Policy needed to curb e-mail abuse

By Anita Matthews

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) Inc urged companies to be proactive and spell out a policy on Internet surfing and e-mail use to prevent unauthorised or careless use by employees.

Its advisory services manager Peter Tritt said a comprehensive policy would protect employers from vicarious liability as well as educate users about legal risks that they might inadvertently take.

“Having supplied a computer for work, employers have the right to make sure it is being used for that purpose. This means you can access e-mails on the computer and monitor time spent and websites visited. Most employees forget that using the Internet and e-mail at work is at the employer’s resource and therefore, not a private affair,” he said after panel discussion organised by software security firm Clearswift (Asia/Pacific) Pty Limited in Auckland in May.

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Chat Network Ban: Lessons in defective communication

By Julian Matthews

Sept 24, 1999, Kuala Lumpur — On August 16, when Malaysians Internet users were conditionally banned from accessing the Undernet, a popular chat network, the news was greeted with little surprise.

Malaysians chatters were notorious for being regularly banned or in chat parlance, k-lined, from other networks including DALnet and EFnet.

The bans were typically imposed for abuses to the acceptable use policies of these networks – usually for attempts to disrupt or eliminate conversation or harass other chatters or for deliberate attacks to bring down chat servers.
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Net abuse: storm in Malaysia’s tea cup

By Julian Matthews
June 25, 1999

Malaysian Internet users have been on the receiving end of bad press lately. From the focus of such incidents by local media, one senses that the Ugly Malaysian Net User is alive and thriving. Hacking, spamming, mail bombing, spreading rumors, libel, credit card fraud and Internet scams. Malaysian users appear to have become conversant in all forms of Net abuse.

The offensive stance taken by some sectors of government has lent credence to the belief that local users are an irresponsible lot.

Three weeks ago, Ibrahim Ali, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was quoted as saying that Umno, the dominant political party, was mounting a legal campaign against Internet Web sites critical of the government under Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said some 3,000 pages have been downloaded from the Internet containing defamatory material against the Government and Umno.

Ibrahim said Umno’s anti-defamation committee discovered the pages over a two-month period and the subject matter ranged from independence of the judiciary to accusations of corruption. “I don’t rule out the possibility that the Web sites are being funded by foreign elements, perhaps using students to do the work,” said Ibrahim.

He said the committee was keeping tabs on the allegations and may take legal action, but conceded it was difficult to trace the Web masters because many sites were based overseas.
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