Blogs Banned By Interior Department
Baron Bodissey passes on word that the Department of the Interior is blocking numerous conservative blogs–but oddly not the most prominent liberal blogs–with filtering software.
It may well be just a poorly managed effort to restrict DOI workers from reading non-work-related sites while at the office, like the hamhanded effort by Kentucky a few months back. Still, it’s rather strange that they haven’t managed to filter out DailyKos, Eschaton, and other prominent liberal sites as part of their initial rollout.
UPDATE: Eric Scheie makes a good point:
Aside from the issue of blocking access to conservative or libertarian sites while allowing liberal or socialist ones, I’m wondering about the goal here. If it is to discourage employees wasting time on the job, then why allow access to any news sites at all? I’d like to know whether the Interior Department blocks yahoo news, the New York Times, the Drudge Report, and the Raw Story. If they don’t, I’d wonder why; should employees be reading news? And if they should (or if they are allowed to), then what about analysis and opinion? Every major news site offers the latter in addition to news — as do many blogs. The only common distinction is is that the latter tend to be less widely read than the former. Isn’t it an editorial judgment (a content based one) to allow discrimination based on the economic value of the publisher?
Kevin Aylward, an IT specialist whose own blog is on the banned list, is pretty sure it’s an IT snafu rather than an ideological crusade. He cites a recent AP report noting that, “Interior Department employees aren’t just using their computers to oversee parks and wildlife, an investigation found. They’re spending thousands of hours a week visiting shopping, sex and gambling Web sites.” They’re likely just taking the standard bureaucratic action, trying to swat a gnat with a sledgehammer.