State Tracks Workers' Downloads

WASHINGTON (08/09/2000) - U.S. Department of State officials have issued a directive that bars workers agencywide from using government computers to download music - or any other non-official files - from the World Wide Web.

The department is backing up its words with a software program capable of finding and reporting on unauthorized downloads, according to Steven Toole, marketing director for WQuinn Associates Inc., the Reston, Va.-based manufacturer of software called StorageCentral.

State has used StorageCentral for about two years, but the newest version includes an improved function that lets systems managers know how much storage particular workers are using and for what purpose they're using it.

State officials were not available for comment.

Agencies are concerned about music, pornography and jokes being downloaded to agency servers, Toole said. Such material raises the danger of sexual harassment lawsuits. At the very least, it takes up room on agency servers, causing systems to slow down and cut overall productivity - especially when a server crashes from overload, he said. Also, certain types of files can introduce viruses into computer systems.

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