Cloudfare Offers DDoS Protection For ‘Free Speech’ Websites

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

CloudFlare offers free anti-DDoS protection for political and artistic websites exercising ‘free speech’

CloudFlare has announced a new project dubbed Galileo, which sees it partnering with seventeen free speech organisations to identify those websites that need protection from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The San Francisco-based company specialises in content delivery and a denial-of-service mitigation service, and CloudFlare is seeking to protect those political and artist websites that are exercising their free speech rights, but which cannot afford state of the art protection.

Project Galileo

CloudFlare said it is partnering with NGOs and civil society groups to identify those outlets that champion free-expression online, for its Project Galileo.

Groups it is working with includes Access, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, to name but a few.

DDoS protection“The Internet is a powerful tool for spreading and expanding ideas,” said the company. “However, websites can be knocked offline easily through a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack – censoring important voices.”

“Public interest websites that cover political or artistic content are often the target of these attacks,” it said. “We strongly believe that bullies should not be able to knock sites offline simply because they disagree with their content.”

It said that once it has identified those outlets for free-expression online, it will extend its enterprise-class DDoS protection to ensure those websites stay online, to stop their voices being silenced.

“Project Galileo is a breakthrough,” said Brett Solomon of Access. “It shows how Silicon Valley tech companies can actively create a more secure and safe internet for the world’s most vulnerable internet users.”

“While the Internet should be a tool that provides global access to information, we’re seeing government pressures and attacks result in censorship across the web. Project Galileo is helping to level the Internet’s playing field again,” said Trevor Timm, of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

“CloudFlare aims to keep ideas moving,” said the company. “If a website participating in Project Galileo comes under attack, CloudFlare will extend full protection to ensure the site stays online – no matter its location, no matter its content.”

It is thought that so far there are just under 100 sites enrolled in Project Galileo.

Censorship and DDoS

The Cloudflare initiative comes amid increasing online censorship by many governments around the world, in an effort to crack down on dissident voices.

And although it is hard to prove, some nation states are thought to be behind distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. That said, some DDoS attacks are simply criminal schemes. This week, popular news aggregator service Feedly fought off a DDoS attack, hours after it declined to pay the perpetrator to stop the barrage.

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