Hospital District Wi-Fi: Out Magazine Barred, Marlboro.com Just Fine

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We received an e-mail from someone who was sitting in the waiting room at LBJ Hospital while his partner was getting treated.

LBJ is part of the Harris County Hospital District, and it offers wi-fi in the waiting room.

" I tried to access an article on Out.com and I got this page (telling me that gay and lesbian content is not allowed on HCHD's network," he wrote. "This is not 'adult content' - I just wanted to find out about James Dean's secret gay past!"

Out magazine and its website, of course, are respected mainstream outlets that would be rated no worse than PG by anyone who doesn't freak out at the mere thought of gayness.

The e-mailer noted "One more thing -- HCHD WILL let me access marlboro.com on their network, a website dedicated to smoking."


We contacted the district, and to their credit they admitted they'd made a mistake.

Bryan McLeod said:

We have an IT Security Department that oversees access and content activity on our network. We brought this concern to them and we reviewed what type of content was being filtered by the software they employ, which uses fairly broad categories such as "gay, lesbian and bisexual," "gambling," "general news," "pornography," "social networking," etc. to monitor and exclude or allow content to pass through our network.

As of 6 p.m. yesterday that filter setting was changed to permit Out Magazine (out.com) access for both employees and visitors (two different wi-fi systems), as it was confirmed to be, as you coined it, "rated PG".

Of course, there's still a lot of mainstream-ish, innocuous sites out there that could fall under the "gay, lesbian and bisexual" category, but it's a start.

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