BT blocked a LGBT martial arts website, but couldn’t explain why

Telephone and internet provider BT has admitted that it “miscategorised” an LGBT+ martial arts organisation’s website, which was blocked under its parental control features.

Glasgow-based BT subscriber Owen Duffy told PinkNews he was unable to access the International Association of Gay and Lesbian Martial Artists (IAGLMA) homepage, after discovering the group while reading about the 2018 Gay Games in Paris.

“They looked like an interesting group because in martial arts you do sometimes [encounter] homophobic attitudes,” Duffy told PinkNews.

However, when he tried to visit the group’s website for more information, Duffy found that it had been restricted.

BT and other internet providers allow users to regulate websites that they deem inappropriate for younger audiences, including pornography and gambling sites.

“I looked it up on a different connection and there was nothing objectionable on it,” said Duffy.

Duffy contacted BT about the issue via Twitter.

Duffy expressed his concern that BT’s parental controls were blocking the martial arts website on the principle of it featuring LGBT+ content. In response, he was told the issue with the website may be that it was about martial arts. He then pointed out that no other martial arts-related website was subject to the block.

“It doesn’t block the international judo federation, the UFC, amateur boxing associations, BloodyElbow. The only martial arts site it blocks is an LGBT one,” he wrote.

“Parental controls is designed to keep children safe when browsing the web. If you are unhappy with this, you can deactivate it in your settings,” a member of the BTCare team responded.

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