Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Local Software Firm Denies LGBT Programming Bias
Phantom Technologies, San Diego-based maker of the iBoss Web Filter is denying that its service is improperly blocking non-pornographic gay-oriented websites. The technology is designed to block employees from accessing inappropriate content in the workplace.
“Out of the box, iBoss Web Filter products do not block LGBT content and do not have any kind of LGBT filtering category,” says Peter Marin, a Phantom spokesman. “We are completely neutral in that regard and strive to ensure our products operate in line with ACLU's Don't Filter Me campaign.” The campaign launched by the American Civil Liberties Union focuses on fighting illegal filtering of pro-LGBT content.
Still, controversy arose last month when an employee of Montgomery County, Maryland reported he was unable to access certain sites while researching LGBT issues in the scope of a work assignment. Phantom’s customer service department, responding to a complaint, found that the sites had incorrectly been flagged as “adult.”
The company then adjusted its algorithm a first time to loosen the site classification standards to allow the erroneously blocked sites to load. When presented with a list of sites that were still wrongly blocked by the ACLU, Phantom again tweaked iBoss to allow all the contested sites and added a reporting system to allow users to submit individual sites for quick review and un-blocking.
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