Dell is scrapping a filtering system which let homophobes block access to ‘gay and lesbian’ internet content in schools, colleges, businesses and elsewhere.
Gay Star News revealed Dell’s market-leading SonicWall content filtering device provided an option for non-sexual LGBTI sites to be blocked – making it harder for people to access vital services and information.
Even sites providing support to vulnerable gay, bi and trans kids and adults were openly included in the system.
Now Dell has thanked GSN for raising the issue and exclusively confirmed to us the filtering category is being scrapped.
SonicWall is a world-leading system. Around 2,000,000 firewalls have been sold to date with between 10 and 10,000 people behind each firewall. That means this single change will give millions of people easier access to gay content.
A spokeswoman told us: ‘We agree the category referenced in your article should be removed, and our engineering teams are working to do this on go-forward basis.
‘The other categories are more content focused, so having looked at it, we didn’t think it fitted.
‘I don’t know how well you know Dell, but we consistently are recognized for our support of and commitment to LGBT customers and communities. We know that diversity is essential to our culture and success.’
It will take engineers ‘a few weeks’ to ‘tweak’ the software.
As software updates and new licenses are pushed out, the category will be deleted.
Dell had initially defended the filter option, claiming it was in the interest of ‘customer choice’, so the change represents a major u-turn.
Some GSN readers threatened to boycott Dell after hearing about the original policy.
One even said: ‘I have five Dell products here and I just smashed every one of them after reading this.’
Dell follows the lead of Trend Micro, which had the same filtering option in place but dropped it after GSN highlighted the problem.
Dell’s SonicWall prevents 638billion intrusions and detects over 4.2billion malware attacks a year.