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Majority of UK businesses monitor employees' internet use

A survey of nearly 300 British businesses has revealed a shockingly blasé attitude to software theft and piracy as bosses admit to being aware of the illegal use of software in the office but do very little to discipline those responsible.

According to the annual survey conducted by FAST - Federation Against Software Theft - 55% of businesses say they automatically monitor their employees' internet use.

A third admitted to manually trawling through individual computers to check on websites visited and downloads.

However 82% of those questioned say their organisation has never enforced disciplinary procedures as a result of a breach of its policies.

The study also revealed that:

- 40% of respondents believe software piracy in the UK is increasing

- Nearly half (48%) claim they'd have difficulty proving to their company board that all their software was legal

- 42% of those questioned believe they don't have sufficient manpower to manage their IT assets and budget to purchase the right tools for the job was a concern for more than a quarter (26%)

- More than a quarter have never carried out a full software audit and of those that do, 37% worry about just how accurate their auditing process is.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.