Social networking is bad! (says the Census Bureau)
An anonymous Census employee sent SRM a tip about a few flyers the Bureau sent along with their paychecks (finally). One flyer covered driving safety (and please, everyone, do take care while driving). The other covered the ethics of social networking, and unfortunately it came to the conclusion that it’s bad. Sorry Morse, time to close up shop! (Note: That was a joke.)
It’s funny how it is implied that criticizing and talking to outsiders about the incompetence of the census machinery and brass is punishable with jail and fines, when in reality, it only applies to title 13 of USC in regard to respondent information and personally identifiable information. The census own manuals have a section devoted to the rights and protections afforded to whistleblowers. They also imply that because we are paid government employees, that it is unethical for us to publicly humiliate and or expose the ineptness of our employers. Nice try. There is no law preventing anyone from writing in their personal capacity, but it is implied that it is wrong, unethical, and just not cool.
And from the reminder itself (no emphasis added):
CONFIDENTIALITY AND ETHICS REMINDERSocial Networking and Census EmploymentAs personal blogging, tweeting, social networking sites have become more common and popular, itis not unusual for Federal employees to have an opportunity to write about their work and theiremployer in a public forum. Please be aware you cannot disclose any nonpublic information thatis protected by statute. You also cannot receive payments for writing about Census programs oroperations or about assignments you have been given as a Census employee. In addition, youmust be careful to ensure that there is no appearance created that you are writing on behalf of theBureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce, or the United States Government when youare writing in your personal capacity.[...]These restrictions on writing and publications are in addition to the life-time oath you took touphold the confidentiality of census information. Any wrongful disclosure of confidential censusinformation subjects you to a fine up to $250,000, imprisonment up to five years, or both.