Plugged In

letters@govexec.com

Agencies' investments in online initiatives have more than tripled since 1994, a General Accounting Office study released this week found.

Half of all federal employees now have access to electronic mail and 31 percent have access to the World Wide Web, GAO reported.

"The Internet has become a valuable and widely used means of communicating and sharing information," GAO said.

Agencies estimate they spent $190 million in 1996 providing Internet access to employees and developing World Wide Web sites and on-line bulletin board systems. That's up from $59 million on such activities in 1994 and $100 million in 1995.

Agencies told GAO that their figures were only estimates because most do not account for Internet projects separately from other information technology investments.

The number of employees with Internet access varies significantly by agency.

While the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) each reported that they provide 100 percent of their employees with e-mail access, the Department of Justice said that only 8 percent of its 102,000 employees have access to e-mail.

Justice and the Treasury Department each said that 8 percent of their employees have the capability to surf the World Wide Web, while HUD reported that all of its employees can get to the Web.

GAO surveyed 42 federal agencies and departments for its study. They reported that they had developed 4,300 distinct Web sites. GAO compiled a list of those sites (GGD-97-86S), available only on the Internet.

GAO also asked agencies to report if their employees were using the Internet for non-official purposes and if they had policies governing Internet usage.

No governmentwide Internet policy has been developed, but most agencies have policies that restrict Internet use to official purposes. A few allow incidental personal use, similar to the way they treat telephone usage.

The Department of Energy reprimanded nearly 100 employees at a national laboratory for accessing material from adult-oriented Web sites. The Interior Department inspector general found that a department employee had given private citizens access to the Web through department computer systems.

Agencies reported many advantages to Internet use, including improved information sharing with the public and among agencies.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.