Scott K

Scott K
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
October 09
Scott K is a gay man living in sin with his partner of over twelve years whom he still cannot legally marry. Scott says he's politically active not because he wants to be, but rather feels he has to be. He takes very seriously Thomas Jefferson's famous quote "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" which, strangely enough, he thinks he first heard on an episode of The Simpsons. Scott has one cat, two dogs, and a lot of opinions.

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APRIL 14, 2009 12:45AM

Major New Twist in the Amazon Story

Rate: 10 Flag

Last night I wrote a post about's alleged snub of the LGBT community (of which I am a member).  I suggested that calls of boycott against Amazon were premature as Amazon had up until now been a very gay-friendly company and perhaps this really was a glitch.

Well, tonight news is breaking of a blogger who is claiming responsibility for getting the LGBT books delisted from Amazon.  Apparently the blogger (with possibly the help of his friends) registered hundreds of accounts on Amazon and then flagged LGBT books as "inappropriate" using Amazon's reporting tool.  Since different accounts were reporting books as inappropriate rather that just one account, it didn't set off any alarms in Amazon's systems and allowed the hack attack to continue.  If this is true, this makes Amazon's claim of a "glitch" causing the problem completely plausible.

While I feel that Amazon should have had a better review process in place before delisting the books, it goes to show that Amazon did not purposely slight the gay community.

Meanwhile, an Amazon employee is giving a behind-the-scenes account of what happened. It doesn't necessarily coincide with the blogger's claim, but it also makes the case for what happened being unintentional.  Keep in mind that Amazon wouldn't necessarily want to admit a hack attack.  It would shake their image of being a secure place online to shop. They would probably rather claim an internal process error than reveal a successful attack to the public.

Whatever the real reason, Amazon has assured the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that they will fix the problem according to a statement issued by Neil Giuliano, President of GLADD.

I have updated my last post with the latest developments, but felt I should write this post since many people might not see the updates.

Furthermore I'm asking that if you were one of the people who spread the word about the Amazon story (regardless of whether you called for the boycott), I'm hoping you'll also spread the word about these latest developments as well.  Many of you said in the comments of my last post that you have other reasons for disliking Amazon.  Fair enough, but I think we owe it to Amazon to help get the truth out there about this situation.

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Thanks for the update.
Hmmmm, so why don't the multitude of gay and gay friendly people start flagging fundie books? :-D
RickyB -- you know what? I think that's a damned fine idea.
What a fascinating development. I guess it just goes to show that the dogged persistence and evil genius of rightwing nutjobs should never be underestimated.
Amazon itself is not claiming to have been hacked. They are claiming internal error and no one else has been able to replicate what this blogger claims to have done.

The fact that Amazon has not addressed the issue online and in a direct way speaks to some serious corporate idiocy.

Kelley Eskridge of Humans at Work, writes: "Amazon has handled this communications crisis in the worst possible way, which is to ignore the outrage and throw corporate-speak at the issue. I was aware of the controversy early Sunday morning: there was no response from Amazon until late afternoon, and the company spoke through a press release to the Associated Press. Amazon is an online business, suffering an online publicity massacre, and they offered no online response of substance. No blog post of their own. No direct dialogue attempts on Twitter. Imagine that you're on an arena stage in front of tens of thousands of angry people, and instead of speaking into the microphone, you get on your cell phone and call someone to take a memo to send those folks. That's essentially how Amazon handled it."
Excellent follow up. And I'm glad that you held out your judgment. It's the perfect reason why we should never ASSUME (you know the old just makes an ass out of you and me).
I think something great about Scott K's post is that it shows how much we as a nation have actually begun emerging from "the culture wars". Obviously, there are the hardliners who are still holed up in their remote caves, convinced the war is still on, and they are the kind of lunatics that think the sky is falling and America is flooded with evil because a progressive politician is in the White House. But whether it's the anti-gay crowd, the rabid "tea-party" Republicans who want to bankrupt the government, or Rick Santorum ousted from the US Senate over his stupid claims about a rash of "bestiality", these people are fringe figures, no longer credible, and the best thing we can do is try to keep everything on a much higher plane than the blood-and-guts nonsense of the culture wars. Let the far right keep arguing that relaxed gun-laws don't make life easier for narco-terrorists, and in the end, they argue away their last grain of credibility.

Anyway, I hope Amazon is proof of this, that they did not cynically make politically motivated content choices and that they did not engage in such discrimination. Let's also hope this fraudster who attacked their system is soon forgotten and his hostility cast aside by a population of bigger people.
This is a really interesting story. The idea that a hacker can so easily limit our choices online is frightening. The new front in the cultural war seems to be digital.
yes, registered :) good going, ScottK
Dear Author has an article about why it wasn't just an accident:
Sometimes the cover of a book rarely reveals its content so thanks for giving us the real deal on the snafu. Though many insisted on boycotting, I felt similarly when a Barnes and Nobles window display was infiltrated by a customer who added a book with a monkey on its cover to a Barack Obama book display.