Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union created a campaign called “Don’t Filter Me.” They believe that U.S. public school students have a constitutional right to access “Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Interest” sites and are asking U.S. public school students to check their school’s internet filtering policies by attempting to access certain Gay and Lesbian and Transgendered (LGBT) sites.
When we first heard about the “Don’t Filter Me” campaign, we reached out to the ACLU to make sure that they understand how Websense classifies web sites and implements web filtering.
We think it’s great that students in public schools across the country are helping to ensure that their schools and districts set their web filters up appropriately. A lot of schools use our software and we want to make sure that they know how to implement their chosen filters and policies. We are also making our sales and support staff aware of these issues, and how U.S. public school customers can allow safe access to appropriate content and block inappropriate content.
Out of the box, Websense filtering products do NOT block Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) classified sites. But some system administrators override the default setting and block LGBT sites under the mistaken impression that they need to do so in order to block adult content or malware that might be hosted on such sites. Anyone who mistakenly blocked LGBT sites can just uncheck that selection.
It is important to note that Websense customers do NOT need to block access to sites classified as “Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual Interest” in order to ensure that their school networks are protected from undesirable adult content and malware. Adult content, pornography and malware have their own individual categories and are blocked if the organizations select those categories.
Websense has the largest number of web gateway customers, and the Websense core information-gathering and classifying technologies (Threatseeker Network and ACE) analyze 40 million websites, scan 10 million emails, and assign reputation to 2 million domains, networks, IPs, and hosts every hour. This gives Websense unparalleled insight into the state of content on the web. Our classification includes contextual analysis, which means that our products accurately evaluate real-time changes on the dynamic web. We have confidence in our ability to accurately classify content and to block only inappropriate content in public schools. Our categorization accuracy has helped make Websense the market leader in web gateways.
Websense US sales and support staff are aware of this campaign and how public schools can safely allow access to appropriate content and continue to block inappropriate content. Customers with any questions about managing their configurations or removing any category blocks can contact Websense technical support for further information.