Big Brother’s Back: NASA Worker Suspended Over Blog Postings

By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

A NASA employee is off the job because of what he posted on his blog.

Federal Computer Week reports the man — a worker at Johnson Space Center in Houston — made posts soliciting donations and campaigning for political candidates on company time. He’s also accused of sending non-work-related emails while on the clock.

NASA has suspended him without pay for 180 days, according to FCW. They say his actions violated the Hatch Act, a policy that governs political activity of government-funded employees.

This serves as a reminder for us all: The things you type on a work computer are not private. Just last week, a study by research agency ProofPoint found 41 percent of all large American companies have staff members in place to monitor outgoing messages. Half of those staffers have no other responsibilities outside of watching what you do. And it’s not just the big corporations playing big brother, either; about 30 percent of all companies, small or large, admit to the same.

Some other interesting numbers from the report:

  • Eleven percent of all U.S. companies say they’ve taken disciplinary action specifically related to blogging or message board posting.
  • Thirteen percent have punished workers for spending time on social networks.
  • More than a quarter of the companies doing monitoring have fired someone because of what they found. Adult-oriented content is the most common violation.

Yikes. Guess I’ll have to switch over to oggling co-workers instead of internet babes. That’s still allowed, right?

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