SonicWALL vs Stonewall

Companies which ostensibly pride themselves on their progressive credentials are facilitating bigotry, Gay Star News reports.

One firm, Trend Micro, has now agreed to drop the filtering option immediately after Gay Star News highlighted the problem. But Dell, an officially gay-friendly firm, is refusing to do so.

Dell sells a ‘premium’ internet filtering product to block ‘sites that provide information, promote, or cater to gay and lesbian lifestyles’.

Their product proves LGBTI sites are not being accidentally mistaken for porn – but deliberately blocked.

The Dell SonicWALL product also blocks other kinds of content, but ‘gay and lesbian’ and ‘religion’ are the only two diversity and inclusion areas it singles out for censorship.

Dell’s response was astonishingly weaselly.

‘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.

Stonewall has spoken out against the move, and Gay Star News also quotes a forceful and eloquent response from the (unnamed) owner of a gay website.

He said: ‘Public access to quality LGBTI information has helped vulnerable people and saved lives. These blocks impact on kids in schools, on workplaces trying to push diversity, on gay activists on the ground.

‘They wouldn’t ban black sites, there would be outrage, so why do they allow this? It’s because they can get away with it. Because they think “gay” is still a dirty word.

‘This censorship is utterly incompatible with firms who maintain they are gay friendly. Just like what is happening in Russia, its effect is to silence LGBTI voices, to stop us uniting, to stop us helping each other.

‘Some of the people involved aren’t intending to be hateful, they just haven’t filtered it through. But now they know, they have to stop. Today. Otherwise they are just as guilty.’