Pop-up aims to halt personal computer use

Continued inappropriate use of city computers by workers has forced San Francisco to move forward with an aggresive campaign of warnings.

A decision was recently made to move forward with a pop-up warning after “some employees continue their inappropriate use of city resources, despite reminders in the Employee Handbook and department policies,” according to a memo from a human resources staff member.

The pop-up is just what it sounds like: When a worker logs on to begin using a city computer, a box will automatically show up on the computer screen with a warning and reminder about the work rules.

Head of the Department of Human Resources Micki Callahan decided to reprogram all of its computers to include the pop-up, and other departments are following suit. Callahan has recommended installing the pop-message citywide.

The pop-up warns: “City resources, including computers and e-mail accounts, are to be used solely for city business. Please note that computer documents and e-mails are automatically saved in the department’s archives, in order to ensure compliance” with state and local public records laws. “Therefore, e-mails and documents on city computers are not private and employees should not transit or store any e-mail or documents on city computers that they wish to keep private.”

The warning also notes that the inappropriate use of city resources could result in discipline “including termination of employment.”

“Having such pop-ups is standard practice in other industries and is also used by the state of California,” Department of Human Resources spokeswoman Mary Hao said. It “also serves to alert employees that there are no true privacy rights when using city equipment.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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