Facebook Drama in Maryland

Seems the Maryland Legislature will once again have access to Facebook:

Five days after sparking protests from lawmakers over his decision to block access to the popular networking site from legislative computers, the head of the assembly’s information technology office said yesterday that he will reopen access to Facebook in the next day or two.

It seems concerns over viruses and malware prompted the ban in the first place. The Director of the Maryland Legislature’s Information Services, Mike Gaudiello, now says that his office has “put in place tools to scan legislative computers for the viruses and harmful software that prompted the block…”.

That raised my eyebrows a bit – while Facebook can be (and has been) used to propagate viruses, the biggest threat to government computers is undoubtedly still regular old e-mail. If you’ve got safeguards in place to protect state computers from e-mail propagated viruses, I’m guessing that you’re probably covered as far as Facebook is concerned.

As social networking tools become more integral to the communications between elected officials and their constituents, a host of thorny issues are likely to arise. I’m curious to see how governments will address these issues:

  • Are the direct messages that people can send via Facebook and Twitter subject to public record requirements?
  • Are direct messages that people can send via Facebook and Twitter FOIA-able?
  • Do status updates in Facebook or Tweets meet the requirements for public meeting notices?

It will be interesting to watch as this continues to develop.

BTW, Hats off to @mmahaffie for the link to the article.


3 thoughts on “Facebook Drama in Maryland

  1. Thanks, Mark!

    Interesting questions. I wonder if we have institutional knowledge, or records, from when e-mail first became widely used by public officials? Maybe we can get some guidance from that experience.

    It seems like we’ve always had it, but it has only been a few decades. I think?

  2. Hi,

    This is actually a comment on your article posted in 2006, titled “Detecting Caller Frustration”, available at http://www.voiceingov.org/blog/?p=93. I apologise firstly to post it here… Could not find a way to post a comment to that article.

    I’m using mark to identify the location where the user barged-in. However my prompt is not a TTS, but a long audio file. When I use mark in the tag, the marktime is always returned as 0. However marktime works fine when I use TTS instead of a pre-recorded audio.

    I hope this is not intended in VoiceXML 2.1 ? Or could be a platform specific problem. I’m using Genesys Voice Platform 7.5.

    Any light on this problem will be appreciated beyond words,

  3. Nitendra –

    You can identify the point where a caller barges on a recorded audio prompt by using the marktime property of the application.lastresult$ object.

    You can see an example of how this works in this post, along with some sample code. Note – I use the Voxeo Prophecy platform for this example.

    If you still have trouble after reviewing the sample code I provide, let me know.

    Hope this helps.

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