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Government 2.0

There is no question that technology has changed how Government is done. With the integration of social networking, blogs, RSS feeds, and wikis, Government is better able to serve individuals, businesses and employees alike.

Here is a forum to share your experience with technology use in Government.

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admin  
#1 Posted : Friday, December 18, 2009 1:35:16 AM(UTC)
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(Excerpt taken from a story on our sister site, FCW.com. For complete story, click here.)
 
The Supreme Court is gearing up to read some really racy text messages in a case that may determine whether government workers can privately send racy messages to their lovers.

I know it sounds like a soap opera, but privacy while doing government work is serious business. The case in question stems from a police officer in Ontario, Calif., who was caught sending 456 personal text messages -- an average of 28 per shift -- over his department-issued smart phone while on duty. The city’s wireless contract put a limit on messaging, and he and other officers were exceeding the limit, causing overage charges. So the city took a look at the messages for the top two offenders and found that only three were actually work related.

Sounds like an open-and-shut case? Don’t be so sure. In an only-in-America twist, the texting officer—who was allegedly sending sexy notes to his wife, a girlfriend and another officer — sued the department and the wireless company for invasion of privacy, and won. The case has worked its way through the appeals process and now lands at the door of the Supreme Court justices, who I guess will get to read all about what cops like to do with their handcuffs when off-duty. At least the justices will learn why they call it "sexting."

But the larger issue is whether government employees can expect any real privacy when communicating over government computers or mobile devices. I know when my father used to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology he would never respond to any e-mails from his work computer, saying that he was told that they were, or could be, read by supervisors. Of course he wasn’t sexting, but he was worried that his bosses would say that sending a private e-mail on the government’s time and equipment could be used against him in a performance evaluation. 

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Knight  
#2 Posted : Friday, December 18, 2009 2:11:05 AM(UTC)

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We have disclaimers on all GOV related equipment (Computers, phones, cellphones) that we monitor and can review emails and files at any time. I have been involved in cases where employees claim privacy violation but so far we have always won.
Serenity81  
#3 Posted : Sunday, December 20, 2009 12:02:31 AM(UTC)
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Knight...you are correct.  If it "belongs" to Uncle Sam, he can look and listen to whatever he wants.  The computer on your desk at work does not belong to you, the cell phone Uncle Sam provided for you, is not yours to do as you please...you have to follow the contracted "cell phone" plan for minutes, texting etc, it is not "your" phone.  The gov vehicle you ride around in is equipped with GPS and a camera mounted near the rearview mirror....complete with video and sound....it's not "your" car and is subject to monitoring.  So forget the trip to Mickey D's for breakfast or stopping by the house because you forgot your briefcase...no taking the kiddos to school.  Uncle Sam is watching...and so are the taxpayers. Wink
Knight  
#4 Posted : Sunday, December 20, 2009 9:06:59 AM(UTC)

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I try and make sure everyone around me knows they can be and most likely are being monitored.
 
I had a Colonel come by once and ask me about a computer problem and wanted me to come to his desk and fix it.  I logged into his PC remotely, drilled down to his profile and showed him what was occurring that caused the problem. He was shocked and later tried to get himself exempted. He was told if he didn't agree to monitoring he would not have a computer.
 
I also take newcomers to the unit onto the NCC floor where we do real time monitoring of web traffic and show them that we see what sites they are visiting and what they are typing.
 
I hate being Big Brother sometimes but on GOV equipment that might be used to save a life or to take one (predator drones have a network too) has to be there at all times and not degraded by someone surfing for porn or such.
Debasis Goswami  
#5 Posted : Monday, January 11, 2010 10:34:20 PM(UTC)
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When I joined I learned that employees have no right to privacy on any government owned equipment. I think that is reasonable.
thanks 1 user thanked debasisg for this useful post.
proudpublicservant on 1/11/2010(UTC)
mallen  
#6 Posted : Sunday, January 17, 2010 2:01:59 PM(UTC)

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Admin wrote:
(Excerpt taken from a story on our sister site, FCW.com. For complete story, click here.)
 
The Supreme Court is gearing up to read some really racy text messages in a case that may determine whether government workers can privately send racy messages to their lovers.

I know it sounds like a soap opera, but privacy while doing government work is serious business. The case in question stems from a police officer in Ontario, Calif., who was caught sending 456 personal text messages -- an average of 28 per shift -- over his department-issued smart phone while on duty. The city’s wireless contract put a limit on messaging, and he and other officers were exceeding the limit, causing overage charges. So the city took a look at the messages for the top two offenders and found that only three were actually work related.

Sounds like an open-and-shut case? Don’t be so sure. In an only-in-America twist, the texting officer—who was allegedly sending sexy notes to his wife, a girlfriend and another officer — sued the department and the wireless company for invasion of privacy, and won. The case has worked its way through the appeals process and now lands at the door of the Supreme Court justices, who I guess will get to read all about what cops like to do with their handcuffs when off-duty. At least the justices will learn why they call it "sexting."

But the larger issue is whether government employees can expect any real privacy when communicating over government computers or mobile devices. I know when my father used to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology he would never respond to any e-mails from his work computer, saying that he was told that they were, or could be, read by supervisors. Of course he wasn’t sexting, but he was worried that his bosses would say that sending a private e-mail on the government’s time and equipment could be used against him in a performance evaluation. 

-----------------------------------
 
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 I read an article on that same case. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34416896 This article states they were informally told they could use the text messages for private use and no one would audit their messages if they paid for any charges above the monthly allowance. It seems whats at issue here is not whether or not there is an expectation of privacy on official cell phones,but whether there is an expectation of privacy if the official policy tells you that there is none,but then your boss tells you not to worry about that,and that really,no one will read your messages.
 Honestly the whole thing seems to me to be a non-issue for me anyway. In our jobs,or at least in mine,Im explicitly told that there is no expectation of privacy and that any information I transmit is subject to FOIA requests and could end up on the evening news. Its rather obvious that nothing my supervisor,the agency director,the Secretary of Labor,or perhaps even the President of The United States himself could tell me could shield my private messages from access. There is a law that says that all the documents I produce can be requested,and unlike Dick Cheney,I don't have a man sized safe filled with redacting pens.
mallen2010-01-17 22:11:28
FunK  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:12:55 PM(UTC)

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MT principessa wrote:
Knight...you are correct.  If it "belongs" to Uncle Sam, he can look and listen to whatever he wants.  The computer on your desk at work does not belong to you, the cell phone Uncle Sam provided for you, is not yours to do as you please...you have to follow the contracted "cell phone" plan for minutes, texting etc, it is not "your" phone.  The gov vehicle you ride around in is equipped with GPS and a camera mounted near the rearview mirror....complete with video and sound....it's not "your" car and is subject to monitoring.  So forget the trip to Mickey D's for breakfast or stopping by the house because you forgot your briefcase...no taking the kiddos to school.  Uncle Sam is watching...and so are the taxpayers. Wink


I agree 100% with this..   My problem is when the government is allowed to do all that to private citizens and their private phones / cars / computers, etc.

The opposite should also be true..   If Uncle Same didn't give me a car, phone, computer, then they should have no right at all to look, peak, listen without a warrant..

Nevermind, someone has an exigent letter to sign in regards to this post...


Pivotman  
#8 Posted : Monday, February 22, 2010 10:09:33 PM(UTC)

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FunK-
Your last post was so right on. Goes both ways!!
Spaceshot  
#9 Posted : Monday, March 29, 2010 7:29:40 PM(UTC)

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Knight wrote:
I try and make sure everyone around me knows they can be and most likely are being monitored.
 
I had a Colonel come by once and ask me about a computer problem and wanted me to come to his desk and fix it.  I logged into his PC remotely, drilled down to his profile and showed him what was occurring that caused the problem. He was shocked and later tried to get himself exempted. He was told if he didn't agree to monitoring he would not have a computer.
 
I also take newcomers to the unit onto the NCC floor where we do real time monitoring of web traffic and show them that we see what sites they are visiting and what they are typing.
 
I hate being Big Brother sometimes but on GOV equipment that might be used to save a life or to take one (predator drones have a network too) has to be there at all times and not degraded by someone surfing for porn or such.
 
Seeing what I am typing in real time is not posible unless your looking at my screen.  and then your not monitoring web traffic your monitoring ME.  As you type words they reside on the local machine they do not transverse the net until you submit the page. SO your either total BS or you don't even know what you do.
 
Ive worked in govt many years,  You should know there not as high speed as we would like them to be.  Budget cuts and lack of technology doesn't allow for crap in the movies to be real. 
 
Devices such as bluecoat and websence monitor where we go and what we see on the govt systems NEITHER of them are real time of what we are looking at or typing.  Inflate your ego and scare non technical people all you want.  But the senerio in bold NEVER happened not even in your dreams.
samac59  
#10 Posted : Monday, March 29, 2010 8:29:17 PM(UTC)

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 we do real time monitoring . we see what sites they are visiting and what they are typing. We is a plural meaning more than one.
Spaceshot  
#11 Posted : Monday, March 29, 2010 11:25:35 PM(UTC)

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samac59 wrote:
 we do real time monitoring . we see what sites they are visiting and what they are typing. We is a plural meaning more than one.
 
 
YOU CAN"T SEE WHAT IS BEING TYPED...... That isn't in real time. 
 
That would be KEY LOGGING. . . it'll get you in Jail fast because then you could capture someones password and stuff.  You do PROXY'ing You capture where people went and where they are.  You don't know if there blogging or just hitting the blogg page.  you get the refresh you don't know if there typing in word as there surfing the web.
 
STOP BEING STUPID.
Bill  
#12 Posted : Tuesday, March 30, 2010 12:18:18 AM(UTC)
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Spaceshot,
You're the one who is coming across as stupid.
I administer the network for a municipal PD and right now I have keyloggers on 3 machines that one of our officers has access to because we believe that he is posting inappropriate comments on a local chat site while at work.
In conjunction with this, I have a user policy in place for him that prevents him from using "private" browsing features and a log on script that copies his history every 5 minutes while he is on the internet.
I don't have real time capabilities, but between the two I'll be able to tell the administration if he visited a certain site, when he visited it and what he posted.
I only allow a single IM application (Trillian) to be installed. It works with all of the standard messaging services and has pretty decent archiving capabilities so every single instant message that goes in or out is also saved for posterity.
We are monitoring the use of equipment we own and there is nothing illegal about it unless we use the information for illegal purposes. If I can do what I need to do with my limited resources then I have no doubt that the feds can do a lot more. Maybe not realtie viewing of the pages you're seeing, but they can at least get real time URL's.
 
Spaceshot  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, March 30, 2010 3:27:51 PM(UTC)

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OK, OfficerBill,
 
You missunderstood my argument.  Yes you can see what gets sent and all.  What im saying is if your bull*****ting about one part its probubly all bull*****. 
 
You can NOT see what people are typing as they type it.  You see it the second they send it.
 
I did not deny you can see what gets sent over the network.  I do the same job of monitoring.  You can monitor everything that gets done. it's all tracked and monitored AFTER the fact.  you can't stop the bullet mid flight.
Pick  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, March 30, 2010 8:28:21 PM(UTC)

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Spaceshot wrote:
Seeing what I am typing in real time is not posible unless your looking at my screen.  and then your not monitoring web traffic your monitoring ME.  As you type words they reside on the local machine they do not transverse the net until you submit the page. SO your either total BS or you don't even know what you do.
 
Ive worked in govt many years,  You should know there not as high speed as we would like them to be.  Budget cuts and lack of technology doesn't allow for crap in the movies to be real. 
 
Devices such as bluecoat and websence monitor where we go and what we see on the govt systems NEITHER of them are real time of what we are looking at or typing.  Inflate your ego and scare non technical people all you want.  But the senerio in bold NEVER happened not even in your dreams.
 
Not sure where it is you work, but where I worked last, they had the ability to see what you typed in real time.  They had to make the conscious effort to monitor your machine, but they could do it. 
Bill  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, March 31, 2010 2:44:52 AM(UTC)
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I also have PC Anywhere installed on the majority of our machines. I have the ability to open a monitoring session without the user's knowledge and watch everything on his screen; in real time.
Knight  
#16 Posted : Wednesday, March 31, 2010 9:47:04 PM(UTC)

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Okay Spaceshot you got me, I know nothing and sit around playing Missile Command instead of launching real live preditor missiles (although they do use the same skill sets). Is "near real time" a better term for you? I may not see your every keystroke as they happen but as soon as you hit submit and the PC sends that stream of data across the wire it can be displayed on a terminal if we have set it up to do that. Most daily traffic passes without notice until certain <censored> events happen. Then a log file starts and if requested the "almost live, near real time, so close it hardly matters" traffic can be display on the technician's monitor.
TER  
#17 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2010 2:58:07 AM(UTC)

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Knight wrote:
Okay Spaceshot you got me, I know nothing and sit around playing Missile Command instead of launching real live preditor missiles (although they do use the same skill sets). Is "near real time" a better term for you? I may not see your every keystroke as they happen but as soon as you hit submit and the PC sends that stream of data across the wire it can be displayed on a terminal if we have set it up to do that. Most daily traffic passes without notice until certain <censored> events happen. Then a log file starts and if requested the "almost live, near real time, so close it hardly matters" traffic can be display on the technician's monitor.
 
If you work on it, you oughta at least be able to spell it.  Predator.  Not "preditor" 
Knight  
#18 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2010 11:44:38 PM(UTC)

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Dang spell checker got me.
martyb  
#19 Posted : Friday, April 2, 2010 2:39:41 AM(UTC)

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WinkBusted!  lol
Forum trolls to 0%
recentGrad22  
#20 Posted : Thursday, April 8, 2010 11:55:22 AM(UTC)

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Hasn't spaceshot ever heard of remote desktop?  It and there are other equivalent software packages allow you to see a remote computer exactly as if you were at someone's desk watching their monitor.  You can watch someone as they type, not just when they hit the send button.
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