Government Launches Social Networking Sites, Restricts Employee Access

Broadband's Impact, NTIA, Transparency December 23rd, 2009

, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com

December 23, 2009 – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration is launching accounts to share more information with the public through the social networking sites Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, according to an internal email sent to NTIA employees last week.

“In an environment where more and more citizens are going online for news and information, having a presence on these rapidly growing centers for sharing content and connecting communities will help ensure NTIA is part of the conversation while implementing the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration President Obama called for in the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, issued on January 21, 2009,” according to the email.

But though the agency is taking steps to embrace the social networking and communications world, Department of Commerce employees are blocked from using these sites at work.

One NTIA employee said when attempting to access the agency’s Twitter account, the message “access to this site is blocked” for social engineering purposes appears. The employee said NTIA employees have previously been told that all of the site blocks are for security and not productivity reasons.

“Though the Department of Commerce restricts access to many information sharing and social networking sites from the Herbert Hoover Building, I encourage you to explore the new NTIA accounts when you have an opportunity and consider what aspects of our agency we could share with the public through these tools to increase awareness of NTIA initiatives,” reads the email.

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