Archive for July, 2009

Part 3 of an endless 9-part series on Internet Unblocking.


Welcome to Publicserviceville! Please mind the renovations. Do enjoy your stay, but for now, please keep your business indoors.

I’ve been thinking alot about the excellent comments that have been left on my last two posts on Public Servants having limitations on their access to the Internet. I’ve tried summarising the comments for this post, put them into context, and harmonise them or create a separate model, but I keep ending up making my whole main points over again and not doing the comments justice. There were excellent points about the risks, the supporting infrastructure, the risks, the governance/policies

Putting aside the ongoing challenges to substantially speak to the topic in a general-enough way that is common to all of the Government of Canada (i.e.: each department has their own Internet-blocking policy), I think the issue of Internet use is one of a difference in paradigms across several lines:

  • The public servant analyst & the public servant manager
  • The Internet user & the Internet maintainers
  • The predominant traditional public servant &the renewed (virtuously scheming public servant?)
  • The Internet power users & the luddites
  • The advantaged (unblocked Internet) & the restricted (even Doug’s blog is blocked! Gasp!)

How to give insight in a way that harmonises all these views? I think I found it. Spoiler alert: It’s in (ever on-going) Public Service Renewal. Or rather what Public Service Renewal isn’t doing.

To illustrate this, we need to consider how Public servants are of many breeds, from across many areas, in many functions, with very many roles between them. It’s almost…a huge town. A town of, well, several hundred thousand people. Let me tell you about Publicserviceville! › Continue reading…

If phones were blocked, what would you do?
If telephones were blocked, what would you do?

Edit: Added YouTube video and invite for you to share your own examples

The Issue

Seems I came across a topic of great interest across engaged #GoC Web 2.0-ers in my last post. The comments are excellent – there are very good points made and I encourage you to read them.

It is challenging to provide insight on the issue of Public Servants having their Internet access limited, because:

  • the rationales for blocking websites are many (i.e.: IT Security, bandwidth, prohibited content, Information Management);
  • Internet blocking is up to the discretion of each department and agency (there’s no consistent rationale across the departments), each with their own rationale and list of blocked sites;
  • not all departments/agencies block websites;
  • few to zero examples exist of sites becoming unblocked or granting access to specific employees;
  • my access isn’t blocked, so tough tamales for you.

I do consider it an imperative for public servants to have unblocked access to the Internet not only for the conduct of their work, but also for their personal reasons too as the work-life balance increasingly blurs.  I have tips and advice to share about how to unblock it, but I want to spend another week to better understand the issue. What insight can I provide this week? Hopefully the kind for managers to press further and influence change in their organisations. If not, then at least let me entertain you.

I want to offer to managers (and others influencing managers) to approach the Internet as they approach the use of phones. I may be totally off-base with this one, or be completely preaching to the choir here. Let’s see.

› Continue reading…


The problem

Government of Canada employees are blocked from the websites they need: to conduct the business of government, gather information relevant to their duties and develop expertise. This limitation damages the positive work environment, compromises productivity, and diminishes their capacity to enhance services for the benefit of citizens, businesses, taxpayers and employees.


Access to the Internet is important for employees of any workplace, especially as social networking and  better collaboration becomes vitally necessary for employees.  Many public servants are blocked from web 2.0 sites, preventing them from connecting, collaborating, accessing information and sharing knowledge. If government departments want to get on-board with Web 2.0, they need to start by unblocking access to Web 2.0. › Continue reading…

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