Updated: TSA Blocks Websites With 'Controversial Opinions'

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Posted: Jul 07, 2010 11:08 AM
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is blocking certain websites from the federal agency's computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a "controversial opinion," according to an internal email obtained by CBS News.

The email was sent to all TSA employees from the Office of Information Technology on Friday afternoon.

It states that as of July 1, TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed "inappropriate for government access."

Full story from CBS News

Update: After much public outcry, the TSA has backed away from its ban on "controversial opinion" sites.  The Washington Times reports:

The ban on “controversial opinion” sites, issued late last week, was included as part of a more general TSA Internet-usage policy blocking employee access to gambling and chat sites, as well as sites that dealt with extreme violence or criminal activity.

But the policy itself became controversial as the Drudge Report and a number of conservative bloggers highlighted the possibility that the policy could be used to censor websites critical of the agency or of the Obama administration in general. The American Civil Liberties Union also questioned the language.

TSA spokeswoman Lauren Gaches said the agency’s revised “acceptable use” policy for Internet access on the agency’s network was designed to block sites “that promote destructive behavior to one’s self or others.”

“After further review, TSA determined the ‘controversial opinion’ category may contain some sites that do not violate TSA’s policy and therefore has concluded that the category is no longer being considered for implementation,” she said in an e-mail to The Washington Times.

Smart move, TSA.