The first predecessors of today's internet were invented during the 1950s. A research group called "Advanced Research Projects Agency", working for the American Department of Defense, was researching on the communication between computers and within networks, the developed ARPANET is the basis for the internet we know today. Since then, a endless number of inventions took place.

The Computer Industry Almanach Inc. estimated that the number of worldwide internet users will top one billion people in 2005. Lead by the United States, several developed countries are mentioned as countries with high internet usage, Canada had about 20 million users at the end of the year 2004. As shown by Statistics Canada, the Canadian private sector uses information and communications technologies in an increasing way since 2000.

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In 2004, 81.62% of private enterprises were using the internet compared to only 63.40% in 2000. Regarding the industry of "Professional, scientific and technical services", even 93.64% of the enterprises were using the internet. The use of electronic mail also grows from year to year, reaching a distribution of 76.60% within the Canadian private sector in 2004. Again, enterprises related to "Professional, scientific and technical services" use email more than the average, 92.73% in 2004. [For the complete statistics regarding internet use in Canadian enterprises, see Appendix A and B (page x and y)]

O'Connor mentions a 2003 poll, which says that Canadians spend 4.5 hours a week on average online at work for personal reasons. Using the workplace computer for private reasons like online shopping, stock trading or gambling has urged companies to increase their computer surveillance. In 2000, only 33% of Canadian companies had an internet policy, compared with 57% in 2003. These rules should deal with potential problems; for instance they try to avert a damage from the company's reputation or they try to avoid downloading private audio and video files which would harm the speed of the network.

Purposes of the Report This research report about corporate internet policies will be presented to the executive management group of Green Screen Software in the course of the December quarterly meeting. Its intention is to help Green Screen Software dealing with the growing problem of internet misuse in the company. The trigger for this investigation is the complaint from an employee who received an email with sexually explicit content. As there is no policy on internet use within the company so far, the report has the intention to give information about and recommendations for acceptable internet use at Green Screen Software.

Scope of the Report

To achieve the purpose described, this report analyzes particularly the need for a policy in the company and its implementation issues. Furthermore, it deals with potential resistance and with legal challenges which might come up from different parties. Potential measures how Green Screen Software might react regarding the growing problem with internet misuse are in the focus. In this connection, the special case of the Green Screen Software as a software company with a young and technologically high-skilled workforce has to be kept in mind. Writing the actual internet policy is not within the scope.

This should be done in a second step after informing the executive management about this issue. As seen in the table of contents, the report deals with four main points, supported by a case study of a comparable company. The main points are the need for a policy, potential technical solutions, resistance issues, and legal challenges. For every issue, the executive management group of Green Screen Software should be provided with some fundamentals. For instance, more detailed information regarding the legal point of view should be provided in a separate legal inquiry.

Sources and Methods

This report is only based on secondary data which means that no new information is gathered through surveys, interviews, or observations. (Locker, Kaczmarek, Braun, 2004, 415) The information is based on different kinds of secondary sources like web sites, articles, whitepapers, reports, and books. Besides GOOGLETM, the databases and catalogues provided by the Simon Fraser University library were used. In particular, databases related to the subject of business administration like ABI/INFORM, Business Source Premier, or Canadian Newsstand.

For the section "NEED FOR A POLICY", the article "Dealing with Internet Misuse in the Workplace" was especially important. The Center for Online Addiction is internationally recognized, their articles are published in well known publications. The whitepaper "The Powerful Technologies Behind Best-of-Breed Internet Filtering", provided by St. Bernhard SoftwareTM was used to inform about the basics regarding potential technical solutions for an internet policy in the section "TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS". St. Bernhard SoftwareTM is a provider of IT security solutions and operating worldwide.