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Interior Blocking Blogs:

The Federal Times reports that the Department of Interior is deliberately blocking computer access to blogs, among other sites deemed to be inappropriate.

The Interior Department is blocking access to blogs on government computers after its inspector general found employees were wasting time on pornography, gambling and auction sites.

Blogs — Web sites providing regular updates on a variety of topics — are among blocked sites because some include sexually explicit language, libelous or defamatory commentary, and outrageous language, said Frank Quimby, spokesman for the agency. . . .

"People shouldn't be having access to blogs — at least on government computers on government time," Quimby said.

As for accusations of ideological filtering, the story quotes Quimby saying it is only a matter of time before access to all blog sites is blocked. (Link via Gates of Vienna.)

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Interior Blocking Blogs:
  2. Interior's Internet Problems:
Elliot Reed:
When I worked at the SEC this summer, they blocked me from accessing my webmail at work, purportedly for "security" reasons.
10.14.2006 12:15pm
keypusher (mail):
This is terrible! What will I do at work?
10.14.2006 1:20pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
I suspect Mr. Quimby will be finding new employment long before access to blogs is totally blocked. After a trip to the clue factory, he might post his resume at some on-line site.
10.14.2006 2:05pm
Speaking the Obvious:
"Blogs — Web sites providing regular updates on a variety of topics — are among blocked sites because some include sexually explicit language, libelous or defamatory commentary, and outrageous language, said Frank Quimby, spokesman for the agency. . . . "

Quimby went on to say, "Why, some of them even suggest there should be NO Department of Interior!! Clearly, this cannot be tolerated in a civilized society..."
10.14.2006 2:18pm
Disappointed:
I thought this was going to be a post about resources for offensive line schemes.
10.14.2006 3:11pm
jvarisco (www):
Is there a reason federal employees need to be reading blogs - or any other website unrelated to their work - while we are paying them? You would think some of them might at least wait to go home before watching porn.
10.14.2006 3:51pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Quirk about Interior: it was founded in 1849 precisely because, in those halcyon days of freedom, there was NO department that had change of general affairs internal to the US. Departments of War and State, yes, but no one had thought one was necessary to internal affairs (other than collecting taxes and moving the mail around). It started out as one tiny department that did everything internal ... military pensions, patents, land grants for vets, federal land, running DC (it used to set utility rates there), a seed office that is today the Dept of Agriculture, Indian affairs, in short, the entire bureaucracy in one department.

I found old files indicating that when Harold Ickes was Secretary, he designed the building with a penthouse, and lived there. He'd wander thru the building at night, spot offices where the lights had been left on, and write personal nasty letters to the occupants.
10.14.2006 4:33pm
K Parker (mail):
jvarisco,

Is there some reason you (and Mr. Quimby) assume that no blog could ever contain content related to someone's job at Interior? For just one instance, the Agency doubtless has a few IT folks. There's an awful lot of good, timely information on IT issues being written on blogs these days.
10.14.2006 7:41pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Being a former bureaucrat, I can say with a high degree of certainty that the IT folks, who did the blocking, did not block their own access, and are happily viewing blogs and porno at will.

The admin end of bureaucracy contains the bureaucrat's bureaucrats. That is to say, the bureaucrats look upon them as unproductive nitpickers who write up annoying and burdensome rules for everyone else, and of course exempt themselves. They see them the way everyone else sees the bureaucrats themselves.
10.14.2006 9:07pm
Gary McGath (www):
If the Department of the Inferior is blocking blogs "because some include sexually explicit language, libelous or defamatory commentary, and outrageous language," the same reasoning should make them cut off all Internet access by employees. In fact, employees shouldn't be allowed to read printed material either; some printed matter contains sexually explicit language, etc.

Maybe I shouldn't mention that ... they might agree.
10.14.2006 9:45pm
Jay:
"the same reasoning should make them cut off all Internet access by employees"

Actually, I think a lot of DOI was cut off from the Internet for awhile as part of the ongoing Indian trust fund litigation. I'm not sure if that order is still in place though; the DC Circuit finally removed the District Court judge from the case over the summer.
10.14.2006 10:14pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Terrible that Interior bureau-rats will have to use their own laptops and EV-DO cards to surf the Net at work. Cruel.
10.14.2006 10:53pm
John (mail):
Well, employees who waste time at work aren't being very fair to the people paying the bills (us). So, to quote a famous blogger, screw 'em.
10.14.2006 11:09pm
Gary McGath (www):
John: I find it interesting that you apparently consider all blog use, without exception, to be "wasting time" ... and you say so in a blog comment.
10.15.2006 8:38am
Fub:
Dave Hardy wrote:
The admin end of bureaucracy contains the bureaucrat's bureaucrats. That is to say, the bureaucrats look upon them as unproductive nitpickers who write up annoying and burdensome rules for everyone else, and of course exempt themselves. They see them the way everyone else sees the bureaucrats themselves.
As Dean Swift observed:
So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.
John wrote:
Well, employees who waste time at work aren't being very fair to the people paying the bills (us).
I'm not so sure about that. Not too many years ago some pundit suggested that paying regulatory bureaucrats full salary just to stay at home and not "work" would save productive citizens countless money and time. Web surfing might be a poor second to that, but half a loaf is better than none.
10.15.2006 4:08pm
Public_Defender (mail):
This just shows that DOI has no real measure of employee productivity, so they equate sitting in a chair not reading blogs with being productive. Everyone has unproductive moments during the day. The question is whether employees do enough during their productive time to justify their salary. That's what the DOI should be looking at.

But DOI computers are DOI computers. If the department wants to ban blogs, so what? If access to blogs on work computers is a big concern of DOI employees, they are very lucky workers. As an employee, I would pick other battles to fight.

As an aside, remember when people went berserk over computer solitaire? Ah, the good ol' days.

(For the record, I'm not posting this from the office.)
10.16.2006 6:44am
Eli Rabett (www):
People have been fired for posting on blogs from Federal agencies.
10.17.2006 10:33am
Lorenzo (mail):
I'm now retired after 27 years as a state transportation engineer in California. I used to scan topics at VC regarding transportation and government/employee relations issues. Design engineers need to keep up on a wide variety of topics, including the law, since we deal with so many specialists in assembling project plans, people who don't know about larger issues.

As part of the agency's "institutional memory" (i.e., old-timer), I considered it part of my job to educate the young punks, er, supervisors, in what they could and couldn't do.

For instance, one supervisor thought he could shut down one of two private driveways on a conventional highway widening, and I spent two hours tracking down the state legal definition of conventional highway, and the status of pre-existing driveways on former county roads later adopted as state highways. Both driveways had to remain. Later, a higher-up told me Websense had detected "excessive internet use", and I was told to restrict my web surfing to my lunch period, even after I explained what I was doing on the net.

That's when I decided to take early retirement.
10.17.2006 5:30pm