Home TECH GoDaddy is cutting off Texas Right to Life’s abortion ‘whistleblowing’ website

GoDaddy is cutting off Texas Right to Life’s abortion ‘whistleblowing’ website

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In case you haven’t heard, Texas now has a law that makes it illegal for anyone to help women get an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy — and to take advantage of that, the anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life is encouraging citizens to report those people at a dedicated “whistleblower” website, promising to “ensure that these lawbreakers are held accountable for their actions.”

However, it now looks like Texas Right to Life may have trouble keeping a home on the web, because hosting provider GoDaddy has given the group 24 hours to find a different place to park its website. “We have informed prolifewhistleblower.com they have 24 hours to move to another provider for violating our terms of service,” a spokesperson told The New York Times and The Verge.

GoDaddy didn’t answer a question about whether that applies to the group’s other domains, but tells The Verge that it violated “multiple provisions” of the site’s Terms of Service including Section 5.2, which reads:

You will not collect or harvest (or permit anyone else to collect or harvest) any User Content (as defined below) or any non-public or personally identifiable information about another User or any other person or entity without their express prior written consent.

The anti-abortion group’s website has been under siege for days now, with angry protesters flooding it with fake tips — including at least one fake claim that Texas governor Greg Abbott himself had violated the law, according to NYT. One activist on TikTok even created a script that can automatically feed fake reports into the website’s tipbox, as Motherboard reported yesterday. He told the NYT that the automated tools he’d created had received over 15,000 clicks.

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But on Wednesday, Gizmodo’s Shoshana Wodinsky suggested another way for activists to protest: blowing the whistle on Texas Right to Life itself, by complaining to GoDaddy about what it was doing. That’s what appears to have happened.

It’s not the first time web hosting providers or even GoDaddy specifically have played this role: Gab.com had to find a new home in October 2018, and GoDaddy took down white nationalist Richard Spencer’s Altright.com that May. Neo-nazi news site the Daily Stormer was similarly given 24 hours by GoDaddy to find a new home in August 2017, and wound up moving to the dark web instead. Gab was able to return, though, and it’s possible Texas Right to Life will find a solution as well.

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Update, 4:36PM ET: Added additional context from GoDaddy.

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