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GOOFING OFF

National | IRS employees are goofing off online

Issue: "Supreme warning," July 5, 2003

IRS employees are goofing off online, surfing for chat rooms, games, and even pornography. Treasury investigators found that employees used thousands of computers to access prohibited websites. The IRS supposedly cracked down on misuse after a 2001 study found workers spent more than half their days on personal surfing. Managers are to fire people caught accessing smut.... Jerry Falwell won the rights to jerryfalwell.com after threatening to sue a man who used the domain for a parody site. The Thomas Road Baptist minister says his name is a registered trademark. The Illinois man who registered the domain also handed over the misspelled version, jerryfallwell.com.... United Airlines will debut in-flight e-mail later this year. Passengers on all domestic flights will be able to plug their laptops into special handsets that will transmit messages. It won't be cheap: $15.98 to log in plus 10 cents per kilobyte of data over 2 kilobytes.... Hewlett-Packard started pre-installing anti-spam software on consumer PCs. The free SpamSubtract software on new HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario models blocks pornographic e-mail and certain other types of unsolicited messages. It works with Outlook Express and other similar e-mail programs.... Verizon is testing one of the most flexible phones ever. It works as both a standard cordless phone and a cell phone. That means owners need only carry around one phone. Customers who buy the under-$200 device can buy minutes that work with either network.... Millions of Americans will be allowed to file their tax returns on April 30 instead of April 15 if they submit them online, if a bill that passed the House becomes law. Officials want to encourage more taxpayers to file and pay electronically. Paper-and-mail filers would keep the traditional deadline.

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