New guide aims to keep bloggers safe from pink slips

Electronic Frontier Foundation warns that "anyone can eventually find your blog" and that anonymity is key.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
2 min read
As ex-Delta Air Lines and Google employees can testify, blogging about your workplace can often have unfortunate consequences, including receiving a pink slip.

To help online scribes--and their bosses--stay on the right side of the law, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a guide for blogging in the workplace.

The EFF guide warns that not just random readers can find your blog; friends and colleagues can, too. But anonymity can help protect bloggers from the fallout.

"Anyone can eventually find your blog if your real identity is tied to it in some way," the guide says. "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."

Among the tips to preserving anonymity: Disguise your name and keep quiet on any details that might allow people to guess your identity--for instance, the location of your city, how many employees there are in your company, or the color of a boss' cat.

The guide also recommends not using work resources for blogging. "You could get in trouble for using company resources like an internet connection to maintain your blog, and it will be very hard for you to argue that the blog is a work-related activity. It will also be much more difficult for you to hide your blogging from officemates and IT operators who observe traffic over the office network," the guide says.

The EFF advisory also recommends using a cloaking device, and says that those who don't want to be discovered should steer clear of allowing their posts to appear in Google's rankings.

While blogging can land the unwary in legal hot water, it can also be valuable in exposing corporate wrongdoing at large companies. However, the EFF advises bloggers to go to the authorities before going to their keyboard and posting.

"You need to report the problems to the appropriate regulatory or law enforcement bodies first. You can also complain to a manager at your company. But notify somebody in authority about the sludge your company is dumping in the wetlands first, then blog about it," the guide says.

The guide can be found here.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.