For public employees, is reading a blog a First Amendment right or a waste of taxpayers' money? Should state governments be able to block workers' access to blogs? Can you justify blocking blogs but allowing continued access to newspaper sites?
These questions were brought to the fore waaaay back in mid-2006, when the state of Kentucky blocked its workers from logging onto any blogs. (At first , liberal bloggers, who thought only lefty blogs were being blocked, cried partisan foul. But it turned out all bloggers were affected equally.)
It looks like the issue is back on the table, now that Gov. Ernie Fletcher has been replaced by incoming Gov. Steve Beshear. Via Daily Kos comes this report from the Bluegrass Policy Blog that the new administration is reviewing and reevaluating Fletcher's decision.
It's easy to see both sides to this. On the one hand, states have an interest in making sure public employees aren't wasting time at work.
But by that logic, if you're going to block blogs, shouldn't you block personal e-mail sites like Gmail and Hotmail? Shouldn't you block Fandango and J.Crew.com?
Plus, it's hard to make the blanket case that all blogs are a waste of time and all newspaper sites are okay. Which has more value: this blog story breaking down Ernie Fletcher's fundraising in different parts of the state, or this news story about Liza Minelli passing out onstage in Sweden? Which is the time-waster?