TSA bans employees from ‘inappropriate’ websites

By Meg Beasley
Federal News Radio

The Transportation Security Administration is blocking access to websites deemed “inappropriate for government access” from agency computers.

According to CBS News, an email from TSA’s Office of Information Technology announced that as of July 1, 2010, agency employees will not have access to five categories of websites.

These include:

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

The email does not indicate how TSA will determine what constitutes “controversial” opinion or “extreme” violence. However, it does state that some of the restricted websites violate the agency’s Employee Responsibilities and Conduct policy.

In an email statement to Federal News Radio, TSA spokeswoman Lauren Gaches wrote,

“TSA routinely makes improvements to our information technology systems to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats to keep our systems secure. As part of this continued effort, TSA uses a security technology to limit access to categories of web sites that pose an increased security risk. TSA does not block access to critical commentary about the organization and in fact expressly created the TSA IdeaFactory and the TSA Blog to promote diverse opinions. TSA employees will be able to access web sites required for work purposes.”

Meg Beasley is an intern at Federal News Radio.

(Copyright 2010 by Federal News Radio. All Rights Reserved.)