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U.S. Government Crippled by Sex, Gaming Sites

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-would-too-if-i-was-a-civil-servant dept.

283

BobB writes "The U.S. Department of the Interior's inspector general has released a report that says department employees are wasting their taxpayer-funded work time going to prohibited web sites. Some of these sites relate to sex, computer games, gambling and auctions. The study found that almost $2 billion a year in productivity was being lost to these 'excessive indulgences.'" From the article: "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. 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 sites."

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Who's doing it, tho? (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327555)

In a couple of prior jobs executives and managers were the ones caught with gobs of pr0n on their computers. On was actually walked out the door while we all watched, his computer had been examined by the techs and was crammed with child pr0n. Dunno if he was prosecuted, I certainly hope so.

We have logs of our sites activities, too, which can be linked directly to users. I haven't heard of anyone getting the dusting for it, possibly because half the staff in Personnel are surfing while their boss tells me how busy they are and can't do some work which truly belongs to their department.

Even I do a little surfing, but usually during breaks or while waiting for some task to run.

Re:Who's doing it, tho? (5, Funny)

Bravoc (771258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327611)

Not Me!

I waste my time at work reading Slashdot

er... wait a minute....

Re:Who's doing it, tho? (2, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328131)

Seriously, that kind of reminds me of an Archie Bunker routine. Someone told him about how many homicides involve guns*, and he replied with "Would it make ya feel any better, if they was pushed outta windows?"

So to this story, you could almost reply, "Would it make ya feel any betta, if they was just surfin Slashdot?"

*Please, please, don't make a pro/anti-gun flamewar branch off of this, I beg you.

Re:Who's doing it, tho? (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327663)

I've never understood that. Even accepting that he's going to goof off on his computer, and that he wants to goof off that way, what would compel him to do it there? Can he really not wait till he gets home for that kind of thing? And to answer the obvious objection -- yes, employees typically goof off, but not at sites that could get them prosecuted. Can't he distract himself at /. or something until quittin' time?

Re:Who's doing it, tho? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328015)

I wouldn't be surprised if there was an exhibitionist/thrill-seeking side to it.

Re:Who's doing it, tho? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328059)

Are you kidding? Use his home computer for that sort of activity? That would just be stupid!

Re:Who's doing it, tho? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327885)

"Even I do a little surfing"

I hate your type. I hope you die.

Re:Who's doing it, tho? (1)

Jehosephat2k (562701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327959)

But won't somebody think of the stock investors?

My company allows it (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327965)

We're allowed to surf the net whenever we want. They don't ca [DTR NO CARRIER]

Hmmm (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327569)

Put another way, this would equal 50 full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction sites."
I just have one question: are they taking applications?

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327685)

2000 hours /week spread over 7800 employees.
so 30 minutes a week???? sounds like someone is wasting time, the ones who composed this report.

Re:Hmmm (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327813)

Hey, extrapolated over a year, that's like 12 hours! Really, where can I find employees who spend so little time on the web? (like I'm setting a good example right now...)

Re:Hmmm (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328005)

Actually, it's even less time than that (unless an hour suddenly became 100 minutes). 2000 hours divided among 7800 employees yields ~.25 hours per employee per week. So, each employee averages about 15 minutes slacking per week, or 3 minutes per day. They must slack in other ways because that's incredibly low.

Re:Hmmm (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327751)

Might as well go for it. They're pushing those because I already snagged the doing nothing but surfing sex job.

Cue Jan & Dean.

KFG

Re:Hmmm (5, Funny)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327943)

Put another way, this would equal 50 full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction sites."
I just have one question: are they taking applications?

I dunno, but if there are that many government employees going to auction sites, I'm gonna go try to sell my hammer on eBay for $600...

What do the /. logs says? (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327575)

How many .gov hits are hitting /. every day?

Re:What do the /. logs says? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327735)

At least one. I work at a DOI agency and I'm here posting on Slashdot right now. O_O

Re:What do the /. logs says? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328037)

me too.

Re:What do the /. logs says? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328127)

me three, but USDA... and on a college campus network (so no .gov)

50 full time employees (2, Funny)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327589)

I'm one of those 50.

Re:50 full time employees (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327867)

I'm certain that if /. did a poll, we would see a very high number of the 9-5 poster work for the govt.

But out of how many? (2, Insightful)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327599)

It's great and all that we hear there are 50 full-time employees worth of waste, but out of how many employees total? I'll bet you can find as much waste in even some large, successful companies.

Re:But out of how many? (2, Interesting)

ZippyKitty (902321) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327703)

Also, say for example I load /. while I'm waiting for a task to complete, read a bit during the next task, etc... through out the day - would that be 8+ hours of wasted time, since my computer shows me displaying /. during that time?

Just wondering

ZK

Mod parent up! (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327817)

Total all the "hours" spent surfing junk sites ... for 100,000 employees ... and even at 6 minutes a day you'd have 600,000 minutes = 10,000 hours = 416 hours = 52 employees working 8 hour shifts.

Now, for 50,000 employees, they'd have to spend 12 minutes out of an 8 hour day to get those numbers.

25,000 employees would require 24 minutes out of an 8 hour day.

And so forth. These "statistics" are meaningless without knowing how many TOTAL employees there are and what the mean and median are. Are there 10,000 employees and 5 of them spend 10 hours a day surfing junk while everyone thinks they're working? And the rest of the "hours" are people surfing junk sites during lunch?

Re:But out of how many? And where are they (4, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327961)

You have to wonder if some are park rangers, kind of lonely (sex sites), who like to play poker over the net since the next human is 500 miles away.

Ah, bet you forgot that they're part of the Department of the Interior, didn't you?

Now we know why gov't sucks (3, Insightful)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327601)

Too much time on sex and gambling instead of reading slashdot

err...wait a sec

Re:Now we know why gov't sucks (1)

Noxx (74567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328139)

Quick! Push a bill through Congress outlawing online gambling sites! Can we force all the adult sites to use a .xxx domain while we're at it?

Won't somebody please think of the children?!?!

Perspective (3, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327603)

"The study found that almost $2 Billion a year in productivity was being lost to these 'excessive indulgences'"

How fast does $2 Billion get used in Iraq? I'm all for efficiency, but lets have it across the board.

Productivity? (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327775)

> "The study found that almost $2 Billion a year in productivity was being lost to these 'excessive indulgences'"
>
> How fast does $2 Billion get used in Iraq? I'm all for efficiency, but lets have it across the board.

A better question: What economic output are these DOI employees (and for that matter, our mercenaries working for private contractors at 5-10 times the expense of an enlisted serviceman/woman) supposed to be creating that's worth $2B per year? In order to speak meaningfully of productivity, one first must be in the business of producing stuff.

This is government work. Nothing's being produced, only consumed.

Re:Productivity? (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328157)

Probably a fair bit, as far as Iraq is concerned. Plenty of US Corporations scored very lucrative rebuilding contracts thanks to the invasion. Not to mention the knock-on effect for the US public and industry of forcibly minimising oil price rises.

As for the DOI, a very brief search of their website shows the following statistics:

DOI raises more than $6.3 billion in revenues collected from energy, mineral, grazing, timber, recreation, land sales, etc.

Energy projects on federally managed lands and offshore areas supply about 30 percent of the nation's energy production.

Produce more than 55,000 different maps.

Manages about 8,506 active oil and gas leases on 45 million acres.

Deliver irrigation water to one of every five western farmers and provide water for 31 million people.


Sounds like they produce quite a few things, actually. Perhaps you meant to question their efficiency...

Re:Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327839)

About a week [boston.com]

Re:Perspective (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327847)

How fast does $2 Billion get used in Iraq? I'm all for efficiency, but lets have it across the board

1 week [boston.com]

It's all legitimate, I tell ya! (4, Funny)

csoto (220540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327617)

Those bondage sites were just research for the CIA's "rendition" program.

Re:It's all legitimate, I tell ya! (1)

pNutz (45478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328233)

"Or they were watersports sites, mistaken for waterboarding sites! HA HA HA!!", but no one was laughing. The orc blinked and then smashed in his skull in with the log, splattering his ill-humored brains all over his companions.

"Now that was funny," said Jimbo, licking his lips.

Not me... (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327623)

Thank God I'm not wasting all of my time surfing web sites.
(reload)(reload)(reload)(reload)Yay, new article!

Re:Not me... (2, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328029)

Thank God I'm not wasting all of my time surfing web sites.
(reload)(reload)(reload)(reload)Yay, new article!

(reads headline) Oh... interesting... apparently C++ has died... again...

If it were in my company... (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327627)

...every one of the employees would be fired. However, in the US government these days, not doing anything seems to be the norm.

Re:If it were in my company... (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328243)

Depends on if they were getting their job done or not. If they were on time or ahead of time with everything, and still had free time, it's up to *me* to task them with more work. If I don't, they can fuck off all they want. That's *my* fault for not doing my job.

Of course, if they were late as hell, did below average work, and still spent an hour each day perusing eBay, they're going to be out on their ass real fucking quick.

in further news (3, Funny)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327647)

All productivity in the software industry ground to a halt as geeks flocked to shlashdot to check out the story about the decrease in productivity.

Re:in further news (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327737)

No, they were looking for the link to the sex gaming website.

I would want more information. (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327661)

For example, what did they consider "working hours". There is a HUGE difference between doing things during 9am-12pm and from 1PM-5PM as opposed to things being done during 12-1PM or from 5PM-10PM.

I know LOTS of people that use their lunch hour to surf the net or stay late and play video games after 5PM. I don't consider that unethical.

Similarly, I don't think it is wrong to spend 15 minutes checking out an ebay auction or reading your personal email, while some addict goes outside and smokes a ciggarette/takes a coffee break.

Without more information, this looks like a rabble rousing report instead of something usefull.

Re:I would want more information. (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327797)

I agree. And I get suspicious any time numbers are quoted in absolute terms. They claim that 100,000 man-hours of labor were lost due to internet surfing (a specious claim as it is), but out of how many total man-hours that entire year? I bet every gov't employee spending 20-30 min a day surfing onling adds up pretty fast.

Re:I would want more information. (2, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327995)

I don't consider that unethical.

Yeah, but... porn at work??? Unethical or not, that's just nasty...

Re:I would want more information. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328051)

Or what about employees who waste time during the day but dont clock it as working time? Does anyone actually work show up right at 9 and leave at 5 anymore?

Just ask the private sector how to fix this. (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327669)

Well instead of monitoring this issue, why don't they get some proxy servers and firewalls running to stop them. Corporations have been doing this since the series of tubes was invented.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Just ask the private sector how to fix this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327799)

At my company where I'm the network admin, sites like these are blocked and monitored on a constant basis. If a non-work-related site is visited too often, it will be blocked. It's extremely easy, I have no idea why the US Government doesn't do it. Hell, hire me and I'll make all that lost productivity go away.

Re:Just ask the private sector how to fix this. (3, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328225)

It's extremely easy, I have no idea why the US Government doesn't do it.

The problem is, the "US Government" is dozens of departments, with hundreds of different divisions inside of some of those departments... and that's not counting the military.

A lot of parts of the federal government do exactly what you describe... but it's not a consistent thing throughout, nor should it be, really.

For instance, in one of the (U.S. Navy) office buildings I've done work in, where they have normal (for the military) 0700-1600 work hours, they have firewalls with site blockers, and the like. But go to another base a few miles away, and you'll be able to surf pretty much whatever you want. It's still against policy to look at porn or gamble, but there's nothing actually stopping you from doing so. And that's within the same organization...

But to address another issue... what exactly are these people doing? If these are workers in an office, and they're spending an hour a day, during the normal workday, looking at Ebay, they should be reprimanded. But if this is a park ranger, or an emergency worker, just sitting by his desk, with nothing to do until a call comes in... then what productivity are you really affecting?

Seriously. (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327683)

You want me to take a usage study conducted by the same government that made a guy who thinks the internet is a bunch of tubes in charge of regulating it seriously?

I bet this report doesn't take into account people having multiple browsers or tabs open at the same time. Hell, if you looked at my logs it would look like all I did was surf slashdot all day. I can work and keep a tab for breaks open at the same time.

Am I the only one? (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327693)

Did anyone else do a double take after reading the first half of this title? US Gov. crippled by sex had me going "Meh, not all that...WHAT!?" Here's a question though, how many full time workers would have to be checking on those 50 workers internetting to equal the amount of man-hours they spent checking this? Face facts, if you give people a PC with an internet connection, they're gonna go where they want if they have some free time.

The water cooler (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327695)

sure is jealous of the computer.

FIREWALL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327697)

OMG you guys. like why are there not like filters for the government employees? i mean my school does it. jeez they should be suspended! j/k

i hope there is no "blame the internet" bs (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327699)

i'm certain that before the www there was just as much time wasting going on on just as many useless pursuits (cards, crossword puzzles, etc). if you have a job to do, and it doesn't get done, someone notices. but if you have downtime, which frequently happens in any large bureacracy, you waste your time with pointless pursuits. true in 1806, true in 2006

it's just that logfiles make it easy to actually quantify this lost productivity for the first time. but in fact, one could make the case that the internet allows users to waste their time more... um... efficiently (snicker)

Ironic? (1)

HaMMeReD3 (891549) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327701)

This article should go into the dictionary as the definition of the word ironic.

From the OIG's letter (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327715)

which spawned the article, included in the list of prohibited items:
Fundraising for external organizations or purposes (except as required as part of your official duties under applicable statutory authority and bureau policy)
Can anyone please identify when a government agency should have employees using government equipment on government time to fundraise for external organizations? I can't think of any examples where it should be legally sanctioned and/or permissible by bureau policy.

Re:From the OIG's letter (1)

bobschneider8 (878023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327821)

I've never worked for the gubbment, but in the corporate world I was once put in charge of my department's United Fund campaign for the year. I did this on company time using my company computer. I'd assume that the Feds do it the same way.

Re:From the OIG's letter (1)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327855)

I think there are some exceptions for federal workers doing stuff for the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign), which is kind of a mass fundraiser targetting all government employees. It's an attempt to minimize the number of different distractions and confine it to a single period. Also, I used to work for a non-profit that soley benefitted military personnel. They weren't allowed to do fundraising among the military, but the military conducted a fundraiser on their behalf every year.

Read a book when you're not busy! (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327717)

Taxpayers will be a lot happier.

Of course, if these workers have all that time left to surf the web, maybe they're redundant. Then again, if you take that route and start laying off, then you wind up with not enough trained workers during crunch time.

Yup. The practical solution is the middle ground: establish a website whitelist including only essential sites to look at, and give 'em books to read. In fact, what I did as a manager was reach a compromise by adding gutenberg.org and slashdot to the whitelist; but slashdot is a probationary option (if it's abused, it'll go away).

ruining it for others (1)

berlamont (866455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327733)

I work at a big bank and management here has made no bones about firing people because of internet usage. It's because of people like this that they act draconian about it and don't even allow us to check the weather. Thank god for being able to get around the network with good ole dial-up.

95% of all statistics are useless (1)

tehtest (995812) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327747)

these numbers are horrifically bloated. Say one person is shown a funny video on lets say a site which also shows some boobies (That site is deemed sexual). He shows a bunch of his cube-mates, they laugh a bit, than go back to work. Say half of these people leave the window burried for 30, 60, 90, 120, min while going to lunch, doing actual work, meetings etc. Odds are they view that as 30,60,90,120 min of surfing p0rn on some XXX site because the banners spam refresh.

Re:95% of all statistics are useless (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327921)

Or a bunch of federal workers really are surfing a lot of porn at work. Is that so shocking? Is it so completely unbelieveable that there are people in the world that will take advantage of resources for their own use, especially when they are in a sinecure job?

If you can't be fired... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327759)

...why work real hard?

Those are some high paid 50 people! (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327761)

The study found that almost $2 Billion a year in productivity was being lost to these 'excessive indulgences'.... Put another way, this would equal 50 full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction sites.

I didn't RTFA, but this would imply that those 50 full time employees have a bill + production rate of $40,000,000/year. Or roughly $20,000 dollars an hour. Unless the 50 employees they are talking about are lobbyist, I just don't see this as accurate.

-Rick

Re:Those are some high paid 50 people! (1)

Servo (9177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327973)

That's gotta be a typo. $2 million would equal 50 people at a reasonable average salary of $40k/year.

Otherwise, I'd like to speak to someone about my tax dollars.

These "studies" all have the same flaw (2, Insightful)

OldGuySythe (745787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327765)

These studies all operate on the "presumption" that if they didn't "surf the web", they would be more productive. If they didn't have the Web, they would find some other way to occupy their time, and it most probably would not be work related.

This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327769)

If they were bored, who knows what kind of crap they'd pull on taxpayers.

Not a shocker (1)

Cisko Kid (987514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327781)

I do sometimes surf at work. I only do it when I am waiting for something or on my break. I used to work for a company where I would surf all the time because I was on the night shift and it was quiet and I did not have much else to do. I know that one of the managers there just surfed porn all day and that was pretty much it. If the government wanted to keep the emplayees from surfing porn or other such sites they can use a proxy to restrict where the users go.

Same old, same old... (1, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327783)

As per the old jokes:

Q. How many people work for the government?
A. About half of them. ..and..

Q. What do you get when you put 50 lesbians and 50 gov't workers in the same room?
A. 100 people who don't do dick.

Well, I'll be (1)

hkgroove (791170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327789)

This explains the recent bill to ban online gambling.

Kinda meaningless (1)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327793)

Since they apparently didn't correlate it to breaks and lunches and stuff.

I wonder how many full-time-employee-equivalents it would take to cover all of the time that DOI employees spend eating, in the restroom, etc? And are those crises too?

-b

Simple solution... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327819)

Send all Internet connections thru proxies. Hire a couple of admins who have the job -- and nothing else -- of reviewing logs and applying content filters. Just flat out block porn, auction sites, non-official e-mail/webmail, stock/investment, gambling and sports sites. Start working down from there.

Post a policy, make everyone attend an "awareness" class, make them sign off on it. Make sure they all understand they are being watched and this sort of thing won't be tolerated.

Have the policy contain some teeth. Warn people on the first instance, reprimand on the following, suspend on #3 and FIRE THEM on #4. Make the termination public -- tell the rest of the staff why that person is no longer with you.

Apply it fairly, up and down the chain, from the Department Head all the way down to the janitors.

I'd also suggest taking inventory of what software people NEED to use for their daily jobs and then locking the system down so they can't install other software. Terminal services (Citrix, LTSP, whatever) is an excellent choice for non-power users.

Will it be 100% effective? No, of course not. But it will make a major dent in the problem. I've guided several financial institutions thru this exact process and it works.

Hospitals and health care institutions are a different animal. Nothing is more entertaining than watching some poor net admin try and tell a Doctor (aka GOD) that he can't do that. Heh. Subtler means are necessary...

Re:Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328217)

and FIRE THEM on #4. Make the termination public -- tell the rest of the staff why that person is no longer with you.
Get real. This is the government we're talking about. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a government employee fired?

For Crying Out Loud... (1)

RoffleTheWaffle (916980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327827)

Haven't these people ever heard of an access control list before? Really now.

Tradeoffs to consider (1)

whitelabrat (469237) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327829)

Although the report is likely accurate, I think it is too easy to see internet browsing as loss productivity. I think a useful report should also include how much productivity is gained by providing uncontrolled internet access. Furthermore, how many of us are multitasking in a computing environment?

For example. I may be browsing through eBay for an hour, while I am doing some tech writing, and also doing some sys admin tasks.

I think the report is too narrowly focused, but at the same time it wouldn't hurt to set up site-blocking tools to reduce the temptation to goof off too much.

Like posting to /.

But then again the cost of internet access control software may cost more than loss productivity too. It ain't cheap stuff!

What else would they be doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327831)

Why is it implicitly assumed that if they weren't able to go to those websites they would be working? People have always wasted time at work, staring out of the window if nothing else. I suspect nothing has changed but our ability to find out what people are actually doing all day.

Helpful stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327835)

The study found that almost $2 Billion a year in productivity was being lost to these 'excessive indulgences'.

If it wasn't being wasted on unethical activities, that would be enough money to fund an additional tap on every American phone.

Bad math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327845)

2 billion dollars of productivity lost, 100,000 hours per year being wasted... $20,000 per hour?

Time spent on a given site (1)

netruner (588721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327857)

How do they know when someone was on a site for 30-60 minutes? My browser (Mozilla) always has a tab open to /. Would it show that I surf 24/7?

Does /. count as pr0n? (1)

bcmbyte (996126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327899)

Man I'd hate to think if they counted the hours I spend reading /. Sure, Sure I can tell them that it's all research, I might even get away with it. I guess it's only a matter of time until I reach the time out error on my web browser.

A common problem (4, Interesting)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327901)

Back when I did IT work for a certain government agency, I'd often have to clean porn dialers, viruses and spyware off users' machines, all obviously the result of people browsing inappropriate sites at work. We even had to fire a few individuals for using the office T1 to swap songs on Napster (this was back when Napster was both popular and illegal). This sort of behavior wouldn't suprise me at the typical office, but many of these individuals were in their 40s or 50s and had Masters degrees/doctorates and made high 5 digit (or even six digit) salaries, with good medical and benefits. It suprised me that so many of the engineers and other govt. employees would waste so much time and basically damage government property at work instead of waiting until they got home to do it - it's not like they couldn't afford their own computer and internet connection. Often the stupid things they did would prevent them from using the machine to actually get work done, because the software they had installed impaired the operation of the system.

And strangely enough, in my free time while administering some fairly sizable gaming forums, I've actually had to ban users with hostmasks indicating they were using government internet connections. I even went to the trouble of tracking down the name of one individual and contacting their boss about their behavior. It's suprising how badly some professionals will behave at work when they think nobody's watching.

(And yes, IT is watching you. Always watching.)

Boy am I glad I don't work in IT anymore. :)

I wonder how much of this is link to SPAM email (1)

SoWatt2000 (104668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327911)

I know few persones that will click on any links they see in all of those SPAM email they get...

I bet that most of that time spent on those sex and games site are just b/c lots of people just don't understand what SPAM emails are...

Are they sure the DoI is going to Gaming sites? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327929)

And not Big Game sites?

Think about it. Game - as in hunting - is part of the purview of the Deptartment of the Interior.

Not sure about the Gambling though.

Government pay rate is nice! (1)

skilljoy (531288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327933)

$2 Billion a year / 50 full time employees = $40 million per year average salary!

Sign me up!

Re:Government pay rate is nice! (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327997)

You have to wonder how many of the violators are political appointees though.

That's actually quite a good ratio (1)

mmacdona86 (524915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327947)

So out of 14,000,000 work hours, 100,000 are lost to frivolous web browsing? That's less than 1%, or less than 5 minutes per person per day. That's remarkably low; the government should be congratulated on effectively policing internet use. The numbers only look big because there are so many employees in the study.

Rational analysis (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327979)

This truly sucks for the US government that a few employees, taking short breaks, can cripple the government. The threat is obviously not from outside terrorists, but from the employees going to ebay during their lunch breaks. If our government is so fragile, we should indeed be afraid.

Lets look at the numbers. Over a week they counted about 7,000 employees going to illicit sites. This represents about than 1% of the 70,000 employees of the DOI. Furthermore they found that these employees spent 2000 hours on these illicit sites, or perhaps 15 minutes a day during the test week.

From these stated fact, they found three interesting things. First, the wasted time represented 50 employees, or less than 0.1% of the workforce. Second they found that the internet use represented about 24 hours of internet use, presumable bandwidth. They then took this 24 hour number and, presumable, combined it with the total budget of the DOI, 10.4 billion, realized that 24 hours was one fifth of a week, and came up with 2 billion dollars in loss.

So here is what we have. 1% of the employees, wasting 0.1% of the potential productive time of the DOI, uses 20% of the budget. This result does not indicate a problem with the employees, but a fundamental issue with the process of budgeting and managing money. Any structure that exposes 20% of the budget to risk due to the actions of 1% of the employees is surely inadequate.

Now, the article did state that 'some' computers were accessing sites that would normally be considered uncool for work, and certainly those few people at those 'some' computer can be handled by management, unless those people are themselves high ranking officials that cannot be easily reprimanded. One wonders why those 'some' computers are even allowed to go to those sites.

In the end it shows the lack of logical skills possessed by the average reporter, and, i fear, by posting it on /., the lack of logic skills of the average geek..

OUTRAGE! (1)

Chriscypher (409959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328001)

I am APPALLED and OUTRAGED at this unauthorized government subsidy!

I demand that they hire 50 more employees to surf my sites to even the playing field.

They're lucky I don't work for the government (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328021)

Because I would have skewed those numbers way up.

logging (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328039)

The problem is most of these logging systems cannot distinguish from legitimate browser surfing from spyware, bots, dialers, malware etc.

No I certainly do not blame the users for having to deal with insecure software provided by paid third party vendors. I don't care what you think it is simply not the users fault if their machine gets owned, the responsible
party is the software vendor.

Anothier simple solution - driftnet (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328041)

Couple of projectors in very public places running something like DriftNet [ex-parrot.com] which sniffs network and displays passing image files, and combining user's name and photo with the image.... Could be fun....

Nothing like a public humiliation.... Of course the flip side is people intentionally trying to make it on there....

-Em

Stock the Break Room (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328045)

Stock the break room with hookers and blackjack.

Same problem across the board. If we learned anything from the Clinton years, it's the desperate need for a White House bordello.

-kgj

look on the brightside (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328071)

With Foley gone that number should be cut in half.

...or, put another, far more accurate way... (1)

BemoanAndMoan (1008829) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328091)

Put another way, this would equal 50 full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction sites. This article must have been posted by a Government employee, considering the obtuse view of the statistics.

A less jaded statistic would be:

7,763 Computers / 100,000 lost work hours in a year = 12.9 hours per year per computer terminal.

So, with an average of 50 work weeks, 40 hours per day, thats 2000 hours/12.9 hours, or a total average waste of 0.6% of their work time. And this is without considering breaks, lunch time or pre/post work hours. If this data is accurate, I'd bet people spend more time on personal phone calls, daydreaming, doodling or just plain screwing the pooch than they do looking at boobies or shooting aliens. But that won't stop some dope of a politician from turning into a soapbox issue, wasting $$$$ of better-spent money on studies and easily-broken/obtuse preventative measures, and some poor dude getting sacked for mistyping a URL (well, so he says).

Of course, that said, the number seems incredibly low.

Re:...or, put another, far more accurate way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328253)

I wonder if using the same groups you could say something like:

It's like hiring 100 full time workers to do nothing but go to the bathroom all day.

Sites? (1)

recursiv (324497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328099)

Are you sure it wasn't referring to web pages?

This is bad? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328101)

Would you rather they did work? What useful govt work have you ever seen? Be careful what you wish for:

The only limits on the growth of a bureaucracy are the competence of the denizens.

Before computers people wasted time other ways (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328137)

  • Smoke breaks every 15 minutes
  • Judicious use of the restroom (with porno mag in hand)
  • Trips to the store (you know to buy stuff for work and just about anything else you can do while not in the office)
So the point is that time wasted surfing websites is probably not any worse then other time wasted and all these things are not cummulative. I mean at some point your boss is going to notice if you don't get a single thing done in a given week.

Oh yea! (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328141)

A couple of years back when I was just leaving a job, they put in a picture scanning device that was able to retrieve pics from the data stream and pull out skin pics. It was just installed as a test at the time and it was a pretty cool device. They were very surprised by the amount of skin people were looking at (this is a government agency btw) and in one or two cases, what they found forced the government folks to take action against two employees. I suspect it was child porn since they were just laughing at the regular porn I saw.

[John]

That's not the only reason they are wasting money (1)

cppgenius (1009857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328203)

While visiting these pOrn sites they infect their PC's with spyware/adware and all kinds of junk, helping the spread of malicious software, putting everyone on their mailing list at risk and indirectly help the distribution of spam which fills our inboxes day after day, eating up valuable bandwidth. (These idiots don't even know they are putting their own online security at risk by visiting these immoral, spyware infested web sites) http://www.cybertopcops.com/ [cybertopcops.com]

no problem (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328227)

If it can be logged, it can be blocked. I don't want to hear anymore whining. End of line. Next case.

...50 full time employees... (1)

jamieswith (682838) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328237)

"Put another way, this would equal 50 full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction sites."

Normally I'm not in favor of pointless job creation schemes but I wouldn't mind applying for one of those jobs!

Meh, They'll probably get out-sourced to India!
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