Tech Industry

Workers, watch where you surf

On Technology's Purview Internet Manager is a Windows NT tool that monitors and tracks employee use of the Internet.

On Technology (ONTC) wants to help companies put a stop to sports-and-smut surfing in the workplace.

On has just made available the Purview Internet Manager, a Windows NT tool that monitors and tracks employee use of the Internet. It captures all IP network traffic--including Web surfing, file transfers, and search engine queries--and tracks the usage in a relational database so that companies can find out who's surfing where and how much. The software also allows companies to block specific sites.

The product is arguably draconian, but it highlights a growing concern among network administrators that Web and email access are distracting workers and contributing to losses in productivity.

It's no secret that sites like Playboy and ESPNet have huge workplace audiences.

For example, the Penthouse Web site last year boasted of its popularity among visitors with domain names of "ibm.com," "apple.com," "att.com," and "hp.com."

Apparently, a lot of companies don't see the benefits of recreational surfing. Now they can keep tabs on individual employees' use of the Web, even the keywords and topics they search for with engines such as Yahoo or AltaVista.

A network administrator can enter a keyword and recover a list of relevant sites that have received visits from within the company, which employees have been making the visits, and if they have downloaded any files. The Purview Manager is invisible to the employee.

Internet Purview Manager runs on Windows NT but can keep tabs on Unix, PC and Macintosh workstations on a network. The program is now available for a free 30-day trial at the On Web site.