During the US Presidential election, Barack Obama used a variety of new media outlets to outfox his rival, including building a massive a network of Obama supporters on Facebook.
But don’t expect state politicians in Maryland to follow in Obama’s footsteps. The IT department of the Maryland General Assembly has blocked access to Facebook and Myspace (NWS).
The memo, which leaked. (Memos always leak.)
Date: February 5, 2009
To: DLS Staff and Members
From: Mike Gaudiello
Subject: Computer Viruses and Malware
With the beginning of the 2009 Legislative Session, we have observed a significant increase in viruses and malware affecting the Maryland General Assembly computers. After several weeks of analysis, we have determined that many of the infecting programs are originating from pages hosted on www.facebook.com and www.myspace.com. In an attempt to reduce the number of viruses and malware entering the Maryland General Assembly facilities, we have blocked access to both of these sites. As our analysis continues and additional websites are identified as problematic, we will be blocking these as well.
We realise that this may be an inconvenience and we apologise. But it is essential that the integrity of the Maryland General Assembly computer systems and facilities are protected.
We appreciate the need to get a handle on viruses and malware, but might installing a security suite instead be a better solution? Or is this an effort to keep politicians and their staff from goofing all day?
Maryland reps wouldn’t be the first to prefer Facebook to the drudgery of politics: In October, CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin got caught checking his Facebook page live on air in the middle of an Obama-McCain debate.