There are numerous restrictions on free speech - for example, in most of Europe, Holocaust denial is illegal. Still, I find myself repulsed by suggestions that the Qur'an and Islam should be placed beyond limits of critique, parody, or even mockery as a matter of law. However, there is nothing wrong with advocating opposition to hate speech in the marketplace. They say that the best answer to bad free speech is more speech, but what is often more effective as an answer to bad speech is less money. Boycotts, public pressure, and media scrutiny upon those affiliated with hate speech hits the purveyors of hate where it counts - in their pocketbooks.
This is why, though I am absolutely opposed to any restriction by law upon speech against Islam, I applaud this news:
Godhatesfags.com. JewWatch.com. KKK.com. These are all examples of controversial web sites that regularly stir up debates over religion and hate speech online. Generally speaking, if a site avoids making direct threats and is based in the US, it's usually allowed to continue operating in the name of free speech. Once site that has not made the cut is Fitnathemovie.com. It promoted a yet-to-be-released film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders that was critical of the Qur'an, and it has now been suspended by its US-based hosting company, Network Solutions, pending an investigation into the site's contents.
The company's placeholder page says that Fitnathemovie.com "has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy. Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation." The Acceptable Use Policy generally prohibits sites that contain "profane, indecent, or otherwise objectionable material of any kind or nature."
And yes, I do believe that Network Solutions should follow suit on the other hate sites mentioned above, assuming that they have received complaints. This strikes me as a reasonable market response to a speech issue. Anyone who cries foul or censorship on Network Solution's takedown of the movie page is misguided in their understanding of what speech is. Wilders has no inherent right to force any company to act as vehicle for his (genuine) right to free speech. A company affiliated with him has every right to assess their own self-interest and determine whether they want to maintain that association, and take into account just how that association will affect its own image in the marketplace.
I think Ars Technica is trying to be fair in invoking other hate sites which remain in operation, but really it is pretty irrelevant that other hate sites remain online. If Ars were to file complaints about each of those, and NetSol refused to then do the same to those as they have done for Fitna, then the comparison would be relevant.