Amazon’s ‘gay glitch’ spreading to schools

This past weekend saw a collective gasp across the web as Amazon seemingly removed all books to do with gays from their book rankings – effectively removing the books from their index. In the PR mess that followed the company tried more than one excuse to explain away the mishap with ‘glitch’ being one of those throw away excuses.

It would seem that this homophobia has now spread to the public schools in Tennessee who have been found to be filtering access to any online sites discussing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. At the same time they aren’t blocking sites that advocate ‘reparative’ therapy to correct these types of behaviors. While nobody is using the glitch argument in defense of a known and accepted practice within the Knox County Schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools there is still a lot of finger pointing going on as to who is actually responsible.

On one hand the schools are blaming their internet and filtering service for the blocking but on the flipside the company, Education Networks of America, providing the service are saying it is the at the school’ direction.

Jason Callen, an ENA attorney, said the company does not have a say in what is filtered.

“The decisions on whether to block certain websites are made solely by the school districts. ENA does not participate in these decisions in any way and is instead simply told which websites to block,” ENA attorney Jason Callen said (.pdf) in response to a state Public Records Act request by the ACLU.

Olivia H. Brown, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, said it was up to ENA to determine how to abide by the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

“The vendor is responsible for the interpretation of the CIPA requirements and ensuring compliance. Under the contract MNPS can request additional sites to be reviewed for blocking or unblocking,” Brown wrote ACLU attorney Tricia Herzfeld (The ACLU have taken an interest in this case)

Source: Threat Level

Some of the sites being blocked are: Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality USA, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, the Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Dignity USA.

Included among the ‘reparation therapy’ sites being allowed are: National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, People Can Change, The Americans For Truth Against Homosexuality and the Tradition Values Coalition.

[picture courtesy of abovegroundpool on Flickr]

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