Web filtering software companies have started to respond to the American Civil Liberties Union’s call to remove filters that block websites with content geared toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.
The ACLU has launched a national “Don’t Filter Me” campaign, which seeks to remove censorship of pro-LGBT information on public school computer systems.
As part of its campaign, the organization has sent letters to several schools, asking them to reset their filtering software to stop blocking students’ access to such information, which it says is protected free speech. The ACLU also has contacted leading makers of filtering software, asking them to remove websites with content in support of the LGBT community from their block lists.
Lightspeed Systems was among the first to respond to the complaint, removing its “education.lifestyles” filter that blocked access to educational LGBT-related information.
According to the ACLU, many schools activated the filter mistakenly, believing that it blocked sexually explicit content, when in reality it blocked sites such as the Gay Straight Alliance Network; the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network; and the official website for the annual Day of Silence that protests anti-LGBT bullying.
Lightspeed told clients that it would discontinue the filter as of May 23, placing the sites currently in the “education.lifestyles” category into a variety of different categories in order to make sure the sites were properly categorized without regard to their “political or moral viewpoint.”