CIOs: A little personal Internet use is OK

letters@govexec.com

Federal managers should allow employees to access the Internet at work for a limited amount of personal use, a draft guide for agencies suggests.

The Chief Information Officers Council, a government-wide committee of senior technology executives, drafted the new policy guidance. The guidance is pending final approval from the council. It recommends that federal employees be permitted to use the World Wide Web for some personal use, much as agencies let employees use telephones to make a reasonable amount of personal calls.

The proposed policy "recognizes [federal] employees as responsible individuals who are the key to making government more responsive to citizens. It allows employees to use government office equipment for non-government purposes when such use involves minimal additional expense to the government, is performed on the employee's non-work time, does not interfere with the mission or operations of a department or agency and does not violate the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch."

Examples of acceptable personal use of the Internet listed in the guidance include checking Thrift Savings Plan or other personal investments, seeking employment, and communicating with a volunteer charity organization. Inappropriate personal use would include viewing sexually explicit material, using the Internet to support a for-profit business, engaging in fund-raising, or downloading large video, sound or other files that affect the performance of an agency's network. "Push" technology services, which send news and information directly to users' computers, are listed as an example of an inappropriate use because they degrade network performance.

The policy essentially tells managers not to be draconian about personal Internet use, but encourages employees not to let personal business interfere with their work.

"Executive branch employees should be provided with a professional supportive work environment," the policy suggests. "They should be given the tools needed to effectively carry out their assigned responsibilities. Allowing limited personal use of these tools helps enhance the quality of the workplace and helps the government to retain highly qualified and skilled workers."

Agencies are free to develop their own personal use policies for government equipment. The council's proposed guidance only offers suggestions for rules managers may want to use.

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.