Some of the biggest news in the Canadian Web hosting community came by way of an announcement last week by Citizen Lab that several Canadian firms were hosting questionable Syrian websites. The report mentioned two web host providers by name: iWeb and RackHost. Now, iWeb has taken the opportunity to release its own announcement to set the record straight.
According to their statement, published November 17 2011, the company did inadvertently host two websites for organizations with known ties to Hezbollah. However, once when they were made aware of the problem they immediately cancelled service to both organizations and took down the sites. iWeb maintains it no longer knowingly provides web host services to any government entities or other organizations covered under Canada’s sanctions against Syria.
Furthermore, iWeb will be investigating whether or not any of its current clients are using their web host services in order to indirectly benefit entities covered under the sanctions. If so the company plans to terminate those accounts as well. According to the company’s official statements, “iWeb is committed to strict compliance with these laws [sanctions] and continues to monitor its compliance.”
The issue first came to light last week when Citizen Lab released a report after doing extensive investigation regarding Syrian government websites. They identified 17 questionable sites on several Canadian Web servers; they also uncovered two sites being hosted by U.S.-based servers and one in Germany.
The problem with the Canadian hosts stems from the fact that Canada’s sanctions are just vague enough to cause some web hosting companies to believe they can still do business with sanctioned entities. If nothing else, the Citizen Lab report has shined the light on web hosting companies doing business with Syria. The bad publicity should go a long way to bringing this activity to a halt.