Since last November, anonnews.org, the community-driven news portal for all things Anonymous, has seen its fair share of connectivity issues. The domain has been subjected to DDoS attacks, spam campaigns, and more. However, it looks as if its registrar ‚Dynadot‘ has pulled the plug on the entire operation.
Early this Tuesday morning (EST), Dynadot issued an update to the anonnews.org domain. The CLIENT HOLD/CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED flags are often seen when a domain is suspended for internal reasons, such as a Terms of Service (ToS) violation, actions taken by law enforcement, or actions by the courts.
Because the Anonymous news portal is a .org domain, the codes are based on EPP (Extensible Provisioning Protocol), which is why the more common REGISTRAR-HOLDand REGISTRAR-LOCK codes are not present. When such updates are made to a domain, it will no longer be published in a zone for DNS resolution, and the owner cannot transfer it to a new registrar. Essentially, the site is now dead in the water.
Anonnews.org has a reputation for being a go-to source for the media when it comes to following the actions of Anonymous. It’s an open platform anyone can use to submit press releases and links to blogs and news sources located around the Web. The last time the portal was in the headlines, the Westboro Baptist Church posted a press release as Anonymous and pretended to start a war.
This is how the open posting process can be used against the domain. For the most part, it is used to promote various operations and share information between those who associate with Anonymous. An example of information sharing can be seenhere in a Google cache of anonnews.org.
But, given the status codes, why has Dynadot taken the information portal offline? The likely reason is ToS violations. Dynadot, like other webhosts and registrars, has an open-ended policy when it comes to what customers can do with their domains.
“Dynadot, in its sole discretion and without liability to You for any resulting loss or damages, may delete, suspend, cancel, terminate, or otherwise interrupt any and all services You may purchase through Dynadot, or Your customer account with Dynadot, at any time during the term of this Agreement, if such service or account is used in association with morally objectionable activities,” Dynadot’s ToS policy states.
According to Dynadot, morally objectionable activities that can lead to account removal include several points such as:
“…activities that are designed to or that effectively defame, slander, harass, embarrass, threaten, abuse, or harm third parties… and activities that constitute or promote obscenity, profanity, indecency, tortuous behavior, racism, bigotry, hatred, vulgarity, harassment, invasion of privacy or publicity rights of a third party, or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual; or any other objectionable material or activity of any kind or nature.”
This level of ToS is rather common for many domain companies. It gives them a solid shield to use if one of their customers draws heat for material posted online. Yet, this shield has to be used carefully, or else it can cross the line into censorship and violations of free press and speech. Read More