City Hall Takes San Jose Inside off of Prohibited Website List

To keep people on task, the city’s IT department developed a prompt back in the Internet’s toddler years—circa 1997—to notify workers that they may be attempting to visit websites prohibited by city policy 1.7.1, which covers “Use of E-Mail, Internet Services, and Other Electronic Media.” An ambitious assistant city manager at the time—Debra Figone—signed off on the policy. Perhaps she alone knew Facebook was coming. Since that time, the city has cut hundreds of positions, making productivity even more imperative. Fly was then dismayed and downright harrumphed when it learned last week that the Metro-affiliated political website San Jose Inside provoked the prompt for city workers as if it was some sort of personal blog about cats and the things they fancy. A quick check with city spokesman David Vossbrink found that the system was inconsistent. “Thousands of sites are filtered out by this service—most of them are porn,” he said with a laugh. San Jose Inside, which features breaking news, civic debate and original investigative reporting, was blocked similar to links blog The Daily Fetch, which Fly admittedly enjoys. Vijay Sammeta, the city’s chief information officer, says San Jose Inside has since been reclassified for easy access, similar to other local news sites such as the Mercury News and ... there have to be others right? Now City Hall employees can be as well informed as the 169,264 people who visited last year.

CORRECTION: An original version of this post reported that The Daily Fetch was not initially blocked by a prompt for city workers. In fact, The Daily Fetch does pull up a prompt when City Hall workers attempt to access the site. San Jose Inside regret the error. And sorry, Fetch.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

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