The Houston Chronicle has an interesting piece today from The Washington Post about a Web-hosting company based here in town that rented cyber space to a group of militant Taliban types.
Most remarkable about the message was how it was delivered. The words were the Taliban’s, but they were flashed around the globe by an American-owned firm located in a leafy corner of downtown Houston.
The Texas company, a Web-hosting outfit called ThePlanet, says it simply rented cyberspace to the group and had no clue about its Taliban connections. For more than a year, the militant group used the site to rally its followers and keep a running tally of suicide bombings, rocket attacks and raids against U.S. and allied troops. The cost of the service: roughly $70 a month, payable by credit card.
I have some sympathy for ThePlanet being caught in this sort of perdiciment. It must be near impossible for those folks to check every page of every Web site that is hosting space from them.
And frankly, I don’t know if I want to do business with a hosting firm that agressively monitors content on my site — or any site. Who knows what soul-and-First-Amendment-crushing “standards” some corportate types would come up with to find if your Web site makes the cut or not?
The last cent of my two-cent rant: Shouldn’t we leave these Taliban-sponsored sites up so violent radicals think they have a way to secretly communicate with each other? And so we can know what they’re up to?