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2018-10-14 07:00 by Karl Denninger
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Private Business? Not So Fast.... *
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There's been plenty of discussion over whether services such as Apple's iTunes, Google Play, Facebook, Twitter and similar can ban users on a purely-discretionary basis.

The common argument is that because they are private companies they can create whatever policies they'd like so long as they do not violate existing civil rights law (e.g. you can't ban someone because they're black.)

But this isn't merely about services such as Facebook, Twitter and similar -- now the ability of content creators to monetize their work is at stake. As of the 21st of September  Infowars has been notified that Paypal is refusing to process payments for subscriptions as well as merchandise.

If you remember in 2017 the notorious neo-Nazi web site Daily Stormer was basically run off the Internet -- first by GoDaddy and then in rapid sequence multiple other firms, including Google.  They were denied the ability to buy DNS and hosting service as they were effectively black-balled by dozens of providers of these basic utility-class services more or less "all at once."

More recently Microsoft threatened with loss of their cloud computing provider, Microsoft's Azure, unless they made changes to their operations.  Microsoft was and remains unwilling to provide a specific list of changes they required or specifics of any alleged violations of their terms of service.

The premise that a private company can refuse service (or sales) to anyone is a fundamental part of Capitalism; the theory is that if one retailer does not wish to do business with you then another will.  But these campaigns of harassment are far more sinister and troubling because they now encompass the utility services that underlie the Internet's infrastructure.

This must not be allowed to stand.

Here's an example.  A hypothetical neo-Nazi wishes to buy a domain and purchase web services to air his views.   However repugnant the right to hold those views and express them is protected by the First Amendment.

Do businesses involved in selling Internet utility services have the right to refuse to sell to him?

To put your views on the Internet you need several different services, not just one.

1. A circuit or means of delivery and interchange with other users on the Internet.  Your cellphone or cable modem is an example of the "end connection" in this regard; in the publisher category this is either an ISP or some sort of a cloud provider.  This circuit is not just a line; in some way you have to connect to an interchange point, much like a phone on a physical wire is useless unless it connects to a switch so you can call other people.

2. A DNS or "nameserver" service.  This is what turns "" into an IP address in the format "" or, in the IPv6 vernacular, "2501:......".  This is an essential service for the modern web because it is not only commonplace it is virtually always true on shared hosting or services of any sort that multiple names are bound to one IP address.  For example "" and "" may both point to the same numerical IP address; the server determines which request goes where by the presentation of the domain name.

3. A computer (server), either a physical device or a virtual piece of a larger physical computer.  These days most small and moderate sites are run on virtualizations, not physical machines -- it's much less expensive and most small and moderate-sized sites simply don't need the entire power of a modern computer, so spreading it among other clients makes it less expensive for everyone.

4. The software that takes the message(s) you provide and formats and delivers them to others.  In the web world this is often Apache (a freely available piece of code) although not always by any means -- there are many other packages, some free and some commercial, that perform this function.  In addition there are services that perform this function in other ways (which are software packaged up with a "brand") such as Facebook and Twitter.

The question before us today is where is the line between a company able to refuse service to anyone and not?

I think we can agree that the neo-Nazi cannot be refused electrical service at his house.  Nor can he be refused water, sewer and trash pickup.  He also cannot be refused access to a toll road or bridge, even if privately run, so long as he pays the tolls like everyone else.

But he can be refused seating in a local restaurant.

What's the distinction?

Simple: The neo-Nazi's views are not implicitly endorsed by the establishment in the case of electrical, sewer and toll road service.

It is instantly obvious to an observer that the neo-Nazi's words on Facebook are in fact associated with the company Facebook.  Ditto for those on Twitter. But it isn't obvious to the public that the neo-Nazi bought his DNS or Web Service from GoDaddy or Amazon.  If one was curious you would have to dig for the information.  Even so these providers bear little risk of being co-branded with that neo-Nazi.

As such we should draw through regulation and law some simple bright-line tests.

Facebook can ban whoever it wants, for whatever reason.  So can Twitter.

GoDaddy, however, cannot ban a user from DNS registration no matter the purpose so long their site is legal.  Ditto for Amazon's AWS, Microsoft's Azure or any other cloud or hosting provider. Nor may providers refuse traffic interchange based on the viewpoints contained in their, or their customers, communications.

Twitter, in short, may ban anyone it wishes.  However, should they do so to any material degree there will be created an opportunity for a new Twitter, and anyone may start a competing service with essentially the same feature set.

What do we do with utility services that handle the flow of funds?

Traditional banks or fintech outfits such as PayPal  must not be allowed to discriminate against customers simply because they don't like their political views. Banking and monetary exchange is inherently a utility service and to deny same to any US Citizen as a consequence of their views is to attempt to "starve" a citizen for exercising their constitutionally-protected rights.

Thus the recent PayPal ban of Alex Jones must not stand, Master Card must not be able to ban Robert Spencer and neither can the decision of the bank that recently said "no" to a Florida candidate who supports the legalization of cannabis.  All of these are issue positions used to deny utility services.

We would not allow Florida Power and Light to cut off Nikki Fried's electricity because she supports the legalization of marijuana.  We must not also allow banks and modern utilities such as ISPs, domain providers and similar to effectively destroy people and political speech because they don't like the message, even though it's lawful.

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Comments on Private Business? Not So Fast....
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Jrminter 85 posts, incept 2008-10-09
2018-10-14 09:47:38

How does agreeing to Terms of Service fit into this?
Aztrader 8k posts, incept 2007-09-10
2018-10-14 11:15:05

Discrimination is fine for the left because they are either Victims or support the victims. They think they have some duty to stop the right from exposing their victims to the truth. We all know that they shut down Inforwars due to the mid-terms. Too many people were questioning the lefts lies and that had to stop. Alex Jones can be quite a mouth full, but gets the point across. This is all about politics and nothing else. They always loved to use racism as their cry, but even the minorities knew when someone was crying wolf. Now they use "hate speech" in order to justify their discrimination. This biggest issue is that they allow left-side groups stay on their systems and completely ignore real hate and division. That still works for them....
Burya_rubenstein 2k posts, incept 2007-08-08
2018-10-14 11:50:50

Terms of Service is merely the formal means of banning people for stuff the company doesn't like.
Jfms99 548 posts, incept 2009-10-06
2018-10-14 11:51:05

I think the case can be made that several of these platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Etc., have over time, a short time at that, evolved into entities that need to be regulated as Public Utilities.

The mighty ATT started out as a private company that got too big, became a monopoly and ended up being a regulated Utility. I think a great case was made by MCI that ATT was stifling competition and even holding back new technology so as not to disturb it's status quo.

Once broken up technology was seemingly unleashed and within a short period of time Cell Phone advances made even long distance obsolete in a way.

A good comparison can be made here. These technology companies do have a monopoly in their areas. We are foolish if we think another upstart platform or platforms will emerge given the costs involved, etc.. These companies are Liberal and Leftist in thinking and action and wish to restrain the free flow of ideas and other alternative ideologies. In short they are Fascist in nature, my opinion, so putting the onus if Public Regulation is the only solution and it should be pursued.
Supertruckertom 7k posts, incept 2010-11-07
2018-10-14 11:51:17

Add people and businesses that support the Second Amendment to the Protected Class.

Preparing to go Hunting.
Vernonb 3k posts, incept 2009-06-03
2018-10-14 13:06:18

All this stuff reminds me of the Nuremberg laws against Jews in Nazi Germany with two great exceptions. One is that it appears to be a MINORITY of persons attempting to force the majority to concede to their demands.

The other is that it is not the government currently making the decrees against those they consider socially and morally inferior and politically unacceptable but private citizens that have amassed great fortunes in communications and other related technologies that serve to stoke the SJW mentality and fan flames of hatred. These companies are the TRUE NeoNazis.

The technologies are fundamental to the spreading of ideas - whether good or bad. The current society as a whole now depends heavily (almost entirely) on a technology that can essentially be terminated for ANYONE with the flick of a switch or an entry into a computer screen field. How did this society get so damn stupid as to allow anyone or a collection of persons to have unfettered control of such technology!

Persons or ideas in such a "virtual media" can be terminated at will by tyrants posing as corporations. Alternate voices are now silenced. Turn on the TV and radio and basically all you see is propaganda promoted by the same persons doing the internet silencing.

How long before satellite communications of radio/tv provided by private commercial systems for global communications are also controlled the same types of people?

Any business that supplies services to the public that deals in communications or the dissemination of ideas fundamental to a free society and to civil rights must not be allowed to exercise such control. They must be regulated as a PUBLIC UTILITY.

There should be a 20 year mandatory jail sentence of hard labor for each offense to deny such civil rights for every company owner and serving board member and the companies seized for conspiracy to deny civil rights.

If you don't like what your company is doing then you'd better sell your shares and resign now. Give no mercy.

Google (youtube) , Facebook, and Twitter by shadow banning and delisting content they do not approve and by the outright PREFERED PROMOTION of violence and terroristic threats by those with whom they do not agree have lost all credibility and morality. The moral turpitude of these companies against civil rights demonstrates they must be disbanded and regulated as utilities.

When regulated as public utilities those current terms of service agreements can go in the trash. The agreements will be all about being paid and not being paid or pursuit of illegal activities.

Alex Jones has a world of problems. I have to take Alex with a grain of salt but what is occurring here is wrong.One of the worst decisions Jones has made is the use of an Indian firm as Vuukle to run his comments sections on places as PP. I have refused to even participate in discussions since they took over.

These SJW comment mediation firms are an anathema to truly free speech and attempt to assign a numerical value to comments based upon how offensive they find them and who likes them!

The value has all to do with feelings - not the content worthiness itself! Also sick of TOS being rammed down my throat that are constantly being modified in hopes of silencing others.

What these people seem to forget is that people ALWAYS have a voice. If you refuse to listen in an honorable manner you'll eventually have to listen from a gun. But we know they don't listen to start. What they are most afraid is that people they hate most will unite to protect themselves by use of such communication systems.

That is truly the leftists' greatest nightmare - organized rational resistance!

"Mass intelligence does not mean intelligent masses."
Click 1k posts, incept 2017-06-26
2018-10-14 14:15:53

I've said this from the beginning: if they (viz., the Bolshevik Progressives aka, the Online Neo-Saul-Alinsky Mob, aka, The Silicon Valley "Resistance") can deplatform and de-person and defund Alex Jones, if they can get him, then they can get other participants in "The Freedom Movement", too.

They get him, and then they come get someone else and someone else until they get you and "me too"...

The good news is that the Blob in the White House (Donald Trump) is the one whom they really want. And Trump knows this is a fight to the death. And so far the Blob is swallowing everything he touches, e.g., even foreign countries are complaining how The Donald is talked about more on the news than their own politicians. Yes, the Blob has completely swallowed the news cycle.... It's like a real-life horror movie.

The Blob's Army, aka, The MAGA Army, is actually growing, too. And even pols, like that total shitbag Mitch McConnell, are siding with the Blob. Did you see the MAGA rally in Kentucky? Trump has massive support. And it looks like the "Blue Wave" that was supposed to hit the Senate has hit The Blob, instead. At this point, the House might not flip blue, either, but that remains to be seen.

Alex will survive, and he has a back channel into the White House. That means Trump knows some of the latest conspiracy theories. Trump actually likes to consider conspiracy theories, e.g., Obama's birth certificate. And if you think that reading conspiracy theories is a bad thing, I say it's no worse than Nancy Reagan's fascination with the occult and her influence on her husband.

I just bought some more tooth paste from Alex, and I'll continue to support him even if I have to drive over to Austin, myself.
Redjack 2k posts, incept 2018-01-29
2018-10-14 16:01:42

You have to bake anyone's cake and sell products you find morally damning, but you can ban Alex Jones.

Never really paid much attention to Infowars. Now I am very curious as to why they are deplatforming Mr Jones.
Lobo 1k posts, incept 2013-12-25
2018-10-14 17:02:59

Just ran across this at Western Rifle Shooters Association:


Three of them are utilities. There are a bunch of grocery store chains which gives you some choice, so that one isn't too accurate, but add the gooberment to the mix and you get Wickard vs. Filburn with no other options.

Village Idiot
Krzelune 17k posts, incept 2007-10-08
2018-10-14 17:05:51

Now I am very curious as to why they are deplatforming Mr Jones.

He is an easy target. Left wingers hate him and many right wingers think he is a nut. Not too many folks are going to defend him. Next up on the target list will be a little bolder than going after Alex Jones.

Thelazer 1k posts, incept 2009-05-11
2018-10-14 17:43:46

"I think we can agree that the neo-Nazi cannot be refused electrical service at his house. Nor can he be refused water, sewer and trash pickup. He also cannot be refused access to a toll road or bridge, even if privately run, so long as he pays the tolls like everyone else."

WE can, but more and more what you might say "liberal" folks out there won't agree. With the media stoking the flames and Hillary saying there should be "No peace unless we win" well, I think we can both agree were this might be heading.


Tickerguy 200k posts, incept 2007-06-26
2018-10-14 17:44:01

Flying lead will eventually result from this.

"Anyone wearing a mask will be presumed to be intending armed robbery and immediately shot in the face. Govern yourself accordingly."
Tripseven 210 posts, incept 2012-04-26
2018-10-14 18:35:30

Yep to all that is posted here today! Aesop' stuff amongst many others, on his site, Kenny's site and many others shows the battlefront is shaping up. The recent frustration of Portland and Manhattan clearly shows a battle line that will get real interesting in short order...strange times indeed!

Fuck it...I give up. Stupid is everywhere now!
Tsherry 14k posts, incept 2008-12-09
2018-10-14 19:45:57

If Antifa PDX ever tried that shit in Spokane, our Sheriff would have a fucking field day. There would not only be blood in the streets, he'd wheel out his MRAP and splatter their fucking brains.

I don't like him, but he would not put up with that shit for one fucking minute.

Father forgive me for the times I craved a place at a table that you would have flipped.
Goforbroke 9k posts, incept 2007-11-30
2018-10-14 21:03:54

Flying lead will eventually result from this.

Thought about that when I read about Portland on Drudge ...


The recent frustration of Portland and Manhattan clearly shows a battle line that will get real interesting in short order...strange times indeed!

So it appears that I'm not the only one thinking this.

It is death which gives meaning to life.
Idiom 343 posts, incept 2015-02-20
2018-10-15 20:31:49

Try having this conversation with someone happy with deplatforming.

What is the difference between deplatforming a person and burning their books?

I tried to explain that my local library is basically a system for propagating white ideology. It has Hegel, Marx, Sombart, Hitler, Lenin, Mao, Pol Polt, Wakefield, Adam Smith, J S Mill, the list goes on.

Should we shut down the library or just ban people under 21 from reading?

Almost nothing on Youtube is as bad as what one would find in Britannica's great books series. The holocaust, Holodomor, The Cultural Revolution, The Khmer Rouge, al happened because of literary platforms, not people on youtube.

The disconnect is real. People *know* books are harmless and that burning them is sin. Not-books are magically exempt though.
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