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WI Capitol Blocks Pro-Union Web Site 377

ISoldat53 writes "State government workers are unable to connect to a pro-union web site,, 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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  • If you are at work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:48AM (#35289410) Homepage
    You're supposed to be working. Not doing political stuff. While it's a dick move, I rather doubt it's a first amendment violation or the end of the world (as is suggested by TFA).
  • by wjousts ( 1529427 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:52AM (#35289450)
    If it's your union, then it is part of your work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:52AM (#35289454)

    You're supposed to be working. Not doing political stuff.

    Strengthening of unions usually happens among people who... wait for it... are on the job together.

  • Not a story (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sprouticus ( 1503545 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:58AM (#35289526)

    This is not really a story.

    Apparently they auto-block websites, using whitelists only. So this new website comes online and its blocked. If they unblock it per their normal procedure, I see no issue.

    (and i say this as someone who is against the limitations on the collective bargaining process)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:08AM (#35289616)

    Selectively censoring a wifi connection paid for by the public and for the use of the public in the Capitol building for the purpose of preventing the public from being able to organize and petition the government isn't a first amendment violation? WTF?

  • by mathmathrevolution ( 813581 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:09AM (#35289620)
    He's censored the website because he finds it a political hazard; that's obviously a free speech issue. His behavior is evidently not about worker productivity since: 1) If the State Capitol wanted to increase worker productivity, they would block ESPN, not a pro-labor site. 2) It's perfectly acceptable to surf the web during one's OSHA mandated break. The only reason to block the site is a crude attempt to impede the pro-labor movement.
  • by Arccot ( 1115809 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:13AM (#35289660)

    If it's your union, then it is part of your work.

    did you mean that if it's your union its your collective bargaining group built to screw employers out of more money than the employees are worth and healthcare purchase group? Cuz then I'd agree with you, BUT I don't see how any of that has anything to do with the mechanics of performing your job.

    As opposed to the employers, who want to screw employees and pay them less than they're worth?

  • by john82 ( 68332 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:25AM (#35289750)

    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.

  • by TheoMurpse ( 729043 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:30AM (#35289812) Homepage

    doubt it's a first amendment violation

    If it's the only site they're blocking (or one of a small handful of sites they're blocking), then it is most definitely a First Amendment ("FA") violation. The federal or a state government can only block sites in certain ways.

    First off, a pro-union website would be classified as "core political speech," which receives the highest FA protection. In order for this blocking to be upheld, the blocking would have to overcome strict scrutiny analysis. Strict scrutiny analysis is an extremely stringent analysis, and in order to survive such analysis, the policymaker would have to show (1) a compelling government interest; (2) the law is narrowly tailored to that specific interest; and (3) the policy is the least restrictive means for accomplishing that interest.

    Given the Wisconsin governor's comments in the past about unions (he's trying to permanently remove collective bargaining rights from the teachers union, e.g.), I suspect there is no compelling government interest aside from a desire to shut unions up. Beyond that, almost no law/policy overcomes strict scrutiny in real life, so it's almost a given that this would be struck down.

    Now I suppose this could be a TMP (time, manner, place) restriction, which would only need to withstand intermediate scrutiny. Such scrutiny requires the policymaker to show the policy is (1) content neutral; (2) narrowly tailored; (3) serves a significant governmental interest; and (4) leaves open ample alternative communication channels. This policy would assuredly fail based on its content non-neutrality.

  • Re:STATE workers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RKThoadan ( 89437 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:32AM (#35289834)

    Never trust the /. summary. This was the capitol's public wi-fi, not just for workers.

  • by Posting=!Working ( 197779 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:33AM (#35289838)

    Read the article - the site was up for a while before being blocked. If your firewall has a whitelist that allows anything to be there for days before blocking it and asking if it should be allowed, you need a new firewall.

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:42AM (#35289922)

    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.

    How many levels of management/managers exist between a leader overseeing 500 people in the public sector vs that of the private sector?

    I think you'd be surprised, especially at lower levels such as city and/or county government at just how many people make more than $100k/year to do a job which is handled by far fewer people in the private sector.

  • by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @10:45AM (#35289950) Journal

    "most government workers are paid less than equivalent civil sector workers"

    Bull. Shit.

    Do your own homework. Why let facts get in the way of your lie? []

    Page 1. Look at the plots on page 1. Total comp from State & local is $10/hr more than private or Civilian.

    If you actually read that report (ie went beyond the pictures):

    Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in
    private industry. Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work
    activities and occupational structures. Manufacturing and sales, for example, make up a large part of
    private industry work activities but are rare in state and local government. Management, professional,
    and administrative support occupations (including teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local
    government workforce, compared with two-fifths of private industry.

    Second, according to a recent study at the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee, education level is higher among government workers than peer private sector, so your comment of "government jobs are good for people in relatively low-skilled jobs" makes me think you're either making everything up or worse, people in government are reaching for jobs not to their ability yet wanting to be paid like they are working to their ability.

    Actually it's the opposite. A lot of government workers have education and experience beyond the level required for the job, and while using it aren't getting compensated for it. We get people with masters degrees applying for technician jobs that require an associates or 2 years experience.

    Anyway, government jobs are cushy in a recession, and crap in boom times. If government jobs are so well paid and so great, go ahead and apply for one. In a year or so, there will be plenty of openings that no one will want because private sector will pay more.

  • by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @11:10AM (#35290262)

    So let's see if I understand:

    You think the government HAS to provide access to the entire web through its "guest" service, even or goatsecx, just because of the first amendment? Really??? - Is government also required to hand-out copies of free newspapers or provide printing presses to everyone who visits? No.

    If you read the actual law it says government (specifically the US Congress) shall not prohibit speech, or press, or religion. It says NOTHING about them giving you access to these things - you are responsible to get your Own speech, your own press/internet, and your own religion. By yourself.

  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @11:20AM (#35290338) Journal

    You're displaying the common geek rush-to-arms that a potential etymology defines acceptable meaning. English is defined, if at all, by how she is commonly used and understood.

    et al. is usually used to mean et alii (in the sense "and the other men/people") or et aliae (in the sense "and the other women"). Though you'll even find dictionaries suggesting that et alia could be the full form, used to refer to groups of both genders, this is nonsense - such a group is considered masculine. Poster was looking for et cetera, meaning "and the other things" (countries, Clinton's complaints, whatever - the ambiguity illustrates why it's not just lazy to have a list of only one item).

    I guess he could retort that he was abbreviating et alibi, but the "place" is that sense is not commonly understood to be geographical.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @11:23AM (#35290368)

    Let's see. It is paid for by the public. And since I live in Wisconsin, it is paid for by me. Taxes aren't optional. As far as paying for another service, why should I since I'm paying for this already?

    If Fox News wants to set up its own public wifi service and censor union websites, fine. But since the public owns and pays for this service, the government can't censor it. Period.

  • by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @11:23AM (#35290378)

    >>>the govt is prohibiting the public's access to it.

    No it isn't. The public can access or goatsecx or this union site anytime they desire. At home. Or by cellular.

    The government is merely Filtering its OWN personal service, because it it didn't, there'd be an uproar that the government allows access to nudity or obscenity over its "guest" service.

  • by overlordofmu ( 1422163 ) <> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @11:49AM (#35290598)
    By employers, do you mean rich executives with multi-million dollar homes, vacation homes, more cars that I have digits and really big boats?

    You are right! Those good old boys work damn hard for their exteme wealth. How dare we, the relatively weak, the relatively poor, organize to make sure the wealthy do not divide us and exploit us.

    I mean it isn't like there is a history of employers abusing workers in the USA.

    No one dies from workplace poisoning : []
    Consumers in the USA wouldn't buy a product from a company that assfucks the people that make their gadget: []
    Big business in the USA is good to its employees: []

    Good god-damn, do not get me started about 19th and 20th century abuses world wide. The industrial revolution has been a violent battle ground for the poor trying to make a living in a world owned by a minority. The minorty holds the vast bulk of the wealth while the majority pays rent to them just to have a place to sleep without being arrested for loitering.

    Remind me again why you are kissing the ass of the rich?

    I remember. You think you will get a big pile of money by cheerleading capitalism. Here is a interesting idea; let me know what you think:
    Insteading designing economic systems built on the idea of unending growth (despite the limited nature of Earth) where the money forms pools around corporations and big pools have leverage to control smaller pools, what if instead we designed economic systems that ecourage money to flow and spread to areas where it best supported society as a whole and not indivials. What if the natural tendency of money was to diffuse and not to coalesce? But you believe this is impossible don't you? You have been taught to attack this concept as naive, haven't you?

    But, if I have you pegged right, you are the kind of guy that really wants a shiny car and a big house you can only use 1/4 of even when your whole family is home. Right and wrong don't matter because your are from the USA and everyone there knows unchecked capitalism is good for everyone. And you cannot get that sort of extreme wealth without someboy else doing shit work (assembling your iPhone) being paid next to nothing so your company (like Apple) can see the profit. See how that works? They work hard, and die for you. Fuck yes! That rocks for you. You pay them shit and all the profit is yours. You don't get rich paying workers a living wage, now do you? Fuck the little guy! You need a BIG car, and a BIG house. And as the poor guy in on the other side of the planet you don't even need to see the poverty that helps to fill your wallet because he is in China. WIN-WIN!

    Now tell me: Do you own an iPhone?
  • by tsm_sf ( 545316 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @12:04PM (#35290772) Journal

    The government is merely Filtering its OWN personal service

    Not entirely clear on the concept of our government, are you?

  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @12:38PM (#35291064) Homepage

    They're not your damn ISP.

    No, they're the fucking state government, which gives them less of a right to block sites.

    Who even cares if one particular employer blocks one particular website?

    If they were blocking it for employees, that would be one thing. They were blocking the site on the guest network for the capitol, which is intended for public use.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @01:02PM (#35291304) Journal

    So what? The question isn't "is it ever okay to limit freedom of expression." The question is "Is it okay in this instance that the government block access to a pro-union website from a public hotspot, during a large public protest, for the express purpose of stifling political debate and participation?"

  • by AF_Cheddar_Head ( 1186601 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @01:44PM (#35291706)

    Unless you are a legislative aide or representative trying to do research before voting on a bill

  • by SETIGuy ( 33768 ) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @02:35PM (#35292206) Homepage

    Government employees are paid mostly through taxes.

    This is why they traditionally are paid lower than the private sector.

    Say WHAT!?!? Paid *lower*!?!?

    You'd better check your facts. On average, government workers...particularly those in public sector unions...are paid far, far better and get far, far better benefits than those doing equivalent work in the private sector.

    His facts are right. Your facts are not facts. For equivalent education and experience, and including benefits, public sector workers receive significantly less compensation (5 percent at the low end of the salary scale to 20 percent or more at the high end) than their private sector counterparts.

    The way the Fox News folks get their "public sector workers make more" number is by ignoring education and experience, and by comparing the average government worker (a school teacher) with the average private sector worker (somewhere between a waiter/waitress/bartender and a janitor). The comparison goes even farther Fox's way when they throw in the unemployed as "private sector workers".

  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @03:57PM (#35293050) Homepage

    Americans have a right to publish and received published information over wifi based on our Constitutional rights to freedom of press. Public parks are always provided on a "No Warranty, No Guarantee, No Commitment, Use At Your Own Risk" basis.

    Oh, wait. I think I misquoted you there.

    No one has a fucking right to government provided public parks, you moron, just like no one has fucking right to government provided internet connection.

    What they do have is a right that if such a thing is provided, it will be provided indiscriminately of their viewpoint.

    The government does not have to provide a public park, but if it provides a public park, it cannot keep people from using it to say stuff the government does not like.

    The government does not have to provide a public wifi, but if it provides a public wifi, it cannot keep people from using it to say stuff the government does not like.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama