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Epik (domain registrar)

Epik (domain registrar)

Epik is an ICANN-accredited domain registrar and web hosting company known for providing services to contriversial websites. It has been described by the far-left journalism website Vice as "a safehaven for the extreme right" because of its willingness to host websites that have been shut down by other web hosts.

The company touts itself as a protector of free speech, and CEO Rob Monster has described Epik as "the Swiss bank of domains". Epik has a history of not responding to reports of illegal activity on the websites they register, which is unusual for domain registrars based in the United States. Pharmaceutical watchdog website LegitScript has reported that they alerted Epik to the sale of illegal drugs and counterfeit medications on websites registered by Epik, and that Epik has not acted upon the information.

Epik is also known for registering other websites containing right-wing and far-right content, such as the video hosting service BitChute and the conspiracy theory website InfoWars.

Timeline

February 2019

In February 2019, it was announced that Epik had acquired BitMitigate, a Canadian cybersecurity company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. BitMitigate provides websites protection against potential threats including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The company continues to operate as a division of Epik, and BitMitigate's founder Nicholas Lim serves as Epik's chief technology officer.

2019

BitMitigate, a Canadian cybersecurity company acquired by Epik in 2019, had also received media attention for its association with far-right groups.

December 2018

Tal Moore, a member of Epik's board, resigned in December 2018 over the company's involvement with Gab.

November 7, 2018

On November 7, 2018, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sent a subpoena to Epik requesting "any and all documents which are related in any way to Gab" after Gab registered its domains onto Epik. Gab posted screenshots of the subpoena letter in a tweet on the day the subpoena was sent, despite being asked to keep the letter confidential, saying that "We will not be bullied or intimidated." The tweet was deleted hours later. In response to the tweet and subpoena, Rob Monster said in an email statement to Ars Technia that "the news of the subpoena was not intended for public consumption" and that "we are cooperating with their inquiry." Also in a statement to Ars Technia, Gab called the subpoena a "baseless, political, and emotionally-driven witch hunt."

November 2018

Epik received media attention in early November 2018 for registering Gab, an English-language social media website, after it was ousted by GoDaddy for allowing "content on the site that both promotes and encourages violence against people." This came shortly after it was revealed that the perpetrator of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting had used the service to post "hateful content". Monster described GoDaddy's choice to terminate their relationship with Gab as "heavy-handed".

August 2017

In August 2017, GoDaddy and Cloudflare terminated services for American neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and Holocaust denial commentary and message board website The Daily Stormer after it published an article mocking Heather Heyer, the victim of the vehicle ramming attack that occurred at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that same month. BitMitigate subsequently stepped in to provide the services that Cloudfare had been providing. Like Epik, BitMitigate has defended its services to extremist websites as upholding free speech, and described the refusal of some companies to provide services to these websites as censorship.

2009

Epik was founded in 2009 by Rob Monster, who serves as the company's chief executive officer. The company is based in Sammamish, Washington.

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Rob Monster

Founder



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