Texas Abortion’s ‘Whistleblower’ site Can’t Find a Host

Under a recent one passed Texas law, private citizens can sue anyone involved in helping someone receive a state abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy. In response, an anti-abortion group called Texas Right to Life has set up a website designed to collect anonymous information about any alleged violations. Or, at least, it was tested. To date, no company is willing to host it.

The fate of prolifewhistleblower.com remains uncertain, and its disappearance from the internet has not ruled out Texas law or its effects. But in recent years, internet infrastructure giants have begun to draw blurred lines of who they want to be customers, sometimes a poor process reflected in the abandonment of far right social media network Parler. In contrast, prolifewhistleblower.com offers a rare example of consensus on what constitutes acceptable online behavior.

The site made a brief appearance on the internet, which launched on Wednesday, but had an embarrassing start. First, a small host of TikTok and Reddit users flooded the reporting mechanism with false claims in an attempt to overwhelm the system. On Saturday, web hosting service GoDaddy terminated its relationship with the site for violating the company’s terms of service, which explicitly prohibits the collection of identifying information about third parties without their prior notice. permission.

“The important thing is that in some cases the services have to warn the user and give them a chance to heal,” said Whitney Merrill, a privacy and data protection attorney and former Federal Trade Commission attorney. . “Like how GoDaddy warned the site owner that they were doing something that violated the terms. That’s not a legal requirement, just good business conduct in my mind.”

Texas Right to Life then registered on the site of renowned service provider Epik, which is known to offer safe haven on controversial platforms like Parler and Gab. But Epik never offered to host the prolifewhistleblower.com content, just a way to register the site’s domain. On Saturday night, prolifewhistleblower.com simply started redirecting to the Texas Right to Life homepage rather than also releasing the previous incarnation as a tip submission system.

“We have contacted the domain owner, who has agreed to disable the collection of user submissions on this domain,” Epic SAYS in a statement on Saturday. That is, Epik will act as a registrar on prolifewhistleblower.com as long as it redirects to the group’s main area. If it continues to collect third -party data, Epik will withdraw its registration.

All Life Texas spokeswoman Kim Schwartz offers a different analysis of the situation. “Prolifewhistleblower.com is now continuing with TexasRightToLife.com because we are fixing additional security protocols to protect our users before we deploy them,” he said in a statement Monday night. He added that the site was lining up a new host, but did not say which hosting company was “for security reasons.”

However, as of Wednesday afternoon, the URL continued to redirect to the Texas Right to Life homepage. And given that the entire site area gathers information about people who may have helped expedite an abortion in Texas – a natural violation of basic third -party data collection protections – it doesn’t seem maybe find a way to follow it.

The situation has sparked past conflicts where the hosting provider has discontinued, DDoS protection, or other support for extremist sites, causing them to go permanently offline or until they can find new providers. For example, Cloudflare accompanies decisions about how to remain neutral and protect speech rights while taking action in serious cases. The company drops support for the white supremacist and otherwise controversial platforms like the Daily Stormer in 2017 and 8chan in 2019.

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