When the Government Shuts, Even Web Sites Go Down

The New York Times:  “When the federal government last shutdown in 1995, most agencies and departments had either no presence on the Internet or a very basic Web site. Since then, agency Web sites have become the primary public face of the government for most Americans who do not live in or near Washington. So it’s perhaps not surprising that the decision by agencies such as NASA and the Library of Congress to take down their sites this week has gotten a lot of attention.

In keeping with the senseless nature of the shutdown, some Web sites are down while others are still up. The Federal Trade Commission, for instance, has blocked access to its site. It has posted a notice online saying that it’s closed indefinitely as are its systems for people to register complaints or enter telephone numbers on the do-not call list. By contrast, the Department of Education has left its site up with a notice informing visitors that it will not be updated during the shutdown. Sites for the White House, Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, are being updated at least in part. (Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of which sites are up and which are not.)
Each department and agency has had to decide what to do with its Web site based on its interpretation of federal laws and rules. In a memo (PDF) written last month, the Office of Management and Budget offered some guidance to officials trying to figure out what to do. ..In further keeping with the truly bizarre nature of government shutdowns, the O.M.B. also reminded government officials that they should pay no attention to whether it will cost more to shut down their Web site than it does to keep it going.”
See also: Blacked Out Government Websites Available Through Wayback Machine