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Re: Web filters - Effects on Productivity
From: Manuel Aróstegui <manuel () todo-linux com>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 17:26:05 +0200

On Sat, 2008-04-19 at 21:58 -0500, Noah wrote:
I'm currently researching web filtering.  While my job is not to play
Internet Police with those whom I work, I do find it interesting that
even though my company has a seemingly draconian Internet Access
Policy, people still seem to waste plenty of time on the Internet.  I,
for one, am not exempt from this statement.

My thoughts are that Web Filtering means different things to different
people.  HR believes that blocking sites such as CareerBuilder,
Monster and LinkedIn keeps employees from sniffing out better jobs on
company time.  Desktop support believes it decreases the number of
avenues for a widespread virus outbreak.  Managers believe it keeps
employees from wasting time in chat and on social networking sites.

At the end of the day, I'm not sure how effective the productivity
piece really is.  If users can't access Facebook many settle for
wasting an hour on the "letters to the editor" section of the local
newspaper's website.  As for the blogs I read (many security-related
blogs are hosted on Blogger or Wordpress, which are blocked), I simply
add them to Google Reader, which I can access.  I read them anyways,
at least they're related to my job.

I'm not bringing into question the technical security benefits of web
filtering; those are obvious.  Do web filters in schools and offices
*really* give productivity a boost, or do they simply shift what sites
or activities employees waste company time on?  Have there been any
solid studies on this topic?

Hi Noah, 

From my point of view there're two scenarios here.

If you set up a webfilter in a school or in any other placer where
people is not supposed to know how to by pass the filter or just even
what a webfilter is, it is going to do its purpose pretty well, of
course, one way or another if you want to waste your time you're going
to waste it, don't mind whether it's gonna be in front of the computer
or not.

On the other hand, installing a webfilter in a place where there're IT
related people working at, for me it means one thing, something like:

"Ok, we know you're, most likely, able to by pass the filter, but the
point we want to make here is the fact that we're watching you, it is up
to you to go further or not. You might be at risk if you try it"

Maybe the last scenario is quite radical, but I think it is the only
point of trying to install a webfilter around people working in IT,
specially in security.

Just my 2 cents.


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