Oyster Bay: No town info on social networks

Oyster Bay Town Hall on Audrey Avenue on Oyster Bay Town Hall on Audrey Avenue on Oct. 21, 2010. Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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Town of Oyster Bay employees and vendors are expressly prohibited from releasing town information via social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook under a policy change approved by the town board.

The town's information technology policy "was tweaked to include language about social media," Oyster Bay spokeswoman Marta Kane said.

The change, made Tuesday, was in response to changing technologies, Kane said. "Technology is so fast-moving, sometimes it goes faster than the language that's in our documents," she said.

The policy prohibits town computer system users from communicating or transmitting town documents, data, email and other information without authorization from a department head and the public information office. The means of communicating information covered by the policy now includes social media on the Internet or mobile technologies that are in use or that may be developed.

Failure to comply can result in disciplinary action, suspension or revocation of the use of or access to town computers or systems, or other legal action.

The policy says a "user," defined as an employee, vendor, contractor or someone who "interacts with, or communicates to, through, or with, any town computers or systems . . . is required to comply with this policy and its provisions."

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Deputy Town Supervisor Leonard Genova said the town will have to revise the policy because it implies "that if you're a resident and you communicate with us, you have to adhere to the policy, which was not the intent."

The intent is for it to apply to town employees, vendors and contractors, not residents. "We're going to clarify it and edit it to be consistent with our intent," Genova said.

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