Pssst! You’re Not Supposed To Be Reading This!

Earlier today, I learned that TTC’s internal security folks, who have nothing better to do with their time than protect employees from the evils of the Internet, blocked my website for access from the TTC’s network.  This lasted about a week.

It is reassuring to know that in these troubled times, TTC staff are not wasting their days reading commentaries that, in some cases, have far more information than they are likely to get internally from their own organization.

The issue of staff “wasting time” on the Internet comes up in every organization, but some are rather heavy handed in how they deal with this.  If the problem is that staff are not doing their work, then manage that problem.  There are many more ways for people to not work than to surf the net.

Now on the subject of budget cuts, I think we have a candidate who surely won’t be missed.

15 thoughts on “Pssst! You’re Not Supposed To Be Reading This!

  1. Must have been blocked because of all those dangerous curves on the King Street Data Sets.

    It’s analysis porn I tell ya 😉


  2. Torontoist is also blocked––and has been for some time––if that makes you feel any better (or worse).

    Steve: Perish the thought that TTC staff might actually read something useful about the city.


  3. Why, you old subversive you! Next will come the Stalinist purges.

    Steve: Except, given that it’s the TTC, they won’t be able to find me because their maps are out of date.


  4. Clearly the aim is to make it unnecessary for TTC (or any City staff) to work and live in Toronto! Knowing and living with the results of your decisions clearly makes managing things more complex. Outsource off-shore I say!


  5. That is HIGH-larious. So Steve, you were saying about the TTC being an efficient organization … ?

    I’ve worked in the gov’t and the private sector, and there is a ton of fat that can be trimmed in ANY organization. Just how many people work for the TTC in an administrative capacity? Why weren’t they touched? Not even one position. Come on!

    It’s pretty obvious you’re a bleeding heart liberal (a la Maude Findlay, if anyone here remembers that show), but they should have downsized in the admin departments.

    By the way, IT does not block sites unless management asks it to do so.

    Steve: Two points. First, administration was trimmed. The issue is not quantity, it is quality. Second, if IT gets a stupid directive like “block all blogs”, well that’s fairly easy with the right firewall software. You subscribe to a service (not unlike anti-virus software) that maintains a directory of sites by type, and you select which types you want to block. The idea that some blogs might have useful information probably never dawned on the extremely dim bulbs who made the request for blocking in the first place.


  6. It sounds like a management control issue to me – that management doesn’t like the employees reading dissenting opinions about how the TTC should be run. Since it’s easy enough to block access to websites through the corporate computer network they have the means to prevent employees from reading politically unpopular websites and made the decision to use it. My understanding is that TTC management is pretty draconian with how they handle staff and this incident would seem to support what I’ve heard over the years.


  7. Doesn’t the ignorant and arrogant hate bright ideas and constructive discussion. God forbid someone may copy one of your ideas and make something good happan in this city.


  8. Once again, it just goes to show that the only “truth” in the world is what the TTC management tells you!! Just read between the lines of any issue of the Coupler (TTC’s employee newspaper) when you read all those articles about how wonderful the TTC is. You should see the “spin” that TTC management has tried to put on their internal notices abnd the “training” programme about the recent Ontario Human Rights Commission ruling about surface operators now being required to announce all stops.


  9. Steve,

    Firewalls can only block by IP address, so they must have specifically targeted your site. I think it’s absolutely pathetic that they would do that.

    Steve: Actually, subscription blacklists categorize sites by type, and the TTC may not have realized what they were cutting off. Probably, they’re after Facebook and the like, but sideswiped a bunch of legitimate sites in the process.


  10. Hi Steve:-

    How Orwellian of them. It’s nice to see Newspeak may indeed become the language of Ontario beauracracy.



  11. Matthew Kemp: To some people, bright ideas are never considered unless it is either their own or from someone close to them, no matter how ludicrous it is. This is called POLITICS and this is why these days I am cynical about the bureaucracy that exists in this city.

    Is Spacing also cut off too?

    Steve: I’m not sure about spacing, but Torontoist (the home of the alternate survey) was also blocked.


  12. Such controls never really work, and this is exactly the kind of thing that keeps inviting hackers. (And no, I’m not one of them!) Further, most anyone who discovers they’ve been intentionally blocked from viewing something on the internet by some ‘big brother’ at work is far more likely to find a way to see that content whether through workarounds or simply using their own internet connection at home. It’s the ‘Pandora’s Box Effect’. (Perhaps Steve should be charging a subscription access fee for his ‘analysis porn’, what with all that wild Up and Down data action!)

    This was probably done in the name of ‘workforce efficiency’. Can’t have folks wasting paid time viewing un-blessed web content. I’m curious to know from start to finish how much administrative money it cost and how many people it took to implement that network restriction. If there were any consultants involved I’m going to freak out!


  13. I’d like to second Steve’s point that site blockers aren’t limited to just IPs. Over at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, I’m told that my personal site is blocked as it is a “sex site”.

    Never get a computer to do a human’s work.


  14. Steve I see according to today’s Star city hall staffers aren’t reading your site.

    Steve: They are reading my site, but either (a) I don’t rate as highly as hotmail or (b) I am considered a bona fide site to visit. And, before you ask, I am not going to offer photos of streetcars in compromising positions.


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