Online monitoring on the rise
Fourteen million corporate and government employees have their Internet or e-mail use under continuous surveillance at work, according to a study released by the Privacy Foundation last week. This equates to over one-third of the online workforce in the United States.
The study, which analyzes sales of monitoring products in the corporate and government markets, found that the low cost of the technology more than any other factor is driving the growth of e-mail and Internet surveillance in the workplace. It's possible to pay less than $10 per year per monitored employee, the study found. For instance, the U.S. Army recently purchased a 200,000-seat installation from Websense Inc., including hardware, for $1.8 million. That's about $9 per employee.
Systematic e-mail and Internet monitoring in the workplace is still a "relatively new phenomenon," the study found, with "reverberations yet to come in labor law and human resources, as well as employee behavior and morale." The study did not address whether employers are giving employees sufficient notice of the monitoring.
Microsoft targets small biz
Microsoft Corp. is donating $700,000 worth of software applications and training that individuals looking to start or expand a business can test out at Small Business Administration resource centers nationwide.
Microsoft will donate the products—including Office XP, Publisher 2002, FrontPage 2002 and Small Business Server 2000 software—to the SBA's One-Stop Capital Shops and Business Information Centers around the country. The centers provide free on-site counseling, training courses and workshops to small business clients in areas such as planning, marketing and sales, government contracting, product expansion and exporting.