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Censorship

WI Capitol Blocks Pro-Union Web Site 377

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
ISoldat53 writes "State government workers are unable to connect to a pro-union web site, defendwisconsin.org, from the wifi at the state capitol." Someone probably should let Hillary Clinton know.
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WI Capitol Blocks Pro-Union Web Site

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  • Yawn (Score:3, Informative)

    by paintballer1087 (910920) <paintballer1087@gma i l . c om> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @08:55AM (#35289482)
    It's not as bad as it seems if you RTFA. The WiFi at the Capitol is just using a whitelist. It wasn't accessable, but it was added to the whitelist within 30 minutes of being notified that it was blocked.
    FTA

    "The Department of Administration blocks all new websites shortly after they are created, until they go through a software approval program that unblocks them. Within 30 minutes of being notified this website was blocked, DOA circumvented the software and immediately made the website accessible,"

  • by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @08:55AM (#35289488)

    Governments have somewhat more constraints on treating political viewpoints equally than private employers would, though. So the network admins can probably block all political sites, but if they go out of their way to only block sites of the opposing political party, that might not be permitted. They also can't discipline employees in a viewpoint-discriminatory way, e.g. firing employees who surf to wisdems.org but not wisgop.org, or vice versa.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @08:57AM (#35289504)

    The Capitol building wifi network blocks all outside access requests unless it is on a whitelist.

    Once theblock was notice it took them 30 minutes to adjust settings to allow it. I don't agree with thatmethod but it is better for important networks.

  • by headhot (137860) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:11AM (#35289648) Homepage

    "Maybe they should start looking at all the wasted funds that are sent to the Federals each and every day"

    States dont send money to the federal government, they receive an inordanant amount from the federal government. Budget bill passed in the house, if it goes through, which it will not, will devastate State budgets.

  • by cptdondo (59460) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:17AM (#35289694) Journal

    Before you spout, do your homework. While government jobs are good for people in relatively low-skilled jobs, most government workers are paid less than equivalent civil sector workers. The divergence grows as you get more experience and seniority. Show me one job in the civil sector where you run a department or bureau with 500 employees and make less than $150K.

    I'm not especially pro-union, but without unions government workers would be subject to the whim of every politician out there.

    Lastly, union activity is typically specifically allowed on government networks provided it is outside of work hours. So it's legal on lunch breaks, before and after work, etc. Union organizers are allowed to use government networks to disseminate information essential to the union members.

    Governments also have strict limits on curtailing speech.

    So it's a dick move, that violates employer-employee trust, and most likely the first amendment and union agreements.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:21AM (#35289720)

    Clinton was complaining about shutting off the internet in Egypt, et al.

    et al. isn't a smart-sounding synonym for etc.

    Actually it works here, since it's just Latin for "and others". It mere convention that we tend to use it almost exclusively for group authorship in English.

    The only substantial difference with etc. is that the latter denotes that you know who or what the others are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:37AM (#35289870)

    The wifi connection is labeled "guest". It isn't for state workers. It is for the general public. This is a clear cut first amendment violation.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:51AM (#35290024)

    All web sites are blocked by the WI state government firewall the first time they are encountered until they've been cleared as non-offensive (i.e. pr0n). The block was temporary. It was not political. It was not First Amendment relevant. It was a rule in a firewall.

    This is slashdot, not Digg, let's try to rational for a change.

    Yes, that is what the Governor said, however, the site was up before this and accessed before this, so this blocking had nothing to do with the state's automatically blocking of new sites.

    When Egypt took down the internet, wasn't that just a rule in a firewall, too? How a site is blocked does not keep it from being censorship or political or 1st amendment. If somebody wanted to censor political speech on the internet, how else other than a firewall would they do it? And in the case of Wisconsin, why would they redo it after the site was initially blocked and then approved (and then blocked again) if it weren't for censorship?

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:03AM (#35290166) Journal

    It's not the union's website, it's a site favoring a political stance by the union. That's not part of anyone's job.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:59AM (#35290698)

    In this particular case the union has agreed to an effective pay cut of 9%, they've also (unofficially) agreed to suspend collective bargaining for 2 years to give local governments a chance to get their budgets straightened out. In return for those concessions, governor Walker has given back... nothing. Not one thing. He trumpets the same old lines over and over again regardless of how much the pro-union groups give in and has shown no willingness to compromise. Saturday there were 70,000 people at the capitol in Madison, that's 1.2% of the population of the entire state. People are pissed, and the republicans are committing political suicide if they don't start to move towards an agreement that actually makes sense, rather than an agreement which neuters the unions, which so far seems to be the only real goal to this piece of legislation.

  • by Malc (1751) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @12:07PM (#35291338)

    Interesting topical article over at The Economist [economist.com] that's basically saying the public sector workers earn less when they have a degree (e.g. District Attorney vs. corp. lawyer). Workers without degrees earn more (e.g. janitor at the District Attorney's office earns more than a janitor at a private law firm, unless the city has outsourced the work).

    They've also been running articles for a while now explaining that people with public pensions are screwed. The States have been allowed to get away with bad accounting or rather far too lenient forecasting and so there's a huge pension liability So maybe public worker's lower wages won't be compensated for by better pensions.

  • by TheSync (5291) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @01:08PM (#35291938) Journal

    It should be noted that public sector union bargaining is not universal in the US.

    For teachers [nctq.org], 35 states have mandatory collective bargaining rights, 11 states permit collective bargaining (neither mandating or prohibiting), and 5 states specifically prohibit collective bargaining of teachers.

    Some states have no public sector union bargaining at all.

    Virginia Code 40.1-57.2 [justia.com] "Prohibition against collective bargaining" says: "No state, county, municipal, or like governmental officer, agent or governing body is vested with or possesses any authority to recognize any labor union or other employee association as a bargaining agent of any public officers or employees, or to collectively bargain or enter into any collective bargaining contract with any such union or association or its agents with respect to any matter relating to them or their employment or service."

    Texas [onecle.com] has government code 617.002. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BY PUBLIC EMPLOYEES PROHIBITED. "(a) An official of the state or of a political subdivision of the state may not enter into a collective bargaining contract with a labor organization regarding wages, hours, or conditions of employment of public employees. (b) A contract entered into in violation of Subsection (a) is void. (c) An official of the state or of a political subdivision of the state may not recognize a labor organization as the bargaining agent for a group of public employees."

  • by SETIGuy (33768) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @02:09PM (#35292626) Homepage

    The story of the Wisconsin pension system....

    Many years teachers ago contibuted 6% of salary to the pension system and the state contributed another 6%. The state said, we can't afford to give you a raise this year, but we'll reduce your pension contribution to 4% and we'll pay 8%. A couple years later the state said we can't afford to give you a raise this year, but we'll reduce your pension contribution to 2% and we'll pay 10%. A couple years later the state said we can't afford to give you a raise this year, but we'll reduce your pension contribution to 0% and we'll pay 12%. A couple years later the state lost a lot of pension money through bad and fraudulent investments, but nobody was fired and nobody was jailed. A couple years later the state said "Look at those greedy teachers, they don't contribute anything to their pension, but they think they're entitled to one." And then the state said "we need to bust the teachers union so we don't have to give them that pension they didn't contribute towards and we lost."

    The moral of the story is "Never take pension contributions in lieu of pay raises, since the state can take those away from you."

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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