Saturday, August 22, 2009

Behind Bars

Visitors to the current version of the federal website for the Department of Homeland Security who notice trends in web design layout might take notice of the way that the "threat level" of the security advisory system has been relegated to the bottom of the page, although it once was featured more prominently.

Given the recent coverage of former DHS secretary Tom Ridge's revelation that there were political pressures to elevate the threat level in the Bush White House, it is interesting to see how this visual icon has been deemphasized in the current incarnation of the virtual state. Although it became more modest in size eventually during the Bush administration, it continued to top web pages for the federal government, even those only tangentially related to national security.

However, it's hard to see the evolution of the DHS website over the course of its full history, since before 2007 the site owner prohibited the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine from archiving the contents of the site by using robots.txt.

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