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Government axes 130 staff over internet horseplay

The government has released figures revealing that in the past three years more than 130 public servants were fired for breaches of IT policy.

Crusading lefty Guardian hacks forced the government to reveal the figures using a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. (Given that the Guardian and the Observer are about to merge to cut costs, it's possible they were just looking for fresh job openings).

The government's own stats show that over the past three years a massive 1,700 civil servants and police officers have been disciplined for abusing the internet or email at work. And going by the civil servants I know (who haven't been disciplined) they must have been up to some serious tomfoolery to get caught.

Of those who got a ticking off for online naughtiness, 132 public servants were sacked and 868 received formal warnings. Almost 700 got 'other' punishment - presumably detention, lines and removal of pudding privileges.

Responding to the Guardian's story, a spokesman for the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said employers were struggling to keep up with changes in technology. And I bet he said 'new-fangled modern technology'.

"Social networking at work is a recent problem and it's growing at a phenomenal rate," said the man from the TUC. "But employers are often not setting a standard as to what level of internet use is acceptable."

He would say that, of course, but I reckon relatively few wage slaves - public sector or otherwise - have a clear grasp of what's allowed online, and what's not. Suffice to say, it's probably worth erring on the side of caution and sticking to a bit of light eBaying on Friday afternoon. Visit PC Advisor's Broadband Advisor website for the latest internet news.

Read the full Guardian story here.

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