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UK: Charity warns ‘web filtering will harm LGBT young people and vulnerable adults’

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  1. Colin (London) 1 Aug 2013, 1:46pm

    Could we not have exceptions to the blanket blocking for educational issues like this….Is that so hard?????

    1. I believe it’s down to the way filters use keywords to automatically censor content by internet providers such as 02 on my phone and resource websites such as stumbleupon that regularly block non-pornographic gay content under their “gay culture” sub-sections, but somehow is abundant with shallow topless photos of pretty men (?)

      Common searches would include “gay porn, gay sex, gay video” etc. and so it’s easy to see why they’d automatically censor the word “gay” because of this.

      The problem is finding a way to use the word “gay” in a search that only shows educational or informative content while also blocking any adult content that is also tagged with the word “gay” – discriminate filtering in this way is not possible yet and so that’s why so many LGBT sites are censored like this (I think).

      It’s just a matter of gov, tech and corporation playing catch up as per usual.

      Mr. Pink

      1. Colin (London) 1 Aug 2013, 2:52pm

        Thanks for info. I did not know.

        Surely we can both online and offline through media make it known that subjects like help with drugs, help with sexuality etc can be excluded. Government needs to give a lead on this.

        Thanks again. Best wishes

  2. I’ve once had (>10 yrs ago) content barred at a previous employer for it simply being rated ‘gay’.
    I was looking up the discrimination legislation and happened to access it from Stonewall’s website. A case of discrimination in itself!

  3. Thank goodness these charities are talking about this. It’s potentially serious.

    Most of the filtering companies are international enterprises. They rely largely on automated systems to identify sites to blacklist, and their products are sold in countries like the US which have different views on appropriate censorship for children.

    As a result, there are two separate issues:

    1) General LGBT sites erroneously classified as porn by automated tools. This has affected such PG sites as PinkNews.

    2) LGBT sites being correctly identified as non-pornographic, but then censored anyway under an “LGBT” tag.

    Problem 1) is impossible to prevent completely, although if blocking companies took it more seriously they could change their algorithms to get fewer false positives.

    Problem 2) should be addressed directly by government. They should tell ISPs that non-porn LGBT sites must not be censored when subscribers opt to block porn.

  4. ISP’s are already compelling their customers to choose whether to engage “child” filtering at source on their internet connection.
    I logged into my ISP account site the other day and a page appeared that would not go away, including attempting to close it, it just re-appeared, and forced me to choose yes or no; “do you want to engage child filtering on your internet connection”.
    They have had the facility to do this voluntarily for a few years and free software to block pre-programmed web sites and add others on partiular computers.
    This compulsion for the account holder to choose is new even for long existing account holders.
    And it appears to be a one size fits all, or nothing. Lots of teens will be going to a friends house or genning up on proxy servers etc.
    Good thing we have a “liberal” government in this country, isnt it.
    Wonder what Mr. Putin has planned for internet freedom?

  5. While I agree with article in its concept, I do worry they are exemplifying youth and making this argument far too narrow. Am sure older adults including the grey and gay population looking for information, would really want to be looking at young adult services. I think without going out on form of minority stress ideology this policy has not been thought out properly. Their will be discriminating filters that could potentially block out all sorts of social provisions in which the LGBT community need yet the LGBT community could become socially excluded.

  6. RedDevil9 1 Aug 2013, 3:24pm

    Had this problem in college. I couldn’t access LGBT information or support sites because their filter saw them as pornographic and blocked them. It also alerted them to your college ID as ‘looking at porn’. This needs to be sorted out because it’s going to have a serious effect by removing vital support to gay teens. It will also give homophobic parents a tool to try to suppress their child’s homosexuality.

    1. I really wouldn’t worry too much. Kids are very savvy, I’m 22 and when I was 13 /14 I knew how to get round filters and blocks in school & at home very easily. Kids have always been one step ahead of the adults with the internet (to their own peril, these new laws are about 15 years too late), and the new generation probably know even more than I do. If an LGBT teenager really wanted to visit a certain site or page they could get around it pretty easily.

      Child blocks are like child locks. Once you get old enough to figure it out, it’s childs play !

      Mr. Pink

  7. George Orwell is probably looking down from heaven, giggling madly.

  8. If they knew anything about the internet, when you set up a web page you add ‘key words’ also known as tags. They can literally be anything. I can remember doing a search about Egypt and a porn site opened up!!

    I have a huge problem with the banning of what is normal terms for us as a community!! And how does this stop straight porn? This will have a very negative effect in my opinion.

    But personally I also have a problem with this ‘big brother’ attitude. I believe I am over 18 and so am a grown up. If I wish to look at lesbian porn that why shouldn’t I be allowed to? Why should I have to find a shop or somewhere.

    I think parents need better educating when it comes to setting up their computers so as to stop children finding porn. All internet windows such as Chrome, Firefox etc have child protection software added. If parents are failing to use this correctly then kids will find stuff!!

    Where they NEED to focus is child porn

    1. And I don’t mean I actually want to see porn. but I don#t believe that choice should be taken from me!!

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