Homeland Security blocks Web sites with 'controversial opinions'

If you read the headline above, it seems like Homeland Security is about to become the "thought police" for Americans going online.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

Today's lesson is how it's possible to write a headline that's absolutely true, and yet implies something that's not. For example, if you read my headline above, it seems like I'm saying Homeland Security is about to become the "thought police" for Americans going online.

It only seems like that.

The truth is that a component of DHS, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is blocking it's own employees from accessing a variety of different Web sites, just like any employer might.

This morning, though, the Drudge Report lead with this at the top of the page:

A quick look would sure make it seem like Homeland Security is censoring us, when that's not the case. "Big Sis" is Drudge-speak for Janet Napolitano, the current United States Secretary of Homeland Security. I've never been exactly sure why Matt Drudge seems to like calling her Big Sis, but if you read his site often enough, you get to know the names.

Now, don't get me wrong. I really like and value the Drudge Report. I am an obsessive reader, visiting it every 17 seconds or so, whether I need to or not. I check the Drudge Report more often than any other Web site and it's always tied neck-and-neck with my obsessive need to check email, which I also do with unhealthy frequency.

But headlines like Matt's (and mine, above) do push the limits. As it turns out, Dr. Emma Garrison-Alexander, Assistant Administrator, Office of Information Technology of the Transportation Security Agency sent out an email message Friday detailing TSA's new firewall policies.

They are blocking Web sites considered, "inappropriate for government access." These include:

  • Chat/Messaging
  • Criminal activity
  • Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content
  • Gaming, and
  • Controversial opinion

So, clearly, the TSA people will no longer be reading my articles about Steve Jobs. C'est la vie.

If you could block any Web sites, what would you block? (Yes, I know it's a leading question. Consider it a gift.)

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