This FSWEP student is available for briding starting September 2020

This FSWEP student will be available for bridging starting May 2021.

Part 4 of an endless 9-part series on Internet Unblocking. I thought I was joking. Maybe I’m not.

Finally, here it is. A bullet-point strategy to possibly unblocking Internet sites. I’m taking a business-oriented approach here, and broad general steps. Hope it’s useful.

Strategy for getting those sites unblocked

If you’re seeking unblocked access or the unblocking of certain sites,

  1. Determine who to send your request, is it IM/IT, Corporate Services or the Help Desk.
    Find out:

    • Is there a procedure in place to submit site unblocking requests? What is the typical response time for granting/rejection?
    • Have there been requests granted?
  2. Determine if your reasons are work-related or personal.
    1. If work-related, develop your reasoning around your work needs and productivity.
      • Include in your request.
      • Give a heads up to your manager / director of your request. Get their support and sign-on if necessary.
    2. If personal (harder):
      • ask for the “statement indicating the kinds of activity that are legal but nonetheless unacceptable and not permitted on electronic networks“, a statement required by departments as per the policy (use of Electronic Networks – § Policy requirements § Unlawful and unacceptable conduct).
      • You may need to submit a link to the policy.
  3. Follow-up.

And now wait. In somewhat exceptional cases, expect the long-haul of delays and write-ups. You’re looking at preparing write-ups of rationales, even business cases, followed by Risk assessment reviews by the IT committees.

Tips:

  1. Prepare to write out your business needs; list sites you need access to and why;
  2. Refer to the support from the 2 policies I listed 2 weeks ago;
  3. Communicate your needs to your manager and director,
    • Communicate the benefits and requirements;
    • shake, rinse & repeat until you get it;
  4. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up;
  5. Ask for reasons why you can’t have access;

I can’t see other means, apart from pressing for career-limiting (soft & hard) moves to push it beyond your frames of influence and work. Your only last option is leaving to go elsewhere, an option not beyond the consideration for many employees who have been in touch with me. I suggest ensuring pursuing all available options before considering the door, if not for yourself, at least for those who follow, and you may be surprised what can happen (despite losing friends in IT). Besides, with transfers taking anywhere up to 6 months, who knows; it may be a good exercise to pursue. I dont’k now.

Vanguards

Of course there are vanguards we can refer to who rally in more productive directions – hopefully they’re an example for others to follow. There are those who work corporately toward a balanced use of Government network, such as my blogging mentor Etienne Laliberté, whose post “Facing Facebook” communicates the trust position he pursued for his department on Facebook (applicable to other social networks). Please read the article, we need more managers like this paving the way for acceptable use of social networking, than just blocking it outright, or not blocking it and pointing fingers at those who break the rules.

  1. If all else fails, either:
    1. stick it out, persevere;
    2. change your work, or your expectations
    3. change departments
      • You’re way too vanguardish there, bucko. Your organisation isn’t ready for you. You have value to add. Maybe the next one is. As my colleague Nick Charney would rightly advise:

You are no good to your organization as a dead hero. Sure you raised a stink about whatever, people cheered (in their heads), but in the end you have accomplished nothing because no one in their right mind is willing to collaborate or champion something that was just over-advocated by someone who stirred the pot with reckless disregard.

-Scheming Virtuously: A Handbook for Public Servants, Nick Charney and Mike Mangulabnan (2009)

Final insight

Remember:

Social media can make you love your job.

-Christian Sauvé, Public Service Commission, at the CSPS Web 2.0 Practitioners Event on June 29, 2009

BONUS: Possible workarounds

Maybe these work. I don’t know. I’m just throwing them out there.

  1. Use dial-up at work
    • Use that modem port on your computer and plug in your phone cord and use dial-up. Not the fastest speed, but likely unblocked. Most Internet plans have dial-up included.
  2. Proxies
    • a computer network service that allows clients to make indirect network connections to other network services. Listings available here: http://proxy.org/
  3. iGoogleIf you add Gmail to your iGoogle page you may be able to view your personal Gmail mail direct from the iGoogle page
  4. Get Mobile Internet, such as the Rogers Rocket Internet Stick. Connects to any computer via USB and provides unfiltered Internet.
  5. And if none of these tips help, do some research on your own! Find other tips from employees facing the same problem
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