QuickLinks - Employment and social issues
QuickLinks - Employment and social issues
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- KR - Suicide prompts change in S. Korean cellphone firms' call plans
South Korean mobile phone companies are offering new calling plans after a teen committed suicide for racking up a large phone bill. A 16-year-old student killed himself after receiving a bill for about 3.7 million won (US$3,811; euro 3,212) in data charges for playing games on his mobile phone.
- UK - New police blogging rules spark anger
Many organisations are now having to consider how they deal with employees who blog about their work, and one of the most recent to take up the challenge is the Metropolitan Police. But new guidelines issued by the Met have caused some bloggers to wonder if their weblogs could cost them their jobs.
Issue no. 347 - 19 October 2005
- CN - Treating China's online addicts
The internet is taking China by storm, with millions of people logging on in record numbers and web cafes busier than ever. Rising personal wealth means more people are able to buy computers or pay to go online. Every day in China, more than 20 million youngsters go online to play games and hit the chat rooms, and internet addiction among young people is becoming a major issue.
Issue no. 344 - 18 September 2005
- EU - IT accessibility must improve, says European Commission
The accessibility of websites, software, digital TV and 3G phones could become a legal requirement across the EU if plans announced today by the European Commission fail to improve accessibility for elderly and disabled people within two years. By the end of 2005, public procurement rules may also change, to demand that authorities award contracts only to bidders providing accessible services. These messages are part of a Commission Communication on what it calls eAccessibility. It calls upon Member States to do more to promote EU eAccessibility initiatives and to encourage uptake by industry.
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
- JP - Japan's ISPs to intervene on potential suicides
Japan's communications industry and Internet service providers are planning to give police information on people who post messages suggesting they may be close to committing suicide. Four communications-industry groups have worked out guidelines for submitting the information, which could include the names and addresses of such people. Rising numbers of Japanese die each year in group suicides after meeting online via suicide Web sites, posing a new problem for officials trying to tackle the nation's alarmingly high suicide rate.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
- Emails 'pose threat to IQ'
The distractions of constant emails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration than taking cannabis, according to a survey of befuddled volunteers. Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached 'startling' levels in the trials by 1,100 people, who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an addictive, drug-like grip.
- US - College freshmen less interested in tech
Incoming college students seem to have developed an allergy to computer science during the past four years--with women particularly being uninterested in the field. That's the gist of a new report from Computing Research Association (CRA), a group made up of academic departments, research centers and professional societies.
Issue no. 333 - 2 March 2005
- UK - Porn, an acceptable career?
These days anyone can set up a website and become a porn star. With the internet fundamentally changing the industry, could pornography be becoming mainstream?
Issue no. 328 - 4 January 2005
- Web helps collect aid donations
The web is helping aid agencies gather resources to help cope with the aftermath of the tsunami disaster. Many people are making donations via websites or going online to see how they can get involved with aid efforts. High-profile web portals such as Google, Yahoo, Ebay and Amazon are gathering links that lead people to aid and relief organisations. So many were visiting some aid-related sites that some webpages were struggling to cope with the traffic.
Issue no. 321 - 10 October 2004
- DE - Psychologen: Internet fördert Sexsucht
Psychotherapeuten beobachten Medienberichten zufolge eine Zunahme an sexsüchtigen Patienten in Deutschland. 75 Prozent davon seien Männer. Hauptursache hierfür sind nach Ansicht der Kongressteilnehmer der 2. Klinischen Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sexualforschung das freie und übermäßige Angebot an Sex-Seiten und -Chats im Internet. Der besondere Reiz gehe von der Anonymität aus.
Issue no. 317 - 22 August 2004
- FI - Finnish army 'drops web addicts'
A number of Finnish conscripts have had their full term of military service slashed because of their addiction to the internet. The Finnish Defence Forces say doctors have found some young men miss their computers too much to cope with the compulsory six months in the army.
- US - Blog Interrupted
When Jessica Cutler put her dirty secrets on the Web, she lost her job, signed a book deal, posed for Playboy - and raised a ton of questions about where America is headed.
Issue no. 315 - 18 July 2004
- DE - Studie: Besitzer von Webseiten im Internet sind meist introvertiert
"Wer sich auf seiner persönlichen Homepage im Internet präsentiert, ist nicht automatisch auch selbstbewusst", schreiben Psychologen der Technischen Universität Chemnitz. Mit anderen Worten: Besitzer privater Webseiten im Internet sind offenbar introvertierter als ihre Zeitgenossen ohne eigenen Internetauftritt.
Issue no. 299 - 24 January 2004
- EU - Ireland wants Euro ban on buying sex
Ireland, current president of the European Union, says it will propose a ban on paying for sex throughout the EU but is holding out little hope of agreement among the 15-nation bloc. O'Dea was responding to questions from reporters about a report on the multi-billion dollar sex industry drawn up by Swedish European Parliament member Marianne Eriksson, which suggested a ban on paying for sex. Sweden is the only EU state where it is illegal to pay for sex.
- EU - Why Do Men Want to Watch Porn? Asks Swedish MEP
A Swedish Euro-MP fighting the spread of pornography today called for a study into "the reasons behind the sexual behaviour of men". Swedish Marianne Eriksson said the results would contribute to establishing "an appropriate sexual education programme" in all European Union countries. Ms Erikkson is the author of a draft European Parliament report warning that globalisation has caused an explosion in the "sex industry". Internet access has put sex into every home and boosted the exploitation of women and the traffic in "sex slaves", it says. The report, drawn up by the Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities, points out that 70% of the £252 million EU citizens spent on the Internet in 2001 went to porn sites.
- IL - Rabbi offers prayer for Web porn surfers
An Israeli rabbi has composed a prayer to help devout Jews overcome guilt after visiting porn sites while browsing the Internet. 'Please God, help me cleanse the computer of viruses and evil photographs that disturb and ruin my work ..., so that I shall be able to cleanse myself,' reads the benediction. The rabbi said he had responded to a deluge of queries from Orthodox Jews worried that the lure of Internet sex sites was putting family relationships at risk. The rabbi recommends that Jews recite the prayer when they log on to the Internet or even program it to flash up on their computer screens so they are spiritually covered whether they enter a porn site intentionally or by mistake.
- US - PC can take your marriage off line
Reading email at 3am, playing online games for hours and relentlessly downloading pop or pornography from the internet have turned the home computer into the most dangerous threat to marriage to have emerged over the past 30 years, US lawyers claim. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which represents 1600 divorce specialists, is to publish a booklet of marital advice that will include a stark warning that the PC is a potential home-wrecker. see also Pushing the Wrong Buttons: Men’s and Women’s Attitudes toward Online and Offline Infidelity (Cyberpsychology & Behavior) by Monica Therese Whitty, Ph.D. Cybersex is more damaging to relationships than pornography.
Issue no. 293 - 7 December 2003
- Strategies of Inclusion: Gender and the Information Society (SIGIS)
The Research Centre for Social Sciences of the University of Edinburgh has published the results of a major two-year European study on public and private initiatives to include and attract women to information and communication technology (ICT) use, employment and education. The research project entitled Strategies of Inclusion: Gender and the Information Society, has published a collection of case studies and analyses for policy makers, product designers and service developers. The cases cover education, training, and support networks for professional women in ICT sectors; training and empowerment of the socially excluded; design of new products, including mobile phones, web publications and games for female audiences; and experiences of ICTs and the meanings that they have for men and women in everyday contexts.
- UK - Sexual spam could spark lawsuits
Legal experts are warning companies to do more to stop pornographic spam reaching employees. Firms that do not take steps to stop sexually explicit spam could face lawsuits from employees suffering distress because of exposure to offensive images. The experts urge companies to deploy anti-spam tools and curb offensive messages before they reach workers' desktops.
Issue no. 291 - 15 November 2003
- UK - Porn surfing a big employers' headache
Misuse of e-mails and the Internet in the workplace has become a big headache for employers, and UK companies are increasingly disciplining staff for accessing racy Web sites or sending porn to colleagues. Nearly one in three companies have disciplined staff for breaking company Internet and e-mail rules in the past year, according to a survey released by LexisNexis Industrial Relations Services, a publication that covers human resources issues.
Issue no. 290 - 9 November 2003
- US - Agencies Surf for Translators
The CIA and the FBI are launching a program to help solve the shortage of linguists in Arabic and other languages, which officials say has become a crisis in the fight against terrorism. They're going online and creating a "virtual" network of bilingual university students, professors and other language experts. When the National Virtual Translation Center starts operations Dec. 1, it will initiate an unusual and perhaps risky plan: hiring individual language speakers around the nation who haven't worked in government to translate documents and audiotapes sent to their homes or offices by e-mail. At least 300 non-government employees are expected soon to be working as center contractors, with most coming from universities, companies and private laboratories. Most of them will get a cursory background check and will not receive full security clearances. Those working at this level will not be given secret materials to translate, but they will do more humdrum work.
- Games at work may be good for you
Playing simple computer games at the office could improve productivity and job satisfaction, research suggests. Scientists from the University of Utrecht have studied the effects of game playing on 60 employees in a Dutch insurance firm. The team measured changes in work and job attitudes and found that game players felt better about their job. Many big companies ban games which come as standard on many computers, saying they are just a waste of workers' time. But, says research leader Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, there has been little research to show how playing games might positively change employee productivity, job satisfaction or reduce absenteeism.
Issue no. 280 - 24 August 2003
- UK - FTSE 100 web sites failing basic accessibility tests
- UK - Lawyer suspended over explicit e-mail cock-up
Think before you click. It's advice that Australian lawyer Patrick Smith may well wish he had taken before he mistakenly sent a sexually explicit e-mail to 30 people, rather than one intended recipient. Like others before it, Patrick Smith’s e-mail has now travelled the globe, and earned him a suspension from work.
- US - Library settles with workers who sued over exposure to Internet porn
Minneapolis library officials will consider restricting patrons' access to Internet porn and pay $435,000 to a dozen librarians to settle a lawsuit that alleged the prevalence of the images constituted a hostile work environment. Library officials confirmed the settlement in a statement. They didn't confirm the amount, but said it involves a payment from their liability insurer.
Issue no. 276 - 23 June 2003
- US - Probe finds 'significant misuse' Internet at IRS
Internal Revenue Service employees using thousands of computers accessed prohibited Web sites that included personal e-mail, sexually explicit sites and games. To Treasury investigators, it was a sign that 'significant misuse' of the Internet continues after a crackdown a year ago."
- US - Securities Firms Told to Save Instant Messages
NASD, the industry's self-regulatory body told securities brokers and dealers that use computer instant messages to contact clients and fellow employees must save such communications for at least three years,
Issue no. 269 - 6 May 2003
- Vers un embryon de label européen d'accessibilité au web
25 organismes et associations européennes ont décidé de lancer un projet de label européen d'accessibilité du web pour les personnes handicapées. Pour cela, les 25 partenaires ont signé un protocole d'accord pour la création d'un consortium, baptisé "Euro accessibilité".
Issue no. 267 - 21 April 2003
- UK - Disability Rights Commission to investigate Web sites
The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) will formally investigate one thousand Web sites for their ability to be accessed by Britain’s 8.5 million disabled people. The DRC will assess Web sites in both the public and private sectors checking for compliance with industry recognised accessibility standards.
- US - Porn spam - legal land mine for employers
Graphic images appearing unbidden on PCs by way of e-mail in-boxes could qualify as evidence of a "hostile work environment," something that's prohibited by federal employment law. As a result, porn spam could begin to crop up in sexual harassment complaints from employees offended by the material. Even if companies aren't the source of such messages, they could be liable for hefty civil fines if managers know that porn spam is a problem and don't move to address it.
Issue no. 257 - 26 January 2003
- Office surfers face wipeout
High-speed Net access at the office has long outstripped its reach at home, tempting workers to enjoy the benefits of broadband for personal as well as business pursuits. Now a broad corporate crackdown on office Net use may be looming, driven by cost-cutting efforts and increased scrutiny of workers' online activities.
Issue no. 255 - 6 January 2003
Issue no. 246 - 29 September 2002
Issue no. 244 - 7 September 2002
- Net porn tops list of 'sackable' offences
Abuse of e-mail and the Internet, including the downloading of pornography, has overtaken theft of office supplies and lying to the boss as the top disciplinary action reported in the workplace, a new study has found. More disciplinary cases have been brought against employees for violating company e-mail and Internet policies than for acts of dishonesty, violence or health and safety breaches, according to a survey by KLegal, a law firm associated with global accounting group KPMG, and Personnel Magazine.
Issue no. 241 - 24 July 2002
- HP suspends staff in email scandal
Hewlett Packard (HP) has suspended 150 employees over the misuse of its internal email system. The company confirmed this morning that it has suspended 60 permanent employees and 90 contractors. A few more staffers are thought to have been dismissed, and the contractors have been removed from HP's offices. The firm said that the action was taken after the staff were found to be "viewing and sharing unauthorised and inappropriate material".
Issue no. 240 - 14 July 2002
- UK - Web abuse: porn surfing heads list of sackable offences
One in four UK companies has sacked employees for internet misuse, and porn sites were the most common reason, a survey for Personnel Today magazine has found. The research showed 69% of those fired for abusing their internet connections were surfing for pornography. The next most common causes were web chatrooms and personal emails.
Issue no. 239 - 30 June 2002
- UK - Online banks called to account
Banks are under pressure to provide access to their higher interest internet and telephone accounts to customers who, because they are no longer able to manage their own financial affairs, have set up an Enduring Power of Attorney enabling someone else to do so.
Issue no. 238 - 22 June 2002
- Global - Big Brother at the office
Thousands of companies have invested in "employee Internet management" software that lets them control how their workers are using the Web.
Issue no. 233 - 4 May 2002
Issue no. 232 - 28 April 2002
Issue no. 231 - 14 April 2002
- When games stop being fun
Long a subject of half-serious jokes among devotees of computer and video games, game addiction is receiving serious attention lately as fantasy games such as "EverQuest" - nicknamed "EverCrack" by many players - proliferate.
Issue no. 229 - 23 March 2002
- Internet gambling breeds addiction
Internet gamblers may be more likely to have a serious gambling problem than other gamblers, say researchers. It is thought that the web may attract people who are trying to hide their gambling addiction. The study warns that the explosive growth of the internet will lead to more on-line betting opportunities - and thus increase the risk of more people suffering from the health and emotional difficulties associated with compulsive gambling.
- USA - Debate over Internet 'Addiction'
Addiction or Compulsion? Experts Debate Why People Spend Too Much Time Online
Issue no. 227 - 10 March 2002
- UK - Ford offers amnesty on Internet porn
Twenty thousand workers at Ford have been told to clean up their computers and remove any offensive, including racist, material they have on their machines. They have been given a two week 'amnesty' to delete the offensive content and can get help from Ford's computer systems managers to remove the content during this period. After the deadline, on Friday 15 March, any employee found to be in possession of or found sending offensive material will be dismissed.
Issue no. 225 - 24 February 2002
- New Zealand - Net porn judge fights to save job
A New Zealand High Court judge is under pressure to resign after revelations he accessed internet pornography at work, while five of his colleagues who also logged on to sex sites have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Issue no. 223 - 10 February 2002
- The World, The Workplace and We the Workers (WWWe)
(eWork in a Global World?)
International conference on the impact of ICT applications on delocalisation of work, working conditions and workers, International Trade Union House, Brussels, Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 April 2002.
Issue no. 222 - 2 February 2002
Issue no. 220 - 19 January 2002
- Television Addiction
Excessive cravings do not necessarily involve physical substances. Gambling can become compulsive; sex can become obsessive. One activity, however, stands out for its prominence and ubiquity--the world's most popular leisure pastime, television.
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