Bringing Annapolis Together

At least we now know the one thing that will united Democrats and Republicans in Annapolis is Facebook.

Of all of the more ridiculous decisions that have been made by Annapolis Bureaucrats over the years, this has to be right up on there. We’ve gotten to the point in society where so many people felt that the process of politics and government were leaving them behind. In the last year, members of the General Assembly have been gradually warming up to social networking (Facebook in particular) and blogging as ways to communicate with their constituents and as a way to sidestep the gatekeeper role of the media. That last part, of course, is something near and dear to us Republicans who get the shaft from our local newspapers and television stations when it comes to fair and accurate reporting.

But for now the plug has been pulled, and if you listen to folks from the Department of Legislative Services, the plug was pulled without cause:

Gaudiello told The Baltimore Sun that there has been no damage or loss of data associated with the dozens of viruses coming from links hosted on the social-networking Web sites, but that the action was taken as a precaution.

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So an entire capability used by legislators of both sides is wiped out “as a precaution.” If DLS wants to block websites that may be associated with viruses as a precaution, they better be prepared to shut down the entire web to legislative computers.

A spokesman for Facebook pretty much sums up a lot of the thoughts on this debacle:

“Most network administrators understand that the value Facebook brings to professional and civic discussions far outweighs the small risk it poses,” he said.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I don’t think that this decision has been made aimed at or punishing a particular party, as some people have intimated. I just think a brain-dead bureaucrat made a brain-dead decision that should be reversed and rectified ASAP. DLS needs to encourage citizens and legislators to stay connected, not throw up additional roadblocks to public participation and legislator interaction.


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