Sunday, 2 June 2013

A Letter To O2

Here's the response I sent to one of the representatives of O2 that contacted me in regard to their blocking of this site. No reply as of yet.
Hi Bob,

thank you for your reply, it was a good deal more courteous than I had expected, so that was appreciated.

The two explanations I have received from you and others at O2 for why my anti-hate, pro-equality website should be - somewhat bizarrely - listed under O2's 'HATE' classification are as follows:

1) It “includes anti-feminism and covers hostility to individuals or groups on the basis of gender”. 

OK so, first off, these are obviously two separate things: feminism, after all, is not 'women'  or even 'equality', any more than 'communism' is 'the working classes'. It is simply a political ideology, like anarchism, libertarianism, communism, capitalism, fascism, whatever, with its own particular beliefs, goals, and agenda. To criticize a communist regime does not mean you hate the working class. To criticize radical feminism - a political and social movement with, after all, an enormous number of male adherents - does not mean you are spreading hatred of women. The two things simply do not follow.

On top of that, labeling criticism of any political ideology as 'hate speech' can only help push society towards a situation in which all political criticism is silenced, under the guise of concern that somehow, somewhere, someone might be offended.

So that's a huge flaw - or at least a grievous misunderstanding of 'anti-feminism' on the part of the O2 policy-makers - right there.

2) The second explanation I received was:

"The ‘hate’ category is a very broad category that covers a range of topics. Any web site that is shown to be displaying aggression to any person or group of people will be assigned to this category. Your site includes information about domestic violence and feminism. And whilst you’re campaigning against this rather than advocating it, the category would remain the same. This is to prevent people under the age of 18 from viewing any content related to ‘hate’."

Again, this makes very little sense: as I have written to you before, if you can point to anything I have written on my website in which I am "displaying aggression" to anyone I will a) be very surprised, & b) be happy to take it down, as I am unaware of it being there in the first place.

The question that logically follows on from both these is, of course: are ALL sites that cover the topic of domestic violence being blocked or only those that mention violence against men and boys? Checking your 'website status checker' site I found popular feminist sites such as and
that daily express extremely hostile, hateful and insulting opinions towards all males - regardless of their beliefs or actions, or the groups they belong to (though especially those asking for equal treatment in the eyes of the law), as well as regularly writing about domestic violence - are not blocked but free for anyone - including children - to see at will.

I have not checked yet whether any of the even more radical feminist websites are being allowed through the filter, but if that is the case then plainly this is a prejudiced and partisan silencing of freedom of expression, and I and others will have to begin taking steps to publicize the situation and bring such bias to the public's attention.

Also, even more seriously, domestic violence support sites such as
& sites for divorced fathers trying to deal with family court such as and

have also been blacklisted and blocked by O2, which is extremely disturbing, as these are resource centers for people in genuine need, being stopped from accessing help and support by a censorship policy which appears to be skewed, arbitrary, blatantly flawed and in all probability unlawful.

A statement on this matter would be appreciated, though I know you probably have very little input personally over the decision-making - I don't want to make you think I'm trying to try hold you individually responsible for the actions of a entire corporation.

Anyway, thanks once again for taking the time to reply,

Best wishes,

L. Byron

1 comment:

  1. A recent update from Jon Kimble, chronicler of this whole affair over at carried this suggestion I thought useful to pass on:

    "For those Tweeting about this issue please remember to write "@O2" and "@Symantec" in your Tweet so they are forced see it. Perhaps we can also start a Twitter hashtag for the scandal such as #SexistSymantec. Even just commenting on or "liking" other people's articles helps as it shows they're reaching a wide audience."