An interesting post by Gay Star News founder Tris Reid-Smith this morning, reported he received very different responses from the spokesmen for two supposedly LGBT friendly companies, which, he discovered, are selling a product that keeps computers from accessing LGBT websites.
Both companies enjoy a 100% HRC Equality Index Rating, but only Trend Micro Inc. agreed to remove the LGBT filter when questioned about it by Gay Star News. A spokesman for the company said:
“We resolved to eliminate the category because some employers were using it to censor legitimate non-prurient content that happened to be LGBT. “
The other company, Dell, chose to continue to use LGBT as a blocking criteria, releasing this statement:
“Dell SonicWALL security products offer a multitude of content filtering options that help connection owners make choices to allow or not allow access of certain sites based on business and organization needs.
The gay and lesbian content filter is part of a filter category that represents many different topics of interest. Our goal is to provide choices to our customers, allowing access to what they need so they can ensure a productive and efficient environment for their users.
We make no judgment on our customers’ filter choices, we never deny access to any sites, nor do we pre-populate a block on any sites, including gay and lesbian sites.”
As the contributor to a blog that would probably be filtered out by the Dell program, I suppose I should be angered, or at least frustrated. But what I’m more worried about are the schools that, by engaging an LGBT filter, could be cutting off some struggling gay or questioning kids, from the very places they might find help. I find myself wondering,
- What if that kid has been thrown out by his parents?
- What if he’s being bullied?
- What is he has been exposed to HIV?
- What if he’s thinking about ending his misery?
Whether or not his school has filtered out LGBT websites could mean life or death for that kid.
I wish the people at Dell, the ones with the 100% HRC rating, would give some deep thought about what harm their product might do.
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