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Taken from the BBC web site

Work bloggers offered guidelines.
Bloggers, people who have their own websites where they share thoughts
daily, have been urged to be anonymous if they write about their
The advice comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a US
digital civil rights group, which has issued guidelines for safe

The EFF suggest bloggers should be safe if they avoid identifying

Recent cases of workers fired for what they said on their blogs have
highlighted the risks for some.

The term "doocing" was coined to describe being fired for one's
website content after a US web designer was fired for her site in

"The point is that anyone can eventually find your blog if your real
identity is tied to it in some way," the EFF explains.

"And there may be consequences. Family members may be shocked or upset
when they read your uncensored thoughts.

"A potential boss may think twice about hiring you. But these concerns
shouldn't stop you from writing.
"Instead, they should inspire you to keep your blog private, or
accessible only to certain trusted people.

Blog sense

In November 2004, a US airline attendant calling herself Queen of the
Sky was fired over "inappropriate images" on her anonymous blog, which
identified her as a Delta Airlines worker.

A Google employee was also fired for what he wrote about the company
on his blog.

Other cases have shown that companies are more aware of what their
employees are saying on their own websites too.

Subsequently, some have been urged to set appropriate guidelines
themselves for workers, but many others have not yet.

In the guidelines, the EFF describes blogs as "personal telephones
crossed with newspapers".

It warns that people are not necessarily protected under the US First
Amendment, which protects free speech.

"The First Amendment protects speech from being censored by the
government; it does not regulate what private parties (such as most
employers) do," according to the guidelines.

However, it says there are cases where government employees are
protected if they wish to blog about work because it is in the public

It stresses that, even if bloggers do not intend for their blogs to be
read by people outside their circle of friends, they can be found and
read by anyone - including employers - unless they are made anonymous.

The guidelines suggest several ways to protect identity, including
changing names, and using tools freely available on the web to protect

Even details such as in which city a blogger's company is based should
not be revealed, suggests the guidelines, and it advises people to
avoid blogging while they are at work.

Growing popularity
But many bloggers specifically have their sites to highlight company
wrongdoing, or political issues.

Many US states protect people from being fired because of political
opinions they express in their own time.

But the EFF suggests that bloggers who want to raise cases of
malpractice within their workplace should inform appropriate
regulatory or law enforcement bodies of problems before they blog
about it.

Recent estimates from the Pew Internet and American Life Project
suggest there are about eight million US-based blogs, but some suggest
the figure is much higher than that globally.

Blogging has become popular because of the growing number of services
which offer free sites which are easy to set up, and which require
little technical knowledge.

Technical developments like Really Simple Syndication (RSS), have also
made it very easy for people to "subscribe" to a blog so that they are
alerted whenever a new entry is posted.

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