Updated: At 5pm ET, the USPTO called Jamie to say that a contractor had set this up, and after reviewing their policies, they had stopped blocking such sites...
Well this is bizarre. Jamie Love from KEI was over at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a meeting about "global negotiations on intellectual property and access to medicine." The meeting itself was held in a room that it uses for the USPTO's Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA), and there is free WiFi for people to use. Love tried to log onto his own website... and found that it was being blocked as a "political/activist group."
Access Denied (content_filter_denied)
Your request was denied because this URL contains content that is categorized as: "Political/Activist Groups" which is blocked by USPTO policy. If you believe the categorization is inaccurate, please contact the USPTO Service Desk and request a manual review of the URL.
For assistance, contact USPTO OCIO IT Service Desk. (io-proxy4)
Love then checked a bunch of other sites... and noticed a rather distressing pattern. For public interest groups who advocate that the existing copyright/patent system is broken, the websites were all blocked. ACLU, EFF, Public Knowledge, Public Citizen, CDT... all blocked. However, if you're a lobbyist for maximalism? No problem! MPAA, RIAA, IIPA, IPI, PHRMA, BSA... come on through. They do allow Creative Commons. Thankfully (for us, at least), they don't seem to block blogs that talk about this stuff. Techdirt is allowed, as are things like BoingBoing, Groklaw and Larry Lessig and Michael Geist's blogs. Though, oddly, a bunch of political sites (DailyKos, TPM, RedState, Rush Limgaugh's site) are blocked.
It may be an "over active" filter -- but it does seem particularly disturbing that all those groups who fight for the public's rights on the very issues the USPTO is dealing with on a regular basis have their sites completely blocked.