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35% of firms monitor staff e-mail

May 15, 2002

Thirty-five percent of Japanese companies monitor the Internet browsing and e-mail records of their employees to ensure that company online facilities are not used for private purposes, according to a survey conducted by the Japan Institute of Labor.

The institute, an affiliate of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, said Tuesday that the study shows 40 percent of the companies surveyed have drawn up guidelines for employees on the use of company online facilities.

Seventy-five percent of companies with online guidelines ban private use of company e-mail, while 14 percent have introduced disciplinary measures.

The institute conducted the survey in March, sending questionnaires to 3,600 companies. The study was based on replies from 267 companies, the institute said.

Companies responding to the survey cited virus infection as the most serious problem involved in unauthorized use of the company online system.

Other problems included breakdown of the company communications system, sexual harassment and libel charges, as well as leaks of classified company information.

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