By Network World Staff
The title of a report issued this week by the Department of Interior's
Inspector General -- "Excessive Indulgences: Personal Use of the
Internet at the Department of the Interior" -- pretty much says it all,
but here's a bit more.
The department, which oversees national parks, land management and more,
encourages most of its 80,000 employees to use the Internet for
work-related duties. A one-week study by the department's Inspector
General found, however, that a lot of abuse is going on. Among the
* Computer-use logs revealed more than 4,732 entries relating to
sexually explicit Web sites and gambling sites. Some computers
accessed sex sites for 30 to 60 minutes during the test period.
* This activity accounted for more than 24 hours of Internet use during
the sample period, which did not include a review of e-mail or other
means of transferring prohibited material.
* More than 1 million log entries were discovered indicating 7,763
Department computer users spent 2,004-plus hours accessing game and
auction sites. Extrapolated over the year, that could account for
100,000 lost work hours. Put another way, this would equal 50
full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction
* 177 disciplinary actions have been imposed on department computer
users for inappropriate Internet use since 1999.
Despite these ongoing issues, the department is sensitive to Internet
misuse, having had several employees convicted in the past for various
offenses, including possession of child pornography. The department has
appropriate-use policies in place and conducts regular training,
although it does not have a systemwide monitor or blocking system yet.
Some bureaus within the department do use such tools, and there are
plans to provide them departmentwide.
The report concludes: "Efforts to prevent, deter and detect Internet
access to inappropriate Web sites are inconsistent and must be
The department has not been without other embarrassing Internet
situations. Earlier this year the Office of Management and Budget gave
it a grade of F  for its cybersecurity system.
Two years ago, the department even had the plug  pulled on its Web
over security concerns.
There's more from the Inspector General's report here .
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