Anonymous OpIsis targets Cloudflare
Amorphous hacktivist group Anonymous has launched a petition to get the US government to charge DDoS-protection company Cloudflare with "promoting terrorism" YouTube

Hacktivist group Anonymous claims DDoS-protection company Cloudflare is "promoting terrorism" by hosting over 50 Isis related propaganda websites.

The hacktivist group has been actively involved in a campaign called Operation Isis - or OpIsis - for several months which has seen the amorphous online collective identify and attack social media accounts and websites which they have linked to Islamic State.

Alongside publishing the list of Isis-related websites, Anonymous published a list of US and UK companies it says are complicit in "promoting terror" by hosting these websites.

Having published a list of these companies earlier this month, the group has now focused its attention on one in particular, launching a petition to get the US government to file charges against DDoS-protection service Cloudflare.

Anonymous's petition says:

Cloudflare is hosting over 50 Isis related propaganda websites. The evidence is right in front of them. Yet the group refuses to act and instead takes money from criminals in return for hacking and server protection for the Isis websites. Please act now, and file criminal charges on the organisation for supporting terrorism.

To date the petition, which was launched on 25 April, has garnered just 128 signatures, well short of the 100,000 it needs in order to get an official response from the White House. It is still even short of the 150 signatures needed for the petition to be publicly searchable on the White House website - though it has until 25 May to reach these targets.

Mob rule

Cloudflare has not responded to IBTimes UK requests for comment on the launch of the petition, but after the company was listing among a group of hosting services by Anonymous earlier in April it gave IBTimes UK a detailed response with CEO Matthew Prince saying his company would not be blocking its service to the websites listed, as it would mean submitting to "mob rule".

"Individuals have decided that there is content they disagree with but the right way to deal with this is to follow the established law enforcement procedures. There is no society on Earth that tolerates mob rule because the mob is fickle," Prince said.

CloudFlare does not itself host the content of the websites, meaning blocking its service would not actually make the content go away. The service instead protects sites from malicious traffic and cyber threats, meaning without it websites would be more vulnerable to attacks from Anonymous.

"We're the plumbers of the internet," Prince said. "We make the pipes work but it's not right for us to inspect what is or isn't going through the pipes. If companies like ours or ISPs (internet service providers) start censoring there would be an uproar. It would lead us down a path of internet censors and controls akin to a country like China."

Indeed Anonymous's targeting of services like Cloudflare appears to be hypocritical considering one of its most high profile campaigns ever - Operation Payback - was in response to PayPal and Amazon arbitrarily cutting off services to Wikileaks without waiting for legal process - the same thing the hacktivist group is calling for now.