Blocking blogs

I spent most of this morning talking to a couple of press officers in a Whitehall department which I won’t name. I was a bit shocked to discover they’re stuck using IE5.something; never mind the risk involved in upgrading everyone, what about the risk of using such an outdated (and unsupported) browser?
But that was nothing compared to the shock of learning that their network blocks their access to ‘blogs’. I’m not quite sure of the precise technical extent of the blockage, but they definitely couldn’t get into Bloglines or Google Reader. Truly outrageous.
How can a government press office be expected to function properly, in a world where political stories habitually break first on the blogs, then hit the websites, then maybe make it to the papers and broadcast?
I’ll tell you how. They break the rules; it’s all they can do. They browse the web on their mobile phones, or their Blackberry. They bring in USB memory sticks. They buy unsupported kit, which the IT department never even gets a sniff of.
Now tell me, which scenario is more insecure?

2 thoughts on “Blocking blogs”

  1. You shouldn’t be so shocked – that’s relatively common across the Canadian government as well. Blogs, webmail, Facebook, twitter, MySpace – they’re all blocked in a large number of departments.
    And you’re right – they find hacks.

  2. I’m never going to sympathise with a block on ‘blogs’ – especially since the definition of a blog is being further blurred daily, not least by people like myself! – but I guess I can understand it. However, if anyone should be given an exemption, it’s press offices. That’s the bit which really gets to me.

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