NT govt cracks down on improper Web use

NT government cracks down on inappropriate Internet use
Written by Steven Deare, Contributor

Northern Territory (NT) government officials have tried to stamp out inappropriate Internet use by deploying stronger Web filtering software across all state departments.

Over 14,000 government employees' Internet usage has been subject to SurfControl's Web Filter product since mid-August, when it was installed to screen all state departments' Web surfing.

Garry Haigh, director, IT service management, NT government, said the roll-out was part of Telstra's AU$140 million contract to implement voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and Internet services. SurfControl was included in Telstra's tender bid.

The Web filtering software would give the government improved reporting on Web access and bandwidth usage, according to Haigh.

This had been possible during the old Optus contract, but through a different process, he said.

"Optus was our previous provider and could provide reports, but it was a fairly rigid process to get those reports."

The Optus contract billed by the download, "so by virtue they had to do it", said Haigh, but the reports' scope was mainly on download limits.

The new Web filtering and reporting system lets the government run reports of individual users, and can limit access in a variety of ways, including by time.

However, Haigh said the government would not be spying on employees' Web usage. The new Web filtering software was installed to improve staff productivity and ensure appropriate Internet use, he said.

Another benefit of the whole-of-government deployment was it relieved agencies of negotiating licensing themselves.

The four year licence is for SurfControl's Web Filter with Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server.

Some agencies used SurfControl previously as well as other products, Haigh said. However, they now have generic web filtering rules set for them. Agencies can modify these rules if they wish.

Haigh said the government was investigating expanding the SurfControl technology to spam filtering.


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