TSA blocks work access to sites with 'controversial' content

TSA memo says Web sites with chat, gaming, violence also will be blocked

The Transportation Security Administration has begun blocking employees' work computers from displaying Web sites that portray “controversial opinion,” according to a report by CBS News.

Additional excluded sites include those with chat or messaging, gaming, criminal activity or “extreme violence,” including cartoon violence and “gruesome content,” CBS reported.

CBS News said it obtained an internal memo dated July 2 distributed to all TSA employees by Emma Garrison-Alexander, assistant administrator for agency's the Office of Information Technology.

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The memo states that as of July 1, TSA employees will no longer have access to five categories of Web sites that have been deemed “inappropriate for government access,” CBS said. The TSA began blocking the sites because some of them violate the agency's employee responsibilities and conduct policy, the memo said.

The memo did not state how TSA officials will define “controversial opinion” or how it would determine if a Web site contains a controversial opinion.

TSA officials did not respond to a request for comment today.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader Comments

Thu, Jul 8, 2010

WHAT? They don't block porn sites?

Wed, Jul 7, 2010

Hopefully people at TSA investigating threats have all the access they need regardless of controversy. One never knows where research may take you.

Wed, Jul 7, 2010

If it isn't related to work, there is no business need to access it and therefore restricting access to "inaproprate" sites is the right thing to do.

Wed, Jul 7, 2010 Ethan Washington, DC

This is undoubtedly a slippery slope. I've seen a number of agency Internet access policies and they often exclude access to sites that would be offensive to co-workers. For instance, NASA's policy states "It is not permissible to access, download, or print material which would offend others or create a hostile work environment." Seems fairly synonymous with "controversial" to me.

Wed, Jul 7, 2010 Joe Taxpayer Everywhere, USA

As a taxpayer, I have no problem with any site being blocked on a "WORK PC". If users at TSA, or any other Governtment Agency, want to visit the aforementions types of sites, DO SO ON YOUR TIME. Kudos to TSA for enforcement of their policies.

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