Almost two weeks ago i sent out an email to the Symantec board outlining my research into the Rulespace filter and requesting they either fix it or explain themselves. It's a significant document as it's the first time anyone has really got their attention, as a result of it they have now at least promised to "look to updating our policies and processes around the way we categorize web content". Whilst this is rather vague and hasn't yet led to any improvements, it is certainly a significant change on the previous three months of standing by the "hate" classifications.
Here's what I wrote:
My apologies for troubling you with this email, let me assure you you would not be receiving it were it not for the outrageous failings of your staff in the Rulespace team.
I am writing to you to let you know of some uncomfortable truths about your Rulespace product. This internet filter contains a fundamental flaw which has resulted in some astonishingly sexist and inappropriate site blocks. As a result of this flaw, the product denies assistance to male victims of domestic violence simply because they are male. It denies support to fathers who have suffered miscarriages of justice. It silences political parties who campaign for nothing more than gender equality. Incredibly, it even blocks sites advocating on behalf of victims of sexual abuse.
If this wasn't all bad enough, there's worse to come. In addition to the blocking, the Rulespace filter's classifications smear each and every one of the sites mentioned above as a "hate site". So, right now, according to Symantec, to assist any male who is being beaten and abused by his wife is "hate". To help a father have a meaningful relationship with his own children is "hate". And should you dare to advocate on behalf of young male victims of sexual abuse, then yes that's hate too. Below are several example links:
in total there are more than 100 inappropriatly censored men's human rights sites, all wrongly classed as "hate" spanning a number of different countries. Your staff have repeatedly told me and the owners of the sites that they stand by the "hate" definitions for all these resources. They've made it quite clear that the ridiculous definitions are no mistake and they appear to be perfectly happy with this gender discrimination, thus everything outlined above appears to be entirely deliberate. To compound matters further still, the filter actually fails to block all the most extreme anti-male sites, such as "The Society of Cutting Up Men manifesto" and those promoting the castration of all males, so whilst almost every voice supporting equality for males is silence by the filter, no amount of male hatred gets even the most extreme radical feminist blocked. If you are serious about reforming Symantec and turning it around then the misandric nature of the Rulespace product is something that really needs urgent attention.
In case you aren't aware, the issues that concern the men's human rights community include equal access to healthcare, equality in the justice system and family courts, the genital mutilation of children and and sexism in the education system. I'm not any sort of renowned businessman, though I do know it's poor business practice to attack and demonise an entire civil rights community based upon their gender, particularly one which is experiencing such rapid growth and media recognition. Given the demographic profile of your typical Symantec user, then In your case it would appear to be corporate suicide to be targeting this particular human rights group. Symantec have blocked and defamed over 100 legitimate organisations, all of whom have blogs and websites and are thus able to expose what's going on. I've contacted every single site owner on the list so your customers are almost certain to hear about this. Right now a video on the issue is receiving a very impressive amount of traffic on Youtube and it has already had coverage in a number of IT news publications and by civil liberties groups. O2/Telefonica are already losing significant numbers of customers due to Symantec's misandry, so I expect they'll be forced to switch to one of your competitors before too long if you don't fix this problem, as will other corporations using Rulespace. Quite simply, this issue is only going to get bigger and is not going to go away.
I therefore urge you to please either unblock these 100+ wrongly classified sites and give a sincerely apology for smearing the owners of the sites in such an horrific fashion for so long. Some sort of donation to a few of the victims may also be in order to help begin the process of restoring your company's reputation amongst egalitarian minded groups. please note that the unblocking of these sites will not be sufficient in the long term, and the discriminatory nature of the filter algorithms needs fixing to prevent future problems as new men's equality sites are established.
I think the core problem with the product is some confusion over basic gender equality issues amongst your staff. Communications I've had from Symantec and O2 suggest that the filter bars any criticism of feminism, with the implication being that to criticise feminism is somehow sexist and discriminatory and analogous to criticising females. Whilst criticism of a particular gender is inappropriate, the complete converse applies with feminism which is an ideology no less deserving of critique than Marxism, Communism or Capitalism. Any such political movements should be subject to unlimited critique and scrutiny in any free and fair society, and should be held accountable for their actions. The majority of men's human rights sites actually seek to expose hateful radical feminist ideas (e.g those of Valerie Solanas), yet under the Rulespace system, reality gets turned on its head, the hate groups become the good guys, and those exposing such gender-based hatred are silenced for daring to do so.
If you are not able to unblock the sites and insist on continuing to describe them as "hateful" then please answer the following questions:
1. What exactly is hateful about helping male victims of domestic violence? Does Symantec subscribe to the extreme radical feminist theories domestic violence in which the millions of abused men somehow cannot be victims and therefore do not deserve help? Where is there one single word on sites such as dvmen.co.uk
2. Is it also Symantec corporate policy to deny assistance and support to any male employees who are domestic violence? (1 in 6 male employees) or do you only do this to your customers?
3. Does Symantec oppose the right of children to have a loving relationship with both parents following a divorce? If not why are you so vehemently opposed to so many of the leading egalitarian organisations campaigning for such things?
4. The Rulespace team regards as "hate" a site dedicated to advocating on behalf of abused boys, won't people come to the conclusion that Symantec protects child rapists?
5. Is it Symantec's corporate policy to interfere in the democratic process by silencing the voice of opposition political parties?
6. Give the almost blanket ban on sites advocating equality for males, would it be fair to say that Symantec opposes human rights for half the population of the planet including a majority of its own customers/users?
I do appreciate that Symantec took over Rulesapce in 2010 and therefore this is an inherited problem rather than one created directly by Symantec employees. However, there has been ample time to address this scandal and the reaction thus far to people's concerns has been completely unacceptable and appearing to condone misandry.
Many thanks for taking the time to read this email, I enclose the complete list of wrongly blocked/classified sites below.
- http://www.antifeminismus.ch - all 7 domains blocked igaf.ch ig-antifeminismus.ch antifeministen.ch antifeminismus.eu antifeminismus.info antifeminismus.com
- http://www.triggeralert.blogspot.com *
- http://www.vjtss.blogspot.com *