Companies and governments have long been concerned about internet abuse in offices; most companies have strict rules against what content can and cannot be viewed. 70% of UK organisations admitted to disciplining staff over in-appropriate content viewed at work. Enforcement of these policies can be tough and has previously been focused around the URL's employees visit. However, a new piece of software from PixAlert attempts to change this.
PixAlert have developed software that does real time multi-source analysis to detect illegal / in-appropriate content on employees computers. The software not only scans for on-line content (like pornographic images), but also scans other data mediums / entry points in organisations. The software provides IT managers with a detailed audit chain allowing follow up on users viewing content of a dubious nature. It performs real-time analysis of content and compares it against a pre-set list of computer guidelines. When these are breached, a thumbnail of the content and detailed information is sent to a company's human resources department for examination.
In 2004, it emerged that an analysis of one of the UK government's departments had found over 18,000 illegal images, and 2 million pieces of in-appropriate content. PixAlert hopes to make it easier for IT managers to crack down on this type of activity.
"The rapid proliferation of Inappropriate and illegal material on PCs and networks is a growing problem for organisations as legislation and compliance becomes more onerous," says Dave McLoughlin, a PixAlert director. "While gateway products go some way to prevent web and email images, PixAlert is the only solution currently available that protects organisations from the increasing range of plug-in digital devices that can at as the source of unwanted images."
PixAlert, and software like it, highlight a growing trend in businesses hooked up to the web - the "big-brother" office. Privacy advocates expressed concern at the use of surveillance software in the work place, and urged corporate users to respect an individuals right to privacy.