Since the announcement of the new 22.214.171.124 Families Program, Cloudflare has apologized for blocking LGBTQIA+ websites.
Last week’s announcement made that 126.96.36.199 planned for families as an alternative to the 188.8.131.52 DNS solution that would also remove adult content and websites perceived as a security risk automatically.
“While 184.108.40.206 can safeguard user privacy and optimize efficiency, it is designed for direct, fast DNS resolution, not for blocking or filtering content,” Cloudflare said. “The requests we’ve received largely come from home users who want to ensure that they have a measure of protection from security threats and can keep adult content from being accessed by their kids.”
The services were released in two versions: 220.127.116.11 for malware security, and 18.104.22.168 for filtering out malware and the content of adults.
Consumers soon discovered, however, that a large number of pages LGBTQIA+ were still limited until opened to the public.
The ‘mistake’ was the result of the categorizations used by the data providers, who have been authorized by the firm to build the backbone for the filtering service, according to with Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare.
Prince said multi-provider feeds are used. During the last few months, Cloudflare has tried to replicate Google’s SafeSearch tool in the “sexually explicit content” definement, when testing the ones to use for family service. In essence, malware widely accepted and blacklisted malicious sites are the easiest to sort out.
One of the providers in use had an adult content category that mirrored Google, as well as another group that also encompassed LGBTQIA+ sites and a broader range of topics.
This was selected in the wrong category.
“When we released the production version we included the wrong “Adult Content” category from the provider in the build,” the executive said. “As a result, the first users who tried 22.214.171.124 saw a broader set of sites being filtered than was intended.”
Cloudflare said the reconstruction of a new database would take several hours after the error had been found. Websites will be unblocked from now on, but the organization has requested users to report any existing, inadvertent LGBTQIA+ blocks.
“Going forward, we’ve set up a number of checks of known sites that should fall outside the intended categories, including many that we mistakenly listed,” Prince commented. “I’m sorry for the error. While I understand how it happened, it should never have happened. I appreciate our team responding quickly to fix the mistake we made.”
The next months will also enable users to configure blocks for family categories in 126.96.36.199.