The progressive political site AMERICAblog has uncovered a strange and not-so-accidental glitch in the Department of Defense’s computer system, one that’s been around for a while.
The Pentagon reportedly blocks a number of LGBT-related websites from being accessed by DoD computers, while allowing access to right-wing powerhouses like the American Family Association and Ann Coulter.
AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis writes:
Among the blocked groups and sites are the Human Rights Campaign, Good As You, Bilerico, Towleroad, and even LGBT suicide prevention sites. Apparently this isn’t a new problem, but Aravosis seems to say it’s one that the Defense Department has effectively ignored:
It’s bad enough the United States Department of Defense censors Towleroad and AMERICAblog — banning the gay civil rights Web sites from being accessed on DOD computers — and it’s even worse that the Pentagon has no problem permitting their computers to access Ann Coulter’s and Rush Limbaugh’s hate-filled Web sites.
But what’s really offensive is that at least one of the Pentagon’s safe-surfing Internet filters has a censorship category called “LGBT.” And if you’re deemed “LGBT” by the Pentagon, they ban you.
The LGBT filter existed before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but still has not been fixed. And the Pentagon was notified of the problem as early as last summer, 2012. Yet no one’s gotten around to doing anything about it. I’m also told that the censorship varies depending on service and geographical region – it’s not entirely clear why the Pentagon doesn’t use the same bans/filters nationwide and agency-wide, if it’s going to censor the Internet at all. This problem has to be fixed Pentagon-wide.
It’s worth noting that some non-LGBT sites are blocked, some under the banned labels “political” and “activist.” But Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, the National Organization for Marriage, and the American Family Association — the AFA having been designated an official hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — are all perfectly accessible from Pentagon computers, even though it could be argued they fall under the categories of “political” or “activist” as well. This hardly sounds like a matter of defense and it’s definitely disconcerting.