Symantec, O2 still censoring/defaming MHRA sites

In case you weren’t aware, Symantec and UK telecoms company O2 are currently still blocking men’s human rights sites and labelling them as “hate sites”. Previous reports of the cessation of such disgraceful behaviour were based on an erroneous article at The Register and the truth of the matter is that at no time were any of the sites in question unblocked.

It’s not just A Voice for Men that is smeared in this way by these companies, even completely uncontroversial resources have been defamed too. Symantec believes that the equal Justice Foundation’s dvmen.org site to be hateful, yet all they do is help male victims of domestic abuse. Sites wanting separated dads to have a relationship with their kids are also classed in this ridiculous way, and if you’re dedicated to nothing more than drawing attention to the plight of male victims of rape and sexual abuse then even that’s “hate” too.

Longevity is no barrier to Symantec denying your site traffic, with The National Coalition for Men subject to the hate smear. Nationality nor language offer much protection either, with UK, Canadian, Irish, Swiss, Portuguese, German sites suffering this most terrible mis-categorisation. In total I’ve discovered over 80 men’s human rights sites which are being defamed and censored, this constitutes a substantial portion of our movement.

These types of technologies can all suffer from the problem of “over blocking” to some extent, indeed media reports show previous cases whereby Symantec wrongly categorised sites and rectified the problem soon thereafter. Our case is completely different, my research and my subsequent complaints resulted in just two sites being taken off the “hate list”. Subsequent complaints from actual site owners have completely fallen on deaf ears too, but we aren’t simply being ignored, it’s much worse than that. In response to my complaint, I was informed by O2’s head of complaints that the reason for the “hate site” categorisation was due to sites containing “aggression” and using terms such as “anti-feminist”.

The O2 representative informed me that they and Symantec had reviewed the list of sites and they regarded them as being at the “low end of the spectrum” with regards to hate. It is therefore now established as indisputable fact that Symantec and O2 operate their businesses from an openly misandrist and authoritarian political position, whereby any criticism of even the most vile and extreme feminist ideology is not just banned, but also deemed to be “hateful”.

You may wonder why all this matters so much, after all it’s only the occasional noodle bar using the filter isn’t it? Actually no, the system behind this is the most widely used internet filter in the world with 250 million users. The technology in question is called “Rule Space”, a company bought out by Symantec in 2010. Major UK mobile telecoms provider O2 has the Rule Space filter enabled by default for its 16 million users, and the noodle bar in question is just one of 15,000 restaurants using the filter in the US alone, so the impact on traffic is likely to be significant.

I can also now for the first time expose a number of further companies who’s customers may be subject to blocking and defamation of men’s human rights sites, either by default or, in some instances, as an optional “service” These include: Bell CanadaBeeline broadbandAOLYahoo and even Intel. Worst of all, a company appropriately named “Censornet” uses the same url filter. They sell systems to hundreds of our schools, hospitals and public libraries, meaning taxpayers are funding systems which take the ridiculous position of human rights for half the population of the planet being “hate”.  Therefore, students and patrons at the affected institutions are only able to access one side of the story when researching gender issues and are, in effect, now subject to state sponsored propaganda and we have yet another case of feminist brainwashing our children by censoring the truth.

It’s hard to be sure of the exact scale of the problem or which institutions are using this disgusting software, perhaps readers can help me out by attempting to access AVFM and other sites on the block list at their local library or school? A few already known examples of Censornet customers include the following:

[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • Belvedere College
  • George Green’s School
  • Hartford High School
  • Launceston College
  • Lincoln Castle Academy
  • Mowden Hall School
  • Northcliffe High School
  • Nowra Christian School
  • Rock Ferry High School
  • Senath Hornersville School
  • Swindon Youth First Centre for Health
  • West Derby School
  • Woodcote High School
  • Wyong Christian Community School

[/unordered_list]

In future, things are likely to get worse still, just last week David Cameron promised public wi-fi in the UK would be censored and politicians in Australia have previously sought mandatory internet filtering. Were these proposals to go ahead you can be sure that the Gillards and Harmans of this world will be pushing for a Symantec’s misandrist offering to be used. In fact Censornet even tweeted last week, offering their services in response to the announcement.

It’s quite clear that Symantec’s Rulespace filters are fundamentally broken when it comes to classifying gender equality themed websites, they’re not just endorsing feminism, but actually siding with the extremists seen at the University of Toronto “protests” by silencing anyone who tries to speak out. I’m certainly not going to stand for this and have contacted as many owners of the affected sites as possible.

You can help by boycotting the above companies, particularly Symantec, and uninstalling any of their software on your computers (it’s not particularly good anyway and there are plenty of free alternatives). O2 is part of the larger Telefonica group so if you’re not in the UK you can still boycott them.

It would also nice too see this censorship backfire and for sites to receive more traffic as a result rather than less. If you own a men’s rights site why not through the list of banned sites, choose you favourites, and then link to them? Alternatively, you could find a nice article on the sites in question and post it to Reddit, Facebook or your favourite forum.

I’m still investigating the Rulespace system, further research on this issue will appear on The Rights of Man blog next week.

Note –  O2 has previously been in touch and wish for me to make it clear that adult customers are able to deactivate the url filter by completing the company’s age verification process and then requesting all sites be unblocked. Of course I don’t wish to misrepresent them in any way so I’m happy to point this out, though there is a certain hypocrisy in them wishing for me to clarify such a point whilst happily defaming so many great human rights activists in the most extreme manner imaginable.

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