Companies respond to ACLU’s ‘Don’t Filter Me’ campaign

The ACLU identified the five following companies as other sites with filters designed to target LGBT-related content:

  • Blue Coat, which has a filter called “LGBT”
  • M86, which has a filter called “Lifestyle”
  • Fortiguard, which has a filter called “Homosexuality”
  • Websense, which has a filter called “Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual Interest”
  • URL Blacklist, which has a filter called “Sexuality”

Patrick Bedwell, vice president of product marketing at Fortiguard, said that the ACLU campaign was the first time he’d been alerted to the fact that his company’s “Homosexuality” filter blocked positive and supportive content from public school students, and promised action.

“We’re going to modify our operating system, and we’re going to change our filtering tools so that the explicit content is filtered out, and then the educational content that may have been filtered previously under ‘Homosexuality’ is not going to be filtered,” Bedwell said, adding that the company will remove the entire ‘Homosexuality’ category in its filtering engine.

Bedwell said that Lightspeed’s decision to edit its filtering software factored into Fortiguard’s decision to change its own web filter.

“It was just part and parcel of the Lightspeed action. We saw what the ACLU requested, saw the history on it, and we basically just reviewed all of the activity,” said Bedwell.

Websense senior vice president Michael Newman said his company reached out to the ACLU after hearing about the campaign.

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