Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Censorship Your Rights Online

No More Unrestricted Internet At Work 797

Schlemphfer writes: "You can forget about using private email or surfing the web while at work if these bozos have their way. And judging by the Reuters article, it looks like they might. Basically what they're doing is trying to scare senior management into thinking that allowing employees unrestricted use of the net will cripple a company with viruses and lawsuits."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

No More Unrestricted Internet At Work

Comments Filter:
  • trying to scare senior management into thinking that allowing employees unrestricted use of the net will cripple a company with viruses

    It will. Haven't you ever worked in IT before? Christ, what I wouldn't give to go back to the days of dumb terminals and VAXen, so I wouldn't have to deal with all of these Windows infections.

    • Yup. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Frankly, I'm surprised that this hasn't become more widespread, and long before this. My present employer's internal network was crippled for days by the nimda worm, all because some idiot salesdroid double-clicked on an attachment in her Hotmail account.

      As the sole unix admin there, I mostly got to sit back and chuckle evilly, but half a week's lost productivity is no laughing matter when you're tallying up the balance sheets at the end of the month.

      The bottom line here is that you are being paid to work, not to check your personal email, IM your friends, or post to Slashdot. If that seems unreasonable, start your own damn company.
      • it's your damn fauly, if the servers were patched, the worm never would have spread! Don't just blame MS, their products, but lazy admins are a major part of the outlook/iis worm recipe.

      • Re:Yup. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jgerman ( 106518 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:32PM (#3184996)
        Number one, your fault for using an easily exploitable system.

        But that point aside, that's fine I'm getting paid to work, 40 hours a week. The main reason I can work 60-70 hours is because I can deal with my real life issues while at work quickly and easily through net use. Not to mention that my work is greatly facilitated by the fact that if I need software or information I can quickly and easily obtain it from my desktop.

        I see your point, but (tech) companies thrive on a particular type of employee, who if he can't read /. at lunch or pull down a piece of software that he needs is going to experience a decrease in productivity from loss of morale if nothing else.

    • Re:Crippling. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by banky ( 9941 ) <gregg.neurobashing@com> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:06PM (#3184573) Homepage Journal
      We went the other route: 100% Mac on the desktop. Immune to the overwhelming majority of virii (about the same as Linux, I think), we can Netboot from OSX Server, and the engineers get OSX for its Unix-y goodness.
      • by jcr ( 53032 )
        We went the other route: 100% Mac on the desktop.

        Speaking as an Apple employee and shareholder, thank you. Tell all your friends ;-)

  • by jpsowin ( 325530 )
    For goodness sakes' people--your at work. Your not getting paid to check your email or surf for personal pleasure. Your getting paid to work for the company. It is also the companies connection, so they should be able to make those restrictions if they so choose. I don't understand why people get so up in arms about this.
    • Plus, the internet DOES suck up a tremendous amount of time. People are just mad because they LIKE reading slashdot on company time.
      • by jc42 ( 318812 )
        Well, I dunno about you, but on all the jobs I've had in the past few years, reading slashdot and other similar sites was highly relevant to my job. So was reading assorted tech newsgroups and exchanging email with people working on similar projects at other places.

        Yeah, some of the management types didn't like it. But there are enough of them that understand where their profits come, so I haven't actually seen much real interference.

        There was a funny case 6 or 7 years back, when a customer sent us the results of a benchmark of our product against several others. When asked why I hadn't run the benchmark myself, I pointed to a printed policy that prevented me from accessing the site that had the benchmark's source. I mentioned that I'd read about the test, but thought that if I downloaded it, I'd get into trouble for violating the policy. The policy changed real fast after that.

        Management that restrict their techies from use of the Net are dummies who are just shooting their own company in the foot.

    • Let me tell you, I worked EUC (End User Computing, a fancy name for troubleshooter) for a rather large and well known company (who shall remain nameless) and while it is true that we were working for the company and working on company time, it was a welcome breather durring lunch and inbetween the calls ("my computer doesn't work!") to be able to sit back and cruise slashdot, or spiffo ( or other sites to get a good laugh or catch up on the days geek news. Some days there just wasn't enough work to justify us being there (shhh, don't tell them I said that) but we had to be there, and slashdot saved us many a dull hour
    • And what about those of us who have jobs that depend on knowing WTF the latest happenings in the real world are?

      It is mighty handy for somebody running tech support to know about the latest computer virii before it hits the customer base, or even the networks servers, if it is a virus that does not propagate by e-mail but rather by exploiting a server vulnerability.
  • by Magus311X ( 5823 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @09:59PM (#3184531)
    At work we have somewhat of an answer to viruses. 20 file extensions including exe, pif, scr, com, bat, vbs, vbe, and others are filtered at the server into a "Quarantine" folder and reports are generated every few hours on it and piped to a line printer for our review. We deal with them from there by either giving them to the employee, or by responding to who sent it with an automagically generated email.

    Additionally, all mail is screened against the server's pattern file, which tries to update itself hourly. If sometimes passes through mail, it'll be found if on a server, and the client software, which updates its pattern file upon logon, will find things as they're opened.

    All with unnoticable performance difference. We haven't had a virus infection in a LONG time now.

    Worms like Nimda are a bit more annoying, but we take things like this seriously, and by doing so, avoided Nimda and others completely.


    As for net access, we do run reports on the proxy logs occasionally. Employees understand that they have little privacy in the workplace and that if we see them goofing off (except for after hours or at lunch), they do get an email regarding it. But we haven't had to do that in years. They more or less behave, because we trust them and they trust us.

    • If you want better control over emailed viruses why do you still use Outlook or Windows? Give everyone a Linux desktop and no root password.

      In my office, where we develop in Java, the local proxy server blocks site like or Google (usenet) groups. I guess they want to make sure that the programmers don't cheat and use already prepared answers... :-)

      There are so many ways around this - I'll just take my laptop to the part and jack-in the open wireless network that's running there...

      Or better yet, I'll go to the bathroom and bring a book.

    • by smnolde ( 209197 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:31PM (#3184987) Homepage
      And I have control without having to be in the IT department. This is where OpenSSH shines for me. I can set up port forwarding and proxy off my home machine with a cable connection and IT can't see shit for what I'm doing. It all looks like a bunch of telnet and ftp to them, all to one place. So if they are actually monitoring usage by port I'm coming up extremely low on the usage.

      At home I use junkbuster and watch all the unlogged internet there is without ads, too. OpenSSH also gives me access to nntp, smtp, and pop over a secured connection between my office and home.

      So before you go off yelling about office proxies and you have dsl or cable connections at home, set something like this up and go the distance.
      • If you are blessed with a M$ desktop, the admins will watch your desktop with a kind of spy tool, called VPN by M$. Worse, they can keylog your username and password ....

        On the other end, the cable companies are now expressly forbiding "VPN". While you may think they are only after the retarded M$ full desktop bandwith hogger, what they really want is your money. The asses that block ports 25 and 80 will get around to 22 sooner or later, regardless of your actual badwith use. My cable company, Cox, just started to block port 21 on incoming ftp request. I'm not sure how they can distinguish that from the AOL client, but they did tonight and my mother got a "blocked by administrator" sign instead of pictures of my baby girl. So clever, they will soon be out of my $65/month I'm paying for a static IP. No the asses are not going to get the $50/month DHCP fee from me either. Snip, bye bye.

        The internet is almost the coporate lap dog the entertainment companies, publishers and telcos wanted. If the feds kill wireless there will be no useful net left. I'm fed up with the spam, the adverts, the unilateral contracts, the credit card demands and the whole fuck you.

    • To spend tens of thousands of dollars and so many man years to prevent millions of dollars in damage and lost work because an OS that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to run is so fragile. Why? When free alternatives that provide stability, security and control the idiots in Redmond will never provide, why do so many people go through all that trouble.

      Asside. If your company "firewall" is anything like mine, your users, aka peers, can send anything they want at a ".zip" or anything that is not one of the banned names so frightening to M$ Admins.

      Incompetence breeding inconvenience for the rest of us. Nice work, meat heads. It's not going to bother me too much because my job gives me enough time at home to have a life. Some people will not be so lucky and your efforts, or lack thereof, will really burn them. Get your freaking act togeter or go away or expect your best people to pack up and leave.

    • by Tack ( 4642 )
      Some choice quotes:

      • The biggest developments are around email prevention, experts say. Elaborate content filtering software, which can run upwards of $30,000 to install, can block all but the tamest incoming emails, and most attachments, said Trend Micro's Genes.

      Funny, I did it with $0, plus about a few hours of my time.

      • The security officer said employees are gradually adjusting to the strict policy. It has already scored points with management though, he said, as no virus or worm has infiltrated the firm's defenses during the past three years.

      We haven't either since I installed the virus scanner on the mail server (again, a $0 price tag, plus an hour of time).

      I think the whole premise of the article is to find non-"worker efficiency" justifications for imposing nazi-like restrictions on Internet usage at work. The technical/security rationale is flawed, and preventing workers from spending personal time on the web or email is only likely to make them miserable, not more productive.


      • Man, if I only had mod points...

        Hey, I'm not in the corporate world right now, but what you say rings true to me. I know the company that cuts off my email and web access is losing an employee.

        It was all over the LOC post the other day: productivity isn't measured in code produced, hours at the desk or anything else like that. The internet is my encyclopedia, and if I don't have that not only and I unhappy, but I'm less productive.

        So yeah, Right on. I agree.

  • I'm the guy with the passwords to the routers
    connected to the T1 lines.

    There are already a few hundred routes in the
    tables... who's going to notice everything from
    my workstation misses the filtering appliance?
    Oh that's right, it's my job to make sure no one
    *else* does this, too. ;)
    • by wirefarm ( 18470 ) <[ten.cdmm] [ta] [mij]> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:34PM (#3184718) Homepage
      If you are root...
      Here at my company, as a sysadmin, I've been suggesting a policy of completely unfiltered web access *and* completely unfiltered proxy log access.
      From the CEO all the way down to the temps.
      (Except for *me* of course...)

      We already filter out dangerous attachments from email and have good virus software. We really don't have a problem in that respect.

      The thing is, once you take something like this away from your staff, you are saying "We don't trust you. We think you're slacking."

      In my office, people work damn hard and are pretty happy in their work. We have a good atmosphere and no real division between workers and management. Once a company starts doing this kind of thing, the mood changes and people get resentful.

      How many people in how many companies have said "This place really started to go downhill when they took away the free soft drinks..."?

      Just my 2 yen,
      Jim in Tokyo
  • by bje2 ( 533276 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:00PM (#3184536)
    what's wrong with these computer at home is way too slow to download all that porn...

    seriously though, i'd go crazy if i had to work 8 hours straight without any, what if i shoot over to Hotmail to check my personal e-mail, or over to ESPN to check out the latest sports news, or even here to post my thoughts on the latest tech news topics...and that doesn't even count the numerous times i use the internet to look up java related things on Sun's website or trouble shoot my Websphere problems over at IBM...

    what's the point of having all that information available at our finger tips if we can't use it...

    • the days of sneaking in some online shopping on company time, mass-emailing your pals a Flash-powered shoot-'em-up game or even downloading screensavers could be a thing of the past.

      Wow, that sounds so secure! Ohter than the fact that you're not doing the work that's probably expected of you, I don't think employees in any large company can be trusted to not find themselves a virus.
    • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:16PM (#3184912) Homepage
      This sort of thing is a sure-fire symptom of inept management.

      Ideally, employees should be gauged on performance items: do they do the work they're given, does their work reflect a high level of quality, does the employee both fill their job description and give that extra 10% (participating in meetings, giving a shit about the product, etc) you expect from employees, etc.

      Things like monitoring web access are on the other end of that. This is more on the level of companies that rate their employees by how many hours a week they spend at their desk or who eats lunch in the office. These things are quantifiable, but in the end are a lot less meaningful (for example, at my last job there were people who'd spend 14 hours a day at work, but who couldn't make a deadline to save their souls).

      But hey, it's tough find good managers. And even when you find them, they tend to be expensive. It's much cheaper to hire people with degrees in business from state colleges and experience bossing their dog around. I'm looking at you, Nadir.

  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:00PM (#3184540) Homepage
    There's constant tension in the workplace between adequate security and allowing employees to get their job done. If you've worked in any moderately sized company, you'll notice that there are several obvious things that the security department should do, but don't. Less use of plain-text passwords, more thorough searches at R&D sites, checking of CDRs, the list goes on and on. But much of this ends up costing the company more in terms of productivity lost because the employees are being hassled.

    Certainly, there's room for an ebb and flow of security standards, but they're a limit to how oppressive they'll be, at least to the engineers. If things like web surfing have a few legitimate uses (eg. looking up technical documentation), there's no way it'll hampered much, because managers would quickly start complaining on behalf of their workers.

  • Foolish. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neuroticia ( 557805 ) <neuroticia@[ ] ['yah' in gap]> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:02PM (#3184548) Journal
    Crippling access to anything often denies legitimate uses of things and forces the employees to come up with outrageous work-arounds if they're smart enough. If they're not, then they just bother the IT staff to death with a million questions as to why they can't do the research needed, or recieve the .exe file that they need to complete their work.

    I remember being in a school that had open internet access, then going to another school that had limited internet access and constantly being frustrated by the limitations imposed. I couldn't download the application I was working on and test it on a new machine, I couldn't go to a website talking about Middlesex county. There were a lot of legitimate things that I wished to do that I was blocked from, yet I could go to satanic websites, pro-life websites with all sorts of horrid imagery, and more.

    Most attempts at controlling content end up being failures. Bring this to the attention of those seeking to control the information you recieve and you'll get a confused look, they'll pause and say "I don't know why you couldn't access that site. You should be able to."

    I think it would be better to leave things open and dock the pay of any employee who violates "Guidelines". Let 'em hang themselves. Set up the "filters" not as filters that block the person but as flags that flag the IT staff regarding potential illegal use. The IT staff could then investiage and initiate a "three strikes" scenario. Strike one- warning, strike 2- docked pay, strike 3- no more internet access no way no how.

    • Re:Foolish. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by daniel_isaacs ( 249732 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:57PM (#3185099) Homepage
      "Set up the "filters" not as filters that block the person but as flags that flag the IT staff regarding potential illegal use. The IT staff could then investiage and initiate a "three strikes" scenario. Strike one- warning, strike 2- docked pay, strike 3- no more internet access no way no how."

      Screw notifying the IT guys. That's an HR job. I want no part of it. Let the guys that chose "business" and drank too much in college be hated and vilified. I'd like to be able to eat lunch with the people I work with and not have them be careful about what they tell me. When they come back with 4 hand grenades and an uzi, I'd rather not be the face of the Oppressor.

  • by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason DOT nash AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:02PM (#3184549)
    People seem to think they have a right to surf the net and send anything they want from work. Well, that's not the way it is. The computers and Internet connections are owned by the company. They don't pay people to do that stuff.

    Due to viruses and other problems I've blocked any attachment capable of carrying a virus. Yes, it's sometimes a hassle but that's the way it is now. Management has requested we monitor the type of sites people visit just to make sure there isn't a big problem. So far they haven't requested user lists or specific sites. They won't until XXX sites start getting out of hand.

    Viruses, security holes, and loss of productivity have caused these limits to be placed. Want to surf for fun, do it at home.

    • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:12PM (#3184611) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      They don't pay people to do that stuff.

      Sounds fair. Now, of course, I'll just stop doing any sort of work outside the contracted time. Inspirational idea in the shower? Too bad. Clever way to save the company money thought up during the commute? Guess someone else will have to think it up during approved times.

      This is part of the insane attitude that one's workers are one's worst enemies. Letting people do these little things is far from bad for business. It is most likely actually good as it creates an environment where people feel invested and where they have the wild concept that maybe their employer sees them as more than "production units".

      But of course that assumes there's actually value in labor, and that's anathema to the modern capitalist.

      • If they blocked my Internet access, I might have to get up and walk across the office to talk to my co-workers. Or go out to a bar for a long liquid lunch instead of reading /. Maybe even leave work on time and rediscover the joys of real life (or more realistically, TV). Might not be so bad.

        Seriously, "lost productivity" isn't really an IT or technology issue. ("Let's get rid of the coffee machine and water cooler. Too many people standign around when they should be working!") But it should be pretty obvious to the dumbest PHB that unrestricted Web access makes people stay in the office longer --- and unlike foosball tables or a refrigerator full of beer, it doesn't cost much. Note that I'm only referring to WEB access here: Morpheus and Kazaa can bring a network to a halt, and I wish my company would do more to block spam. (I get far more at work than at home, thanks to our Webmasters sticking prominent "mailto" links on the company site.)

      • This is part of the insane attitude that one's workers are one's worst enemies. Letting people do these little things is far from bad for business. It is most likely actually good as it creates an environment where people feel invested and where they have the wild concept that maybe their employer sees them as more than "production units".

        As I read the article, the point isn't "Joe smith just spent 10.3 minutes reading slashdot when he could have been working".. It has more to do with "Joe Smith just downloaded a pirated version of Photoshop to run on a company owned PC". Your doing some online shopping or checking your Hotmail (possibly) hurts your productivity, but NOT the productivity of others. Now imagine you're pulling up porn in your cube and Cindy M. Biblethumper happens to walk by... Or when you open your outlook and unleash the latest win32 virus on the network. This cost the company serious money above providing net access.

        We're reached this point at my company. As the network admin I've taken to explicitly blocking any e-mail with a .exe, .vbs, or any one of a 100 different virus-carrying file-types across. I still allow .gif's, .zip's, .doc's, etc, but scan them before delivery. If they get upset because they can't receive dancingbaby.exe from their cousin in Toronto, that's too bad.. Let them download it home their home computer and infect it.

        The same thing is happening with spam. For 5 years now our policy has been "we can't do anything about it", because we didn't want to be responsible for attemping to filter the incoming e-mail stream. It has reached the point that our CEO is receiving 15 - 30 porn spams a day and has had enough. We have to pay the costs while he's travelling in europe and dialed in to our 800 number at 28.8 downloading this shit. We're about to deploy spamassassin [] site-wide, and if it happens to catch someone's birthday card from his step-mother, that's too bad.


        • And if you did this in my company, we would grind to a halt in about 30 seconds. This difference between your company and mine, apparently, is the quality of your employees. We have had 1 virus outbreak in the last 4 years. And did anyone ask your CEO where he was posting his email address? No? Thought so. Of course we also don't use Outlook, so go figure.

          This is the reason we're the #2 consulting company and you have to block .exe's.
      • I was going to post with the exact same sentiments. The knife cuts both ways. Want me to work from home, uh uh, provide me with a computer and an internet connection and I'll VPN in, I'm not using my resources to further the company. And by the way, my work week ends at 40 hours, and don't call me on the weekend to come in without offering comp time. I can no longer spare my free time to work, since I can't use my downtime at work to do anything anymore.

        This "productivity loss" is a bunch of horse shit anyway. People with a strong work ethic will do the job regardless, and people without won't. You're not going to turn a bad employee into a good one by removing net access.

  • I just can't have a problem with this. As somebody who has been both employer and employee at tech firms, I can say from both experience and idealism that there ain't nothing wrong with employers filtering Internet access. When you're at work, your time is your employers'. Inherently.

    If you are unhappy with the fact that your evil corporate money-grubbing employer doesn't want you dicking around on company time...well, good luck in getting a new job.

    -Waldo Jaquith
  • by jmorse ( 90107 ) <joe_w_morse@nosp ... m ['AHO' in gap]> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:03PM (#3184552) Homepage Journal

    This won't work for people who do more than automaton work. If you restrict net access or filter sites in any way, you risk employee burnout, employee morale, and employees' ability to research job-related stuff. If my company used filtering or blocked my internet access, I might not be able to get the information I need to do my job. What happens when I need to look for API documentation?

    This is kind of like curing athlete's foot by amputating the patient's leg.

    • "What happens when I need to look for API documentation?"

      You have MSDN (or whatever the documentation is for your API) installed on your hard drive.

      Yes, I sometimes look up Win32 API calls on the internet, but usually when I am out doing a contract somewhere and haven't got MSDN docs installed anywhere.


      • Okay, let's rephrase. "What happens when I know of a BSD-licensed package which can save me and my company untold hours of time and work, that my company would approve of incorporating into it's product, and that I can't get to without bloody internet access?" Blocking the 'net is blocking any developer's greatest resource. MSDN is great, but until I can get ANYTHING I might EVER want on my hard drive, I need the net.
    • If email viruses are causing all these untold millions of damages, how bout just banishing outlook and make everyone read plain old email. Problem solved, doesn't really cost a dime. Oh wait, I can't sell a new crappy firewall / email screener with that plan now can I?

      Never mind...

  • In the 19th and early 20th century, at the heart of the industrial revolution, working conditions were appalling. There were no government restrictions on what employers could require from employees.

    As a result of the socialist labour movements, both through their political arms and through strikes and other actions, work place reforms were put in place.

    Age limits were raised, limitations on salary cutting was introduced and dangerous machinery was forced to be made safer.

    Now, at the beginning of the 21C, we have forgotten those gains and how they were made. We have forgotten that employers must be kept in check by organized employees.

    If you stand alone, they will monitor every aspect of your lives, from email to web surfing, to drug use. The actions in this article are only the beginning.

    Remember that old saying, which is now so relevant - in Union is Strength.

  • I run an e-mail system/network for a medium sized business. I won't discuss our policy but even users that follow the policy to the letter, they are still open to viruses, trojans, internet worms and SPAM from e-mail that I haven't developed filters protect against. If you don't know about it how can you protect? (for the most part -- I spend an hour a day tracking this garbage). I have had women in the 50s receive pornographic e-mail SPAM that I know they wouldn't have signed up to receive and got past a RBL. You do your best to filter without creating false positives but data must travel back and forth for business to flow.

    These e-mail filters from outside companies might make it harder to be sued for sexual harrasment because you are showing an active pursuit of purity but it does not prevent the porno from making its way into your system 100%. You can protect the inside of your company so it doesn't go out but its hard to protect it from those people outside of your network that want to pass on the "funny, dirty picture" with one of their friends that happens to be your employees.

    Web filtering is a lot easier to do and doesn't require and expensive commercial package. Squid + SquidGuard have been a perfect match for my purposes.

    My solution when C-level management calls for these sort of filters is by giving them what they ask for -- all the way. After a few days, they will always want them relaxed. I always find it funny its never the grunts that are the ones abusing e-mail, its always the suits! :)

  • Limited resources (Score:2, Informative)

    by Victa ( 186697 )
    Whilst it may be a bit extreme to say "criple" ther is some justification there...

    I am the system administrator at a college here in Australia and if we did not filter/limit the kids access to the internet then all the bandwidth on our (meager) internet connection would be soaked up by kids wasting time on MUDs, IRC, HotMail, Chat, Online games, Warez sites, and other such activities, and the staff and students who actually try to do some work (research/E-mail etc) would have a hell of a time trying to get anything done.

    So whilst I agree that private use of the 'net should be allowed, there is limits that need to be put on WHAT private use is allowed. Not only to free up the bandwidth for legitimate uses, but also free up computers for thos that wish to work rather than just waste their time...

  • Is this so bad? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by javaman235 ( 461502 )
    What you gave you the idea that you HAVE the right to deal with your own shit on somebody else's time??? I actually thought this was one of the prime arguments to using Linux on the desktop: It gives the manager top level control over the applications that can be used while employees are on the clock, so that the employer can define the workflow on the computer, rather than having people you are paying by the hour checking their email surfing etc. That just doesn't make sense...

    Of course their are exceptions...Not allowing developers access to the internet for research and such is suicide...But for many jobs this is perfectly valid.
  • Time to vent (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tweek ( 18111 )
    Jesus christ! Has anyone on slashdot EVER worked in a corporate IT environment?

    Let's take this quote right here which sums it up:

    "The message is: 'I'm afraid you'll have to do it after hours at home, which is where you should be doing it in the first place,"' said Mikko Hypponen, manager of anti-virus research for Finish-based F-Secure Corp.

    Where does ANYONE get off thinking company resources are PERSONAL resources? How is this a limitation of ANYONE'S rights? Do you think you have the right to drive the company car across the country for a personal vacation? Do you think you have the right to use the company FedEx account to send Christmas presents to your sister in New York? Then how in the hell do you think you have the right to use company network resources to send personal email and use ICQ? Would your boss let you sit there and read the newest John Grisham novel when you should be working? Then why do you think you are allowed to read slashdot all day?

    People need to grow up. When you are at work, you should work. If your company is NICE enough to let you use resources for personal use then fine but you do NOT have a right to do anything with something that isn't yours.

    Christ I need a beer.
    • Jesus Christ! The examples you cite (car, FedEx account) both actually have some cost to the company that's significantly greater than zero. An employee spending some time on the web does not--if he weren't surfing, he'd be doing something else to slack off, and if he doesn't produce, as the capitalist toadies here have pointed out numerous times already, he can be fired.

      This is a "security" software company using the press (if you can call Yahoo! News the press) to try to drum up some business with scaremongering tactics. The people in their virus-writing division have probably been slacking off surfing the web, thus reducing the demand for anti-virus software, so they've got to sell something.

      Christ, I need a Jaegermeister []!

      P.S.: In answer to your first question, no, I've never worked in a corporate eye-tee environment. I prefer the company of intelligent, productive people to that of hyperpolitical, network nazi, tattle-tale tech wannabes that infest most corporate eye-tee environments.

  • Granted, I would be pretty upset if my external e-mail and internet access were taken away, but my employer would be well within their rights to do so.

    I use the internet quite a bit while at work; it's an invaluable programming reference. Any surfing beyond that, though, is technically an abuse of company resources. I'm pretty good about sneaking over here to Slashdot only on short breaks, but there are times when I let the mouse wander a little more than I should.

    In a big company, lots of employees surfing around and forwarding stupid jokes and viruses to one another can cost a company in terms of both bandwidth and lost productivity.

    Having internet access at work is nice and all, but a God-given right it ain't.
  • I have to agree with the above posters that companies have a legitimate point here. Flash animations, greeting cards, personal email, pr0n...all this stuff takes bandwith folks. Moreover, all this stuff will travel over the COMPANY's network on COMPANY time.

    Worse, let's say Dumb Secretary #1 opens up an ILOVEYOU-type virus (I saw such a case on the evening news at the time.) Boom-infected machines that will have to be cleaned up. This is most certainly a BAD THING.

    Now, before I'm flamed by the personal freedoms crowd, let me point out that work is a privilege. You have been hired by said company to perform said tasks. You have not been hired to bid on eBay, manage your stocks, or visit the Hamsterdance. Those people who need access, like developers, will likely be granted it. The article means companies in general, some tech firms probably won't mess with it.

    We'll have to see where this goes, but I say let's wait and see.

  • I think corporations biggest threat is lost productivity time from programmers reading slashdot. (I bet I'm about the 75th person making this comment).
  • Without personal email, how would I do my job the one day each week our Exchange server decides to stop routing Internet email? Err, well...maybe that's what our exchange network's real goal is, and they are just randomly phasing it in a little at a time.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    Revolution OS is on the sundance channel if anyone cares. Off-topic but I'll post it at +1 so it takes a few minutes to get modded down.
  • by GMontag ( 42283 ) <.moc.gatnomyug. .ta. .gatnomg.> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:09PM (#3184592) Homepage Journal
    Here is the CLOSEST quote to identifying a firm that is contemplating cutoff of access:

    "As a result, companies are considering dramatically curtailing, or even abolishing completely the freedoms, on which employees have grown increasingly reliant over the past few years. "

    Companies? What "companies"? The only firms named in the article are firewall and security companies that are spewing the fear used in this marketing spewing article.

    No real management is going to take this seriously.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Where I work, we completely cut off access to the Internet from nine to noon, and one to five. In other words, if you want to do anything on the Internet, you can't do it during regular business hours (except during lunch). In our case the purpose was not security or reducing liability, but to increase the productivity of our coders. Management wasn't too happy with the amount of time programmers spent web surfing and IRCing.

      Some coders complained they needed to use the Web for reference and research purposes, so we set up a single computer with 24 hour Internet access in a very public area where everyone could see whether or not you doing something work related. Surprisingly, it doesn't see much use.

      This whole policy was none too popular (as you might imagine) when it was first implemented a few months ago. But by every objective measure, productivity is very markedly improved, bugs are fewer, we're getting things done within a reasonable time frame for a change. It still isn't a popular policy, but even the programmers who most resent the policy have had to admit (grudgingly) that it works.

      • by jgerman ( 106518 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @12:02AM (#3185124)
        It doesn't see much use because it doesn't do anyone a bit of good if they aren't sitting at their desks referring to a reference. I constantly use the web as an engineer. Need to know how something works, fire up google and search. Tracking down something strange that might be a bug, check usenet. Need to figure out this Oracle error I'm getting and how to work around it, the net is the way to go. I'd waste more time searching for and through books if I didn't have net access at my finger tips.

        If my company took away net access, would I continue to work, well yeah, would I be any more productive definitely not. Would I be looking for a new job, count on it.

    • No real management is going to take this seriously.


      You're so naive its almost cute.

  • These things are often presented as if the "conservative" action is to restrict usage. But, for example, restricting access to the web means restricting instant access to the whole of the world's static knowledge store. Operating with no access to information seems a risk, too. So it isn't a choice between "risk" and "no risk", it's a choice between "one risk" and "another risk". I never seem to see it presented that way, though.

    I also don't understand the focus on racy and inflammatory stuff as the biggest risk to a company. The biggest risk to the company is not the Internet but the Intranet. It's often the case that in a single button click, one can get to the corporate secrets and with little more than a few more keystrokes one can output that info to a file and mail it to a party outside the company's walls. That risk outshines the risk of pornography in many cases.

    And, finally, a lot of this seems a scapegoat for lazy/bad management. If your employees are productively yielding what they should, what difference does it make where they are surfing. And if they are not yielding what they should, why not address that issue?
  • So why is the article under the "Your Rights Online" section?

    Face it, he who owns the property gets to set the rules for it. If I refuse to let Timothy redecorate my bathroom for proper feng shui alignments, I am hardly infringing on his freedom of religion. Yet somehow if I don't allow him to use my computer to cruise for pr0n I am somehow infringing on his rights.

    If you own that workstation in your cubicle, go do whatever you want with it. But if you boss owns it instead, then you had better follow his rules regarding it.

    This isn't about "Your Rights Online", but rather "Your Employer's Rights Regarding Your Employer's Property".
  • Umm... my DSL line at home is faster than our T1 at work because at work there are over a hundred people on it surfing the net!

    But seriously, I couldn't do my job if I didn't have the net. Sure I browse /. for about an hour a day, but I'm there 9 or 10 hours somedays, so what's the big deal? Also, every bigwig in my company has AIM or YahooIM installed, so do you really think they will block all that stuff? When the big guys visited our location last time, I got pulled out of a very important meeting to help one of them get connected to YahooIM.

  • Bozos? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Raunchola ( 129755 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:20PM (#3184649)
    OK, let's look at this here:

    You're surfing the Internet on your employer's time

    Your employer is paying the bill for the T3 (or whatever)

    And you think you have the right to surf the Internet while at work? When you're on the company's time, you're supposed to be working...not bidding on crap on eBay.

    Would someone please tell timothy what censorship is? This story doesn't even come close to the definition.

    • Re:Bozos? (Score:3, Insightful)

      And you think you have the right to surf the Internet while at work?

      If the organization in question is big enough for a T3, then it is big enough to pay thousands for telephone service, coffee service, housekeeping, office furniture, and the ongoing costs associated with an ascetically pleasing facility and property. None of these costs directly relate to productivity, but are considered to be comforts that a civilized business provides to its employees. At some level, there is an awareness that if you are going to engage the services of humans in the course of your business, you must provide certain comforts that serve no purpose except to please the humans.

      The reality is that taking away web browsing in today's world is like taking all the phones or discontinuing company provided toilet paper. It has become a necessary human comfort to be able to check the weather or see your kids on the daycare webcam.

      Besides, in my extensive experience, the network abuses and virus problems almost always come from users on the top floor.

  • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:21PM (#3184651) Homepage

    ...but please, please, please leave me a hole for Google's Usenet archive []. Almost every programming question I've ever had has been answered 100 times on Usenet.

  • by Xenopax ( 238094 ) <(xenopax) (at) (> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:22PM (#3184659) Journal
    I've read quite a few comments on here saying "the internet is not a right, you should be working". Well, that isn't the issue really. It's not like we are talking about a law, but a company choice. Now granted, it is within a companies right to restrict internet access, but a company has to factor in all the results of the restriction, not just the lost time and virus threats.

    The fact of the matter is right now Americans are required to work way too much as is. Many jobs onyl allow you two weeks of vaction for several years after you start, and even then you might not get that "benefit" for a year after your start date. People getting burnt out at work happens all the time, and that hurts business in terms of productivity. Sure they enact short term solutions like fire the employees and hire new ones, but the new ones get burnt out faster trying to catch up. Allowing someone some time to spend checking up on their personal email and sending an ICQ to their wife is not to much to give up when it means your employees will be happier, and therefor more productive.

    But I imagine the suits along with all the "you are paid to work" zealots on this site will only see the one dimension picture of lost email due to "personal" activities. At what point did we become slaves anyway?

  • Do you realize how much time people waste talking on the phone? One guy next to me used to spend at least an hour a week chattering about bridge. It was very annoying. But he did good work so there.

    Do businesses realize that people might call up phone sex lines? They can also contact prostitutes, drug dealers, hit men, or even rat out the company to the SEC/FBI. The list of bad contacts goes on and on. I say, "Let's rip those phones out of the wall."

    And what about the friggin door. Many good companies like to say that their most important assets walk out of the door every evening. Hah. Do you realize the trouble they can find when they leave the protective womb? There are drugs, criminals, blackmailers and spousal distraction units. Heck, there are even video games. I say, "Just lock them up for good." To heck with the door.
  • by thesolo ( 131008 ) <> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:30PM (#3184697) Homepage
    Honestly, people outside of IT simply shouldn't have unrestricted web access. It just makes sense.

    Where I work (5000+ people company), this is what we do:
    • Developers get unrestricted access. Let's face it, we need it. Everyone in our group is smarter than to launch a .vbs on the Windows machines (and if they aren't, they would never live it down!).
    • Everyone else has access, but it is supposed to be restricted to lunch/break time only. Reports are run to show time spent online, and how. The secretary in HR does not need to spend 4 hours on MSN's Game Zone, sorry.
    • Obviously, certain sites are blocked based on content for everyone, and rightfully so. No one should be checking out Hustler at work (unless that is your job!! ;).
    • Mail is filtered; known problematic attachments such as .scr & .vbs are stripped automatically.
    • Ports for P2P apps, AIM, ICQ, etc., are blocked for everyone but IT.

    Honestly, I think that is about the best you can do. IT needs the internet extensively; other departments not so much. Hell, my boss has said to me on more than one occasion that if /. keeps me up-to-speed on things going on in the tech world, then he WANTS me browsing it on work time. And everyone in my group does it, with no problems.

    I must say that I don't think its a good idea to totally remove internet access though for entire departments. I mean, if you work 8-5, that's the largest portion of your day spent at the office. You do have a life outside of work, and sometimes you have to do something online during those hours. Same goes for the phone, you are going to need it for a personal call every now & again. Of course, if you abuse the privileges, then you should have them revoked, plain & simple. But basic access should be allowed, after proper training, etc. However, giving everyone in the company unrestricted access is just flat-out stupid.
  • First off, it seems to be security and anti-virus firms that are advocating this strategy, which rings my 'vested interest' alarm bells straight off. The subtext is 'invest more money in security and anti-virus technology to solve this massive problem you're not aware of'. FUD for upper management.

    Having said that, there is indeed a need for increased security awareness in many companies. Buying more gear isn't really that cost effective though. Educating your people and letting them know the expected behaviour is better. This includes increasing the Cluedness of manglement so that they are aware of what their people are doing. If someone feels a need to surf pr0n all day instead of doing their job, your problem is not giving them access to pr0n. Why not find out why people are doing it instead of working?

    If you've got people using decent passwords that they don't put on PostIt notes on their monitor; if your network techs are using ssh instead of telnet to configure routers; if every two bit middle manager stops demanding to be an exception to all the rules; and if you still have security issues, then maybe you can start looking at more drastic solutions. Security must be holistic, and more often than not it's more a business process issue, not a purely technical one.

    Lastly, I've been at sites with really tight access policies that were easy enough to bypass for someone in the know. If there's any outbound access permitted, there's a way to bypass the security. So go ahead and implement this stuff. If I really want to get past it, I probably can.

    But then, I've got better things to do with my time than surf pr0n at work, so when I say I need ssh access outbound, I actually do. Don't stop me doing my job by implementing some half-assed pseudo-security solution. Better yet, hire me to do it right! ;-)

    • I just love their quote that these systems cost £30,000 to install, or whatever.

      (a) in business terms, that's the cost of assigning someone to work full-time for 4 months on something. So consider that before you shell-out for the software: could your own people get a free solution running for less cost?

      (b) just how much money do they expect businesses to save? You'd have to waste an awful lot of bandwidth before the cost reached £30,000

      (c) Did anyone ever analyse the costs/benefits of this? How much work does a perl developer do without access to How much work does any developer do if they have to stare at the program unril they leave, rather than being able to do something else while they think about it?

      (d) How long are your people going to stay if they have to keep on working every spare moment, without any distractions? It makes you think of the human-farms in The Matrix.

  • by buffy ( 8100 ) <buffy&parapet,net> on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:31PM (#3184703) Homepage
    Schlemphfer writes: "You can forget about using private email or surfing the web while at work if these bozos have their way. And judging by the Reuters article, it looks like they might. Basically what they're doing is trying to scare senior management into thinking that allowing employees unrestricted use of the net will cripple a company with viruses and lawsuits."

    Gads, a tad bit reactionary, aren't we???

    First, any company that doesn't take, at least, modest precautions in blocking certain types of e-mail attachments, or abusive downloadable web content is foolish, and, IMHO, acting negligently towards their own fiduciary responsibility, or toward their Internet neighbors.

    I've been long sickened by the number of automated attacks that my IDS picks up. How long has CodeRed and Nimda been around??? Too many of these are comprimised hosts supported by corporate networks of some sort.

    Second, there's little "right" involved in your use of corporate assets such as personal computers and networks. It's a kindergarten mentality to expect a company to be required to provide you with resources to order the latest teen-pop drivel, or whatever it is you just _have_ to buy during work hours.

    That said, I (and many of those within my company) couldn't do our jobs as developers without net access. Any company which starts arbitrarily blocking access to the Internet without properly judging the necessary impact to their workers is also foolish.

    If your company manufactures pencils, then OK, they can probably get away without providing unrestricted access to the Internet without any negative impact on their workforce. On the other hand, if your company develops software, etc... the impact would be substantial.

    It's all a matter of degree, and like most things on this planet, the right solution lies in moderation.

    Was this REALLY worth a Slashdot news item? I do not see how this is news in that a) it's not anything new, or hasn't been bandied about ad nausem; and b) common sense tells me that the submission itself is borderline troll. Seriously, timothy, did you think this was news???

    It'd be nice to be able to moderate story submissions in addition to comments.

  • by SideshowBob ( 82333 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:33PM (#3184716)

    The biggest developments are around email prevention, experts say. Elaborate content filtering software, which can run upwards of $30,000 to install, can block all but the tamest incoming emails, and most attachments, said Trend Micro's Genes.

    Corporations, particularly those that were stung hard by the wave of virus and worm attacks during the past two years, are considering it a top priority.

    Here's a free clue: QUIT USING MICROSOFT SOFTWARE.

    Sheesh, how stupid can you be? And what a stupid solution to the problem, cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    Seriously, damned near all the email viruses are targeted directly at Outlook. So the solution is to ban email? Why not just, ya know, not use Outlook?

    Myopic. Utterly myopic.
  • Per rench-disease.html []

    ``The French Disease'' is what the Italians of the 16th century called syphilis; the French, naturally, called it the Italian Disease, or the Disease of Naples
    In honor of this history of viruses, I propose that Linux users should consider, for office computer virusus, adopting the terminology "The Microsoft Disease".

    Really. Because there's times I'm very, very, happy not to be using Windows, such as when the latest Outlook or Word infection is going around.

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project ( []

  • by Da_Monk ( 88392 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @10:54PM (#3184815)
    External regulation should not be needed. If the employees are spending all their time on the web, then clearly their work is unrewarding. If I am enjoying the code I am working on, than I can go for hours with no breaks. Employees should also be smart enough to realize that if they squander these perks, they are going to get the boot. blocking porn sites at work is acceptable. but not blocking IM ports, especially as most of my team communicated with IM. it saved a ton of time, and provided checksums on file transmissions that windows file sharing does not always do.

    A draconian attitude regarding squeezing every last second of work out of an employee is pointless! all it does is breed resentment in the employees. when I was working in an environment where 5pm counterstrike matches were commonplace, we tended to do more work after the match. however, the work was interesting enough we did not mind.

    the moment the management is against the workers is the moment production starts to fall. everyone should be working toward the goal.

    also I highly doubt that ANYONE here could go 8 hours without a slashdot fix. dream on.
  • by Maskirovka ( 255712 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:15PM (#3184905)
    They won't stop me-
    I'm a BOFH!

    Besides, I'd rather have the users porn surfing than asking me about excel and access anyway.
  • by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:28PM (#3184977) Homepage
    I used to work for Bellsouth DSL's tech support. Well, a day after signing up for their DSL, I had like 5 or 10 spam messages. Now, the address I used wasn't at all common. I've not given it out to anyone, nor have I signed up for anything under it. I post to DSL Reports from home that it does seem like Bellsouth is selling email addresses (under a topic that was already posted). I got fired from Bellsouth for posting that message. Apparently they traced down the sender and crossreferenced the IP with my address, and then found out I was employed by them. I was promptly fired.
  • by jinx90277 ( 517785 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:31PM (#3184990)
    As so many others have pointed out, this is not a case of rights -- it's a case of privilege. And, as usual, there seems to be a conflation of two different issues in the same discussion.

    From the standpoint of security and/or legal responsibility, of course a company needs to restrict Internet access. No filter is perfect, but as long as it blocks out most of the obvious porn, gambling, "hacker" (speaking colloquially), racist, etc. sites it should at least make it abundantly clear that an employee is trying very hard to circumvent the rules. But then again, there should already be policies on the books dealing with those things, Internet or no Internet.

    On the other hand, from a standpoint of productivity, a company should be very wary of restricting Internet access. I don't buy the argument that if an employee isn't surfing the Internet for X hours per day that all of a sudden, he will be productive for X more hours per day. There is a limit to how productive someone is going to be -- if you take away the Internet, some other "time waster" will rise in its place. Do you really think everyone who has a Palm just uses it for phone numbers and schedules? Do you think that just because someone is at their desk concentrating intently that they aren't working on a crossword puzzle? Do you think that every phone call made is for business? How about good old-fashioned staring into space?

    An employee is productive if he or she performs to expectations, period. Companies should have an interest in getting rid of (or better yet, finding a way to motivate) unproductive employees anyway -- but it shouldn't involve cutting off the Internet from employees who are already pulling at least their own share of the weight, if not more. If my company wants to call me on the carpet for reading Slashdot or sending an e-mail to my girlfriend to see how her Monday is going after being sick with the flu all weekend, fine. I will be more than glad to show them the half-dozen individual and team achievement awards that senior management has given to me in the last three years, agree sarcastically that the Internet has indeed made me a lousy employee, and otherwise be as amicable as Galileo before the Inquisition. I will also be sure never to work more than 40 hours per week, observe Internet usage policies religiously, and perform utterly mediocre work for the length of time it takes to find a job for a competitor who understands that achievement is the bottom line.
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:41PM (#3185029) Journal
    E-mail went out to all Lucent today -- starting ASAP all access to webmail accounts (HotMail, Netscape, Yahoo, etc.) will be blocked and is against policy. It seems they don't like the threat of viruses getting thru around the normal e-mail checks.

    However, they have expressly allowed limited personal use of company e-mail.

    VPN sucks.
  • by Nonesuch ( 90847 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:53PM (#3185081) Homepage Journal
    We have heavy-duty antivirus checking on incoming email, but the extra latency involved is unacceptable for web access, so we have been unable to implement the same for web access.

    Employee access to external POP3 services is prohibited, both by policy and firewall rules.

    Where viruses and worms (Nimda, Code Red, etc) have made it into the company, we've almost universally tracked the vector down to a 'Free Email' service, primarily Hotmail and Yahoo! mail.

    We are considering blocking all such services, or at least forcing all traffic to and from these services through the antivirus system, and suffer the latency and associated user complaints.

    Again, we cannot force all web traffic through a scanner, as there is strong opposition from various divisions to any change that would slow down web access.

  • Laptop users (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday March 18, 2002 @11:55PM (#3185091)
    These policies wouldn't have stopped Nimda getting on to our corporate network. That was tracked down to a couple of notebooks belonging to sales and marketing guys. They'd connected those machines to the internet at home, and when they were on the road. That's when they got infected. Then they infected and re-infected the corporate network several times when they plugged in at the office.

    With increasing numbers of portable devices, and wireless networking, including 3G phones, it's going to be harder and harder to plug all the gaps. Instead of listening to the sales pitch of the anti-virus and firewall manufacturers, we should use some commonsense: ditch products like Outlook.
  • wow, the average age of the /. user must be much greater than i expected ... so many people who have resigned themselves to working the standard 8 hours a day tedium with no outlet for any sort of relief ... "work is for WORKING", "its not your time its the COMPANIES TIMES" etc etc etc ...

    ... what it is like to have your spririt broken like that??? to have resigned that 8 hours of your life a day - AN ENTIRE THIRD - of it is surrendered so completely to someone else just because they give you some money for it. has your life become so shallow and money obsessed that you are prepared to resign the greater part of your waking day to someone else just for money?

    i am working in a job i like (computer programmer), and its something that i will even do at home after hours on a different level (i write commercial apps at work, and i fiddle with games/graphics programming at home) ... but even having said that i would go crazy without the ability to access the internet or play small games at work ... to be anything else is to surely be some sort of mindless machine ... and my boss realises that that is not what i am ... we have a ADSL line that can access the net, and unless ppl were to spend all day on it or have dodgy stuff obviously displayed on their computers, they are free to do as they please, so long as in the end the work gets done, its that easy ...

    ... sure, when one of the plebs in support double clicks on a .exe attachment not once BUT TWICE i am one of the ppl that has to clean up the mess, but there is no way known that i would want to restrict them to sitting in their cubes staring at the walls when there are no support calls coming in ... it would get to the point that i would worry each day that they are going to come in with an automatic weapon and wipe half of us out screaming "I JUST WANTED TO CHECK MY HOTMAIL!!!" ... we solve these types of problems by TEACHING our people that .exe and .com files shouldnt be touched unless they are obviously from something they are expecting, and as a result anyone that notices one of these will now run it by me to make sure that its a virus or something obviously bad ...

    ... and on the flipside, if i think of something outside of work - when im not *GASP* actually getting paid for it - that is useful or may relate to my work, i may still actually spend a bit or a lot of time (whatever may be required) working it over or writing it down or something AND I DONT ASK FOR MONEY THE NEXT MORNING ... all you ppl who let work rule your lives scare the hell out of me, your life isnt meant to be spent working, and i think that some of you need to take a load off for a while ... go jerk off somewhere or something ...

    ... i just hope to that i never EVER become as depressing and inert as half the ppl who have replied to this posting ... anyway, id better get back to work :)
  • by ellem ( 147712 ) <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @12:16AM (#3185174) Homepage Journal
    A lot of /.ers complain well if they wouldn't use Outlook.... if they wouldn't use IIS.... if they wouldn't use Microsoft...

    Well they do.

    On a recent interview, I decided I did NOT want to work for the company I was speaking to. (They had mentioned that TCP/IP was owned by MS b/c (I swear this is true) to implement it you had to "Right click on Network Neighborhood, choose Protocols, choose Microsoft....") I asked them why they were switching from CC Mail to Outlook and not to Lotus Notes which is a more "natural" move.

    The IT Manager (not the TCP/IP lady) said basically this:

    "Our users want Outlook. They used it elsewhere. It works really well with Office. It does a lot of things right. Yeah Lotus is more secure but it is ugly and it is harder to administer [I disagree]. Plus you need a developer to take advantage of the program. Outlook does everything Notes does before you get a developer involved anf it does it a lot easier."

    So what the IT Manager was saying was; Everyone uses it, it's easy.

    He's pretty much right.

    All the folks that yell and scream: BUT *NIX IS BETTER, you're all correct. In the late 70s early 80s all the people that yelled BUT BETA IS BETTER were right too.

    So if the same people who shrug their shoulders at insecurity and poor design are certainly going to belive that cutting down USENET, surfing and private email will "protect" them.

    I personally blocked Hotmail, Yahoo!, & MSNMail for about 2 months at a site. To tell you the truth I couldn't take all the effing viruses either. And you know what? It stopped the viruses. I mean dead. 25/week --> 0/week

    We here at /. can all piss an moan about how Ximian is almost this and Sendmail and PINE rule the Earth with an iron fist of security but 60-75% of the computing public is getting their mail with Outlook.

    Are *NIXes better? Duh. Is PINE safer? Duh. Now tell Jane Secretary that she has to jump through hoops to send email from her bosses account...

    The IT Manager just wanted happy users and was willing to hire a few more Admins to take care of the mess. He knew the score.

    And /. community w/o your archnemsis MS the IT industry would not exist as we know it (yeah there's a lot of shit MCSEs but don't kid yourself there's a lot of shit Solaris guys too) and I am loathe to admit it /. probably wouldn't even exist.

    And why precisely on your company's computer, on your company's network, over your company's T do you feel you have any right to do anything they don't want you to? (Hey if you own stock raise Hell, I'm with you there!)
  • by dh003i ( 203189 ) < minus physicist> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @01:00AM (#3185360) Homepage Journal
    Look, the company you work at owns the hardware/computers there -- not you. You don't have the right to use their resources as you please.

    While I think they shouldn't have the right to snoop on your private documents or e-mails just because you're in their building, that doesn't mean they can't restrict certain types of uses.

    A wise company has a distributed system, whereby users login with different usernames/passwords for "leisure activity" and for "work activity". The company should separate the "leisure" and "work" logins and files separately, on separate hard-drives.

    A good idea is to give unrestricted access on the "leisure" system, but allocate less resources to them. There's no reason why they need to be operating at 2GHz with 1GB RAM for leisure. Btw, sorry, the workplace is not for playing Quake or Descent 3.

    Furthermore, privacy policies should be different on the leisure and work accounts/systems. There should be no privacy on your "work" account, but only on your "leisure" account. The company should also assign different e-mails for "leisure" and "work" accounts for each person; if you want privacy, you'll only use your "business" e-mail for work.

    Though an individual's activities would not be monitored on the "leisure" system, the time spent on the "leisure" and "work" accounts would be monitored and compared; obviously, companies don't want to keep someone on the paycheck who spends 4 out of 8 hours a day on leisure.

    The key thing here is for employees to realize that they don't have the RIGHT to use their company's resources for their own personal matters.

    It, however, is also not acceptable for companies to go back on previously agreed-upon privacy rules in regards to their employees. Companies also shouldn't go on a power trip, as that is likely to alienate employees.
  • by pinkpineapple ( 173261 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @01:06AM (#3185380) Homepage
    Er, stop me if I am wrong but after reading carefully the article, it appears that the proponents of this new wave are software virus companies. So my question is : "if there is no more danger for virus on the corporate systems by blocking people from download on the fast pipes, will these same virus companies be able to survive just by selling to individuals on their after hours home systems? Aren't they realizing that they are killing their golden goose?"

    If your company starts adopting this policy, then it's one good reason for you to start working from 9am till 5pm every day. I don't think that they would prefer that to your current 14 hours that you regularely put on the job, even if your pcshows the slashdot web page every once in a while.

    PPA, the girl next door.
  • by 1ione1 ( 207861 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:42AM (#3185637) Journal
    The use of web access to perform company business clearly would have to be considered in any "tightened" policy: research of all types as well as purchasing. A company that pulled the Internet from these functions would be slitting its own throat and deserves what it gets.

    An aspect that I haven't seen brought up, however, is the productivity that comes from keeping salaried employees at work. Being able to handle personal business online and not having to take long lunches or leave early before the stores/banks/etc. close is a benefit to employees, employers and even the environment.

  • Analogy (Score:5, Funny)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:56AM (#3185669) Journal
    We should shut down employee cafeterias because food can bring harmful bacteria into the company and we might get sued.


All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford