Wikipedia dumps GoDaddy. There’s still an elephant in the room, but it’s not the one shot by GoDaddy’s founder.

On Friday, Wikipedia announced that their migration from GoDaddy has been completed. All DNS registrations for the Wikimedia Foundation have been moved to MarkMonitor.

The Wikipedia/GoDaddy schism goes back to a Tweet from Jimmy Wales in December:

I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy. Their position on sopa is unacceptable to us.

At the time, GoDaddy was an avid supporter of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which eventually crashed and burned — along with its equally ill-begotten cousin PIPA — after an unprecedented outpouring of pressure from the Internet community. GoDaddy’s newly installed management eventually changed its pro-SOPA policy to one of tepid neutrality, although it was too late to prevent “Dump GoDaddy Day” on December 29.

But GoDaddy’s malevolence goes deeper than its on-again, off-again, maybe-on-again position on one or another piece of badly written legislation. The elephant in the room — as-yet un-shot — is GoDaddy’s aggressive collaboration with the US Government’s policy of seizing DNS names without benefit of court order. Even such flagrant mistakes as branding 84,000 innocent Web sites as child pornographers or the unjustified and unauthorized year-long hostage-taking of haven’t deterred federal agencies from their extra-legal pandering to the MPAA and RIAA. Just last month, GoDaddy shut down with no explanation and no court order, simply on request from the Secret Service. This was apparently yet another mistake, since the action was reversed after a day or so. The interruption remains unexplained even now. As Joe Stanganelli observed:

GoDaddy does not wait for due process. It apparently does whatever law enforcement agencies ask it to do. If you’re a law enforcement agency, why bother to get a court order when you’re dealing with fully complicit host providers?

That is, by setting itself up as a Cyberspace cat’s-paw, GoDaddy encourages federal agencies to over-reach. While the government must follow the U.S. Constitution, with its annoying guarantees of due process and free speech, GoDaddy’s terms of service provide a much more flexible approach:

Go Daddy reserves the right to terminate Your access to the Services at any time, without notice, for any reason whatsoever.

This should come as a surprise to no one. About a year ago, GoDaddy’s General Counsel, Christine Jones, boasted to the Senate Judiciary Committee about her company’s vigilante approach to interpreting and enforcing the law:

You do not have to go to court to get an order. We will just fix it for you … We just work on it, and we fix it for people. Do not go waste your money on a lawyer and file a lawsuit, for the love of God. Just pick up the phone and call us. … Our position is if there is any offending content, the whole website comes down. … It is either all or nothing, because we do not want that crap about, Are you 50/50? Are you 80/20? Are you really engaged in illegal activity? Are you really not? No. We want it to be black and white. Either you are or you are not. If you fix it, press on. But until you fix it, you are all gone.

With a policy like that, why care about crap like their position on SOPA?


One thought on “Wikipedia dumps GoDaddy. There’s still an elephant in the room, but it’s not the one shot by GoDaddy’s founder.

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