The Edmond Sun

Nation & World

October 1, 2013

Work-from-home links go dark for furloughed employees during shutdown

WASHINGTON — Government workers may not only be physically cut off from their offices in the event of a federal shutdown — their digital ties could be severed, too.

According to a memo from the Office of Management and Budget issued last week, furloughed employees are not allowed to do any work, including "via mobile devices or remote computer connections."

That means no checking email. No working remotely. And no BlackBerrys or other government-issued smartphones.

The memo states that it's up to each agency to determine how to enforce the digital restrictions. But furloughed employees will have to turn in their smartphones during a four- hour shift Tuesday to put their affairs in order and turn in the phones, according to Washington Post reporter Lisa Rein.

Agencies can't even rely on sending messages about when workers can get back on the job via mobile devices or "home access to work email," the memo says.

The OMB cites the Anti-Deficiency Act — the same act that will keep workers out of their physical offices — for the digital shutdown. As with other government work, there are some exceptions to which positions will still be allowed to use virtual space, such as work that protects lives or vital property.

Government workers have already faced the prospect of turning in their PDAs, and The Post's Karen Tumulty reported in 2011 that workers were anticipating going through withdrawal symptoms such as hearing phantom rings and vibrations from empty pockets. That dependence has only grown in the past two years, and a majority of American smartphone users keep their phones on or near them at least 22 hours a day, according to a 2012 study from the research firm IDC.

The shutdown could also affect government websites, according to the memo, because workers will not be able to update those online pages during a shutdown. There will be exceptions on an agency-by-agency basis. Essential systems can stay up, as can back-end technical systems and other systems needed to maintain the functionality and security of those systems. Also, any site that does not require someone to maintain it can remain online, the memo said.

Agencies also can extend the deadlines for any paperwork or applications due to the government if such submissions are put on hold during a shutdown.

While websites are shut down, the memo suggests, agencies should put a standard notice on their landing pages letting visitors know that the information on the websites may not be up to date.

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • MS_injection well.jpg Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation

    A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
    The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
    More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • New study counters pot legalization argument

    A new study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences, a researcher says.
    Researchers say the findings suggest recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

    April 15, 2014

  • Anita Hill.jpg Anita Hill reflects on her fateful testimony, 23 years later

    Back in 1993, I rounded a corner of a Laguna Beach, Calif., grocery store and walked straight into Anita Hill.
    We both stopped in our tracks. She looked slightly panicked, like someone had turned on a light in a room, and all she wanted was the door.
    It took a moment to register that this was the woman who, just two years before, calmly testified before a Senate committee about the sexual harassment she endured while working for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas  at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of all places.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • jc_Erick Wyatt.JPG Norman man takes on challenge to unseat Inhofe

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of candidate profiles leading up to the 2014 Oklahoma elections.

    Erick Wyatt is running for U.S. Senate to be a strong voice of the people, he said. More than anything, Wyatt said he is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe for the sake of his children.
    The Norman Republican vows to represent the people’s interests instead of the interests of powerful political groups, Wyatt said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140414_MALAYSIA_Bluefin.jpg In new phase to find Flight 370, search robot will enter ocean

    The pings have sputtered out in the multinational search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, forcing search crews to deploy an underwater robot to find a plane that’s eluded human efforts.
    In a last-ditch effort to find the Boeing 777 and its black box flight recorders, a U.S. Navy submersible vehicle will be used to scan an area in the southern Indian Ocean for debris.
    “We haven’t had a single detection in six days, so I guess it’s time to go underwater,” Angus Houston, who heads Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center, told a news conference in that country’s western city of Perth on Monday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25801486.jpg VIDEO: Northern California bus crash kills 10

    At least nine people died in Northern California on Thursday night, in an accident involving a bus, a car and FedEx truck. The bus was filled with high school students from Southern California who were on their way to visit a college campus.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Strong earthquake rattles Logan County

    Ray Dorwart, owner of Guthrie’s Dorwart Custom Boots, 117 S. Second, said he was in his store working on a sewing machine when he felt the structure shake Monday morning.
    Dorwart was on the phone with an out-of-state friend when he heard some tools rattle and felt the wood floor vibrate.

    April 7, 2014

  • Number of Americans without health insurance reaches new low

    The share of Americans without health insurance has dropped to the lowest level since before President Barack Obama took office, according to a new national survey that provides more evidence the health care law is extending coverage to millions of the previously uninsured.
    Just 14.7 percent of adults lacked coverage in the second half of March, down from 18 percent in the last quarter of 2013, the survey from Gallup found.

    April 7, 2014

  • Daniel Dissinger, 13.jpg Investigators seek cause of fire that killed 3 brothers

    Two siblings, a 14-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, survived the early-morning Friday inferno that may have been touched off by kerosene lanterns used in the home. They ran to a neighbor’s house to ask for help and were later treated for smoke inhalation.
    A sixth child, age 4 ½, was spending the night at a friend’s house.

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos