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Businesses need to be vigilant, warns SurfControl's NOP Survey

SurfControl, London, 5th March 2002- The results from the UK's first
national email ethics survey could leave businesses floundering, revealing
that 53% of employees from the UK's largest cities behave "e-morally" on
email whilst at work. From sending messages that contain racist, sexist,
pornographic or discriminatory content through to even using email to "back
stab" fellow colleagues - today's results show the true extent of email
misconduct across the country.

SurfControl, experts in managing email and Internet content in the
workplace, commissioned the NOP survey to determine exactly how 100 white
collar workers from each of the UK's largest cities (London, Edinburgh,
Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool & Newcastle) really use
email when left to their own devices.

Bad news for employers:

SurfControl's unique study into email ethics reveals some startling national
statistics - with nearly 30% of the UK's workforce admitting to sending
racist, sexist, pornographic and discriminatory emails at work. The survey
illustrates that whilst employees in London and Manchester are the worst
offenders, the problem is endemic across the UK.

Stephen Ollerenshaw, an IT lawyer at Wragge & Co:

"Email can be a real and substantial liability for business. It is a form
of communication that seems to tempt people into making informal and
unguarded statements that they would not write in hard copy. Therefore they
can create a trail of potentially damaging statements that are admissible in
court in the same manner as a letter or a memo. A recent settlement of a
case involving a defamatory email, ran into nearly half a million pounds."

Table 1: Sending racist, sexist, pornographic & discriminatory emails

City / % offending

London - 36%

Manchester - 36%

Leeds - 31%

Newcastle - 28%

Edinburgh - 28%

Birmingham - 24%

Cardiff - 20%

Liverpool - 18%

Political infighting:

In terms of using email as a political tool, an astonishing 38% of employees
use email to create problems for colleagues by highlighting their mistakes
to recipients either copied or blind-copied in on the message as well as
using email to tactically/politically further their own careers. This figure
is further compounded by the fact that a third of employees prefer to hide
behind email rather than deal with a sensitive situation face-to-face or
over the telephone.

While Londoners are undoubtedly the most politically-minded in their e-mail
use, it is clear that they are not the only 'point-scorers', with workers in
Leeds and Cardiff also scoring higher than average on this count. The
political infighting issue raises the need for businesses to take care over
managing employees' online productivity levels whilst taking steps to
prevent that stress, illness or a high turnover in staff do not result from
"e-moral" office tactics.

Table 2: Using email as a political tool i.e. to highlight a colleague's
mistake in front
of others

City / % offending

London - 55%

Leeds - 40%

Cardiff - 39%

Newcastle - 37%

Manchester - 34%

Birmingham - 34%

Edinburgh - 32%

Liverpool - 29%

Commenting on the survey's findings, Steve Purdham, CEO and Founder of
SurfControl states:

"We commissioned the survey to discover the UK's regional differences in
attitude to using email in the workplace. From our survey's results, it is
clear that there needs to be a real change in the email culture within the
UK - starting with businesses educating employees that email is not a guise
to get away with unacceptable behaviour nor a device for political purposes.
Whilst there are some real hot-spots where abuse is at its worst, the
findings demonstrate that e-moral behaviour in the UK has the potential to
create internal conflict amongst the workforce and in the worst case
scenario, legal action taken against employers found liable as the source of
inappropriate content."

NOP conducted 800 interviews with white-collar workers, 100 in each of the
cities outlined. The survey was conducted online, using an e-mail invite
method. The data were weighted to ensure an identical proportion of
respondents in managerial and non-managerial roles were interviewed in each


James Russell
0118 989 5600
07879 842077

Aurélie Leonard
0118 989 5600
07775 674785

Martino Corbelli
Marketing Manager
01260 296172

About SurfControl - The Internet Filtering Company

SurfControl plc (London:SRF/NASDAQ Europe:SRFC), is a world leader in
Internet filtering solutions for use by corporations, in the home and
education. The SurfControl family of products employs expert filtering,
Pass-Through, and Pass-By technologies to create a productive Internet
environment in the workplace and a child safe environment on the Internet at
home and at school.

This comprehensive line of Internet monitoring and policy management
solutions includes SuperScout Web Filter- the market leader in Internet
productivity in the corporation; SuperScout Email Filter - managing content
security; Cyber Patrol - the market leader in responsible Internet usage in
the home and at school; and the SurfControl Content Filtering SDK - the
proven filtering solution for ISPs, Search Engines, Internet Appliances and

SurfControl works with a variety of industry partners such as AT&T, Check
Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), Hewlett Packard
(NYSE:HWP), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), and Microsoft Corp.'s Web

SurfControl employs 347 people worldwide and has 8 offices in the USA in
California and Massachusetts; in the UK in Manchester and London; in
Rotterdam, Holland; Vienna, Austria; Frankfurt, Germany and Sydney,

For further information and news on SurfControl, please visit

Wragge & Co has 110 partners based in Birmingham and with offices in London
and Brussels. Clients include AT&T, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and British

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