21 October 2018
Don't push it! CloudFlare's Matthew Prince (middle) does a John Rambo impersonation. Photo: Cody Pickens/
Don't push it! CloudFlare's Matthew Prince (middle) does a John Rambo impersonation. Photo: Cody Pickens/

Meet CloudFlare: Guardian of Occupy Central online poll

Despite massive hacker attacks on its system, Occupy Central’s online referendum on universal suffrage is widely considered a success, with more than 730,000 Hong Kong residents casting their ballots as of Tuesday afternoon.

Credit should partly go to CloudFlare, an internet security service provider which has made its name on both sides of the law.

As one the three online voting system service providers for the mock poll, San Francisco-based CloudFlare continued with its service, unlike the other two who quit before the vote began last Friday, after the large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, in which a multitude of compromised systems attacked a single target, Sing Tao Daily reported Wednesday.

Chief executive Matthew Prince, 39, and two other IT experts established CloudFlare in 2009, building it into a company that is now worth more than US$1 billion. It specializes in dealing with hacker attacks, using the latest computer technologies, and now handles more than 5 percent of the global network traffic.

In a previous interview with Reuters, Prince said CloudFlare, which currently has 89 employees, aims to be the “Switzerland of internet” by maintaining a neutral position as it provides services to its clients.

That explains why, according to some sources, the company has business relationships with the Central Intelligence Agency but also serves several hacker organizations and even armed Islamic groups. 

The Public Opinion Program of the University of Hong Kong did not reply to Sing Tao’s queries on how it got CloudFlare to be a service provider and if there have been any changes in its contract with the company after the voting system was attacked.

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