Reuters on Matthew Prince '00 and Controversy Surrounding His Startup, CloudFlare
When the Israeli army and Hamas trade virtual blows in cyberspace, or when hacker groups like Anonymous rise from the digital ether, or when WikiLeaks dumps a trove of classified documents, some see a lawless Internet.
But Matthew Prince, chief executive at CloudFlare, a little-known Internet start-up that serves some of the Web's most controversial characters, sees a business opportunity.
Founded in 2010, CloudFlare markets itself as an Internet intermediary that shields websites from distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks, the crude but effective weapon that hackers use to bludgeon websites until they go dark. The 40-person company claims to route up to 5 percent of all Internet traffic through its global network.
Prince calls his company the "Switzerland" of cyberspace - assiduously neutral and open to all comers. But just as companies like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have faced profound questions about the balance between free speech and openness on the Internet and national security and law enforcement concerns, CloudFlare's business has posed another thorny question: what kinds of services, if any, should an American company be allowed to offer designated terrorists and cyber criminals?
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