how safe are our blogs? That question was raised again when on the evening of July 26, 2008, a popular religious blog was shut down by an Internet service provider. A complaint filed by Christian author and apologist, Richard Abanes, claiming that one article on the religious opinion site, Apprising.org, had slandered him, caused the web host, IPower, to send its publisher, Ken Silva, a 48-hour warning to remove the offending piece or be taken down. In that the piece was not believed to be slander at all, but rather religious and theological opinion, he refused to be forced into censoring his site by Richard Abanes. The site went down.
There are serious implications here for all bloggers, regardless of what sort of blog they publish. Anyone who has a complaint about your views can claim that you have engaged in slander and the ISP Terms of Service usually allow for the companies to remove your website if you don't take the material in question down. The First Amendment means nothing in these cases. ISP's cannot and will not explore the claims of slander and simply notify bloggers to remove whatever is causing the problem. This opens the door for anyone to censor what a blogger writes online.
Everyone who values the right to read and publish blogs on the Internet has a vested interested in the issue. There is growing concern in the blog world over this, and a number of servers are popping up that offer "First Amendment" hosting. These are web hosts which require a court order before they will remove someone's website. Their day has clearly come.