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By JENNIFER TALHELM
In one week, several Interior Department workers spent more than 30 minutes on sexually explicit Web sites.
That same week, another computer showed more than 2,300 log entries at two Internet game sites for about 14 hours.
Still another was logged into an Internet auction for almost eight hours.
Devaney called his findings "egregious" and "alarming," but noted the department since 1999 took just 177 disciplinary actions for inappropriate Internet use. Of those, 112 were for accessing pornographic or sexually explicit Web sites.
His report is titled "Excessive Indulgences," and its cover features a photo montage, including a shot of a woman’s bare stomach, to illustrate the types of Web sites employees visited.
"Computer users at the department have continued to access sexually explicit and gambling Web sites due to the lack of consistency in department controls over Internet use," he wrote. "Without strong and effective controls, we believe that this activity will continue and possibly increase."
Department officials say they are taking action to cut back on abuses by employees with Internet access.
Employees received a department-wide memo on Sept. 27 reminding them that some of the activities Devaney found "have significant legal and administrative consequences," and violators could be fired or turned over to the police.
The department is working on blocking inappropriate Internet sites, the memo said. But it reminded employees that "just because an inappropriate site is not blocked does not mean that it is authorized for access."
Devaney said he wanted to test just how effective the department’s rules were for Internet usage. Most of the checks were for employees’ visits to sexually explicit, gambling, gaming and auction sites, he said, because they obviously were not work-related and ate up employees’ work hours.
Devaney also found, during one week of investigation, more than 1 million log entries in which 7,700 employees visited game and auction sites. More than 4,700 log entries were for sexually explicit and gambling Web sites.
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Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press