The Department of Defense (DoD) has blocked access to LGBT advocacy websites on military computers, according to an expose in AMERICAblog last week.
Websites such as GLAAD, AMERICAblog, Bilerico, Towleroad, and HRC Blog are categorized as “LGBT” and are not permitted by the filter service used by the Pentagon. Another website, Outserve.org, which is dedicated to creating a network of LGBT military members and respect for LGBT members in the service, is also prohibitedunder the category of “LGBT.” In a statement released by the DoD, the Pentagon qualifies that these pages are also “Blog/Personal Pages” which are not permitted either. The DoD justifies that blogs and personal pages are restricted in accordance “with DoD policy allowing military commanders the option to restrict access to personal pages for operational security reasons.” However, blogs by Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the blog of anti-gay extremist group Family Research Council are permitted.
The DoD utilizes web filtering software produced by Blue Coat Systems, which also provides filtering services to countries hostile to LGBT people such as Syria and Saudi Arabia. The company has previously come under scrutiny from LGBT advocates for blocking anti-bullying and suicide prevention websites, such as the Trevor Project, in school districts by offering the option to restrict access to LGBT sites. Other filter categories provided by Blue Coat Systems include “Abortion,” “Alternative Sexuality/Lifestyle,” “Alternative Spirituality/Belief,” “Political/Activist Groups,” “Sex Education,” and “Violence/Hate/Racism.”
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 1/7/2013; Opposing Views 1/6/2013; RT 1/4/2013; AMERICAblog 1/4/2013
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