CloudFlare Gives Sites a "Less Foolish" Way to Fight SOPA, PIPA [Updated]

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on January 16, 2012

From The News Desk

[Post updated -- video interview with Matthew Prince below]

In response to my earlier post about the idiocy of shuttering Wikipedia for a day over SOPA, CloudFlare's Matthew Prince emails to tip us off about his company's solution.

Launching in a few minutes now, Cloudflare's Stop Censorship app (available free to all Cloudflare users) will partially censor sites, allowing them to make a political point without a total shutdown. The first time a new visitor accesses a participating site, words over five characters will be blacked out and a "censored" banner will be added to the top corner.

Explains Prince...

"Inspired by Ben Huh, but concerned that the idea of entirely blacking out your site is dumb for lots of reasons (see, e.g., Paul's article earlier today or Dick Costolo's comments; plus the SEO costs are HUGE for being offline even for a day), we built something that allows anyone to raise awareness against SOPA/PIPA and similar style laws with one click. We also worked directly with the crawl teams at the major search engines to ensure that it wouldn't harm SEO rankings."

Cloudflare's offers free tools to protect sites from DDOS attacks and other skullduggery. The Stop Censorship feature will be available here in the next 20 minutes or so. [Update: It's live!

Update II: I just had a quick Skype video chat with Matthew Prince -- we discussed the irony of Cloudflare making self-censorship easy, the thinking behind the service and whether the whole thing is just a big publicity stunt. Excuse the crappy video quality -- the choppiness is just an ironic comment on Cloudflare's app. Or something.