More Thoughts on the County Employee Internet Scandal

So this County Employee Internet Scandal is getting pretty interesting.  I think it was Aaron Stene who first coined it a “Internet Scandal”.  I’m pretty sure I was first to bring attention to the fact that Yagong was calling for this investigation.

The newspapers have picked up on it pretty good but have missed some key things that have come out.  Yesterday I found Lincoln Ashida’s response to this whole thing,  but I didn’t really get much chance to say anything about what I thought of the response.

The Department of Data Systems declined to provide the Council Member the records, explaining that an ongoing investigation into this alleged abuse is ongoing. Unfortunately, subsequent blog entries and even an editorial written by a journalist professional characterized the conduct of County employees as pervasive…

I had to backtrack a bit to find it, but I believe he’s talking in particular about this post by Tiffany Edwards “Best If County Shares Details Of It’s Workers Internet Usage Investigation

The word that Ms. Hunt used was “Tight-Lipped”:

“Blame it on the county being tight-lipped about its “investigation” into county worker internet usage…”

So if anyone is using the word pervasive… it’s Mr. Ashida himself.

Investigation into internet abuse in the County began in mid-2008 and has been ongoing. One employee has already been disciplined and his case remains pending with an administrative agency. There are other potential cases that remain under investigation. This is what the County can disclose at the moment:

So Mr. Ashida is also dropping a clue as to who may have been busted.  We now know that a guy has been disciplined.  Talk about getting hit twice… He’s already been disciplined and his case remains pending?

…The records compiled by the Department of Data Systems are highly sensitive, and have not been shared outside of their department with any County department, agency or person, other than on a need to know basis. This is because many County officer and employees (including the Council) may be called as witnesses in future cases…

So what qualifies as a “need to know basis”?  Sounds like Mr. Ashida has already pinpointed the Council already if you ask me by making a statement like this.  I mean come on Mr. Ashida… you could have picked on any county employee but you just had to pinpoint the council?

These records will ultimately be released, once all investigations are completed…

Doug over at Poinography thinks differently
…the portion of the investigation that “includes sites currently being visited in order to establish trends” may reveal other alleged cases of abuse, which would lead to further “ongoing” investigations preventing the release of the data, which could again reveal other potential cases of abuse, ad infinitum. Long story short: investigations of this nature are never “complete.” Following Ashida’s argument to its logical conclusion, we’ll never have access to these data…

I think once the penalties are handed… were definitely going to hear why eventually.

…The investigation includes sites currently being visited in order to establish trends. This also involves forensic examination of hardware and downloading of saved content…

No one said that they were investigating current usage in the papers.
Forensic examination… downloading and saved content??? Hope people weren’t downloading any itunes on company time. People think that is pretty harmless and others think that because they are paying for the itunes that they can… but simply put… that is also a No-No.

I’ve heard others talk about it’s ok to browse sites like Amazon during lunch breaks… well in reality… that’s not allowed either… so those that were… could be in trouble for doing that… EVEN IF IT’s on your breaks… If your using County Computers and infrastructure to do it… then you’re breaking the Counties Policy on Internet Use… which I still have not been able to find a copy of… Is there a formal written copy or policy somewhere that can be found?

Disclosing the records would identify particular individuals who may not be eventually charged administratively or criminally.

Wait a second, I thought we already went over what Public Records are with the Noelani incident. The public should be able to view the sites of ALL COUNTY WORKERS… not just those that are charged with something.

…No doubt the public is entitled to view these records. The sole issue is one of timing…

And Doug blogged about the timing as well:
…Unless there is a plan to halt internet access by County employees altogether at some point, the “proper timing” argument for the release of the data is, if not a red herring altogether, going to be a real challenge…
I love how Mr. Ashida ends it…

…Once the investigations are completed and final decisions are made on administrative and criminal charges, the records will be released…

…We are also committed to being fair to all persons involved in the investigation, and not do anything that would jeopardize its integrity.

Jeopardizing the integrity of the investigation… Let me think about this one… Mr. Ashida is blogging about the case as it’s going on… is that ethical in itself?

One Response

  1. Ten bucks says that another blackballing scandal or something along those lines is going to happen.

    Ashida making a mention of bloggers is only going to spark curiousity among people who don’t frequent blogs. Sooner or later, people will start relying on blogs rather than the paper to get all the news.

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