LGBT flag

Companies all over the United States use Symantec’s Web filtering software to limit the types of content that their employees—and sometimes customers—can view.

Pornography, hate speech and illegal content are just some of the Web content categories that companies can choose to block using Symantec’s software. Until recently, this meant companies using Symantec software could outright choose to ban users from accessing an entire category of sites that dealt with LGBT issues. However, after working with GLAAD, this is no longer the case.

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“It’s time that our software reflects our values – and that means filtering out discrimination,” GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a press release. “By removing this outdated filter category, Symantec is helping to ensure that countless young LGBT people have access to critical and sometimes life-saving online resources.”

Symantec, which owns Norton and related Web content filtering software, said it originally had the category in order to block adult material. However, it also blocked sites like The Trevor Project and GLAAD itself, convincing Fran Rosch, executive vice president, Norton Business Unit, Symantec, to finally call the category “outdated.”

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“Having a category in place that could be used to filter out all LGBT-oriented sites was inconsistent with Symantec’s values and the mission of our software,” said Rosch. “Inclusion is a key factor in our company’s culture and it’s important that our products meet that same standard.”

For Symantec, this just makes good business sense. Its Web filtering software competitors, like Trend Micro and Websense, still use an LGBT site filter. This now makes Symantec the best choice for technology companies that want to loudly proclaim their inclusivity. 

Photo by Ludovic Bertron