The Free Software Foundation‘s executive director John Sullivan has publicly complained that Microsoft’s reputation database is listing the Foundation’s donate.fsf.org as a “gambling site“. Corporate systems that use a Microsoft “network security” program cannot access FSF donation website because of this and as a result, many people were unable to make donations to the non-profit. The Foundation was alerted by a Reddit posting where a user broke that he was unable to access the site from his office network.
Via Slashdot, we have come to know that Microsoft’s “Threat Management Gateway” (which some companies apparently use to protect against malicious websites) has classified donate.fsf.org domain as a ‘Gambling Site.’ It means that it’s blocked for many users. This was first discovered by a user on Reddit who received the following notice:
The page you are trying to browse to is categorized as “Gambling”
If you believe you are getting this message by mistake, try contacting your administrator or Helpdesk.
Technical Information (for support personnel)
Error Code: 403 Forbidden. Forefront TMG denied the specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL). (12233)
IP Address: [IP Redacted]
Date: 6/14/2012 6:31:39 PM [GMT]
Server: [server name redacted]
John Sullivan criticized about the blockade. He said in a blog post that any tool which cannot discriminate between gambling sites and “an independently audited registered non-profit public-interest charity” site is likely to be doing its users more harm than good. Many people had been unable to make donations as a result of the block.
If you are blocked from accessing the FSF’s donation site, you can go to the alternative address my.fsf.org/donate directly. It is believed that, Microsoft has wrongly categorized the Free Software Foundation (FSF) webpage as “gambling site.” Mr. Sullivan has submitted a correction request and asked that the site be re-labelled as a non-profit or NGO. But whatever it is, Microsoft has to explain or respond to the criticism why or on which basis it has triggered FSF domain as “gambling site”.