Blue Coat Services provides web filtering products to corporations, educational institutions, and governmental agencies. We ask that Blue Coat eliminate the option to block websites based on the LGBT category.
By Blue Coat's own definition, its LGBT category includes: "Websites that provide reference materials, news, legal information, anti-bullying and suicide-prevention information, and other resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ("LGBT") people or that relate to LGBT civil rights. The websites included in this category were selected because they do not contain sexually explicit content and are generally suitable for viewing by all age groups."
Blue Coat has also offered a statement on blocking websites based on the LGBT category: "Customers -- including schools, libraries, and other public institutions -- do not need to block the LGBT category to prevent users from accessing sexually explicit content, whether LGBT-related or otherwise. WebFilter contains separate and distinct categories for sexually explicit content and other adult material (e.g., Adult/Mature Content, Alternative Sexuality/Lifestyles, Nudity and Pornography), which can be blocked to prevent access to sexually explicit content. Further, blocking the LGBT category is not recommended as a tool for public institutions to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act ("CIPA")."
While Blue Coat has made the above clarifications, the functionality of its products do allow institutions to block websites based on the LGBT category. A young LGBT person seeking critical support would be blocked from accessing websites like the It Gets Better Project or the support resources found on GLSEN's website -- simply because the young person's school IT administrator chose to block access to the LGBT category. LGBT is the only category based on the identity of a group of people; there are no filter categories based on race, ethnicity or gender.
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