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Many federal office websites are down during government crisis

Published October 3, 2013 9:12 am

Shutdown • Some sites considered essential are still up.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"Due to a lapse in appropriations. . ."

For nearly all federal government websites, those are the first words you will see thanks to the recent shutdown of most federal offices.

In many cases, such as the websites for NASA, the National Park Service and the Federal Trade Commission, the websites were completely shut down. The homepage for those particular offices have been replaced with a place holder page that states online services are no longer available or inaccessible due to employee furloughs.

More office websites, however, such as the CIA, the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Education, are up but will not be updated during the government shutdown.

Offices with what are considered essential services are still up, and so are their respective websites. Those include the U.S. Postal Service (http://www.usps.gov), the Social Security Administration (http://www.ssa.gov) and the various branches of the military, including the Army(http://www.army.mil), Navy (http://www.navy.mil), Air Force (http://www.af.mil) and Marines (http://www.marines.mil).

It's unknown how many people are involved to make the federal government websites run, but it's not a small number considering those who not only work behind the scenes to keep the sites running but also those who write the content for them.

"There's a lot of people that make them work. You're talking about millions and millions of pages and thousands of services with the federal government," said Dave Fletcher, the chief technology officer for the state of Utah.

Utah government offices, for example, run websites with 300 distinct URLs or web addresses and have more than 25 people alone who work for the state's Department of Technology Services to run them. That doesn't include the number of people who work in each government department who write content for the sites.

Fletcher theorizes that some federal agencies put up a place-holder page instead of their regular website because those offices had online services that require employees who were just placed on furlough. So the best course of action, he said, was probably to just shut the whole website down.

Here is a partial list of federal agencies with consumer-related services and their current online status. Those that are still online may not be updated daily during the shutdown:

Sites that are up

U.S. Forest Service (http://www.fs.fed.us)

Social Security Administration (http://www.ssa.gov)

FBI (http://www.fbi.gov)

U.S. Postal Service (http://www.usps.gov)

U.S. Dept. of Commerce (http://www.commerce.gov)

U.S. Dept. of Education (http://www.ed.gov)

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (http://www.sec.gov)

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (http://www.atf.gov)

National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (http://www.consumerfinance.gov)

U.S. Dept. of the Interior (http://www.doi.gov)

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (http://www.uspto.gov)

All military sites (http://www.navy.mil, http://www.army.mil, http://www.af.mil, http://www.marines.mil)

Sites that are down

National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov)

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (http://www.usda.gov)

Census.gov (http://www.census.gov)

NASA (http://www.nasa.gov)

Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov)

The Selective Service System (http://www.sss.gov)

Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov)

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech