TSA revises ban on websites

By Rachel Stevens
Federal News Radio

The Transportation Security Administration has revised its decision to block access to websites deemed “inappropriate for government access” from agency computers.

Previously, Federal News Radio reported that agency employees would no longer have access to websites that fell into the categories of “chat/messaging, criminal activity, extreme violence/gruesome content, gaming, and controversial opinion.”

TSA now says it has dropped “controversial opinion” from the block list.


The Washington Times reports that outrage from conservative bloggers and free speech activists led TSA to reconsider the policy. Some feared it might have been used to stop access to websites critical of the Obama administration.

Lauren Gaches, a spokesperson for TSA, says the term “controversial opinion” was “an IT software catch-all phrase used to describe sites that may violate TSA’s acceptable use policy, such as sites that promote destructive behavior to one’s self or others.

“After further review,” Gaches says, “TSA determined the ‘controversial opinion’ category may contain some sites that do not violate TSA’s policy and therefore has concluded that the category is no longer being considered for implementation.”

Gaches also says TSA’s intent was never to limit employee thought or opinions.

Rachel Stevens is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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