Phoenix based IT company Panther TEK receives plenty of calls when people have problems with their computers, but one particular problem has owner Nohl Rosen baffled and wondering if big companies are now forcing their political views onto consumers. Rosen received a call from a customer who was needing help with a wireless printer that wasn’t connecting to their Wi-Fi network, and while he was on-site the customer made mention that one particular web site they were trying to access, Crisis Pregnancy Centers Of Greater Phoenix was being blocked for some reason by their Belkin wireless router.
Looking deeper into the issue Rosen discovered that the wireless router’s firewall software by default was blocking sites that had to do with the word abortion. Belkin routers apparently use Symantec’s Norton ConnectSafe software for their firewall software, but Rosen says this is first time he’s seen a problem where a router or firewall blocked a site due to political reasons.
“This was definitely a new one for me and I’ve seen a lot of things as a tech, but I’ve never seen firewall software block a user’s internet access or from them reaching a particular site because of a political issue like abortion. In this case it was blocking a pro-life site called Crisis Pregnancy Centers of Greater Phoenix and the customer never requested or asked that it be blocked. This block was a default setting in the firewall software itself,” Rosen said.
Rosen has called both Belkin and Symantec’s customer support lines and those he spoke with were less than helpful in solving the issue but he figured he’d let them know about it. Further research has shown one other encounter happened in 2014 where Symantec’s firewall software blocked a user’s access to a pro-life web site but not to Planned Parenthood’s web site. Rosen was also able to confirm this as well.
“I always believe in taking another look at the issue and found that it wasn’t just one pro-life site that the firewall was blocking, it was blocking others claiming they were malicious web sites. However, it didn’t block Planned Parenthood’s site so it certainly is an interesting issue, but it’s fixable. This issue however certainly will make some wonder if larger companies are now forcing their political position regarding abortion onto customers via their products,” Rosen added.
He did add that by lowering the security settings on the router’s firewall to a medium or lower setting that users will be able to log onto web sites that they wish to view. Lists online from a few pro-life groups have pointed out that Symantec and other large companies are supporters of Planned Parenthood.
For more about Panther TEK feel free to call 480-980-8541 or visit the company’s web site at www.panthertekit.com.