A computer hacker gained access to the Internet server at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Queer CyberCenter on October 31 and defaced its homepage with vicious, hate-filled text and images, including "Kill the Fags," "God Hates Fags," and "AIDS kills Fags Dead."
"These actions were not only malicious, but illegal," said Jim Key, director of public information at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. "We are investigating the incident and examining legal recourses with the Gay & Lesbian Center's Legal Services Department. We apologize to those who were exposed to this hateful and violent material."
The incident took place at 10 p.m., Oct. 30 and was reported the next morning by a CyberCenter volunteer. The Queer CyberCenter's Homepage has been resecured, and a number of additional reconfigurations have been implemented to increase server security. The Homepage can be accessed at: www.qcc.org.
"Hate crimes on the Internet are rare, but have occurred on other sites," said John Waiblinger, QCC Coordinator. "Unfortunately, no system on the Internet is ever 100% safe from a dedicated hacker with malicious intention. The system is now being monitored even more carefully."
The Queer CyberCenter broke historic ground when it opened last March, becoming the first of its kind and the first community- based program in Los Angeles to offer free, universal access to the Internet.
Supported in part by a research grant from the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, the CyberCenter provides equal, non-discriminatory access to the Internet. Its unique homepage provides links to gay and lesbian- related information on politics and activism, people-of-color, youth, women, transgender issues, health, arts and entertainment and lifestyle issues.
To date, nearly 4,000 people have registered at the CyberCenter and its website logs approximately 200 visits a day.
The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, 1625 N. Schrader Blvd., Los Angeles, is one of the oldest gay and lesbian organizations in the world and a leading HIV/AIDS care provider, welcoming more than 15,000 visits from ethnically diverse youth and adults each month. It is a powerful non-profit force for gay and lesbian civil rights and home to the largest array of free or low-cost health, legal, employment, educational, cultural and social programs designed especially for gay men and lesbians. It is served by a staff of more than 240 employees and 3,000 volunteers.