Study: One-third of workers' Net use is monitored
July 15, 2001
By JIM BROOKS
A study confirms what many employees have feared -- the number of
businesses monitoring what their workers are doing on the Internet is growing.
A study by the Privacy Foundation found that more than one-third of
U.S. workers with Internet access at work are systematically
monitored by their employer.
The increase in the number of companies that monitor their workers'
online activities is due partly to the availability of cheap
surveillance software, and the increasing concern about potential
liability stemming from worker's e-mail.
Of the 40 million U.S. workers who have Internet access, 14 million
are constantly monitored, the study found.
Worldwide, the study found that 27 million of the 100 million workers
with Internet access are being monitored.
The latest surveillance software allows employers to monitor and
record all Internet activity. Federal law gives employers wide
latitude when it comes to keeping track of what workers are doing,
particularly when on company time and using company equipment and accounts.
If you have Internet access in your office, chances are you've read
and signed an acceptable use policy. Remember that any e-mail you
send from an employer's computer or account is property of the
company. What you think is a private communication really isn't when
sent from the workplace.
HBO WEB SERIES. HBO is launching a Web-only mystery series
that it hopes will attract Internet-savvy teen-agers who take active
roles to solve the disappearance of 16-year-old Deadwood, Ore. teen
``The Deadwood Mysteries'' will run for 16 weeks, beginning July 16.
The Web site, HBOFamily.com, will have complete background and
details leading up to the teen's disappearance.
The series will be heavily promoted on the HBO Family cable channel.
While ``The Deadwood Mysteries'' are a first for HBO Family, episodic
Web sites are not new.
``The Spot,'' which debuted in 1995, was one of the first and the
leader of episodic Web sites. It failed to attract sponsors and was
later shut down.
But early success and buzz created by ``The Spot'' sparked a host of
imitators, including ``The East Village'' and ``The Pulse,'' an
online drama by Ralph Lauren Fragrances.
Will ``Deadwood'' succeed where ``The Spot'' could not? Perhaps.
Millions more people have the Internet in their homes, and the
promotion by HBO Family could at least keep the series interesting.
For more information, visit the series' Web site by going to www.HBOFamily.com.
INTERNET BANNED. Afghanistan's ruling conservative Islamic
Taliban movement has banned the use of the Internet in an effort to
stop access to what it called vulgar, immoral and anti-Islamic material.
The Afghan Islamic Press reported a government official saying that
the Afghan government wanted a system it could control as far as
content in violation of Islamic law.
The hard-line Taliban movement follows a strict interpretation of
Islam not shared by other Muslim countries. Religious police enforces
most Taliban decisions.
There are no estimates how widespread Internet access is in war-torn
Afghanistan. Telephone access and electricity aren't widely available
outside major urban areas.
NAPSTER STILL OFFLINE. By court order, file-swapping service
Napster remains offline.
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel told the company it must
fine-tune its software so no copyrighted songs slip through its system.
Even one copyrighted son is unacceptable, Patel said. The judge
requires Napster to stay offline until it can prove that it can block
access to all copyrighted works on its system.
Napster will need the court's approval to resume operation.
Additionally, Napster has settled lawsuits filed by artists Dr. Dre
and Metallica who sued the service for allowing their copyrighted
works to be swapped illegally.
Napster agrees to block the artists' copyrighted songs, and the
artists agree to make their songs available once Napster becomes a
MORE MUSIC NEWS. Digital music mogul Michael Robertson, CEO of
MP3.com, says the fee-based file-swapping services that music labels
are creating will fail to ignite the listeners' interest the way that
the MP3 revolution has.
Robertson said the services would fail because they don't allow
consumers to keep the music if they end their subscription, or play
the music on other devices.
The popular MP3 format is getting some competition from other digital
The problem the recording industry has with the MP3 format is it
offers no copy protection. Record labels say they won't sell digital
content unless they can control distribution and prevent files from
being shared as easily as MP3 files.
The oldest competitor is Microsoft's digital music format, Windows
Media Audio. It offers the fidelity and quality of MP3s, and the copy
protection music labels want. The music player is available for all
Microsoft operating systems as well as Macintosh and Solaris
The organizations behind the MP3 format have created an upgrade
version called MP3PRO. It creates smaller files, and is backward
compatible with older MP3 players.
The MP3PRO player isn't free, and like the MP3 format, there's no
built-in copy protection. In fact, the format is so new, there are no
sources for music encoded in the new format.
Visit www.rca.com for access for a free download of a Windows-only
A group of music enthusiasts-turned-programmers have backed an
open-source format called Ogg Vorbis. The format is new and little
music is available. Visit www.vorbis.com to download a free encoder.
The MP3 format is still the top digital music format, but Microsoft
will undoubted be the main contender with its format that will see
support from the recording industry.