If you visit www.vivoleum.com today you'll find nothing, but last month the site was the home of the Yes Men's latest experiment in political theater and a protest against Exxon Mobil. Apparently Exxon Mobil was not amused, and as The Inquirer reports, the Yes Men soon found themselves without a Web site and their e-mail access severed. Broadview Networks, the group's Web host, refused to restore their e-mail until they had removed all mention of the oil company.
Sadly, the Yes Men's story is not unique, and Jimmy Atkinson of The Dedicated Hosting Guide has recently compiled a list of Web host companies that won't buckle so easily. Atkinson's list notes 11 Web hosts that have made a commitment toward protecting free speech. Among those included are Computer Tyme, whose motto is "No Anti-Bush Site Left Behind," and the German Zensurfrei, which was created following a case of wrongful arrest. The list also includes no-cost solutions like 1st-Amendment.Net.
While each of these providers prohibits using their services for illegal activities such as child pornography and illegal file sharing, they do promise to protect your right to engage in political dissent. One Web host that Atkinson fails to mention is Riseup.net, a small tech collective that has been providing free activist Web services for years. Of course, there are probably dozens of companies and organizations out there with a commitment to protecting free speech, and it's a bit much to expect Jimmy Atkinson to have found them all.
If you know of any other Internet services companies who will uphold freedom of speech, then please leave a comment in order to develop a more comprehensive list.