Auditors also found that French hackers had used the Transportation Cabinet's computer system to: store and distribute pirated movies, CDs, DVDs and new computer games; post and distribute pirated copyrighted French medical textbooks; and even host Internet chat rooms.
In an effort to prevent this type of misuse of state resources and waste of taxpayer dollars, the Commonwealth Office of Technology collaborated with the Legislative Research Commission in September 2004 to develop a report that outlined acceptable uses of IT resources. Since that time, state employees have been required to sign and submit an "Acceptable Use Policy," that details the appropriate use of computers and the Internet for work-related purposes. They sign this agreement at the time of their initial employment and periodically thereafter.
To ensure that this policy was upheld equitably across the board, the Commonwealth Office of Technology began searching for an objective filtering tool that could be used at the state level. After issuing a detailed request for proposals, the Commonwealth Office of Technology selected Webwasher, an anti-hacking, anti-virus e-mail and Internet filtering tool, which was immediately piloted and subsequently contracted for use.
At the default level, the Webwasher software blocks 10 categories of Web sites, including those that contain pornographic, hate, and illegal activity content - materials that clearly serve no purpose in a place of business.
While it is easy to see why access to Web sites that could create a threatening or dangerous environment in the workplace should be restricted, it also is necessary to limit or prevent access to Web sites that can hamper productivity.
A Webwasher report on Web site usage was run
After assuming my new role on June 8, I asked the Commonwealth Office of Technology to run a Webwasher report on Web site usage. Several categories, including entertainment and blogs, showed large state employee usage volume. Because we do not have the time or the ability to monitor each Web site, I made the decision to block these categories - categories which clearly serve no purpose in a place of business.
Since that time, many Web sites have claimed that they have been individually singled-out or unfairly targeted. I assure you this is not the case.
Admittedly, the software-based categorical blocking of Web sites is not a perfect science. In fact, because of the large amount of "gray area" that comes with blocking of Internet access, we have asked the software vendor to categorize sites that were not initially identified.
There is no question that the Internet has continued to evolve since the issue of computer misuse first came to light in the Transportation Cabinet in April 2003.
New Web sites are developed every hour of every day. In fact, more than one new Web site has probably been created since the time you began reading this article.
Therefore, we will continue to monitor Web site traffic for more than incidental use to ensure that taxpayers' money is wisely spent, and state resources are used efficiently.