Web hosting provider GoDaddy cut service to a website belonging to the pro-life group Texas Right to Life, telling the group late Thursday it had 24 hours to find new hosting services for its whistleblower tip website, prolifewhistleblower.com.
The group built the website to solicit anonymous tips on people who break a new Texas law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Supreme Court declined this week to block the law from taking effect.
What is the background?
As Texas Right to Life noted on its online tip website, the Texas law is unique:
The Texas Heartbeat Act is unique because it calls upon private citizens to hold abortion providers and their enablers accountable. Any person can sue any abortion provider who kills an unborn child after six weeks of gestation—and any person can sue anyone who aids or abets these illegal abortions. All of these individuals must pay damages to the person who sued them of at least $10,000 for each illegal abortion that they perform or assist.
In response, social media activists flooded the website with fake tips, the New York Times reported. When that failed to take down the website, Gizmodo's Shoshana Wodinsky suggested activists target the host of the website, GoDaddy.
"Unfortunately, overloading the site with pictures of everyone's favorite ogre wasn't enough to knock it from the web, nor were the multiple denial-of-service attacks that slammed the site on the eve before the bill was set to go into action," Wodinsky wrote. "But there is another route people can take: pleading with the site's hosting provider."
And that is exactly what happened.
What did GoDaddy say?
The web hosting company told the New York Times it had given Texas Right to Life 24 hours to find a new web hosting provider, alleging the pro-life advocacy group had violated GoDaddy's terms of service.
"We have informed prolifewhistleblower.com they have 24 hours to move to another provider for violating our terms of service," Dan Race, a GoDaddy spokesman, said late Thursday.
Specifically, GoDaddy said the website violated section 5.2 of its terms of service, 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.
Despite GoDaddy's decision, the whistleblower tip website is still live as of Saturday morning.
The website, however, is now being hosted by Epik, another web hosting service, according to registration information for prolifewhistleblower.com.