Enabling a Safe and Productive Internet

February 15, 2013 - By David Murphy

Blue Coat products make the Internet safe
Blue Coat develops products that enable a safe and productive Internet experience, which is essential in today’s environment where malware and viruses can inflict serious harm. Our customers include 86% of the FORTUNE Global 500 companies as well as schools, hospitals, non-profit organizations and other public agencies.  Our commitment to providing products that enable a safe and productive Internet experience extends to the home as well, through our free Internet filter and parental control software product called K9 Web Protection.

Internet security technology is essential
United States President Barack Obama has said that “the cyber threat to critical infrastructure continues to grow and represents one of the most serious national security challenges we must confront.” Every day, our products are used around the world to block malware, spyware, phishing and other malicious content; control access to inappropriate applications or content in the workplace; and assure the performance of critical applications running on the network. Our products also make the websites, applications and services that are increasingly hosted in the cloud more accessible.

Businesses, schools, libraries and other public access environments offer Internet access to their users through technologies like ours because they can limit access to unsafe or inappropriate content.  Without the types of products we offer, our customers would not be able to protect their users from viewing offensive and harmful content (such as pornographic or graphically violent material); could be exposed to cyber threats that might shut down or steal information stored on their network; or could experience poor network performance resulting from the unmanaged use of bandwidth-intensive applications.

Unintended use
Technologies are neither inherently “good” nor inherently “evil,” but they can be used in ways that are unintended and unacceptable. For example, the same features that protect users from malware can also be used perniciously to block access to content that is deemed to be politically unacceptable. Therein lays the challenge that faces us all: An open, safe and interconnected Internet needs these technologies to function, but there are bad actors that could use these technologies and the Internet to harm others.

Our principles
We believe our products play a vital role in protecting the global connectivity that the Internet provides, and we take seriously recent press and other reports that have implied our products are being misused for malign purposes.  Blue Coat respects and supports freedom of expression, which the U.N. has declared to be a universal human right for all people.  We do not design our products or condone their use to suppress human rights.

Our commitment to compliance with applicable laws and responsible business practices
Blue Coat respects the laws of the countries in which we conduct business. We take care to ensure that our products are sold in accordance with those laws, including applicable export control laws, which prohibit the sale of our products to certain destinations, end users and end uses. All of our sales are generated through third parties we call channel partners, and we contractually require these partners to comply with applicable laws in connection with their sale of our products to authorized destinations, end users and end uses. We also require our channel partners to adhere to high standards of ethical conduct in connection with the sale of our products.

Looking forward
We recognize that misuse of technology to suppress freedom of expression is a serious issue and that no single industry, much less one company, can tackle this issue on its own.  Throughout 2013 we will continue to engage key stakeholders, including our channel partners, to review what further steps we can take to limit misuse of our products.  As we do so, we will continue to evaluate policies and processes that support our principles and further our mission to provide products that enable an open, safe and more productive Internet.