting to appear about this problem surging again. This law will kill some sex workers.

        As a legitimate licensed massage therapist, my independence is greatly cut down as it's hard to find a place to advertise now so only corporate massage outlets can advertise right now. I might have to go work for less than half the rate for massage envy or some place like that. If they'll even hire me (I'm old- but have over two decades experience helping people recover from car wrecks after their physical therapy money runs out, and to relieve migraines, and to help people with fibromyalgia, and people with various overwork syndromes-- but to a spa- they want only young attractive people.)

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          " but to a spa- they want only young attractive people."

          Sure wasn't like that at my (expensive) Hotel del Coronado vacation the other week. I got an elderly short man that looked like he could've been a professional horse jockey doing my deep-tissue Swedish.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      often uncompensated occupation of righteous indignation

      Not as often uncompensated as you'd think. The ability to deliver a mindless voter base motivated by blind rage is worth quite a lot. And if paid enough, their leaders will happily look the other way while the customer fondles a few altar boys.

  • by John.Banister ( 1291556 ) * on Thursday April 19, 2018 @10:37PM (#56468999) Homepage
    Dear Internet services companies, here's the plan. You move offshore. We'll get VPNs. Citizen idiots will continue to vote in idiot politicians who will continue to make idiotic laws.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2018 @10:50PM (#56469037)

    You are a nation that is fundamentally happy with the idea of people shooting children when they are at school, but the barest glimpse of a nipple and its national indignation. Very strange priorities ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sex is big business, and the market has to be tightly controlled. Putting it the hands of organized criminals makes the rules easy to enforce, without all that legal mumbo-jumbo about your 'rights'. Mafia/corporate/government are not so distinct as the facade alludes.

      • by x0ra ( 1249540 )

        Putting it the hands of organized criminals makes the rules easy to enforce, ...

        Works so well with drugs... oh... wait :-/

    • by harrkev ( 623093 )

      Wow. Completely wrong.

      BOTH sides agree that people shooting children is a bad thing. However, both sides completely differ in their approach on how to prevent this.

      One side thinks that if we pass enough gun laws, a person willing to break murder laws will decide to obey gun laws. They also assume that murderers can't use other weapons. America's two largest attacks did not use guns. Nice, France -- 86 people killed with a truck, and that was more deadly than our largest mass shooting.

      The other side acce

  • Cloudflare claims "Congress didn’t do the hard work of understanding how the internet works and how this law should be crafted to pursue its goals without unintended consequences. We talked to them about this. A lot of groups did. And it was hard work that they decided not do.”

    This is a load of crap. What Cloudflare really wanted was a way that they could continue doing business without having to doing any of the work required for taking on clients. What they wanted was a "get out of jail free

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2018 @11:22PM (#56469133)

      Imagine a law that says you cannot serve food in restaurants to anyone that either has a felony conviction or is a suspect in an ongoing case in any jurisdiction in the US.

      Cloudflare's business should be providing internet infrastructure to paying (or nonpaying) customers. It should not be, at all, trying to decide whether or not a customer's data or business practices are unacceptable in various regions around the world, especially at a level where Cloudflare itself is supposedly criminal liable. Can you imagine needing to undergo a background check to service from an ISP? That's basically what this amounts to.

      It's simply ridiculous.

      • Imagine a law that says you cannot serve food in restaurants to anyone that either has a felony conviction or is a suspect in an ongoing case in any jurisdiction in the US.

        A more apt example would be selling someone a gun when you know they intend to use it to use it to rob a bank. Surprise, that is already illegal!

        • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Friday April 20, 2018 @12:56AM (#56469419) Journal
          Actually, it's more like selling someone a gun, then learning after the fact that they intend to use it to rob a bank, with the slight difference that, in this case, Cloudflare can take the gun back. In neither case, though, is there (nor should there be) any liability for the initial sale; except that FOSTA actually puts that liability on Cloudflare even though they have no way of knowing what someone will use their service for until after they've used it.

          Now, if you want to say Cloudflare should be liable for illegal activities they're aware of, facilitated by their services, and don't take action to stop, we can probably agree on that. And, funny enough, that's exactly what the existing Safe Harbor laws already do.
          • Actually, it's more like selling someone a gun, then learning after the fact that they intend to use it to rob a bank, with the slight difference that, in this case, Cloudflare can take the gun back.

            Actually you are wrong. The law requires INTENT to do the act, which means BEFORE it happens. It's not finding out afterwards that something bad happened, it's going into the deal explicitly to promote that act.

            Unless Cloudflare is selling ISP services with the intent of promoting prostitution and sales of sex services with sex trafficking victims, they aren't a target of the law.

            Now, if you want to say Cloudflare should be liable for illegal activities they're aware of, facilitated by their services, and don't take action to stop, we can probably agree on that.

            Then you must agree with FOSTA and SESTA, because the intent requirement is exactly what that means.

            • Actually you are wrong.

              You seem to have misunderstood what I wrote, because nothing you wrote after what I just quoted disagrees with my point. In fact, that's one of two points I was trying to make.

              • I didn't misunderstand, I simply told you that your first sentence was wrong. It is NOT "more like" finding out after the fact that the customer was doing something illegal, it requires knowing BEFORE THE FACT that the intended use is illegal and selling the service WITH THE INTENT of promoting that illegal act.

                Additionally, the following statement you made:

                except that FOSTA actually puts that liability on Cloudflare even though they have no way of knowing what someone will use their service for

                is also wrong, for the same reason. If you have no way of knowing what someone will use the service for, then you cannot have the requisite intent of se

                • I didn't misunderstand, I simply told you that your first sentence was wrong. It is NOT "more like" finding out after the fact that the customer was doing something illegal, it requires knowing BEFORE THE FACT that the intended use is illegal and selling the service WITH THE INTENT of promoting that illegal act.

                  Ah, I see, you think I was talking about FOSTA, so you did misunderstand. FOSTA came up later in my comment, but the bit you misunderstood there was in response to:

                  A more apt example would be selling someone a gun when you know they intend to use it to use it to rob a bank. Surprise, that is already illegal!

                  which, in turn, was in response to:

                  Imagine a law that says you cannot serve food in restaurants to anyone that either has a felony conviction or is a suspect in an ongoing case in any jurisdiction in the US.

                  Now, that last one was about FOSTA, but it was also wrong.

                  Additionally, the following statement you made is also wrong, for the same reason. If you have no way of knowing what someone will use the service for, then you cannot have the requisite intent of selling it to them for the promotion of that illegal activity.

                  Ah, that logic works fine for a gun, because the gun leaves your store before being used in the commission of a crime (unless it's used to rob your store, of course). It falls apart when referring to a service rendered wholly on your premises, such as the

                  • Ah, I see, you think I was talking about FOSTA,

                    Yes, of course. The title of the article here is about FOSTA, the analogy that was presented was about FOSTA, and you refer to FOSTA after you try to present your corrected version of that analogy. Why would I assume you were NOT talking about FOSTA? Just what is your analogy "more like" if not FOSTA?

                    Ah, that logic works fine for a gun, ... It falls apart when referring to a service rendered wholly on your premises, such as the services offered by Cloudflare because, ostensibly, you should know what is being done on your premises.

                    That is your assumption, but it does not appear in the law. You must be providing the service WITH THE INTENT, which means before-the-fact knowledge. There is no assumption in the law that any webhosting servic

                    • FOSTA requires INTENT

                      Oh? [theverge.com]

                      The bill would make websites criminally liable for hosting ads and other content linked to a sex-trafficking enterprise. The result would be a major exception to existing Safe Harbor provisions, and has been opposed by groups like the EFF and ACLU

                      Well, the EFF and ACLU have staff lawyers. Are you an attorney? No? I'll trust their interpretation, then.

                    • Oh?

                      Read. The. Law. It's online. The Verge is not a definitive source.

                      The bill would make websites criminally liable for hosting ads and other content linked to a sex-trafficking enterprise.

                      Websites, and WITH THE INTENT OF PROMOTING OR FOSTERING. Cloudflare is not a website, they are a web hosting service. They don't have the intent. By the way, if you read the law, it is SESTA that talks about websites.

                      Well, the EFF and ACLU have staff lawyers.

                      The EFF and ACLU are hardly unbiased sources. Lawyers will say what you pay them to say. Do you really think that every lawyer who argues that his client is not guilty actually believes his client is not guilty? Do you think a la

                    • Cloudflare is not a website [...] By the way, if you read the law, it is SESTA that talks about websites.

                      Right, that's why I'm talking about the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.

                    • Good job of ignoring the important points and picking out the BTW aside. It's still SESTA that talks about websites, so when you single out websites you are talking about SESTA. FOSTA deals with all online services.

                      It doesn't matter, the other points I made still stand. You trust lawyers paid to have the opinion you like instead of reading the law for yourself. Why do we even have a criminal justice system if we should just trust the word of the defense lawyer that his client is not guilty? Why would he l

                    • It's still SESTA that talks about websites, so when you single out websites...

                      ...then you aren't in this conversation, which is about Cloudflare.

                      Several times now, you've tried to direct the conversation as though I were talking about one thing when I was clearly talking about another. Sorry, I'm not going to play that game. That would be why I'm not addressing all of your points.

    • Did your ISP subject you to a background check before giving you an account? Since you just volunteered yourself and everybody else for one...?

  • And Donald never used prossies ???
    Did he just take them on as apprentices
    and teach them about boring missionary sex

  • Sorry don't care (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @01:46AM (#56469579)
    The myth of the free and open internet got the last nail in its coffin, in part because of Cloudflare deciding whose traffic they were and were not going to carry. It was fun while it lasted, but c'est la vie.
  • What we need is responsibility on the individual breaking a law, not the carrier of the information. The internet should be like the air, it carries sound from person to person but it isnâ(TM)t the airâ(TM)s fault for doing so. You wouldnâ(TM)t blame the post office because someone used their service to ship a package with illegal drugs in it. The internet and websites that rely on user submitted data such as YouTube, twitter, and yes the hosting providers, need to be allowed to do their job
    • What we need is responsibility on the individual breaking a law, not the carrier of the information.

      These are not completely isolated activities. What if the "information" is the act that breaks the law? "Promoting prostitution" is against the law in many places; "sex trafficking" in many more. If the information is with the intent of promotion then it is already against the law. For example, I cannot legally stand on the street corner and tell people who pull up that they can "pull around the corner to get a bj for $20 from Julie". Conveying that information is, itself, a crime. And if Julie herself stan

  • If it is not forced or for lack of a reasonable alternative for survival, I am all for legalizing and regulation of prostitution and sites that facilitate sexual hookups. I even applaud the women her wilfully serve in such roles and they make life better for over stressed and depressed men. It's a good thing.

    However, Craigslist and others should be held responsible when they know that a good amount of the hookups going on are with women who have been abducted and forced into sexual slavery. The Internet

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

Working...