Punching Stupid and Evil in the Face Since 1986!

"We are on strike, we the men of the mind. We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties."-John Galt

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

TSA decides against censorship

After the TSA got a lot of attention in the blogoshpere for their recently released standards of web access for employees, they have since changed their original stance. Earlier the TSA announced it would begin blocking access to certain types of web sites.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is blocking certain websites from the federal agency's computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a "controversial opinion," according to an internal email obtained by CBS News.

It states that as of July 1, TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed "inappropriate for government access."

The categories include:
Chat/Messaging
Controversial opinion
Criminal activity
Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content
Gaming
It is not at all uncommon for companies to block access to certain types of web sites/services. Companies often set standards of access and block sites they would consider inappropriate for the work environment. However, the category that was receiving the most attention was that of "controversial opinion" not only would this not normally be considered an inappropriate category of access but it is also very ambiguous. What is controversial to one might not be to another. What exactly is "opinion"? There was no set standard released of what would be blocked, hence the cries of possible censorship.

Late today the TSA released a statement issuing a new stance on the "controversial opinion" category in order to quell fears. They have dropped it as a category to be regulated.
"I wanted to let you know that after further review, TSA determined the “controversial opinion” category may contain some sites that do not violate TSA’s policy and therefore has concluded that the category is no longer being considered for implementation. Our intent is not, and never has been, to limit our employees’ ability to access or share “controversial opinions.”
Huh. Imagine that. Shine a little sun-light and all the mold disappears.