The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reversed itself today, announcing that it will no longer block TSA employees, using work computers, from accessing websites that contain a “controversial opinion.”
As CBS News first reported, the TSA on Friday informed its employees that five categories of websites would be off-limits because they were deemed “inappropriate for government access.”
Those categories were: “Chat/Messaging,” “Criminal activity,” “Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content,” “Gaming,” and any websites that contained a “Controversial Opinion.”
Sources who spoke with CBS News were puzzled as to why the federal agency would block websites that contain controversial opinions and questioned whether the move would violate First Amendment rights and the freedom to access information.
At about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the TSA sent out another memo to its employees explaining that the category of “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.”
The memo went on to say that “after further review, TSA determined this 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.” The TSA also emphasized that it encourages the “sharing [of] ideas and opinions.”