Large public and private sector organisations have continually got their knickers in a twist in recent years over the rise of the blogging and social networking.

Whether it is banning personal internet use during working hours, or sacking employees who set up critical (and not so critical) blogs or websites, they have been running scared of such technological trends.

Now Whitehall has issued civil servants with new guidance on blogging and online social networks and acceptable limits following the storm in a tea cup created by the Civil Serf blogger.

Amongst the instructions to be released by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, will also be regulations on whether civil servants can change details on Wikipedia.

The new code is likely to restrict information disclosed on blogs or social networks and limit the individuals who can interact with them.

Civil Serf caused a bit of a fuss with an often caustic and critical behind-the-scenes glimpse of working life in Government – believed to be the Department of Work and Pensions – before it was unceremoniously closed down at the weekend.

Whilst it is understandable that large companies and organisations might get a bit twitchy about content and feel the need to protect their brand, image and reputation, draconian regulations such as effectively banning all internet use will prove counter-productive in the long-term.

Whitehall appears to be taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this new code.

It doesn’t help the Government’s attempts to portray a society at ease with innovation and basking in the glory of freedom of speech, plus it fails to recognise the increasing role and impact such technology will have on all aspects of our lives in the very near future.

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