A reader writes:
I'm at the Nordstom E-Bar coffee shop located at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, California. I am using the "Nordstom_Wi-Fi" public WIFI. I just tried to access the Volokh Conspiracy website. I got the message:
This website is blocked by your network operator.
If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact your network operator with the following information:
Category: Hate and Racism
Interestingly, I get that result only for the Volokh Conspiracy part of Reason.com. In other words, I can access the main Reason.com website using the "Nordstom_Wi-Fi" public WIFI. When I click the "Volokh Conspiracy" link on the Reason.com homepage, I not surprisingly get the same "blocked" message.
Also interesting, I can access the Volokh Conspiracy part of Reason.com if I switch and use "*Americana at Brand Wi-Fi*" public WIFI.
I thought you would want to know. I was shocked.
Of course private businesses that provide WiFi have the right to block whatever sites they want to block, and I think they should have this right. But I would like to know which businesses seek to control what their customers are allowed to read while buying coffee there, and also what filter manufacturers are choosing to block people of our ideological stripe. If something similar has happened to you, whether with our site or some similar sites, please let us know in the comments below.
I e-mailed the Nordstrom media relations people about this yesterday evening, but haven't heard back from them yet; if I do, I'll of course post their reactions.
UPDATE: The culprit was apparently the blacklist run by a company called Brightcloud; I asked them to review their categorization of our site, and within a few hours we were unblocked. Please let me know if any of you continue to have problems with this, and thanks to commenter TwelveInchPianist for pointing me to this!