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Businesses count the cost of Big Brother



UK businesses may breathe a sigh of relief as Big Brother, the nation's most gripping game show of late, drew to a close on Friday night, having cost companies...



UK businesses may breathe a sigh of relief as Big Brother, the nation's most gripping game show of late, drew to a close on Friday night, having cost companies an estimated £1.4 million pounds in lost productivity per week.

According to Unipalm, a distributor of intranet/internet, security and connectivity software, obsessed employees were costing businesses around £300,000 per day by accessing the show's website.

Its claims are based on data gathered by Websense, a Unipalm associate and provider of software that allows employers to monitor, report and manage how their staff use the internet.

The Channel 4 website, which has a direct link to the Big Brother pages, received between 100,000 - 150,000 unique visitors a day, who then spent an average of 15 minutes on-line reading house news updates or watching activities live on its video stream, says the report.

"These findings are obviously quite worrying, but they also demonstrate just how powerful a draw Big Brother really is. However, bosses don't have to be powerless in stopping this kind of employee abuse of internet access," comments Wendy Hoey, Unipalm's e-security product manager.

She explains that through installing (Websense) software, businesses can block up to 67 types of web content, ranging from gambling to shopping or pornography, only allowing access during employee lunch breaks if they choose.

"Not only is productivity time lost, but with broadcast video streaming being so sensitive, Big Brother has the potential to crash corporate networks," adds Websense European CEO, Geoff Haggart.

This was first published in September 2000

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