HR Strange But True!
August 12, 2004

A union representing federal employees tells the Washington Post that the Justice Department appears to be monitoring employee e-mail traffic for naughty words.

An automated device known as the "MailMarshal" blocks messages from department employees when it spots "unacceptable language, or inappropriate material," AFSCME Local 2830 President Stu Smith told the newspaper. How does he know this? Because two employees recently got messages from the "net nanny," telling them: "Please clean-up or re-phrase the message and send it again."

Smith said he has asked officials what this was all about. "Is it for disciplinary purposes?" he asked. "We don't know." But it seems clear this is "not for security," he said. He added that he also has asked for a list of the "bad" words but has not received an answer.

The Post notes that the Justice Department "is known to be sensitive to matters of taste and morality," recalling that Attorney General John D. Ashcroft spent $8,000 for a giant curtain so visitors would be protected from the sight of a statue of a woman with one bare breast.

Source: Washington Post

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