Caught in the act

Nov 01 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Talk about nice work if you can get it! In Japan, six civil servants have been caught spending their days working diligently – but not on their jobs. As it turns out, they were actually busy working on Wikipedia articles. Hey, such diligence is necessary if we're to continue to enjoy such a well-researched and organized Internet resource!

In this particular case, the IT department for the Ministry of Agriculture noticed that the employees spend their days editing manga entries. As a punishment, a verbal reprimand was given. While hardly a crime against humanity, it is surprising to what extent this story has been broadcast in the media.

What's even more surprising is that a Japanese government entity seems to have never heard of a firewall; I hear those are pretty effective for keeping people at the office off of sites they don't need to see....

While some may argue that this is a prime example of internet censorship, the fact remains that these employees were using company (or state, or Japanese taxpayer) money to surf for their own personal pleasure. And I still believe that a company or government administration is well within its rights to make sure its broadband, money, and time aren't wasted on non-work related pursuits.

While in the US or Europe, internet access at works tends to be viewed as a fringe benefit, it's still not intended to be a personal ISP from 9am to 5pm.

So it looks like the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture will have to join us in the 21st century and accept that workers often do more than office work during the day.