Web Patrol Software Roots out Cyberloafers on Company Time

By Rafter, Michelle V. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 22, 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Web Patrol Software Roots out Cyberloafers on Company Time

Rafter, Michelle V., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Even before Corporate America realized how wonderful the World Wide Web is for research and communications, employees made their own discovery: it's a great way to goof off.

Employees are logging onto the Web to follow their favorite sports, read movie reviews, ogle this month's Playboy centerfold, oh yeah, and get a little work done.

All of which has corporate execs worrying that too much extra-curricular Web surfing could cut into productivity, or worse, lead to legal liabilities.

Their concerns have caused software publishers that got started blocking kids from X-rated Web sites to develop programs that track employees' Internet use and block sites not related to work.

"Corporations are just starting to understand what their needs are, and what cyberloafing is all about," said Ann Duvall, president of SurfWatch (http://www.surfwatch.com/), a Los Altos, Calif., maker of Web blocking software.

The list of companies that have begun Web patrols includes Boeing, Marathon Oil, Lockheed, United Technologies, and Marriott.

Although on-line surveillance smacks of Big Brother, companies are within their rights, legal experts say.

The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act made it a crime to eavesdrop or access private communications sent by phone, voice mail, electronic mail or the Internet. But companies are usually exempt: in most circumstances they can monitor workers' communications because they own the networks or pay for employees' Internet access.

Still, companies would do best to let employees know that their on-line activity is being monitored so there's no chance workers assume their Web sessions are private, which could lead to legal problems, said lawyer Barry D. Weiss, a technology specialist with Gordon & Glickson in Chicago.

Weiss recommends that companies insert Internet usage rules into employee handbooks and have workers sign statements that they understand those rules as part of their Internet training.

Such steps may seem drastic, but for some companies they're a necessity.

That's what Webster Network Strategies (http//www.webster.com/) found when the company began auditing potential customers for its Web blocking software.

"The lowest we ever found was 20 percent of (a company's) Internet use was non-work related," said Stephen Dempsey, sales and marketing vice president at the Naples, Fla.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Web Patrol Software Roots out Cyberloafers on Company Time


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?