Corporations crack down on employee Net use

More companies are adopting filters and other controls to head off scandal

Large organisations are cracking down on their workers' access to controversial Internet material after a series of public scandals. The new awareness has boosted the fortunes of filtering companies such as Surfcontrol, which announced this week its revenues for the second quarter ending 30 November had tripled from $3.2m to $9.5m (£6.4m).

The Silicon Valley company, which was founded in Manchester, reported a loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $3.2m in the second quarter. However, it faces a bright future in the corporate world, according to experts, since only one percent of US businesses use filtering software.

After a series of incidents where employees have been disciplined or fired for accessing pornographic Web sites or email at work, this kind of software may suddenly be in demand. The scandals have involved corporations such as Orange, Royal & Sun Alliance, City law firms and Cable & Wireless.

Most recently carmaker Ford announced it was taking action against three workers for "unauthorised use" of the Internet. A new report suggests employers are getting nervous enough about their workers' Internet use that one in five are illegally snooping on employee emails.

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