The Washington Examiner reports,
Unrest is simmering in some quarters of the Washington news universe regarding changes in the way the Department of Labor (DOL) manages its pre-release media “lockups” on sensitive data like weekly jobless benefits and unemployment.
For years, journalists participating in the lockups have shown up at DOL at the appointed time, then entered a limited-access area to receive the new data and prepare news stories for release as soon as official embargoes end. . . .
But Carl Fillichio, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ top communications advisor, circulated a memo earlier this week[:] . . .
[T]he Fillichio memo that has journalists worried is this paragraph:
“Second, as a measure toward enhancing security in its main lockup facility (the DOL news room), the department will supply and maintain standardized equipment with a standard configuration for all participants. This change means that privately owned computer and telephone equipment, including hardware, software, cabling, wiring and Internet and telephone lines will be replaced with equipment owned by the department.”
In other words, journalists will no longer be allowed to bring their laptops or other equipment to the lockups, they will have to use government-supplied equipment, described by Fillichio as including “a virtualized desktop running a Windows operation system, a web browser, word-processing software, an Adobe Reader application and secure file transfer capability. Equipment provided will not have wireless networking capability. Provisions will be in place for news organizations to transmit their stories over the Internet.”