Boycott Watch
September 30, 2003
NRA Vs. Symantec - You decide
   Summary: On Friday, September 29, 2003 the National Rifle Association issued a report that a Symantec software package is unfairly biased against the NRA. The following is the NRA report and the reply by Symantec so you can decide for yourself what the truth is.
--- Start of NRA report ---


Internet Filter Software Blocks Pro-Gun Sites

   The Internet is a great asset that provides us with once unimaginable amounts of information. But, of course, not all information is deemed appropriate, and many parents depend on Internet filter software to block sites they feel are inappropriate for their children. One such software program is Internet Security from Symantec Corp.

   NRA members have discovered that after installing this software on their computers they can no longer visit NRA sites such as

   A Symantec corporate official contacted by ILA staff explained that if certain broad categories are selected to filter, it will block sites such as ours. He said that end users can change the default settings so that specific desired sites are not blocked. Interestingly, however, gun prohibitionist sites such as those for the Brady Center are not blocked in the default setting. Information on anti-gun sites is left virtually unfiltered.

   Symantec provides no explanation for this disparity, and, intentionally or not, the company is taking an anti-gun position in the debate over firearm ownership. Gun owners should be aware of how this software works and may wish to avoid using programs such as Internet Security that treat pro-Second Amendment sites the same as pornographic sites.

--- End of NRA report ---

--- Start of Symantec reply ---

   Thank you for the opportunity to clarify any confusion surrounding Symantec's Norton Internet Security product.

   Symantec believes that Norton Internet Security gives complete flexibility and freedom of choice to parents to determine what they feel is appropriate content for their children to view on the Internet.

   Below is information about the Parental Control features of Norton Internet Security:

   * When Norton Internet Security is installed, the Parental Control features are turned off by default and must be activated to block Internet sites.

   * When Parental Control is enabled, certain categories are pre-configured at the default supervisor or parental level, but are easily modified. This is to provide protection until parents can configure accounts of their own choosing for the specific needs and wants of their children.

   * Internet sites are placed into broad categories to make parental selection easier. This way, if a parent chooses to block all websites involving a subject like "Sports", it can be configured with one click.

   * Once a parent chooses to check a category, all websites in that category will be blocked from their children's viewing. If a parent chooses to uncheck a category, then all websites within that category will be viewable.

   * Should a specific individual website be blocked that the parent believes the child should have access to but the site falls within one of the preset categories, the parent can easily remove the block for that specific site. Parents who want their children to view the website, for example, can allow access to that website but maintain a block on the rest of the websites in that category.

   To be clear, Symantec in no way condones or endorses one Web site over another, be it Web sites that may be considered pro-Second Amendment or anti-Second Amendment, or sites devoted to other social issues that have multiple points of view. Norton Internet Security is simply a tool to be used by parents so they can determine what is appropriate material for their children at various age groups. Norton Internet Security gives the parent complete freedom of choice.

   Symantec Corporate Public Relations

--- End of Symantec reply ---

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