GoDaddy Launches Texas Abortion “Whistleblower” Site for Privacy Breach

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Enlarge / The state capital of Texas.

Getty Images | Bo Zaunders

The Texas Right to Life group will need to find a new hosting provider for its website that encourages people to report violations of the state’s restrictive new abortion law.

GoDaddy took action after Gizmodo reported that Texas Right to Life’s new website, prolifewhistleblower.com, appears to be breaking a GoDaddy rule that says website operators cannot “collect or collect (or allow anyone to collect or collect) any User Content or any other non-public or personally identifiable information about another User or any other person or entity without their express prior written consent. ”GoDaddy’s Terms of Service also state that customers cannot use the web hosting platform in a way that “[v]infringes the privacy or publicity rights of another user or any other person or entity, or violates any duty of confidentiality owed by you to another user or any other person or entity. “

GoDaddy now says the website has less than 24 hours to find a new hosting provider. “Last night we informed prolifewhistleblower.com that they had violated GoDaddy’s terms of service and had 24 hours to switch to another provider,” GoDaddy told Ars in a statement. GoDaddy previously confirmed the action to the New York Times and Newsweek.

GoDaddy told Ars that “the site has violated several provisions, including, but not limited to, section 5.2 of our terms of use.” This section is the one that prohibits sites from using GoDaddy to “collect or harvest … non-public or personally identifiable information” without the prior written consent of individuals.

We’ve asked Texas Right to Life if they’ve found a new host and will update this article if we get a response.

Six-week abortion ban encourages “whistleblowers”

The Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect Wednesday, banning abortions after a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected, which the law defines as “regular, repetitive rhythmic heart activity or contraction of the fetal heart in the sac. gestational “. This effectively prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. The US Supreme Court has rejected an emergency request to block the law, but it could still be declared unconstitutional after litigation.

Some reproductive rights groups argue that the term ‘heartbeat’ bill is a misnomer, since the fetus does not yet have a heart at six weeks gestation – the detectable heart activity at that time comes from of a tissue called the fetal pole, as OB-GYN Jen Gunter wrote. Planned Parenthood calls the bills “six-week bans,” Vox wrote in his explanation of the Texas law.

The abortion whistleblower website is still live at this time. He urges people to help enforce Texas’ abortion ban, saying:

Anyone can sue any abortion provider who kills an unborn child after six weeks gestation – and anyone can sue anyone who aids or encourages these illegal abortions. All of these people must pay damages to the person who sued them of at least $ 10,000 for each illegal abortion they perform or assist.

Texas Right to Life will ensure that these violators are held accountable for their actions. Use the links below to report anyone who is breaking the Texas Heartbeat Act by aiding or encouraging a post-heartbeat abortion. And report any person or entity that aids or encourages (or intends to aid or abet) an illegal abortion in Texas.

Expect a “torrent of chases”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that the Texas law would “spark a torrent of lawsuits” and that its ban on “aiding or encouraging” abortion would have a chilling effect on First Amendment protected speech.

“SB8 is a ‘bonus law’: it not only allows these lawsuits, it provides a significant financial incentive to initiate them,” the EFF wrote. “This ensures that a person who brings and wins such a lawsuit will receive at least $ 10,000 for each abortion that the speech” aided or abetted, “plus their costs and attorney fees. At the same time, SB8 can often to protect these bounty hunters from having to pay the defendant’s legal costs if they lose. This removes a primary financial deterrent that they might have had to bring unfounded lawsuits. “

Opponents of the new abortion law have swamped the website with false reports. Texas Right to Life told USA Today that the group “fully anticipated this and [was] prepared for all the trolls coming to the website. “

Sending complaints to GoDaddy has been found to be more efficient. But the GoDaddy decision may only be a temporary hurdle for the anti-abortion group, as they can keep the website live by finding a new host.


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