Friday, January 4, 2013

Department of Defense at War with Eur-gay-sia

Where do you even begin with the creepy, Big Brother-esque tactics of the Department of Defense and the internet filtering company they use called Blue Coat?  Yesterday a number of liberal bloggers (many of whom are LGBT) found that their sites were blocked on government computers at the Pentagon when similar right-wing sites like Red State, and Breitbart that rely mostly or exclusively on blog contributors went unfiltered.

The story deepened when the aforementioned bloggers also found that Blue Coat has an entire category devoted to LGBT.  And it's not that they're mistakenly being flagged as pornography, they actually have an entire category called "LGBT" devoted exclusively to blocking sites with LGBT content.  It turns out that they leave no gay stone left unblocked either:

"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."

Really Department of Defense?  Really Blue Coat?  Anti-bullying and suicide-prevention materials are blocked even though (and this comes from Blue Coat's own website) "they do not contain sexually explicit content and are generally suitable for viewing by all age groups."  In fact, Blue Coat's URL Categories sheet is even more vague:

"Sites that provide information regarding, support, promote, or cater to one's sexual orientation or gender identity including, but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sites."

By that definition they should be blocking sites that refer to couples in any way.  They are not, however, because as we can see in the first link, the National Organization for Marriage's website remains unblocked.  Blue Coat seems to have an agenda because when you browse their Violence/Hate/Racism category, you see that they make every possible effort to avoid condemning violence against LGBT:

"...sites that depict hostility or aggression toward, or denigrate an individual or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, nationality, ethnic origin, or other involuntary characteristics..."

Who knows what the asshat that originally authored these things was actually trying to convey, but it looks to me like they're trying to excuse hate and violence directed at LGBT by implying that these are not involuntary characteristics.

Of course, Blue Coat has been caught doing some sketchy things before...

Editor's Note: The DoD has released one of the most factually inaccurate and generally mystifying statements in recent memory.  When did Miss South Carolina get a job as their PR spokesperson?

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