Epik domain registrar against censorship

Much as Paypal has shown that it can stop providing services to customers for what appear to be political reasons, the domain name registrar GoDaddy stopped providing services to Gab, resulting in their web site disappearing from the internet.

Recently they found an alternative registrar, Epik, who have written a blog post about why they decided to accept Gab as a customer.

De-platforming a haven of free speech is not about left or right. Anyone who remembers studying civics is familiar with the concept of inalienable rights — rights that a worthy government can only protect but would have no moral authority to take away. The idea of Natural Law and Inalienable Rights dates back to Ancient Greece, if not before. Tolerance for competing views — including those protected by Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press — is not an American concept even though the Founding Fathers of the United States built a prosperous nation around the concept.

Refusing service to a customer does not violate the non-aggression principle, but when you need a service provider to help you speak to people it is very useful to find one who thinks that freedom of speech is a good thing. Epik should be commended for their stance, and more importantly, their stance is a reason to use their services.

To make sure there are service providers who take your business, it is helpful if there are plenty to choose from and that at least some of them have friendly policies. For this it helps if there are low barriers to entry and minimal state interference in the policies of service providers. Points of centralisation can be a problem. About this, Epik say:

In the domain name world, we often talk about domain ownership. The reality is that we are mostly leasing domains from registries, who in turn is often regulated by a regulator ICANN. Recently I have been a vocal advocate for Forever domain registrations whereby a domain is free of ongoing expense. At the moment, this is possible through Epik though there is still more work to do to make this a risk-free industry norm. The danger of not proactively embracing digital sovereignty, in all its forms, is that the digital world will inevitably find a way to achieve it, with or without domain names.

Various government bodies are in charge of various parts of domain registration, depending on where you are in the world. Technology to decentralise this would be helpful. Perhaps something like Namecoin could be the answer, or perhaps there is another way yet.