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Business group disappointed at site block

Tue 11 Jan 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

The GABA website is an information resource and contains no adult content, nor links to any adult content The Gay Auckland Business Association (GABA) website is among those which have been blocked by the filters set up by the providers of McDonald's' free WiFi service, yet the sites of hate groups like the National Front and pictures of women being raped are freely available. GABA President Glenn Sims was disappointed to learn today that access to was also blocked at McDonald's WiFi hotspots. "While I certainly don't believe that McDonald's has acted with any impropriety, or intent to cause offence to GLBT, the GABA website contains no adult content, links to adult content, discussions about sexuality, or any other material that could be considered 'family unfriendly.' GABA is an organisation for GLBT professionals grounded in social and philanthropic intent and the website simply contains information about the activities of the organisation,as well the community-based work of its charity arm, The GABA Charitable Trust," he says. "The meta tags for the website do however, include the words ‘gay,' ‘lesbian,' ‘bisexual' and ‘transgender' and it is unfortunate that it appears that one or more of these words is being used as a trigger for content blocking, while some very unsavoury content - including depictions of rape, violence, and neo-Nazi sites - were still accessible." Sims says while he agrees with the fast food chain's intent to keep its restaurants a 'family-friendly' environment, it is unfortunate that its service provider Telstra Clear, has apparently "used a sledgehammer to crack a nut". "Newly-installed web-filters are notoriously plagued with teething troubles however, in this day and age, the words ‘gay,' ‘lesbian,' ‘bisexual' and ‘transgender' should not automatically be associated with something needing to be blocked and indeed, this could have wider ramifications with the Human Rights Commission if this is proven to be the case." Sims says GABA has today made an approach to McDonald's to have its website unblocked and is looking forward to a positive response. "Indeed, as a employer of significant number of GLBT in New Zealand, we look forward to having a broader business relationship with them in the future."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 11th January 2011 - 5:11pm

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