Business, Economics and Jobs

Hired by the Westboro Baptist Church, web security provider to donate revenue raised to charity


Betty Phelps, daughter-in-law of pastor Fred Phelps and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrates outside the Supreme Court while justices hear oral arguements in Snyder v. Phelps, which tests the limits of the First Amendment, October 6, 2010 in Washington, DC.


Chip Somodevilla

Black Lotus, a web security and distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) attack protection firm hired by the Westboro Baptist Church, will now donate all revenue raised from the controversial church group to charity.

“It is important to avoid setting a precedent that information should be suppressed merely because of its content," said Black Lotus CEO Jeffrey Lyon. "Regardless, Black Lotus is a human organization with our own set of standards and principles and in support of such we will donate all WBC revenue, and then some, to ensure that our relationship with WBC is on a zero revenue basis." 

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Blaming the tragedy on American same-sex marriage legislation, the Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to picket funerals of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.

Shortly after their announcement, Anonymous and other hackers began launching online attacks against the organization’s websites and twitter accounts. As part of the campaign against the fundamentalist organization, Anonymous asked all web security providers to cease doing business with the Westboro Baptist Church. 

In spite of providing protection against DDoS attacks, a tool used frequently by factions of Anonymous, Black Lotus decided to heed their call through a compromise. By donating revenue raised from the Westboro Baptist Church, Lyon believes that his company is upholding the right to free passage of data on the internet while providing a “net benefit for those who may have been harmed." 

“Our service is intended to be completely neutral and without regard to the content it serves. In those situations where we identify content is contrary to our own company ethics, we may decide to go neutral on that customer, and donate their revenue to causes which substantially offset any harm being caused,” said Lyon.

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While it may appear that a DDoS mitigation and web security firm would feel antagonistic towards the actions of groups like Anonymous or other hackers using tools like DDoS attacks, Black Lotus sought to assuage the concerns of hackers and activists alike while maintaining their security services to the Westboro Baptist Church.

“…our decision was based heavily on actions by Anonymous. Historically we have ignored the organization on principle and in our own protest of the illegal or unethical actions of some of its members. This week I noticed a stark contrast in the group's behavior. The majority of Anon's did not attempt or advocate any illegal attack against our company, and relied heavily on peaceful protest. We respect their civility and I went as far as to make @YourAnonNews aware that we appreciated the manner in which they approached the problem,” said Lyon. 

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