GLAAD works with Symantec to bring fairness to its software

When your mission is to protect the world’s information there shouldn’t be categories of content that don’t receive equal treatment. And more importantly, when your company’s values clearly state a policy of diversity and inclusion there is no excuse for offering products that don’t align with those goals.

With GLAAD’s help, Symantec recently made a significant change to its web filtering software by eliminating the “sexual orientation” category. Symantec’s web content database is one of the largest of its kind, and maps the web across more than 100 categories and in dozens of languages. This update, which is in the process of being implemented at the product level, will mean that LGBT-related web content will be evaluated, categorized, and treated the same as other news, political and entertainment content.

“Symantec gets it,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “It’s time that our software reflects our values – and that means filtering out discrimination. By removing this outdated filter category, Symantec is helping to ensure that countless young LGBT people have access to critical and sometimes life-saving online resources.”

“Making this change was not only the right thing to do, it was a good business decision,” said Fran Rosch, executive vice president, Norton Business Unit, Symantec. “Having a category in place that could be used to filter out all LGBT-oriented sites was inconsistent with Symantec’s values and the mission of our software. Inclusion is a key factor in our company’s culture and it’s important that our products meet that same standard. We’re taking a broader look at all of the categories in this database, and will be eliminating any others that are similarly outdated.”

Symantec’s web content filtering software, which includes Norton products, is used by millions of people and businesses across the world, so this marks an important step in leading the broader industry forward.

Other web content filtering software from companies like Trend Micro and Websense still have outdated and discriminatory categories that block non-adult LGBT-related content, including resources like GLAAD and The Trevor Project.

Symantec has a consistent track record living up to its company values and has received a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the six consecutive years, because of their long-standing non-discrimination protections, their LGBT-inclusive workplace and health benefits, and their support of pro-equality legislation in the U.S.. The company is also among HRC’s ‘Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.’