Trend Micro appears to hate goths and abuses their authoritative power to suppress gothic culture by censoring access to it.
A few weeks ago, members of gothic literary horror site Gothic.net mentioned that they were blocked from viewing gothic fashion and beauty site Gothic.org while at work. Both of these sites seem pretty SFW, so we investigated.
It turns out that Trend Micro is probably the source of the problem. Trend Micro sells businesses a site safety service. Businesses with many computers on a network, for example, sometimes buy software to censor what their employees view. It seems like most office workers can waste plenty of time on just Facebook alone, if the whole rest of the web were blocked, but apparently somebody thinks these services are of value to keep their people off dangerous and otherwise problematic sites. We understand that nobody likes getting malware on their machines, but censorship becomes a problem when it allows unelected individuals to dictate what is and is not acceptable to even read about.
Trend Micro seems to think gothic fashion is very very very exciting. Exciting in a tingly bits way, as opposed to a couture way. So they categorize this site as adult. You can see their description of what their not-under-18 definition is in the screenshot below and it obviously does not apply to a fashion site. We could understand having all fashion sites blocked from view in a non-fashion business or school environment, but it is just plain bigotry to only block gothic fashion, while permitting other beauty and style sites to appear unblocked.
To date, we have repeatedly filled out the site reclassification form, to no avail. Here is our Twitter interaction with Trend Micro so far.
May 11 GothicOrg: @TrendMicro http://Gothic.org is miscategorized & TM fix it page is offline. Gothic FASHION is not adult & only bigots would think it is.
May 12 TrendMicro: @GothicOrg hi, this was an automated process. Please visit http://trendmic.ro/IQX3qh to submit a request for reclassification. Sorry! ^AL
May 20 GothicOrg: @TrendMicro How can gothic sites be automatically misclassified except for bigotry? Been 10 days. Just submitted again. Expected timeline?
May 21 TrendMicro: @GothicOrg hello, on occasion there are sites of any variety which need to be re-categorized – we will check w/ support mgmt. Sorry again!
May 30 GothicOrg: The bigots at @TrendMicro just informed us that, after looking at http://Gothic.Org they still think it is adult. Goth does not = porn.
May 30 GothicOrg: @daveasprey What makes @TrendMicro think fashion & beauty site http://Gothic.Org is adult? Goth fashions look good, but …
May 30 GothicOrg: @TrendMicro The reply which came in today said “We have checked on the website, but the result is still Adult / Mature Content” Wrong :-(
June 15 GothicOrg: @TrendMicro Unless you have an enormous fetish for dressed gothic girls, how can a fashion site be categorized as adult? Just bigotry.
June 15 GothicOrg: @LynetteTOwens Why are you discriminating against all gothic sites please? How can a gothic fashion & beauty site be adult???
June 15 GothicOrg: @vivianshic Why is @TrendMicro discriminating against all gothic sites please? How can a gothic fashion & beauty site be adult???
June 21 Lynette T. Owens: @gothicorg I assume you are referring to the web filtering feature in one of our products?
The Gothic.Org stats showed us being hit from http://trendmicro.socialhub.awarenessnetworks.com/admins/console/index.aspx?ref=/admins/console/socialdashboard.aspx but nobody at Trend Micro has fixed the problem yet. When one of our reclassification requests came back with, “We have checked on the website, but the result is still Adult / Mature Content”, we emailed back, “What do you see as adult about gothic.org please? Unless you have an enormous fetish for dressed gothic girls, how can a fashion site be categorized as adult? This seems a lot like discrimination and not at all what your customers pay for.”
Apparently SiteSafetyCenter@trendmicro.com is a fake email address which 550’s, but it took a while for us to realize Trend Micro was not getting our emails. This is because our Google Gmail filter thought the bounce message format looked a lot like spam. The bounce messages from Trend Micro also contain a disclaimer suggesting that the best response to them would be to email Trend Micro. Oh the irony.