Okay, as promised here is what they said about blogging.
First, the most recent guidance is still from 2008:
As bloggers, we are expressly prohibited from being posting on publicly accessible websites:
• Classified, SBU, or other information with restricted distribution requirements
• Floor plans/blueprints with associated information
• Home addresses, home/cell telephone numbers of individuals
• Personal or legal matters of another employee
• Technical information that may put Department resources at risk
• Medical records and/or financial disclosures of another employee
• Information dealing with investigative actions
We are also generally prohibited from being posting (unless the information is obtained through Public Affairs channels):
• Biographies of U.S. government employees except for DCM rank or equivalent and above, or as approved for public diplomacy or public affairs purposes
• Job titles and/or descriptions of U.S. government personnel, except as stated in the Key Officers of the Foreign Service Posts publication or when required by law or regulation
• Information identifying employees of other agencies
• Travel itineraries of individuals or groups prior to the event, unless previously released to the media or otherwise authorized as a part of a public diplomacy or public affairs function
• Pictures of U.S. government facilities other than the official photo of an embassy or chancery building
We did have a DS briefing, and while I understand that they are still telling A-100 folks not to blog or facebook ever never never or the USG might crumble, what they said to us seemed to me to suggest that DS is moving more towards understanding that this is the means of outreach these days, and perhaps in their minds is becoming a "neccessary evil." On one DS video they showed us, a DS agent with OPSEC (operational security) said that he himself blogs. That he loves blogs and bloggers, but hates "stupid bloggers."
Our presenter said that we simply need to be cautious from a personal perspective, recognizing that the Department of State is a target, and that we are a target by our association with State.
Which is a far cry from "don't blog."
What the video suggested is that people should be taught how to blog. Blogging can be a really useful communications tool, and I doubt any of us in the FS coomunity want to do harm to State or the USG. We are serving the country for goodness sake. So I agree, helping us understand HOW to blog would be a far better route than telling us not to (because as my blogroll illustrates, we are going to blog. And the blogs reach people). For example, the most useful guidance I ever got on blogging was from a DS agent who approached me as a friend and told me how what I was blogging on, which was not classified, could be used by the bad guys. I took from that lesson not that I shouldn't blog but that I should keep in mind how what I write can be used.
That was as indepth as they went...they didn't talk about specific types of blogs (though I'd suspect spouses have more liberty than employees). But like I said, it really seems to be a shift from don't blog to how/what to blog.
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