Massachussetts Legislature Bans Twitter From Office Computers

from the why? dept

Copycense points us to the bizarre news that the Massachussetts state legislature has decided to ban Twitter from office computers. While Facebook is still allowed, and officials can still tweet via their mobile phones, it's banned on computers. The Legislative Information Services dept is claiming that it's because Twitter is "vulnerable to viruses," but that's fairly bizarre reasoning. Twitter itself is not prone to viruses. Some users may post links to viruses, but that's true on Facebook as well. Besides blocking all of Twitter seems like a sledgehammer approach. While most of the state officials interviewed in the Boston Herald article above seemed upset about the ban and questioned the reasoning behind it, the funniest quote has to come from State Senator Robert Hedlund, who apparently has a list of those darned online time-wasters that he has no self-control over, and wishes were banned:
“There should be more sites that are blocked. We should also ban solitaire, Bejeweled and Farmville.”
Or, you know, Senator Hedlund, you can just stop playing those games...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 3:40am

    This post is to be taken lightly

    Well, Farmville clearly adds cocaine to your keyboard. But only if you work for the Government.

    Bejeweled demads you take LSD from your coffee machine, and Twitter is like that earworm for eyes. And Solitaire is for dangerous loners who like guns.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 3:44am

    Edjewkayshun

    Perhaps they should focus on hiring people qualified to use the internet in the first place, or even teaching current employees how to use it properly. Its not even close to rocket science (a fairly simple subject by the way). The buried-head-in-sand approach has almost universally failed at almost every level and scale of use; so I have to ask why are we not learning from the past when it comes to attempting to block a form of communication/interaction? Realistically, this "plan" is bound to cause employees to simply find any means they can for subverting the new rules (proxies come to mind as a simple start) and cause new vulnerabilities they could have avoided by just dealing with the technology instead of trying to cripple it.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 5:17am

    I'm not even sure why this is discussion worthy since it's so common to me.

    In most large companies I've worked for/with Security has an implied mandate to save users from themselves.

    There's been countless times when I've googled a technical error and have been blocked because the content was on "forums" or "a website not commonly used for business."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    bosconet (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 5:25am

    Don't ban Twitter fire the IT staff

    Because their ignorance of actual risks from twitter seems to be a way bigger security problem than twitter access might introduce.

    And I sure hope any MA state agencies don't have twitter accounts that citizens have come to rely on.....

     

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  5.  
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    AW, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 5:27am

    Why is this news? Twitter is banend from my work too?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 5:38am

    The Twitter issue is real, because the 140 character universe teaches people to click on any old link, without any knowledge of where it goes. Just as Facebook is now infested with scammers and issues, twitter is also facing those same problems.

    As taxpayers, we should be happy when government is at least making an effort to keep public employees from wasting their work days on social media sites.

     

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  7.  
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    Shawn (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:02am

    Re: Edjewkayshun

    So do you test the internet qualifications of your state Senators before you vote for them in your state? We really don't 'hire' them and their ability not to fark up their computer is pretty low on the list as far as what most people look for come election time.

     

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  8.  
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    anon, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:15am

    Re: Don't ban Twitter fire the IT staff

    really? you think the IT staff makes these kinds of decisions?

    you're an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Pickle Monger (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:21am

    Useless decision of the month

    Oh, no! Not the office computers! If only there was some sort of a mobile, handheld device that would be able to view websites or send 140 character text messages to 21212 to post on Twitter... Oh, humanity!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    johnjac (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    I'm sorry, that your employer's don't trust you to act like an adult and do you work, and/or are too lazy to measure productivity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Froggystyle, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Playing games

    You can't really stop employees from playing form their iPhone or iPad, so better keep the games on the computer, at least they can work more that way! Froggystyle

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Don't ban Twitter fire the IT staff

    Some people don't really know chain of command in government. A hot topic comes up and the head of your department who is coming up for election says "We need to stop this." no matter what proof you give them as to "no this is not the way to go about it and you have been misinformed" they will not take a no for an answer and block all *.txt files from coming into your email system as attachments....but *.exe and *.mov are just fine because there is a business reason for it...gotta get that movie of a cat flying into a ceiling fan....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Jon B. (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Re: Edjewkayshun

    If only every computer OS was shipped with a way to play solitaire without using the Internet...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:37am

    Maybe they should ban the computers actually - after all; they are prone to viruses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Jon B. (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re:

    While I disagree with you in general, I will agree that it's not a good thing that things like tinyurl and bit.ly have become acceptable to people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    hometoast (profile), Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:39am

    banned at my work too

    but on the basis of excessive bandwidth use. Twitter... bandwidth... really? Facebook, Twitter, any video site, any and all embedded flash (but not flash that's put there as a result of javascript), oh, and plenty of other actually useful sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:45am

    "So do you test the internet qualifications of your state Senators before you vote for them in your state? We really don't 'hire' them and their ability not to fark up their computer is pretty low on the list as far as what most people look for come election time."

    You're proposing that people should consider technological ability? Hah!

    That's a nice and good idea but any political manager worth their salt knows the most statistically-accurate population to vote in any election falls into to categories-- the emotive uninformed and the elderly. These are the poor souls who are stuck in a comatose state in front of a TV programmed to exclusively show FoxNews at the assisted-living center.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Re: Edjewkayshun

    "So do you test the internet qualifications of your state Senators before you vote for them in your state? We really don't 'hire' them and their ability not to fark up their computer is pretty low on the list as far as what most people look for come election time."

    You're proposing that people should consider technological ability? Hah!

    That's a nice and good idea but any political manager worth their salt knows the most statistically-active population to vote in any election likely falls into two categories-- "the elderly" and "the emotive-uninformed". These are the poor souls who are stuck in a comatose state in front of a TV programmed to exclusively show FoxNews at the assisted-living center or they have confederate flags waving in their front lawn.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 7:11am

    Mass Leg in solidarity with Mubarak

    Egypt slams lid on protests, Twitter” (Jan 26, 2011)

    The Egyptian government has banned further protests against the long rule of President Mubarak and shut off access to Twitter after a day of violent protests left three people dead....

     

     

    The Massachusetts legislature strongly condemns irresponsible media and fully supports the restoration of law and order. Banning Twitter is more than a mere gesture, it's a forthright statement that the legislature will do its utmost to suppress insurrection.

     

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Scott, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Bureaucrat Gets Busted

    Am I the only one who thinks that some worthless bureaucrat got busted with kiddy porn, using drugs or having any affair?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    AW, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Bureaucrat Gets Busted

    No it would have been all over Fox news if someone in the mostly liberal Mass legislature had something bad happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Josh Taylor, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 11:52am

    How about a statewide ban on the internet?

    How about a statewide or better yet a federal ban of the internet? There's a big world that needs to be explored. The internet is the cause of obesity. The internet is the cause of our post offices shuttering, putting postal workers out of a job. The internet is the cause of bookstores and video rentals going bankrupt including Borders, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, etc.

    There's a two things that people need to do:

    1. Get away from all things that are internet and computer related. Get out and excerise. Start roughing it in the Great Outdoors. Learn something nature-like.

    2. Save your hard earned money by dropping your internet phone, and cable. Sell your computers and TVs and have daily conversations at the dinner table with your family.

    3. Support your local post office by sending letters in handwriting to your relatives or friends.

    4. Ask a Jesus to come into your heart and he will rid you all things that are technology. Find a church group and give a witness on how Jesus help you out of your internet addiction.

    5. Support your local bookstore. Buy a book and read.


    We don't need the internet. We need to support our local post offices and bookstores.

    The internet stops here. Together we can get all people away from their internet addictions and come to Jesus for forgiveness. When the internet dies, we will rejoice in the Name of The Lord Jesus.

    God bless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re:

    Sure, it's become acceptable to people... from trusted sources.

    And let's face it, the people who would click on shortened links from untrusted sources would also click on longer and/or obfuscated links, so what does it matter?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Jan 31st, 2011 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Re: Edjewkayshun

    I do: if they're over 40, have never previously demonstrated computer use, and have a website w/ even a crappy Joomla layout, chances are they view the internet like a chicken views fire; totally oblivious or living in constant fear thereof.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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