Monday, April 11, 2005

Writer's Block

Last week, I was on the telephone with a stockbroker discussing a tax question one of her clients had raised. I told her that I had discussed a similar question on my weblog and gave her the URL. She tried to get to the weblog via the brokerage firm's internet connection and was told that the site was blocked and not accessible from that computer.

My guess is that I am neither so famous nor so notorious that the computer actually singled me out. Rather, I think that the brokerage house programmed its internet access to block all websites operated by Blogger not merely selected sites. It would not surprise me if the computer were somehow programmed to block weblogs that use any of the larger weblog hosting services (e.g., Blogger, Typepad, etc.).

If would appreciate it if anyone could send me information as to (i) whether this is a common practice among brokerage companies, (ii) whether the block is applied only to weblogs using the larger weblog hosting services, (iii) how the personnel of the brokerage company can get around the block, or (iv) any other pertinent information.

I understand that the People's Republic of China and Saudi Arabia block websites that they find offensive, but I would have thought that the stock brokerage houses, being champions of the free market, would not try to impede the free market of ideas.


Greg Broiles said...

This isn't too surprising to me, given
the regulatory environment within which brokers operate. SEC and
broker/dealer regulation are not my field, but it's my impression that
there are rules (created by either SEC or NASD or both) that require
brokers to retain copies of *every* written communication between
brokers and [potential] customers, as well as baroque rules regarding
the content of the communications. In that light, clamping down on
blogs doesn't strike me as out of character.

See, for example,
(circa 2000) discussing whether or not it's a good idea for brokers to
be allowed to use E-mail, and mentioning in passing that a regulatory ruling
allowing same was only 2 years old at that time.

Fore Winds said...

stock brokerage houses, being champions of the free market

Juan O`Fore said...

Thought that "the stock brokerage houses, being champions of the free market...",and a search under "being champions of the free market" pull some intresting results ,BUT NOTHING REALLY In regards to supply chain management nor materials management in relation to information technology and the internet.
As a pillar of one,in representation of any of whom may choose to represent theirself,some of the platforms may be influenced by finacial conlicts such as competitor and propietor confidentiality,and simple solutions

Anonymous said...

(i) I believe it is a common practice, as mentioned due to SEC and regulatory issues. (ii) Haven't tried accessing any blogs from "there" but I'm betting they are all blocked as you suspect. I know for a fact that some companies block mail sites, eBay, game-playing sites, etc. (iii) Some "resourceful" personnel simply use their personal home email, although this could open up a huge can of worms for the employee if ever it came to light. (iv) Seems some firms prefer not to communicate in written form any more, period, including limiting email and written outgoing letters. Too many arbitration problems, I guess. I doubt you could find a more invasive, regulatory environment than these firms.

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HiPath Open office said...

In all honesty i don't find it that surprising. Blogging has become huge of late and lots of employees spend work time either catching up with their favourite blogs or writing their own.
In the same way that most companies now have bans on Facebook they're doing they're doing the same with Blogs in order to improve productivity.