In January 2015, the New York Times did a story about how the Chinese government was taking more steps to block Internet access for their citizens. The communist government blocked access to gmail, flicker and a number of other websites.
In January 2016, Sinclair Broadcast Group is going to do the same thing to their staffers. Sinclair is based out of Maryland, but it seems their might do well in China as well.
In an internal email sent to staffers and obtained by Exclusively by FTVLive, Sinclair has told them that Internet access will be blocked to many sites that THE company deems "unacceptable."
This includes, Yahoo, Gmail, Hulu and Netflix along with porn sites. We're guessing that the Sinclair bosses will still have access to the porn.
It will be interesting to see what other sites Sinclair finds "unacceptable" Will FTVLive be one of them?
The company claims that it is all about protecting the Sinclair system. Saying that visiting Yahoo, Gmail and porn sites are the way that the Sinclair computers are "infected with malware and viruses which are, in turn, an effective way for hackers to gain access to our systems. It should be noted that companies like Yahoo and Google scan mail for viruses and malware. The only way a virus will infect a computer, is if the employee downloaded the virus though a link. Something they could do on Gmail, Yahoo or Sinclair's own email.
Also, FTVLive is based on Squarespace servers which has security software that would stop and eradicate malware and viruses. So there would be no reason for Sinclair to block this website. We will be very interested to see if they do.
The company will let staffers log into the so called "unacceptable" sites, but they will need to enter their email and password before they do.
If an employee does bypass the Sinclair security system, the company says that it will be , "will be logged, reported and subsequently monitored for abuse.
Now the fact that a media company is blocking access of their own staff to the Internet isn't more than ironic, I'm not sure what is.
While Sinclair loves to pound their right wing agenda, behind the scenes they are looking more and more like a communist regime after all.
They can say this is about protecting the company computers all they want, but this is really about big brother coming into a TV station. And that my friends is more than scary.
Here is the internal memo sent to the staff:
As you should already be aware, the accessing of personal email from Sinclair Broadcast Group networks and computers is prohibited. It is the principal way that SBG computers are infected with malware and viruses which are, in turn, an effective way for hackers to gain access to our systems.
In order to more effectively keep our network and computers secure, we will be implementing web filtering, logging and reporting on our Internet firewalls beginning in January, 2016. The web filtering will block access to content categorized as unacceptable, including but not limited to: personal email sites (e.g. Gmail, and yahoo email), commercial streaming services (e.g. Netflix, HULU) and pornographic materials. You will be able to bypass this blocking by entering your SBG-provided email username and password; however, bypassing the restriction will be logged, reported and subsequently monitored for abuse.
If you have a legitimate business purpose for bypassing the restrictions, please feel free to bypass.
If you have a business process that requires access to personal email as part of the process, please contact your local IT to identify how we can use SBG tools and resources to change the process and remove the need to access personal email.
You will also be receiving a notice about a new SBG Acceptable Use Policy in the next week. This document expands on the employee handbook’s definition of acceptable computer, network and device use. Please look for the email, the subject will be: “IMPORTANT INFORMATION – Electronic Delivery of Acceptable Use Policy”.