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Censorship United States Your Rights Online

Symantec Says No To Pro-Gun Sites 1716

Posted by timothy
from the manufacturing-antipathy dept.
cluge writes "A recent American Rifleman contained small column that said that Symantec's new Internet Security 2004 would block pro gun rights sites (i.e. NRA sites), while not blocking similar anti-gun rights web sites. Being the eternal skeptic, this claim was tested by downloading the trial version and running some tests against it. To my surprise I found the every NRA site was blocked and was in the category 'weapons.' This even included the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. Some sites that were not blocked were notable anti-gun rights sites such as The Brady Campaign, and Good Bye Guns. The only anti-gun rights site that was blocked that I could find was Hand Gun Control's web site." Read on for more.

cluge continues: "My rather informal test still raises the spectre that a large corporate entity may be clandestinely trying to sway you or your child's political views by censoring content from one side of a political debate. This is indeed chilling, especially considering that such software is required to be used in libraries to protect children. Is this political slant common in censorware? Have slashdotters found similar glitches in other 'parental control' software?"

Slashdot has certainly covered censorware before, but reports like this are still valuable as the world evolves.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Symantec Says No To Pro-Gun Sites

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  • ACLU to help out? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mr.henry (618818) * on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:18PM (#7371902) Journal
    I doubt it. Check out ACLU policy statement #47:

    The Union agrees with the Supreme Court's longstanding interpretation of the Second Amendment that the individual's right to keep and bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a 'well-regulated militia'. Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected.

    • by Sanity (1431) *
      I doubt it. Check out ACLU policy statement #47:
      Well, if the ACLU does not fight this then it would confirm suspicions that they care more about pushing a left-wing agenda than defending the rights of all Americans.

      Personally I hope they prove such suspicions wrong.

      • by beamdriver (554241) <beamdriver@gmail.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:32PM (#7372050) Homepage
        Well, if the ACLU does not fight this then it would confirm suspicions that they care more about pushing a left-wing agenda than defending the rights of all Americans.
        The ACLU has defended groups from one end of the political spectrum to the other, as long as the issues fall within their areas of concern.

        Symantec is, or course, a private company, and so may block whatever sites they wish. However, since this type of software is specifed in CIPA, there certainly could be issues there.

        ACLU on CIPA [aclu.org]

      • Re:ACLU to help out? (Score:5, Informative)

        by feldsteins (313201) <<ten.nietsdlefttocs> <ta> <ttocs>> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @09:45PM (#7374794) Homepage
        [the ACLU] care more about pushing a left-wing agenda than defending the rights of all Americans.

        In point of fact, it is the "left-wing" of American politics which has been the champion of people's rights. "Right-wing" politicians have been on the wrong side of these issues for over thirty years. At least since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

        And incidentally, the ACLU does fight for the rights of all Americans. They have fought right along side Republicans in the past. Such as when they fought the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law as a violation of the first amendment. Conservatives everywhere had to STFU about the good ol' ACLU on that one. But everyone forgets so quickly. Especially as the ACLU is often at odds with Conservatives...but this is primarily because conservatives are so often at odds with the Bill of Rights. Go figure.
        • Re:ACLU to help out? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by virtual_mps (62997) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:09AM (#7376524)
          In point of fact, it is the "left-wing" of American politics which has been the champion of people's rights. "Right-wing" politicians have been on the wrong side of these issues for over thirty years. At least since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

          Bull. It's been about power, who has it, and who wants it. Left/right wing has meant pretty much nothing in terms of who votes for what bill that infringes civil rights, except that the right wing will tend to fight for freedoms in certain areas that the left wing won't and vice versa. Neither will stand up for something like free speech if that gets in the way of some other agenda.
      • by TC (WC) (459050) on Monday November 03, 2003 @12:15AM (#7375430) Journal
        Well, if the ACLU does not fight this then it would confirm suspicions that they care more about pushing a left-wing agenda than defending the rights of all Americans

        Or they may simply disagree with your interpretation as to what the rights of Americans are! *SHOCK*

        I very much doubt the people in charge of the ACLU sit in a boardroom going:

        ACLU 1: Haha! Now we may destroy the rights of the common man in pursuit of the international communist conspiracy!

        ACLU 2: I agree! It's a good thing we don't need to think about actual interpretations of anything and only need to determine what a left wing stereotype would do!

        ACLU 1: Yes, the world certainly would be difficult if there were more than two political positions!
        • by virtual_mps (62997) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:12AM (#7376529)
          Or they may simply disagree with your interpretation as to what the rights of Americans are! *SHOCK*

          They may disagree with the content of the web sites, but they should defend the rights of those with whom they disagree to have their say--especially when this sort of stupid blocking software is mandated by the government for use in schools and libraries.
    • by jareds (100340) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:24PM (#7371965)
      Uh, just because the ACLU is anti-gun doesn't mean it doesn't support the free speech rights of pro-gun people. I mean, the ACLU supports neo-Nazis' free speech rights, but they're not Nazis.
      • by Rex Code (712912) <rexcode@gmail.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:22PM (#7372529)
        Uh, just because the ACLU is anti-gun doesn't mean it doesn't support the free speech rights of pro-gun people. I mean, the ACLU supports neo-Nazis' free speech rights, but they're not Nazis.

        The ACLU is unlikely to see anything wrong with what Symantec is doing. How would forcing Symantec to be more "fair and balanced" support free speech in any conceivable way? Symantec is not the government, and isn't required to support any particular viewpoint. In a free society, you fight back against something like this by providing a competing alternative choice. However, consider that in today's America reading pro-gun sites in school could make your teachers nervous and/or get you suspended or expelled. It's easy to see why there's a lot of paranoia over this issue, and with people getting expelled for writing fictional stories about school shootings, I understand why Symantec chose to block these sites. I don't even think it neccessarily represents their political agenda, but rather the expectations of the user base for this kind of blocking software.
        • by jareds (100340)
          I agree that Symantec may publish software that blocks any sites whatsoever. It becomes a free speech when the use of such software is mandated by things like CIPA.
        • by TGK (262438) <Killfile@ N e p h a ndus.Com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:43PM (#7373172) Homepage Journal
          You seem to have missed what most people miss when dealing with the ACLU's stance on issues.

          The ACLU doesn't look at most issues in a case by case basis. They realize that the best way to protect your constitutional rights isn't through the congress or through the executive, but through the court system. Consequently the ACLU isn't looking at issues case by case for what they agree with, they are looking for cases that will make very strong precidents for the future issues they agree with.

          Now then, when the Govt required libraries to block access to porn sites in the interest of "protecting our children" the ACLU steped in and helped fight it. Today libraries must be able to remove those blocks at a moments notice should someone have a desire to view those sites who is not a minor.

          This is based on previous precidents reguarding obsenity and indecency.

          The Symantec system (potentialy) represents a MUCH STRONGER precident beacuse it does not hit those obsenity laws at all. Noone has made an effort to declare handguns or firearms indecent or obscene in their community and consequently this sort of thing provides the ACLU with a great case to overturn laws requireing such a system.

          The ACLU will fight this if given the chance, not because of what Symentec is blocking, but because Symentec is blocking ANYTHING.

    • by samantha (68231) * on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:29PM (#7372018) Homepage
      This makes it unfortunate that they do fight a lot of fights I consider good and thus worth supporting. Only willful misreading could get such a meaning out of the 2nd Amendment. It is utterly incomprehensible that intelligent people could believe that a group of founders who had just successfully led an armed rebellion drawing heavily on the grassroots arms and knowledge of arms against an officially sanctioned armed State could have intended that only arms sanctioned by a new State and controlled by them be allowed.
      • Re:ACLU to help out? (Score:5, Informative)

        by e-gold (36755) <jray@@@martincam...com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:57PM (#7372311) Homepage Journal
        Agreed 100% (but why do I NEVER have mod-points when I need 'em?). Oh well.

        For some real second amendment fun, folks should check out http://www.jpfo.org the guys who had the temerity to place the 1968 Gun Control Act next to a translation of pre-WW2 Nazi-era gun control laws, and let folks see the similarities for themselves. Although the JPFO site doesn't advocate violence, I'm sure the censorware blocks it if they blocked the NRA (and believe me, JPFO & NRA aren't exactly buddies even though they're both "on the same side of the issue"!).

        The ACLU is wonderful on freedom of speech, but there are various other rights (not just self-defense, either) they desperately-need to start thinking-about, or they'll continue to be pigeonholed as irrelevant leftists IMO. Economic liberty, for example, should not be just for the rich, and the ACLU could set a few examples to that end almost-effortlessly (while simultaneously tweaking the fans of that "Patriot" act nonsense which is sweeping the USA at the moment).
        JMR

        Speaking ONLY for Jim Ray and NO other company/individual/entity/etc.
        • by GauteL (29207) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:36PM (#7372646)
          "folks should check out http://www.jpfo.org the guys who had the temerity to place the 1968 Gun Control Act next to a translation of pre-WW2 Nazi-era gun control laws, and let folks see the similarities for themselves. "

          How delightfully manipulative of them. Just because the Nazis had some really nasty and horrible idiology doesn't mean that EVERYTHING they did was bad. They did not stop making regular decisions because it wasn't evil enough.

          You could probably find some crazy group that agrees with your opponents in any argument and use the agreement against them, but that is just low.
      • by Mr Guy (547690) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:19PM (#7372495) Journal
        A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
        Only willful misreading could get such a meaning out of the 2nd Amendment.

        the individual's right to keep and bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a 'well-regulated militia'

        I'm not sure how deliberate your misreading needs to be. The only real problem is how you reconcile the first part of the sentence with the last, and I don't think the confusing word is well-regulated, or even arms. I think the word you'd have to interpret is "people". I think I'm fairly safe in saying that "the people" in the Constitution is often referring to the country as a whole, not individual citizens.

        Consider Amendment V - No person or Amendment VI - the accused. Each time they didn't use a generic "people" because they were giving specific rights to specific people. However, notice Amendment X. Here there are clearly three general layers of government: Federal, States, and "The People".

        No body argues that "The People" of the United States should be allowed to own guns, but the amendment doesn't have to be contorted to say that INDIVIDUALS aren't necessarily uniformly given that right.
        • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:57PM (#7372871) Journal
          You're suffering under the misconception that the constitution grants rights. It doesn't. What it does, is enjoin the government from infringing on our rights.

          The Second amendment says that, because of the need for the militia, the government will not infringe on our pre-existing right to keep and bear arms. It does not grant the right to self-defense, it acknowledges the right and states one reason for not infringing it.

          Here's an exercise for you: go and read the Dred Scott decision, in which the Supreme court decided that blacks weren't citizens. Among the statements in the decision, was the horrified speculation that if blacks were citizens, they'd have to be allowed to bear arms!

          -jcr
        • by Zak3056 (69287) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:04PM (#7372925) Journal
          I think I'm fairly safe in saying that "the people" in the Constitution is often referring to the country as a whole, not individual citizens.

          Consider Amendment V - No person or Amendment VI - the accused. Each time they didn't use a generic "people" because they were giving specific rights to specific people. However, notice Amendment X. Here there are clearly three general layers of government: Federal, States, and "The People".

          No body argues that "The People" of the United States should be allowed to own guns, but the amendment doesn't have to be contorted to say that INDIVIDUALS aren't necessarily uniformly given that right.


          "The people" referenced in the 2nd amendment are the same "the people" mentioned in the 1st, 4th, 9th, and 10th amendments. Your interpretation above (that the words "person," and "accused" "gave" specific rights to specific people (btw, the constitution does NOT "give" rights, it GUARANTEES them!)) would suggest that the right to assembly is not, in fact, an individual right, but a collective right.

          Imagine being told that "the people" had the right to assemble, but that individual persons (in fact, all of those who make up "the people") were not allowed to attend a political rally.

          BTW, the below is my sig and not part of this comment.

      • by rjrjr (28310) <rjrjr@noSPAm.pobox.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:20PM (#7372505) Homepage
        What flavor of misreading is required to ignore the first thirteen words of the amendmant? Did Jefferson qualify his prose with "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State" because he was feeling particularly verbose? Did he worry that people wouldn't take him seriously if he didn't use some padding that shaped his meaning in no way?

        If the founders simply meant that we should have unfettered access to weapons, everything before the comma is extraneous and misleading. The founders were not idiots, and Jefferson was not an incompetent writer. Every syllable is there for a purpose.

        • by gwernol (167574) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:39PM (#7372688)
          What flavor of misreading is required to ignore the first thirteen words of the amendmant? Did Jefferson qualify his prose with "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State" because he was feeling particularly verbose? Did he worry that people wouldn't take him seriously if he didn't use some padding that shaped his meaning in no way?

          If the founders simply meant that we should have unfettered access to weapons, everything before the comma is extraneous and misleading. The founders were not idiots, and Jefferson was not an incompetent writer. Every syllable is there for a purpose.


          Not being a fan of guns I hate to point this out but the original poster is correct. What the second ammendment says is:

          "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

          This should be paraphrased as:

          "We have to have a well-regulated militia in order to ensure the security of the free State. In order to have a free militia, the government cannot pass laws that infringe on the right of people to keep and bear arms."

          There are two important parts to understanding this. First the writer(s) are stating that the right to keep and bear arms is a pre-existing right. The amendment doesn't grant the right, it recognizes that it already exists. Second, the reason for the pre-amble is that the writer(s) are explaining why it is necessary to explicitly re-state this right. Its almost like they are saying "look, I know this is a bit odd, but we really need to keep the right to bear arms because it is the only way to maintain a well-regulated militia, and we need that to maintain freedom".

          Now, I personally disagree with the view being stated in the amendment - I don't think we need individuals bearing arms to keep freedom in the modern world. I am in favor of gun control. But I do believe the second ammendment states that the government cannot pass laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. Therefore I have to reluctantly accept that the second ammendment means what the NRA claims it means.
        • by Flamerule (467257) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:47PM (#7372771)
          Did Jefferson qualify his prose with "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State" because he was feeling particularly verbose?
          Firstly, Jefferson didn't write the Bill of Rights. James Madison did [americaslibrary.gov]. And the phrase isn't a qualification, it's an explanation.
          The founders were not idiots, and Jefferson was not an incompetent writer. Every syllable is there for a purpose.
          Indeed. But we would disagree on what that purpose is.

          Here's a page [2asisters.org] I found the other day, that had an interesting analogy in it: examine the sentence

          A well-schooled electorate, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and read Books, shall not be infringed.
          If you believe, as you appear to, that the first bit in the 2nd Amendment implies certain restrictions on how to interpret the second part, then you should also believe that in the sentence above, people will only be allowed to read books if they are members of the well-schooled electorate.
          If the founders simply meant that we should have unfettered access to weapons, everything before the comma is extraneous and misleading.
          No, it's not misleading. It's just misleading you, into believing that Jefferson (no, Madison) intended that private firearm ownership be restricted to some sort of state-controlled militia. I notice that you in no way had any rebuttal to grandparent's point that
          It is utterly incomprehensible that intelligent people could believe that a group of founders who had just successfully led an armed rebellion drawing heavily on the grassroots arms and knowledge of arms against an officially sanctioned armed State could have intended that only arms sanctioned by a new State and controlled by them be allowed.
          Please respond -- preferably to the substantive issue, instead of with incorrect grammatical pedantry.
        • by Quinn (4474) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:03PM (#7372921) Homepage
          "Regulated" means orderly and disciplined, or well-trained. A militia is, by definition, a group of civilians with military training but /not/ under the direct authority of the government.

          Updated to modern language: "A strong and vigilant citizenry being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

          The norm at the time being unlicensed ownership and use of firearms, it would be absurd to consider the amendment to be anything but a statement of the /individual/ right to bear arms. If it had been intended to curtail this right, then it would have been worded as such, as with the other amendments which have restricted our individual rights (eg. Prohibition.)

          Every other article of the Bill of Rights guarantees an individual freedom. Why would the second amendment be an exception? Indeed, if it were to be interpreted as you say, then isn't it patently obvious and ridiculously superfluous? Of course the /government/ and its armies have a right to bear arms!

          We're dealing with words over two hundred years old. If their meaning is not clear enough after updating to the modern vernacular, one need only consult the context: there would have been no American revolution had there not been a skilled armed citizenry to carry it out.

    • The ACLU is irrelevant here, I think. By giving preference to one side of a political debate by blocking only those sites with opposing views, Symantec is acting as a political lobbyist. Thier page of legal notices fails to note this. I believe places them in violation of Federal Election Commission rules. The best place to start tearing them to pieces over this would probably be with rural librarians.
    • Re:ACLU to help out? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by steveha (103154)
      You are absolutely right: we can expect no help on this issue from the ACLU. (At least the national-level one; some state-level ACLUs might actually believe in supporting all ten of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights.)

      I can't find it now, but a few years ago I saw a web site with a photo of a Bill of Rights poster put out by the national-level ACLU. The Amendments were not numbered, and the Second Amendment was not on the poster! And IIRC they had split up one of the longer Amendments (the Fourth?) so
    • ACLU: NRA vs. NAMBLA (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mad Man (166674) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:21PM (#7373036)
      was "re: ACLU to help out? [slashdot.org]"

      I doubt it. Check out

      ACLU policy statement #47 [aclu.org]:

      The Union agrees with the Supreme Court's longstanding interpretation of the Second Amendment that the individual's right to keep and bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a 'well-regulated militia'. Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected.

      The ACLU is too busy defending the right to promote child molesting. [aclu-mass.org]

      While

      NAMBLA [nambla1.de] may extol conduct which is currently illegal, its materials fall far short of speech that may be prohibited. If that rule were to be changed to allow a suit like this one, it would introduce a regime of conformity to majority rule that would threaten the very right to dissent."

      In self-serving fashion, the ACLU notes that the father of the murdered boy -- who is suing NAMBLA -- praises the ACLU for defending NAMBLA

      While intent on pressing their suit against NAMBLA, the Curley family has acknowledged ACLU's concerns. In a Boston Globe article which appeared shortly after the ACLU entered the case, Jeffrey Curley's father, Bob Curley, is quoted as saying that he harbors no ill feelings toward the ACLU for defending the case. "I really do have respect for them (ACLU)", said Curley. "They are very consistent in whom they defend. It takes a lot of nerve to defend the groups they have over the years. They have a lot of courage."

      Wired [wired.com] puts a different spin on it:

      Attorney Lawrence Frisoli, who represents the Curleys, said he is glad the ACLU is defending NAMBLA, because he has had trouble locating the group's members.

      Harvey Silverglate, an ACLU board member, said Wednesday that the group's attorneys will try to block any attempt by the Curleys to get NAMBLA's membership lists, or other materials identifying members.

      The ACLU interprets Roe v. Wade as meaning that minors must be allowed to get an abortion, without having to even notify [aclu.org] their parents (much less get their permission), and that taxpayers must subsidize abortions [aclu.org].

      But "the people" in the Second Amendment means "the government," because a 30 year old woman is apparently too stupid to weight the risks vs. benefits of owning and/or carrying a firearm for self-protection, and can be denied the right to make that choice.

      If the ACLU supported the Second Amendment in the same fashion that they do abortion, then they woudl be demanding taxpayer subsidies for poor children to buy guns, without having to notify their parents, so they can shoot the child molestors who prey on them.

      Constitutional scholars who have bothered to write about the issue in various law review journals do not agree with the ACLU's position. You can read the law review articles for yourself at the Second Amendment Law Library [guncite.com]. Much better than stuff put out by any pro- or anti-gun special interest group.

      In justifying the ACLU's position on gun control, ACLU President Nadine Strossen said that [reason.com]

      Putting all that aside, I don't want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessaril

    • by kajoob (62237) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:40PM (#7373157)
      What the ACLU didn't tell you there is that the Supreme Court has only touched one 2nd amendment case, and that was some 60 years ago (forgive me if the dates are wrong - I'm doing this from memory). However there are 2 cases coming through the pipeline that the SCOTUS will likely grant cert to (this means they will hear the cases). One from a conservative 5th circuit, and one from a liberal 9th circuit.

      There are two interpretations of the 2nd amendment: The first says that it is a 'collective' right, that only state militias are given the right to bear arms; The second theory holds that this freedom is extended to individuals. If and when the SCOTUS hears these cases, many legal scholars expect the court hold the "individual rights" theory (please note that every other freedom spelled out in the Bill of Rights is extended to the individual). You probably have already figured out quite obviously that the 5th circuit takes the "individual right" theory and the 9th circuit holds the "collective rights" theory.

      Also, Judge Reinhardt from the 9th circuit, one the most liberal judges on the 9th circuit (and perhaps the most liberal judge in the entire country), concedes (and correctly I might add) that ex-military and ex-law enforcement officers are not "super citizens" that are allowed to bear arms while the rest of the country is not.

      For you legal eagles out there, here are the cites for the two cases:

      Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (2002) - this is the 9th circuit case

      U.S. v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (2001) - this is the 5th circuit case.

      The 9th circuit case is great because there is are EXCELLENT dissertations on both the collective and indivual rights theories. I'm glad things like this are on slashdot, we as geeks need to be more informed at the voting booth. Whatever side you take on this issue, just remember to vote!!

      Thanks,

      --Matt
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:19PM (#7371922)
    deserves to be shot.
  • The solution? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by localghost (659616) <dleblanc@gmail.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:20PM (#7371928)
    Don't use Symantec Internet Security 2004. It's not a violation of anyone's rights unless it's mandated by the government.
    • Re:The solution? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cluge (114877)
      My point was that this software may be used in libraries by government mandate. That would be government sponsored censorship and that my friend is a slippery slope.

    • Re:The solution? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RevMike (632002) <revMike@NosPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:40PM (#7372128) Journal

      Don't use Symantec Internet Security 2004. It's not a violation of anyone's rights unless it's mandated by the government.

      The twist is that federal laws require filtering software on internet connections provided at libraries. The primary purpose of this law is to prevent minors from accessing pornography.

      Given that there are relatively few vendors of this sort of software, it is likely that many libraries are using this software. It is also likely that many of these libraries don't have the budget to purchase a competing product. Therefore we can reasonably expect that the government (taxpayer funded libraries) is engaged in viewpoint discrimination.

      Consequently, libraries are faced with limited choices. First, they could expend extra money and time to purchase another product - which is resources that could otherwise be spent inproving other services. Second, they could turn off internet access altogether, further limiting the access of poor people to the net. Third, they could face a costly lawsuit. No good can come of this.

  • Oh shit... (Score:5, Funny)

    by BJH (11355) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:20PM (#7371929)
    ...here comes another +1000-comment pro-gun/anti-gun flamewar :(

  • by Dr Reducto (665121) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:21PM (#7371932) Journal
    You don't want the King of England to just walk in here and start pushing you around, do you? Huh?

    Disclaimer: I am an avid shooter and a member of the NRA.
  • Default action? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:21PM (#7371933) Homepage
    If its set to block those sites out of the box, surely it can be made to unblock them or remove those sites from the 'weapons' category?
  • This stuff stinks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beamdriver (554241) <beamdriver@gmail.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:23PM (#7371952) Homepage
    I'm actually more on the gun control side of the fence, but this shows the real danger of these types of programs.

    Other "nannyware" software in the past has been shown to block access to liberal political sites, now here's one that blocks conservative ones. Maybe this will wake up our elected leaders to the fact that mandating this type of software for libraries and such is bad idea.

    I can see parents going to the software store in the future, asking for web filter software and having the retail-droid ask, "Would you like a liberal version or a conservative one?"

  • Reminds me of a poem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mattwolf7 (633112) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:30PM (#7372028)
    "Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Kommunist.

    Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

    Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

    Als sie mich holten,
    gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte."

    Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984
    English Translation [remember.org]

  • by TechnoGrl (322690) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:37PM (#7372098)
    I'm personally on favor of gun controls myself but I'M EVEM MORE IN FAVOR of freedom of speech and expression.

    Whether you are "pro-gun" or in favor of controls doesn't matter a whit. Hopefully we can ALL agree that, though we may not always agree on each other's ideas, we need to work together to defend our means of expressing them.
  • by MBraynard (653724) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:39PM (#7372119) Journal
    The NRA type sites have a tremendous amount of gun safety information. The bulk of the organization's activities aren't political but training - they have certified trainers all over the country that teach people how to use and store guns safely. So by restricting access to these kinds of sites (being able to find out when the next handgun safety class is being taught, etc.), it makes the installer base less safe.

    And (heheheh) if Symantic custmers can't get information on gun safety, only non-Symantic customers will have gun safety.

    • Yes, I agree that the NRA gets the short end of the stick when it comes to their gun safety advocacy.

      Many people give the NRA the image of a bunch of rifle-toting rednecks who like shooting random things for kicks, but I don't believe that to be true.

      The NRA certainly fights for 2nd. ammendment freedoms, but many people don't realize that the NRA also provides resources for safety and usage training so that people can be responsible with their freedom to own firearms.
  • NRA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peyna (14792) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:50PM (#7372228) Homepage
    The NRA is a great source for firearm education and are supporters of making sure that everyone who owns firearms knows what they're doing with them.

    If they're going to block the NRA under weapons, they had better also block the DNR and any hunting group or association.
  • by Angram (517383) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:14PM (#7372459)
    ...in the sense you're using it. I've used Symantec products for years (including Internet Security 2001, 2002, and 2003), so I have some experience here.

    Parental Controls are an OPTIONAL part of INSTALLATION! I've never even had it on my computer, which means it's not an issue for anyone who isn't already interested in censoring someone using the computer (kids, etc.). Anyone installing/using the Parental Controls is sure to go through the options (how else can you determine what will be censored?), so this isn't some hidden "default" tactic to fight the NRA. Most parents (you can bet they research this stuff) will want pornography, weapons-promoting sites, etc. blocked, so it makes sense to have them checked by default.

    Additionally, the reason the "weapons" filter would block the NRA but not anti-gun sites is simply the reason it exists - it's what parents want blocked - weapons-promoting sites. Symantec isn't just pulling this out of a hat, they're catering to the demands of consumers. This isn't censorship, it's not politically-motivated, and it's not an anti-gun statement by Symantec - it's economics and it's not being foisted on anyone.
    • by HiyaPower (131263)
      The NRA promotes a number of things. gun safety among them.

      The MPAA promotes a number of things. Among these are vivid depictions of people killing, maiming, and otherwise behaving in an anti-social manner with weapons. I dare say that there have been more murders, mayhem, and such inspired by products of the MPAA than products of the NRA.
  • by confused philosopher (666299) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:14PM (#7372466) Homepage Journal
    They've violated a humour writer's copyright [http://www.jokeaday.com], and now this. They have no sense of right and wrong. You remember that FOX show Brimstone where a condemned dead cop was charged with hunting down escaped demons? Well Symantec is that cop, from HELL, chasing other's demons. They are no better than what they hunt down.

  • by fuqqer (545069) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:22PM (#7372525) Homepage
    1. Lots of posts saying that Symantec is a private corp and can do what they want.
    2. A Few retorts saying that even though Symantec is private, their software is being used in libraries, thereby censoring or applying their views to government funded institutions that are supposed to be neutral.
    3. Huge flamewar about how gun control is good or bad.
    4. People bitching about the ACLU and whether or not it will defend second ammendment rights and if it's a second ammendment issue or a first ammendement issue.
    5. Nobody talking about how they could use a gun to go hunting and get food.
    6. I hate Sementec / I love Symantec flamewar, what's the best firewall?.
    7. Conservative Bashing / Liberal Bashing / George Bush = Adolf Hitler posts.
    8. Are you still reading this list?
    9. A LOT of posts about how the US sucks and the Euros and Japanese are doing everyting right with guns, crime, patents, and any other government regulation issues.
    10. I have no sig, so I thought I'd make number 10 some kind of question on how to make a recursive post sig. How would it be done?
  • by Thomas A. Anderson (114614) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:13PM (#7372987) Homepage
    Listen - this is what happens when we ask someone else to make decisions for us.

    If you are a parent, you have 3 choices:

    1) Sit down with your child and explain what sites are acceptabe and which are not. Then either monitor their activity or trust them.

    2) Assign the responsibilty of deciding which sites are acceptable by purchasing and using filtering software. Just remember that you are not going to agree 100% with the decisions made by any of these software makers as to which content is appropriate and which is not.

    3) allow unfiltered, unmonitored access to the internet.

    Just my 2 cents
  • by seichert (8292) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:54PM (#7373233) Homepage
    Certainly there are large groups of parents who would like to block out all websites related to guns and gun rights. I would imagine there is also a large group of parents who would like to do the exact opposite. This is lazy parenting.

    If you really are pro gun-control you should be able to educate your children as to why you believe what you believe and respond to their questions. If your kid reads a pro gun site and has questions about the 2nd amendment that is the perfect opportunity for you to explain your views.

    If you really are pro gun-rights you should be able to educate your children as to why you believe what you believe and respond to their questions. If your kid reads a pro gun control site and has questions about the 2nd amendment that is the perfect opportunity for you to explain your views.

    The availibility of information (or misinformation) and viewpoints on the web is supposed to make us think about and challenge our beliefs. If you don't want your children to challenge your beliefs and think for themselves what kind of parents are you?

  • A non-US view (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zog The Undeniable (632031) on Monday November 03, 2003 @10:04AM (#7377122)
    It's not the guns that are the problem, it's the Americans. Before the flames begin, we in the UK have pretty much the same Anglo-Saxon mentality (short tempers, we always think we're right, our home is our castle etc) which is why we're not allowed to carry guns - something that dates from WWI, if I remember correctly, although it's been (fairly pointlessly) tightened to include most sports shooting since the Hungerford and Dunblane massacres, which were committed with legally held guns.

    Conversely, the Swiss are armed to the teeth and gun violence there is very rare. It's just that Anglo-Saxons will fight with whatever they've got - fists, knives or firearms - over pretty much any disagreement, but your average European will just make a rude gesture and forget about it.

    I'm always amazed by how many posts gun stories attract on Slashdot though!

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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