According to a brief item on NPR the other day, an administrative judge in New York ruled that surfing the web is like talking on the phone, from a workplace perspective. The item in its entirety:
It's the law. Surfing the Web is the equivalent of talking on the phone or reading a newspaper. A judge in New York was called upon to weigh in on the matter when an employee of the New York City Department of Education was caught regularly checking out news and travel sites on the Web. An administrative judge, deciding what punishment to mete out to the 14-year veteran worker, recommended a mere reprimand. He ruled that since workers are allowed to chat on the phone if it doesn't interfere with their work, they should also be allowed to surf the Web.
There's little to comment on. I agree with the judge, and note that employers have to understand that technology has changed, and it's changed the world with it. There's little to be gained, and, in fact, much to be lost by being too strict about this sort of thing. Address the abuses, and otherwise understand that you get more out of happy employees.