I don’t talk a whole lot about my day job here. Some of my readers may know for whom I work, and some even work there with me (hi guys), and I don’t plan to say much beyond this post. It’s a good company, and I enjoy the work, the people and the other important part of working.
Today, I was taken completely aback because the company began implementing a major internet filtering policy, and I mean major. I’m still investigating the full scope, but here’s a taste:
- YouTube, blocked.
- MySpace (and pretty much any other social networking site out there), blocked.
- Odeo, blocked.
- Upcoming.org, blocked.
- iTunes (at least podcasts), blocked.
- Any type of streaming (flash audio/video, QuickTime, etc.), blocked.
Now for the good news. Apparently, straight mp3 files are fine to download, RSS feeds and BlogLines is safe, and for those interested in the social networking scene, the pets are still ok.
I’m sure the guys at TechDirt would have something insightful to say about this, linking to studies showing how internet use is not that big of a deal and actually helps employees be more productive. Unfortunately, the company is entitled to do whatever it wants, and if it feels it needs to do this to save bandwidth, protect its systems, and maintain efficient work flow, well they have the right. I just won’t get to send around any of funny YouTube videos, listen to internet radio, watch movie trailers, check out the latest in social media (I’m thinking the company doesn’t have much of interest in understanding or using social media), or easily listen to podcasts. And like with any filtering technology, it will block something that would help me perform my job better, and then I’ll have to submit a request to unblock it or just go without it. Not the end of the world, but still, it will be an inconvenience.
Why post this then? Well, it got me thinking, and I don’t claim this to terribly insightful, that maybe the whole Net Neutrality debate is not the biggest danger to the internet. Maybe when companies and schools start following this example and shutting their employees and students out (as the government is already working on), and since I’m guessing that’s where a lot of people use the internet most, that will be a huge hit to many web sites and communities? I’m thinking that wouldn’t be a good thing. What do you think?
Added upcoming.org to the list. I can’t believe they blocked that one. Ridiculous.