... it's a hot topic.

Filtering started out as a means of preventing kids from accessing "inappropriate" material on the web. But it seems that once you start filtering materials for kids, the move to doing so for adults is unavoidable. A recent article that found its way to me (dated May 20, from the Los Angeles Times, of course) reports that companies that started out producing filtering software for kids are now producing corporate filtering systems. In the promotional words of the producers of SurfWatch Professional Edition, their product is: And just what are employees supposed to be filtered from? With kids, who aren't expected to be productive, pornography is the central issue. But when we're dealing with adults, and productivity, just about anything is fair game for filtering. After all, anything that's not directly related to getting your job done is a waste of company time.

Software packages of this sort contain surveillance software as well. Hey! Instead of restricting your employees, why not read the log to check up on what they were doing instead of working?

I still don't have clear statistics as to how widespread the "problem" of employees accessing the internet for "personal" use on company time is. I have no doubt that it's at least as much of a conceptual problem as it is an economic one. It certainly shouldn't surprise us that the business world is having difficulty adjusting to new paradigms.

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