oversight

Internet and Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Boards: Information Reported by Federal Organizations

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-06-16.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                United States General Accounting Office

GAO             Report to the Chairmen, Committee on
                Appropriations and Committee on
                Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate


June 1997
                INTERNET AND
                ELECTRONIC DIAL-UP
                BULLETIN BOARDS
                Information Reported by
                Federal Organizations




GAO/GGD-97-86
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      General Government Division

      B-272843

      June 16, 1997

      The Honorable Ted Stevens, Chairman
      Committee on Appropriations
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Fred Thompson, Chairman
      Committee on Governmental Affairs
      United States Senate

      This report responds to your request for information on Internet and
      electronic dial-up bulletin board system (BBS) activities in the executive
      branch of the federal government.

      The Internet is a global information system comprising a world-wide
      network of networks. Users are able to access and transmit data across
      this global network in many different ways, including using electronic mail
      (e-mail) and the World-Wide Web (WWW). E-mail allows users to easily
      send primarily text-based messages between computers. The WWW
      employs a “point and click” technology, which allows users to easily
      access information on other computers as well as establish WWW sites that
      incorporate graphics and other multimedia features. Electronic dial-up
      BBSs, on the other hand, do not require use of the Internet. A BBS typically
      consists of a personal computer, modem(s), and BBS communications
      software that allows users to send and receive messages and files and is
      based on direct dial-up computer-to-computer connections.

      Specifically, for executive branch agencies, you requested information on
      (1) fiscal year 1994 through 1996 expenditures for Internet and BBS
      activities, (2) the number of WWW sites and electronic dial-up BBSs, and
      (3) the number of employees with government-provided Internet e-mail
      and WWW access. In addition, this report provides information on benefits
      agencies associate with these activities and on guidance for Internet
      activities; and it discusses the issue of employee misuse of
      government-provided Internet resources at a few agencies.

      To respond to your request, we sent a data collection form to 43 federal
      organizations—14 Cabinet-level departments and 29 independent agencies.
      Appendix II lists the 43 federal organizations. As agreed, because of the
      broad scope and relatively short time frame for completing this request,
      we did not independently verify the accuracy of the information provided.
      We did, however, perform additional work at three judgmentally selected
      agencies to gain a better understanding of federal Internet and BBS



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                   activities. These three agencies included the National Oceanic and
                   Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), within the Department of Commerce;
                   the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), within the Department of the Interior;
                   and the Social Security Administration (SSA). It should be noted that on
                   occasion, concerns over privacy and security issues relating to federal
                   WWW sites have been raised in the media and elsewhere. Assessment of
                   these issues was beyond the scope of this review.

                   We conducted our work from May 1996 through May 1997 in accordance
                   with generally accepted government auditing standards. See appendix I for
                   a more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology. We requested
                   comments on a draft of this report from the Director of the Office of
                   Management and Budget (OMB) and on excerpts of this report from the
                   heads of the three agencies at which we performed additional work. The
                   agencies’ comments are addressed at the end of this letter.


                   Although the federal organizations provided us with expenditure data for
Results in Brief   their Internet and BBS activities, it should be emphasized that these data
                   are based largely on estimates. Some reporting officials told us that they
                   relied on estimates because they do not typically account for Internet and
                   BBS expenditures separately from other information technology
                   expenditures.

                   Of the 43 federal organizations to which we sent data collection forms, 42
                   responded1 and estimated spending a total of about $349 million on
                   Internet and BBS activities in fiscal years 1994 through 1996. In all, they
                   estimated spending about $59 million in fiscal year 1994, about
                   $100 million in fiscal year 1995, and about $190 million in fiscal year 1996.
                   The bulk of these estimated expenditures—about $325 million—were for
                   Internet activities to provide employees access to the Internet and to
                   establish and maintain WWW sites. The remainder of the estimated
                   expenditures—about $23 million for the 3-year period—were for
                   establishing and maintaining electronic dial-up BBSs.

                   The 42 federal organizations reported having a total of about 4,300 WWW
                   sites and about 215 electronic dial-up BBSs. Because of your interest in
                   identifying the number of distinct WWW sites and to encourage consistent
                   reporting, we provided the federal organizations with a definition of a WWW
                   site. All 42 organizations reported having at least one WWW site, but some
                   reported that they did not use our definition or did not list all sites

                   1
                    As of May 30, 1997, the Department of State had not responded to our data collection form.



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             generally because they do not track this information, and it was not readily
             available.

             The 42 federal organizations estimated that they provided Internet e-mail
             access to about 1.7 million, or about 50 percent, of their civilian and
             military employees and WWW access to about 1 million, or about
             31 percent, of their employees.

             The Internet has become a valuable and widely used means of
             communicating and sharing information. Federal organizations associated
             numerous benefits with their Internet and BBS activities, including
             communicating more effectively with colleagues and with the public;
             easily accessing professional, scientific, or technical information;
             disseminating information quicker and more cost effectively; and reducing
             paperwork by conducting the work of the organization electronically.

             While there is no governmentwide policy or regulations that specifically
             govern employee use of the Internet, most federal organizations that had
             guidance for their employees’ use of the Internet prohibit any use of
             government-provided Internet resources for nonofficial uses. A few
             organizations allow limited personal use. Although OMB is working on
             governmentwide guidance on establishing and maintaining WWW sites, half
             the federal organizations reported having developed their own guidance
             for employees to use to establish and maintain WWW sites.

             The potential for misuse of government-provided Internet resources
             exists—as it does for other types of government-provided resources, such
             as telephones and copying machines. Although we did not assess the
             appropriateness of employee use of government-provided resources
             during this review, some of the federal organizations reported instances of
             what they considered to be employee misuse to us. These included
             accessing what the agencies considered to be inappropriate material on
             the Internet and establishing WWW sites without approval.


             The Internet’s origins can be traced to communications technology
Background   research sponsored by the federal government as early as the 1960s. Since
             then, collaboration between government, educational, and commercial
             interests has led to the present day Internet infrastructure.

             Users access the Internet infrastructure in a variety of ways. E-mail, one of
             the earliest ways to access the Internet, allows people to easily send and



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receive text messages between computers. Another more recent way for
users to access the Internet is through use of the WWW, which is credited
with the explosion of Internet usage in recent years because of its “user
friendly” aspect. Using software, referred to as server software, the WWW
allows users to organize computer files into WWW sites consisting of “web
pages.” Using other software, referred to as web browser software, users
can view web pages displaying text and graphics and other multimedia
elements such as sound and video. A defining feature of the WWW is its use
of hyper text transfer protocol (http), which allows text or images to be
defined as pointers or “links.” Within WWW pages, a user can select “links”
that quickly and easily take the user to other pages within that site or to
other sites located on computers throughout the world. Each page of a
WWW site may also be accessed by its unique Internet address.


In setting up a WWW site, an organization can employ an Internet service
provider for space on a computer and for the connections, which can be
used to host the WWW site. Or, an organization can set up its own WWW site
using its own hardware and software. In general, costs involved for setting
up a site could include connections, hardware, software, personnel,
training, and contractor support.

Electronic dial-up BBSs use communications software that typically allows
users to send and receive text-based messages and data or program files.
BBS technology was originally developed on the basis of a direct dial-up
computer-to-computer connection, which does not require use of the
Internet. Currently, however, many computers running BBS
software—while still accessible through dial-up (non-Internet)
means—can also be linked to the Internet providing an additional means
of access.

OMB  has responsibility for oversight of executive branch information
collection and dissemination as well as information technology, which
would generally include Internet-related activities. A number of laws and
guidance, such as the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995,2 the Electronic
Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996,3 and OMB Circular
A-130,4 require agency information to be made available to the public
electronically. In addition, the National Performance Review (NPR) sets a



2
 Public Law 104-13, 109 Stat. 163 (1995).
3
 Public Law 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048 (1996).
4
 OMB Circular A-130, Management of Federal Information Resources, 61 FR 6428 (Feb. 20, 1996).



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                                         clear expectation that government should take advantage of information
                                         technology to quickly deliver services to the public.5


                                         Federal organizations responding to our data collection efforts estimated
Estimated                                spending about $349 million during fiscal years 1994 through 1996 for
Expenditures for                         Internet and BBS activities. Of this amount an estimated $325 million was
Internet Increased                       for Internet activities, and an estimated $23 million was for BBS activities.
                                         As shown in table 1, expenditures for Internet activities increased
Significantly While                      significantly over this period, while BBS expenditures remained relatively
BBS Expenditures                         constant. Appendixes III and IV provide estimated Internet and BBS
                                         expenditures for each of the 42 federal organizations.
Remained Relatively
Constant

Table 1: Total Estimated Expenditures
for Internet and BBS Activities for 42   Dollars in millions
Federal Organizations, Fiscal Years                                                                Estimated expendituresa
1994-1996
                                         Activity                                      FY 1994        FY 1995         FY 1996           Total
                                         Internetb                                        $50.9           $92.2        $182.3          $325.4
                                         Electronic dial-up BBS                              7.8            8.0             7.3           23.1
                                         Total                                            $58.7         $100.2         $189.6          $348.5
                                         a
                                          Estimated expenditures include both capital and operating expenditures. Capital expenditures
                                         are for items that are generally depreciated or amortized over more than one accounting period.
                                         We did not ask organizations to depreciate or amortize the capital expenditures, but to report the
                                         expenditure in the year it was made. Operating expenditures are expensed in the year in which
                                         they were made.
                                         b
                                         Includes expenditures for providing Internet access to employees and for establishing and
                                         maintaining WWW sites.

                                         Source: GAO analysis of data provided by 42 federal organizations.



                                         All 42 federal organizations reported increases in Internet expenditures
                                         from fiscal year 1994 to fiscal year 1996. Within federal organizations,
                                         Internet expenditures of some major components increased while those of
                                         others decreased.

                                         BBS expenditures, however, showed more variations. Of the 29 federal
                                         organizations that reported BBS expenditures, 15 estimated spending less

                                         5
                                          The NPR, under the direction of the Vice President, was a major management reform initiative by the
                                         administration and was intended to identify ways to make the government work better and cost less.
                                         The NPR’s report, From Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government That Works Better and Costs
                                         Less, was issued in September 1993.



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                        in fiscal year 1996 than in fiscal year 1994, and 14 estimated spending
                        more. For example, SSA reported that BBS expenditures increased primarily
                        as a result of system improvements to its Online Wage Reporting BBS. In
                        contrast, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that BBS
                        expenditures were decreasing because of increased use of the WWW as a
                        means of disseminating information.

                        The expenditure data provided by federal organizations were largely based
                        on estimates. Some reporting officials told us that they do not typically
                        account for Internet and BBS expenditures separately from other
                        information technology expenditures, and they had difficulty making
                        reasonable estimates. For example, expenditures for the portion of
                        personnel time and for connections associated with the Internet were
                        difficult to estimate.

                        Furthermore, some federal organizations told us that they did not report
                        all expenditures. For example, the information reported by the Executive
                        Office of the President did not include personnel expenditures for White
                        House and OMB Internet activities. The organization reported that
                        personnel expenditures for Internet activities were not tracked, and there
                        was no reasonable basis upon which to make an estimate. Furthermore,
                        the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not provide
                        information for three of its components—the Administration for Children
                        and Families, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and the
                        Health Research and Services Administration.


                        All 42 federal organizations reported having established a WWW presence
Federal Organizations   on the Internet, with the number of WWW sites totaling about 4,300 at the
Maintain Many WWW       time of our review. Not all components within a federal organization had
Sites and Fewer BBSs    their own WWW sites. Twenty-nine federal organizations reported having
                        215 electronic dial-up BBSs.

                        The definition of a WWW site can vary. Because of your interest in
                        identifying the number of distinct WWW sites and to encourage consistent
                        reporting, we defined a WWW site as a file or group of files organized under
                        a homepage, that is accessible on the Internet with web browser software.
                        A WWW site’s homepage is typically the index, welcome, or menu page for a
                        distinct WWW activity or service. As expected, federal organizations
                        reported a large number of WWW sites that reflect the large number of
                        activities within the federal government.




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                        A WWW site can also be broadly defined as the entire WWW presence for an
                        organization. Under this definition, for example, NOAA would have one WWW
                        site at Internet address “http://www.noaa.gov.” Furthermore, a WWW site can
                        be defined as the distinct computer that hosts the WWW pages. Using this
                        definition, NOAA would have 85 WWW sites because 85 different computers
                        actually host its WWW presence. Using our definition, NOAA reported having
                        383 WWW sites, that is, 383 distinct activities or services on the WWW being
                        maintained within NOAA.

                        Although we contacted federal organizations where we had questions
                        concerning whether they understood our definition of a WWW site, due to
                        the large number of reported WWW sites, we could not verify that all federal
                        organizations used our definition. Furthermore, some federal
                        organizations reported that the list they provided of their WWW sites was
                        not in accordance with our definition or was not complete. Some reported
                        that they do not centrally track this type of information and to obtain these
                        data would have involved a major data collection effort.

                        A supplement to this report entitled World Wide Web Sites Reported by
                        Federal Organizations (GAO/GGD-97-86S, June 1997), which is available
                        electronically on the Internet at
                        “http://www.gao.gov/cgi/bin/getrpt?GGD-97-86s”, presents the
                        approximately 4,300 WWW sites federal organizations reported to us. It
                        should be noted that WWW sites change rapidly. Organizations can easily
                        create or eliminate WWW sites. As a result, the approximately 4,300 WWW
                        sites are current only as of the date that the federal organizations provided
                        us with the information.

                        Of the 42 federal organizations, 29 reported having a total of 215 electronic
                        dial-up BBSs. The remaining 13 federal organizations reported having no
                        BBSs at the time of our review. Appendix V presents the electronic dial-up
                        BBSs reported to us.



                        The 42 federal organizations reported having about 3.4 million civilian and
Employee Internet       military employees, to which they provided e-mail access to about
Access Varied           1.7 million employees, or about 50 percent. Furthermore, they provided
Significantly Among     about 1 million employees, or about 31 percent, with WWW access. It should
                        be noted that more employees may have access to the WWW through their
Federal Organizations   organization’s library or common workstations, but we sought information
                        only on those having access at their workstations.




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                        When viewed organization by organization, the extent that federal
                        organizations provided e-mail access to their employees varied widely. For
                        example, the Department of Justice reported providing about 8 percent of
                        its approximately 102,000 employees with e-mail access, while the
                        Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
                        reported providing e-mail access to 100 percent of their approximately
                        5,000 and 11,000 employees, respectively. All 42 federal organizations
                        reported providing at least a portion of their employees with Internet
                        e-mail access.

                        Similarly, WWW access varied significantly. The Departments of Justice and
                        the Treasury reported providing about 8 percent of their approximately
                        102,000 and 144,000 employees with WWW access, while HUD reported
                        providing 100 percent of its 11,000 employees with WWW access. All but one
                        federal organization reported providing at least a portion of their
                        employees with WWW access at their workstations.6 Appendix VI provides
                        the information reported to us on the number of employees having
                        Internet e-mail and WWW access in each federal organization.


                        Based on its rapidly growing usage throughout the world, it is evident that
Federal Organizations   the Internet has provided many benefits to individuals and organizations.
Reported Benefits of    Benefits of electronic dial-up BBSs, while much less publicized, are also
Internet and BBSs       generally accepted, particularly by those who do not have Internet access.
                        Federal organizations also associated numerous benefits with their
                        Internet and BBS activities.

                        Although we have previously reported on the technological challenges of
                        the “information superhighway,” we also recognize its potential.7 Our
                        literature search indicated that the WWW is accelerating international
                        cultural interaction. But perhaps more importantly, the WWW is changing
                        the way private and public organizations do business. The Internet
                        provides employees with tools they can use to increase their performance
                        levels, to interact, and to gather knowledge. Organizations believe that the
                        Internet offers the ability to continuously update and disseminate
                        information. Corporations are increasingly using the Internet for such
                        things as web-based conferencing and on-demand training for employees.


                        6
                         The Corporation for National Service reported providing WWW access to its employees only through
                        common workstations, not at individual employees’ desktop workstations.
                        7
                         See Information Superhighway: An Overview of Technology Challenges, (GAO/AIMD-95-23, Jan. 23,
                        1995) and Managing Technology: Best Practices Can Improve Performance and Produce Results
                        (GAO/T-AIMD-97-38, Jan. 31, 1997).



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    The benefits that federal organizations associated with their Internet and
    BBS activities included being able to communicate better within their
    organizations and with the public, disseminate information about their
    organization and mission to a larger audience than ever before, and
    conduct their business quickly and efficiently. A few specific examples of
    reported benefits include

•   The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported that the agency’s use of the
    WWW and BBSs has facilitated the rulemaking process by providing the
    public with electronic access to the text of proposed rules and a means by
    which the public may comment.
•   The National Institutes of Health within HHS reported that the Internet has
    allowed it to share a wealth of medical information with the public. For
    example, it’s WWW site includes the Combined Health Information
    Database, which contains over 70,000 medical references, allowing users
    to identify medical publications, books, and pamphlets on a variety of
    topics and indicating where a user may obtain the item.
•   The Federal Communications Commission reported that it has
    implemented electronic filing on a limited basis, which gives businesses
    the opportunity to file required forms.
•   The Executive Office of the President reported that the White House WWW
    site provides the public interactive access to commonly requested federal
    services, press releases, speeches, and public documents. Users may also
    provide feedback to the President and Vice President through e-mail.
•   The National Science Foundation reported benefits associated with one of
    its grants projects. It said, internally, the use of the WWW has reduced the
    number of status inquiry phone calls, reduced staff time in performing data
    entry, and has allowed for timely and accurate transfer of data. It said,
    externally, benefits have included more timely notification of National
    Science Foundation funding decisions and real-time acknowledgement of
    valid proposal, review, and report submissions.
•   The Commodity Futures Trading Commission reported that the Internet
    allows staff to monitor the activities related to commodity trading, which
    has resulted in action against individuals who were illegally soliciting
    customers over the Internet.

    Benefits reported to us by NOAA, FWS, and SSA, the three agencies at which
    we performed additional work, are included in appendix VII.




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                             Many federal organizations reported having developed guidance related to
Federal Organizations        their Internet activities. Of the 42 federal organizations responding, 28
Reported Developing          reported having organizationwide guidance for their employees’ use of
Guidance for Their           Internet resources, covering activities such as sending and receiving e-mail
                             and accessing or “surfing” WWW sites on the Internet. Twenty-one federal
Internet Activities          organizations also reported having developed guidance on establishing
                             and maintaining WWW sites.


Most Internal Guidance       There is no governmentwide policy or regulations that specifically govern
States That                  employee use of the Internet. While most federal organizations that have
Government-Provided          guidelines prohibit any use of government-provided Internet resources for
                             nonofficial purposes, a few organizations allow limited personal use. It
Internet Resources Are for   was beyond the scope of our review to assess the appropriateness of these
Official Purposes Only       guidelines.

                             Twenty-eight federal organizations reported having organizationwide
                             guidance for their employees’ use of government-provided Internet
                             resources, and five additional federal organizations reported that they
                             were drafting guidance. Our review of this guidance showed that it varied
                             greatly. Some organizations had a notice displayed on their employees’
                             computer screens reminding employees that the Internet resources were
                             for official use only. Other federal organizations had issued several pages
                             of guidance detailing appropriate use, inappropriate use, and penalties for
                             inappropriate use. Although we summarized only the organizationwide
                             guidance of the federal organizations, we noted that major components of
                             those organizations frequently had also developed guidance specifically
                             addressing employees’ use of government-provided Internet resources.

                             Our review showed that for 25, or 89 percent, of the 28 federal
                             organizations having guidance, the guidance specifically stated that the
                             government-provided Internet resources were for official use only and/or
                             prohibited specific activities. Some of the agencies’ guidance referred to
                             5 C.F.R. 2635.704,8 which states that employees shall protect and conserve
                             federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities, as
                             the basis for their guidelines. Examples of nonofficial or prohibited
                             activities stated in the guidance of the various federal organizations
                             included playing computer games; gambling; using abusive language in
                             either public or private messages; displaying and printing material or
                             images that are sexually explicit, discriminatory, or intended for

                             8
                              This provision is included within the standards of ethical conduct for employees of the executive
                             branch issued by the Office of Government Ethics. See 5 C.F.R. Part 2635.



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                            harassment purposes; pursuing personal interests, such as hobbies,
                            avocations, or alternative lifestyles; and pursuing private commercial
                            activities, among other actions.

                            In contrast, the guidance of three federal organizations permitted
                            employees to use their government-provided Internet resources for
                            incidental personal use. While these organizations allow personal use, the
                            guidance still identified certain activities that are prohibited.

                            While it was beyond the scope of our review to contrast federal practices
                            with the private sector, we noted a recent study conducted by the Bureau
                            of National Affairs, Inc., which concluded that formal, written Internet
                            policies were rare among U.S. employers it surveyed.9 It reported that just
                            10 percent of the companies surveyed that used the Internet had
                            developed written policies that govern employees’ Internet activities. The
                            study noted, however, that many respondents reported plans to develop
                            formal policies in the near future.


Half of Federal             Twenty-one, or 50 percent, of the 42 federal organizations reported having
Organizations Have          developed organizationwide guidance for establishing and maintaining
                            WWW sites, and three additional federal organizations reported that they
Guidance for Establishing
                            were drafting guidance. Again, this guidance varied widely among the
and Maintaining WWW         federal organizations. In some cases, the guidance was a “how to” manual
Sites                       on the design of pages for a WWW site. In other cases, the guidance was an
                            expression of basic policy covering issues such as security, which sites are
                            inappropriate for the organization to “link to,” and who within the
                            organization can establish or approve establishing WWW sites.

                            We limited our review of this guidance to determining whether the
                            guidance stated who within a federal organization could approve content
                            being placed on the WWW. Our review showed that the guidance of 18
                            federal organizations stated who within an organization could approve
                            WWW page content.


                            In July 1996, OMB informally circulated preliminary draft guidance to a
                            limited number of agencies on many of the issues surrounding the use of
                            the WWW. OMB officials told us that the agencies raised a number of issues
                            and concerns about the draft guidance, and it had not yet been issued as of
                            May 20, 1997. Among the issues raised by OMB in its draft guidance was
                            how federal organizations’ WWW sites complied with provisions of the

                            9
                             Special Survey Report: Employers on the Internet, Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Jan. 2, 1997.



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                         Privacy Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, Federal Records Act, and Freedom
                         of Information Act. It was beyond the scope of our review to evaluate the
                         guidance of federal organizations with regard to these issues.


                         The potential for misuse of government-provided Internet access
Potential for            exists—just as it does for other types of government-provided resources.
Employee Misuse of       During our work, we became aware of reported instances of employee
Internet Resources       misuse of government-provided resources. However, our review was not
                         intended to specifically identify or define employee misuse of Internet
Exists                   resources.

                     •   Department of Energy (DOE) guidance on appropriate use stated that
                         nearly 100 employees of a national laboratory were disciplined for
                         inappropriately using computers to access adult-oriented Internet sites.
                         The guidance also stated that in another instance, nearly 30 percent of the
                         activity on one particular Internet site included personal listings from DOE
                         employees dealing with subjects such as scuba diving and boat racing. As
                         a result of this use, DOE issued a memorandum to all DOE employees and
                         contractors, which stated that use of government equipment and official
                         duty time for nonwork-related activities is a violation of law and the
                         standards of conduct. The DOE memo stated that several employees had
                         been counseled, officially reprimanded, or had their employment
                         terminated and that in one instance DOE had filed criminal charges against
                         an employee.
                     •   The Air Force Audit Agency recently reported WWW site and BBS control
                         problems. Specific problems included site operating procedures and
                         approvals, making available inappropriate or unapproved information, and
                         inadequate user access controls. As a result, the Air Force released
                         additional guidance on establishing WWW sites and BBSs and set standards
                         for the information that is made available through them.
                     •   An investigation by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector
                         General (OIG) revealed that a Department employee provided private
                         citizens with free access to Internet services through Department-operated
                         networks. A personnel action was initiated against the employee that
                         resulted in a letter of counseling. After the investigation, the OIG issued a
                         memorandum to the heads of all components in the Department, which
                         discussed the potential for abuse of Internet resources and cited the
                         employee’s use as an example. The OIG stated that abuse problems could
                         be addressed by establishing and disseminating departmentwide policies.
                         A Department official told us that a policy on the use of Internet resources




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                      by employees has been drafted and was undergoing management review
                      and clearance.
                  •   NOAA reported that two employees were given 14-day suspensions for
                      downloading sexually explicit material, and dismissal proceedings were
                      initiated against one employee for sending threatening e-mail.

                      Officials at the three federal organizations at which we performed
                      additional work told us that the detection of misuse of Internet access is
                      primarily a supervisory responsibility. They told us that other than
                      supervisory monitoring, they do not routinely or systematically monitor
                      employee use of the Internet. Our review of the 28 federal organizations
                      having guidance showed that at least 16 stated that employees’ use of
                      government-provided Internet resources may be monitored.


                      On April 18, 1997, we requested comments on a draft of this report from
Agency Comments       the Director of OMB. We also requested comments on excerpts of this
                      report from the Secretary, Department of Commerce; the Secretary,
                      Department of the Interior; and the Acting Commissioner, SSA, where we
                      performed additional work.

                      The Branch Chief of OMB’s Office of Information Policy and Technology
                      provided oral comments, which consisted of technical corrections that we
                      incorporated into the report where appropriate. He also stated that the
                      report provides a valuable benchmark on the executive branch’s Internet
                      and dial-up BBS activities. The Secretary of Commerce provided written
                      comments that said the excerpts of the draft report conformed to input
                      provided by NOAA representatives during our review and that the
                      Department found the excerpts to be very helpful and informative. The
                      Department of the Interior’s Acting Director, Office of Information
                      Resources Management provided technical comments, which we
                      incorporated into the report where appropriate. An official from SSA’s
                      Audit Liaison office said the agency had no comments.


                      We are sending copies of this report to the Director of OMB, the Secretaries
                      of each executive department, the head of each independent agency, the
                      Ranking Minority Members of your Committees, and the Chairmen and
                      Ranking Minority Members of other interested congressional committees.
                      We will make copies available to others upon request.




                      Page 13                         GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
B-272843




Please contact me at (202) 512-4232 or James H. Burow, Assistant
Director, on (202) 512-3941 if you or your staff have any questions. Major
contributors to this report are listed in appendix VIII.




Bernard L. Ungar
Associate Director, Federal Management
  and Workforce Issues




Page 14                         GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Page 15   GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Contents



Letter                                                                            1


Appendix I                                                                       18

Scope and
Methodology
Appendix II                                                                      21

Federal Organizations
Surveyed by GAO
Appendix III                                                                     23

Federal Internet
Expenditures
Appendix IV                                                                      25

Federal Electronic
Dial-Up BBS
Expenditures
Appendix V                                                                       27

Electronic Dial-Up
Bulletin Board
Systems Reported by
Federal Organizations
Appendix VI                                                                      35

Number of Federal
Employees With
Internet Access




                        Page 16   GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                        Contents




Appendix VII                                                                                         37

Internet and BBS
Activities at Three
Selected Agencies
Appendix VIII                                                                                        44

Major Contributors to
This Report
Tables                  Table 1: Total Estimated Expenditures for Internet and BBS                    5
                          Activities for 42 Federal Organizations, Fiscal Years 1994-1996
                        Table III.1: Estimated Expenditures to Provide Internet Access to            23
                          Employees and to Establish and Maintain WWW Sites, by Federal
                          Organization, Fiscal Years 1994-1996
                        Table IV.1: Estimated Expenditures to Establish and Maintain                 25
                          Electronic Dial-up BBSs, by Federal Organization, Fiscal Years
                          1994-1996
                        Table V.1: Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems Reported                27
                          by Federal Organizations
                        Table VI.1: Number of Federal Civilian and Military Employees                35
                          With Government-Provided E-Mail and WWW Access, by Federal
                          Organization




                        Abbreviations

                        BBS        Bulletin Board System
                        DOE        Department of Energy
                        FWS        Fish and Wildlife Service
                        HHS        Health and Human Services
                        HUD        Housing and Urban Development
                        http       hyper text transfer protocol
                        NOAA       National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
                        NPR        National Performance Review
                        OIG        Office of Inspector General
                        OMB        Office of Management and Budget
                        PEBES      Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement
                        SSA        Social Security Administration
                        WWW        World-Wide Web


                        Page 17                       GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix I

Scope and Methodology


             We developed a data collection form to accomplish the objectives of
             providing information for executive branch agencies on (1) fiscal year
             1994 through 1996 expenditures for Internet and BBS activities, (2) the
             number of WWW sites and electronic dial-up BBSs, and (3) the number of
             employees with government-provided Internet e-mail and WWW access. The
             data collection form also requested information on benefits that federal
             organizations associate with Internet and BBS activities and guidance that
             federal organizations had developed on Internet activities.

             To ensure that our data collection form was as comprehensive and
             complete as possible, we researched Internet materials and discussed the
             types of Internet and BBS related expenditures with knowledgeable
             persons both inside and outside the federal government. We pretested the
             data collection form with seven major components within three federal
             organizations. Comments obtained during the pretests were used to
             further refine the form’s content and format to help ensure its
             effectiveness as a tool for identifying Internet and BBS information.

             We asked federal organizations to report fiscal year 1994 through 1996
             expenditures for providing employees with Internet access and
             establishing and maintaining WWW sites and electronic dial-up BBSs.
             Because, during our pretest, federal organizations told us that they were
             not generally required to budget separately for the Internet and BBS
             activities, we indicated in our final data collection form that estimates
             were acceptable. To guide federal organizations on the types of
             expenditures that were to be included for these activities, we requested
             that respondents report both capital and operating expenditures for
             connection, hardware, software, personnel, training, and other
             expenditures for each of the three years. We did not ask the organizations
             to depreciate or amortize capital expenditures but to report the
             expenditures in the year they were made. We asked federal organizations
             to exclude expenditures for WWW sites accessible only internally
             (commonly referred to as InTRAnets).

             To determine the number of WWW sites and BBSs, we asked the federal
             organizations to report the names and Internet addresses of their WWW
             sites and the names and telephone numbers of their electronic dial-up
             BBSs. Because of your interest in identifying the number of distinct WWW
             sites and to encourage consistent reporting, we provided the federal
             organizations with a definition of a WWW site. We defined a WWW site as a
             file or group of files organized under a homepage, accessible on the




             Page 18                         GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix I
Scope and Methodology




Internet with web browser software. A WWW site’s homepage is typically
the index, welcome, or menu page for a distinct WWW activity or service.

To determine the number of federal employees with government-provided
Internet access, we asked each federal organization to report the total
number of employees in its organization and the numbers of employees
with government-provided Internet e-mail and WWW access. For WWW
access, we sought information only for employees having access at their
workstations rather than those who have access through their
organization’s library or common workstations.

To address benefits that federal organizations associate with Internet and
BBS activities, we requested they describe, and quantify if possible, any
benefits related to these activities.

To obtain information on guidance that federal organizations had
developed for their Internet activities, we asked federal organizations to
provide us with copies of guidance. We reviewed the guidance to enable us
to summarize the contents, but we did not determine the appropriateness
of the guidance. We also discussed the status of draft governmentwide
guidance on establishing and maintaining WWW sites with OMB officials.

To better understand federal Internet and BBS activities, we judgmentally
selected three federal organizations—the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), within the Department of Commerce;
the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), within the Department of the Interior;
and the Social Security Administration (SSA) at which we performed
additional work. We selected these three federal organizations on the basis
of the wide diversity of their activities and missions.

To address the issue of misuse of government-provided Internet resources
by employees, we discussed this issue with officials from the three
judgmentally selected organizations and reviewed any information
regarding this subject, which some federal organizations provided during
the course of our data collection effort.

As agreed with the requestors, we sent the data collection form to 43
federal organizations—all 14 departments and 29 independent agencies,
asking each department to also provide information for major component
organizations. As agreed, we included only independent agencies with 500
or more employees. We received responses from 13 departments, which
included responses for their major components and from 29 independent



Page 19                         GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix I
Scope and Methodology




agencies. As of May 30, 1997, the Department of State did not provide a
response to our request for information. The Department of Health and
Human Services did not provide information for three of its
components—(1) the Administration for Children and Families, (2) the
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and (3) the Health Research
and Services Administration. We asked the Executive Office of the
President only to provide information for OMB and the White House.

We did not independently verify the accuracy of the information provided
by the federal organizations, as agreed with our requestors. As previously
discussed, much of the expenditure information is based on estimates, and
the basis for federal organizations’ estimates could vary significantly. We
did, however, discuss responses with officials at each organization to
confirm that our report presented the information accurately.

Our work was done by staff in our headquarters office in Washington, D.C.
and our Dallas, Texas, field office, from May 1996 through May 1997 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We
requested comments on a draft of this report from the Director of the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and on excerpts of the report
from the Secretary, Department of Commerce; the Secretary, Department
of the Interior; and the Acting Commissioner, Social Security
Administration, where we performed more detailed work.

Appendix II includes a list of the federal organizations to which we sent
our data collection form. Appendixes III through VI present the
information reported to us by the federal organizations in response to our
data collection form. Appendix VII contains a description of the Internet
and BBS activities at the three federal organizations at which we performed
additional work.




Page 20                        GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix II

Federal Organizations Surveyed by GAO


              The following is a list of the 43 federal organizations to which we sent our
              data collection form.

              Agency for International Development
              Armed Forces Retirement Home Board
              Commodity Futures Trading Commission
              Corporation for National Service
              Department of Agriculture
              Department of Commerce
              Department of Defense
              Department of Education
              Department of Energy
              Department of Health and Human Servicesa
              Department of Housing and Urban Development
              Department of the Interior
              Department of Justice
              Department of Labor
              Department of Stateb
              Department of Transportation
              Department of the Treasury
              Department of Veterans Affairs
              Environmental Protection Agency
              Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
              Executive Office of the Presidentc
              Federal Communications Commission
              Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
              Federal Emergency Management Agency
              Federal Reserve System Board of Governors
              Federal Trade Commission
              General Services Administration
              National Aeronautics and Space Administration
              National Archives and Records Administration
              National Credit Union Administration
              National Labor Relations Board
              National Science Foundation
              Nuclear Regulatory Commission
              Office of Personnel Management
              Peace Corps
              Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
              Railroad Retirement Board
              Securities and Exchange Commission
              Small Business Administration



              Page 21                         GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix II
Federal Organizations Surveyed by GAO




Smithsonian Institution
Social Security Administration
Tennessee Valley Authority
U.S. Information Agency

a
 The Department of Health and Human Services did not provide information for three of its
components—(1) the Administration for Children and Families, (2) the Agency for Health Care
Policy and Research, and (3) the Health Research and Services Administration.
b
 As of May 30, 1997, the Department of State did not provide us with the information we
requested.
c
 We asked the Executive Office of the President to provide information only for the Office of
Management and Budget and the White House.




Page 22                                    GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix III

Federal Internet Expenditures



Table III.1: Estimated Expenditures to Provide Internet Access to Employees and to Establish and Maintain WWW Sites, by
Federal Organization, Fiscal Years 1994-1996
Dollars in thousands
                                                                                       Expendituresa
Federal organization                                               FY 1994            FY 1995          FY 1996            Totalb
Agency for International Development                                  $298               $313             $432            $1,043
Armed Forces Retirement Home Board                                       0                   0                3                3
Commodity Futures Trading Commission                                    10                 26               124              160
Corporation for National Service                                         0                   0              103              103
Department of Agriculture                                            1,849              4,963             7,812           14,623
Department of Commerce                                               4,196              6,883           14,079            25,158
Department of Defense                                               23,061             36,366           86,178           145,604
Department of Education                                                553              1,798             1,759            4,110
Department of Energy                                                 2,051              4,443             5,138           11,632
Department of Health and Human Servicesc                             1,326              2,032             3,895            7,253
Department of Housing and Urban Development                             82              1,191             3,621            4,894
Department of the Interior                                           1,259              4,800             6,423           12,482
Department of Justice                                                    0                834             1,488            2,322
Department of Labor                                                    695              2,136             2,650            5,481
                                                                           d                  d                d                   d
Department of State
Department of Transportation                                           662              1,106             3,939            5,707
Department of the Treasury                                             386                823             4,053            5,262
Department of Veterans Affairs                                         213                511               815            1,538
Environmental Protection Agency                                      3,436              5,174             9,622           18,232
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission                                 14                 32                54              100
                                   e
Executive Office of the President                                       38                238               443              718
Federal Communications Commission                                        0                390               642            1,032
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation                                  437                503               616            1,557
Federal Emergency Management Agency                                    370              1,088             1,027            2,486
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors                              219                597               951            1,767
Federal Trade Commission                                                36                120               215              371
General Services Administration                                         94                918             3,810            4,822
National Aeronautics and Space Administration                        7,382              9,139           13,532            30,053
National Archives and Records Administration                            51                519               403              973
National Credit Union Administration                                     0                 37               227              264
National Labor Relations Board                                           0                 17                28               44
National Science Foundation                                            255              1,317             1,776            3,348
Nuclear Regulatory Commission                                          827                965             1,315            3,107
Office of Personnel Management                                          14                 54               418              486
                                                                                                                     (continued)


                                               Page 23                         GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                       Appendix III
                                       Federal Internet Expenditures




Dollars in thousands
                                                                                           Expendituresa
Federal organization                                                 FY 1994             FY 1995             FY 1996                 Totalb
Peace Corps                                                                  0                194                 169                  363
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation                                        10                  10                252                  272
Railroad Retirement Board                                                    2                  34                  66                 102
Securities and Exchange Commission                                           4                475                 687                1,165
Small Business Administration                                             403                 468                 459                1,330
Smithsonian Institution                                                   325                 657                 614                1,596
Social Security Administration                                              86                576                 910                1,572
Tennessee Valley Authority                                                137                 122                 824                1,084
U.S. Information Agency                                                   164                 295                 686                1,145
Total                                                                $50,944             $92,162            $182,259            $325,364

                                       a
                                        Expenditures include both capital and operating expenditures. Capital expenditures are for items
                                       that are generally depreciated or amortized over more than one accounting period. We did not
                                       ask organizations to depreciate or amortize the capital expenditures but merely to report the
                                       expenditure in the year it was made.
                                       b
                                       Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.
                                       c
                                        The Department of Health and Human Services did not provide information for three of its
                                       components—(1) the Administration for Children and Families, (2) the Agency for Health Care
                                       Policy and Research, and (3) the Health Research and Services Administration.
                                       d
                                       The Department of State did not provide information.
                                       e
                                        We asked the Executive Office of the President only to provide information for OMB and the
                                       White House.

                                       Source: GAO analysis of data provided by federal organizations.




                                       Page 24                                   GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix IV

Federal Electronic Dial-Up BBS
Expenditures


Table IV.1: Estimated Expenditures to Establish and Maintain Electronic Dial-Up BBSs, by Federal Organization, Fiscal
Years 1994-1996
Dollars in thousands
                                                                                        Expendituresa
Federal organization                                                FY 1994            FY 1995          FY 1996            Totalb
Agency for International Development                                      $0                $0                $0               $0
Armed Forces Retirement Home Board                                         0                  0                0                0
Commodity Futures Trading Commission                                       0                  0                0                0
Corporation for National Service                                           0                  0                0                0
Department of Agriculture                                               146                396               322              864
Department of Commerce                                                  929                589               485            2,002
Department of Defense                                                   666                748               792            2,206
Department of Education                                                 365                950               661            1,976
Department of Energy                                                    311                 82                61              454
Department of Health and Human Servicesc                                712                549               287            1,548
Department of Housing and Urban Development                             575                270               195            1,040
Department of the Interior                                                 3                  2                2                7
Department of Justice                                                     25                46                17               87
Department of Labor                                                       90                72                53              216
                                                                            d                  d                d                   d
Department of State
Department of Transportation                                            305                325               180              810
Department of the Treasury                                              178                285               375              837
Department of Veterans Affairs                                             4               189               151              343
Environmental Protection Agency                                        1,912             1,865             1,759            5,537
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission                                    0                  0                0                0
                                   e
Executive Office of the President                                          0                  0                0                0
Federal Communications Commission                                          0                55                66              121
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation                                     30                33                31               94
Federal Emergency Management Agency                                     102                103               103              308
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors                                  0                  0                0                0
Federal Trade Commission                                                   0                  0                0                0
General Services Administration                                         300                 20                25              345
National Aeronautics and Space Administration                           245                237               233              715
National Archives and Records Administration                              10                  4                4               18
National Credit Union Administration                                      10                  2                2               14
National Labor Relations Board                                             0                  0                0                0
National Science Foundation                                                0                  0                0                0
Nuclear Regulatory Commission                                           261                601               506            1,367
Office of Personnel Management                                          305                308               333              946
                                                                                                                      (continued)


                                               Page 25                          GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                       Appendix IV
                                       Federal Electronic Dial-Up BBS
                                       Expenditures




Dollars in thousands
                                                                                           Expendituresa
Federal organization                                                 FY 1994             FY 1995             FY 1996                 Totalb
Peace Corps                                                                  0                   0                   0                      0
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation                                         0                   0                   0                      0
Railroad Retirement Board                                                    4                   3                   2                      8
Securities and Exchange Commission                                           5                  25                  28                     58
Small Business Administration                                             148                   37                  42                 228
Smithsonian Institution                                                      0                   0                   0                      0
Social Security Administration                                              72                130                 455                  657
Tennessee Valley Authority                                                  68                  70                  72                 211
U.S. Information Agency                                                     14                  15                  15                     44
Total                                                                  $7,795              $8,009              $7,256            $23,060

                                       a
                                        Expenditures include both capital and operating expenditures. Capital expenditures are for items
                                       that are generally depreciated or amortized over more than one accounting period. We did not
                                       ask organizations to depreciate or amortize the capital expenditures but merely to report the
                                       expenditure in the year it was made.
                                       b
                                       Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.
                                       c
                                        The Department of Health and Human Services did not provide information for three of its
                                       components—(1) the Administration for Children and Families, (2) the Agency for Health Care
                                       Policy and Research, and (3) the Health Research and Services Administration.
                                       d
                                       The Department of State did not provide information.
                                       e
                                        We asked the Executive Office of the President only to provide information for OMB and the
                                       White House.

                                       Source: GAO analysis of data provided by federal organizations.




                                       Page 26                                   GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix V

Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
Reported by Federal Organizations


Table V.1: Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems Reported by Federal Organizations
Federal organization/
Major component                              Name of BBS                            BBS telephone number
Department of Agriculture:
Agricultural Marketing Service            AMS Market News                               (202) 690-4126
                                          Greeley CO Livestock & Grain                  (970) 353-8642
                                          Madison, WI Livestock, Grain & Dairy          (608) 224-5090
Agricultural Research Service             Hank Davis                                    (970) 220-5512
                                          GRIN                                          (301) 504-6227
Economic Research Service                 Call ERS/NASS                                 (202) 219-0377
Farm Service Agency                       FSA-BBS                                       (816) 823-1521
                                          CORP-BBS                                      (800) 246-3877
Food Safety Inspection Service            Export Library                                (202) 501-7608
                                                                                        a
Forest Service                            FS-RO2F06a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R03F05a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R04F03a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R04F07a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R04F12a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R05K
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R05F10
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R05F13a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R05F0?a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R06C
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R06F21a
                                                                                        a
                                          FS/BLM
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R08F06A
                                                                                        a
                                          FS-R09F19A
Department of Commerce:
Bureau of the Census                      Census/BEA Electronic Forum                   (301) 457-2310
Economic Development Administration       Office of Economic Conversion Information     (800) 352-2949
Economics and Statistics Administration   Economic Bulletin Board                       (202) 482-2167
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric NMNS Federal Register BBS                        (301) 713-4200
Administration
                                          NMFS Alaska Region BBS                        (907) 586-7259
                                          National Ocean Service BBS                    (301) 713-4181
                                                                                        (301) 713-4182
                                                                                        a
                                          Boise BBS
                                          National Climatic Data Center BBS             (704)271-4286
                                          NMFS NW Region BBS                            (206)526-6405
                                          Marine Data Computer BBS                      (301)713-4573
                                                                                                                       (continued)


                                          Page 27                                GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                         Appendix V
                                         Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
                                         Reported by Federal Organizations




Federal organization/
Major component                          Name of BBS                                  BBS telephone number
                                         Space Environment Laboratory BBS             (301)497-7788
National Technical Information Service   Fedworld BBS                                 (703) 321-3539
Office of the Secretary                  Office of Computer Services                  (703) 487-4166
Patent and Trademark Office              Patent and Trademark Office BBS              (703) 305-8950
Department of Defense:
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization   BMDO Acquisition Reporting Bulletin Board (703) 769-8394
                                         Small Business Innovative Research/DOD       (800) 946-2636
                                         Small Business Technology Transfer
                                         Program
Defense Contract Audit Agency            DCAA Information Server                      (901) 452-2093
Defense Finance and Accounting Service   DFAS Enterprise BBS                          (800) 290-8674
                                         HRD BBS                                      (317) 542-6384
Defense Investigative Service            DISLINK                                      (800) 572-9055
Defense Logistics Agency                 DISC EBB                                     (215) 697-0717
                                         DSCR-EBB                                     (804) 279-1301
                                         DNABBS                                       (800) 305-8203
                                                                                      (616) 961-5193
                                         Item Name                                    (800) 841-4431
                                         DSCC-EBB                                     (614) 692-1394
                                                                                      (614) 692-6841
                                         DoD-Demil/TSC BBS                            (703) 767-1541
                                         Medical BBS                                  (800) 360-6945
                                         DLABBS (http://131.78.201.501)               (800) 458-7904
Defense Security Assistance Agency       EDA Bulletin Board                           (703) 604-6470
                                                                                      (703) 604-6471
Defense Technology Security              ELISA                                        (703) 602-4740
Administration
Department of the Air Force              AFOSC Bulletin Board                         (703) 693-1045
                                                                                      DSN 223-1045
                                         AFMEA Bulletin Board                         DSN 487-5823
Department of the Navy                   SPAWAR BBS                                   (703) 602-9494
                                         BUPERS Access                                (800) 346-3217
                                         Pers-84 BBS                                  (703) 695-3398
                                         Nav Mil Pers BBS                             (757) 464-7792
                                         SDS User Assistance BBS                      (757) 523-8207
                                         EPMAC BBS                                    (504) 678-3090
                                         NEOCS/NOCCS BBS                              (901) 874-7111
                                         Public Works Remote BBS                      (800) 228-6375
                                         Micro-EAR                                    (805) 982-5300
                                         Judge Advocate General’s Info Net            (703) 325-0748
                                                                                                                     (continued)


                                         Page 28                               GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                         Appendix V
                                         Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
                                         Reported by Federal Organizations




Federal organization/
Major component                          Name of BBS                                  BBS telephone number
                                         Naval Justice School BBS                     (501) 841-3990
                                                                                      (501) 841-4134
On-Site Inspection Agency                DTIRP                                        (703) 810-4741
Department of Education:
Office of Chief Financial Officer        ED Board BBS                                 (202) 260-9950
Office of Educational Research and       OERI Toll-Free BBS                           (800) 222-4922
Improvement
Office of Postsecondary Education        SFA - BBS                                    (800) 429-9933
Office of Special Education Research     RSA BBS                                      (202) 205-5574
Department of Energy:
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy   Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy       (800) 273-2955
                                         Clearinghouse
Energy Information Administration        EPUB                                         (202) 586-2557
                                                                                      a
Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center      PETC Internal BBS
Department of Health and Human
Services :
Centers for Disease Control and          CDC Wonder                                   (800) 232-4636
Prevention
Food and Drug Administration             FDA BBS                                      (800) 222-0185
                                         LOS-DO Broker Information System             (310) 831-5825
                                         NY Import BBS                                (718) 965-5096
                                                                                      (718) 965-5097
                                         Buffalo Import BBS                           (716) 551-3815
                                         FDA CDRH ED BBS                              (800) 252-1366
Health Care Financing Administration     HCFA BBS                                     (410) 786-2202
Indian Health Service                    HIS Mailman System                           (505) 248-8311
                                                                                      b
National Institutes of Health            ENTER BBS
                                         AIG (NIH Apoptosis Interest Group)           (301) 402-2221
                                         ANIMAL (guides, publications, legislation)   (301) 402-2221
                                         CERTAN (reprocurement)                       (301) 402-2221
                                         DCGINFO (Office of Contracts                 (301) 402-2221
                                         Management Info)
                                         DRGLINE (Grant Line for PHS Program          (301) 402-2221
                                         Information)
                                         EEO-OFFR (EEO)                               (301) 402-2221
                                         INTERFAC (Index & article summaries)         (301) 402-2221
                                         MANUALS (manual chapter information)         (301) 402-2221
                                         MOD-TIPS (Information for BBS moderators) (301) 402-2221
                                         NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)      (301) 402-2221
                                         NIHEDNET (NIH Office of Education)           (301) 402-2221
                                                                                                                     (continued)


                                         Page 29                               GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                         Appendix V
                                         Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
                                         Reported by Federal Organizations




Federal organization/
Major component                          Name of BBS                                    BBS telephone number
                                         NIHLIBR (Library tutorials & classes)          (301) 402-2221
                                         NUPUD (Users of public use data)               (301) 402-2221
                                         OPHTHNET (National Eye Institute/AFIP          (301) 402-2221
                                         Ocular Registry)
                                         PEF (Pediatric Exercise Forum)                 (301) 402-2221
                                         PHSOTTO (Technology transfer                   (301) 402-2221
                                         opportunities)
                                         PLASMIDS (DNA sequences of available           (301) 402-2221
                                         plasmids)
                                                                                        a
                                         RADSAFE (Radiation Safety Branch
                                         Information)
                                         SAFETY37 (Safety & security issues in NIH      (301) 402-2221
                                         Bldg 37)
                                         SANCTION (ORI Sanctioned Individuals)          (301) 402-2221
                                         SAS (Statistical Applications System News) (301) 402-2221
                                         STUDPROG (NINDS Minority and Student           (301) 402-2221
                                         Programs)
                                         TRY-IT (Try out “ENTER BBS” just for fun)      (301) 402-2221
Substance Abuse and Mental Health        SAMHSA BBS                                     (800) 424-2294
Services Administration
                                         PREVLine                                       (800) 773-8546
                                         KEN                                            (800) 790-2647
Department of Housing and Urban          HUD Online                                     (800) 546-2500
Development
                                         Public Affairs                                 (202) 708-3563
Department of the Interior:
Office of the Secretary                  Office of Environmental Policy &               (202) 208-7119
                                         Compliance BBS                                 (202) 501-6946
U.S. Geological Survey                   Minerals Information BBS                       (703) 648-7799
Department of Justice:
                                                                                        a
Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys      EOUSA News BBS
                                                                                        a
                                         EOUSA BBS
Federal Bureau of Prisons                BOP.BBS                                        (202) 307-6203
Department of Labor:
Employment and Training Administration   Foreign Labor Certification Disclosure BBS     (202) 219-3375
Office of the Solicitor                  SOL BBS                                        (202) 219-9374
                                                                                        (202) 219-8918
                                                                                        (202) 219-9256
                                                                                        (202) 219-9257
                                                                                        (202) 219-9258
                                                                                        (202) 219-9363
Department of Transportation:
                                                                                                                       (continued)


                                         Page 30                                 GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                      Appendix V
                                      Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
                                      Reported by Federal Organizations




Federal organization/
Major component                       Name of BBS                                  BBS telephone number
Bureau of Transportation Statistics   BTS BBS                                      (800) 493-4287
Federal Aviation Administration       Master Minimum Equipment List                (202) 267-5231
                                      Aviation Rule Making Advisory Committee      (202) 267-9548
                                                                                   (800) 322-2722
                                      AEE BBS                                      (202) 267-9647
                                      Airports BBS                                 (202) 267-5205
                                      FAA Corp. BBS                                (800) 224-6287
                                      FAA New England                              (207) 780-3297
                                      FAA Pilot Examiner Section BBS               (405) 954-4530
                                                                                   (800) 858-2107
                                      Pilot Examiner BBS                           (888) 750-8324
Federal Highway Administration        FHWA Electronic Bulletin Board System        (800) 337-3492
                                      (FEBBS)                                      (202) 366-3764
                                                                                   (202) 366-3175
Federal Railroad Administration       RISPC                                        (888) 372-7477
Federal Transit Administration        FTA Safety Bulletin Board                    (800) 231-2061
Maritime Administration               Marlinspike                                  (202) 366-8505
Office of the Secretary and the       TABBy BBS                                    (202) 493-2359
Administrative Support Center
                                      DOT HRM BBS                                  (405) 954-3660
Research and Special Programs         HMIX/Hazardous Materials Information         (630) 252-3275
                                      Exchange
U.S. Coast Guard                      NIS Bulletin Board                           (703) 313-5910
Department of the Treasury:
Financial Management Service          FMS Inside Line                              (202) 874-6817
                                      FMS Fax on Call                              (202) 874-8616
                                      FMS Voice Info System                        (202) 874-6995
Internal Revenue Service              IRIS                                         (703) 321-8020
                                      AFS                                          (301) 492-5400
                                      Electronic Filing                            (606) 292-4137
                                      Procurement                                  (202) 799-0943
                                      Information Returns Program                  (304) 264-7070
                                      IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin Board      (202) 874-9574
                                      Little Rock PAO Practitioner                 (501) 324-7118
U.S. Customs Service                  Customs Electronic Bulletin Board            (703) 440-6155
Department of Veterans Affairs:
Office of Management                  VA Vendor Bulletin Board System              (800) 735-5282
                                      (VAGBBS)
Veterans Health Administration        VA Online                                    (800) 871-8387
                                      VA World                                     (304) 264-4993
                                                                                                                  (continued)


                                      Page 31                               GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                        Appendix V
                                        Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
                                        Reported by Federal Organizations




Federal organization/
Major component                         Name of BBS                                  BBS telephone number
                                                                                     a
                                        SLC BBS
Environmental Protection Agency         ATTIC                                        (513) 569-7272
                                                                                     (513) 569-7610
                                        CEAM                                         (706) 355-8328
                                        TTN                                          (919) 541-5742
                                        Cleanup Information                          (301) 589-8366
                                        REGION10                                     (800) 781-2241
                                                                                     a
                                        Region5 Wtr
                                        NPS                                          (301) 589-0205
                                        EFIN                                         (919) 549-0720
                                                                                     (800) 291-0349
                                        NSFC                                         (800) 624-8301
                                        ORD BBS/CERI                                 (513) 569-7610
                                        Pesticide Information Network                (703) 305-7499
                                        PIPES                                        (703) 749-9216
                                        Wastewater Treatment Information             (800) 544-1936
                                        Exchange
                                        REIS (R7)                                    (703) 551-7715
                                        PSR&RIS                                      (703) 308-7224
                                        CSO                                          (800) 700-7837
                                                                                     (703) 790-0825
                                        AMRB                                         (919) 541-1325
                                        DWIE                                         (800) 932-7459
                                                                                     (304) 293-7108
                                                                                     a
Equal Employment Opportunity            EEOC Bulletin Board System
Commission
Federal Communications Commission       FCC State Link (CCB)                         (202) 418-0241
                                        Public Access Link (OET)                     (301) 725-1072
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation   FDIC Fax/Bulletin Board System               (804) 642-0003
Federal Emergency Management Agency     Emergency Management Institute               (301) 447-1259
                                        Hazardous Materials Information Exchange (800) 874-2884
                                        State and Local Emergency Management         (800) 538-4408
                                        Data Users Group                             (630) 739-1312
General Services Administration         Multi-Use File for Interagency News          (202) 205-3890
                                        (MUFFIN)
                                        GSBCA BBS                                    (202) 501-1981
                                                                                     (202) 501-2982
                                                                                     (202) 501-2308
                                        Federal Real Estate Bulletin Board           (800) 776-7872
                                                                                     (202) 501-6510
                                        Great Lakes FEB BBS                          (312) 353-3798
                                                                                                                    (continued)


                                        Page 32                               GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                       Appendix V
                                       Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
                                       Reported by Federal Organizations




Federal organization/
Major component                        Name of BBS                                  BBS telephone number
                                       Consumer Information Center BBS              (202) 208-7679
                                       TeleConX BBS                                 (202) 501-7741
National Aeronautics and Space         NASA Spacelink                               (205) 895-0028
Administration
                                       Network News                                 (202) 358-4488
                                       E-Mail                                       (800) 380-0674
                                       SBIR/STTR                                    (301) 918-8177
                                       Earth Science Branch Photo Data Base         (713) 483-2500
                                       JPL Info                                     (818) 354-1333
                                       NODIS                                        (301) 286-4000
                                       Planetary Data System                        (818-306-6914)
National Archives and Records          FRIEND (Federal Register Electronic News     (202) 275-0860
Administration                         Delivery)                                    (202) 275-0898
                                                                                    (202) 275-1538
                                                                                    (202) 275-0920
                                       Atlanta FRC                                  (404) 763-7474
National Credit Union Administration   NCUA BBS                                     (703) 518-6480
Nuclear Regulatory Commission          NRC Online (FedWorld)                        (800) 303-7672
                                                                                    (703) 321-3580
                                       Tech Spec Plus                               (800) 679-5784
                                       Public Meeting Notice System                 (800) 952-9676
                                       Decommissioning Rule                         (800) 880-6096
                                       Bibliographic Retrieval                      (800) 270-2787
Office of Personnel Management         OPM Mainstreet                               (202) 606-4800
                                       PayPerNet                                    (202) 606-2675
                                       Federal Job Opportunities Board              (912) 757-3100
Railroad Retirement Board              Field BBS                                    (312) 751-4722
                                       Quality Reporting Service Center BBS         (312) 751-7122
Small Business Administration          SBA Online                                   (800) 697-4636
                                       SBA Software Clearinghouse                   (202) 205-6269
                                                                                    a
Social Security Administration         Chicago Region
                                                                                    a
                                       KaCee (Kansas City)
                                       Online Wage Reporting                        (410) 966-8450
                                                                                    a
                                       DCO Village
                                                                                    a
                                       Region 1 BBS
                                                                                    a
                                       San Francisco BBS
                                       Employer Information                         (410) 965-1133
                                                                                    a
                                       Information Center BBS
Tennessee Valley Authority             Lake Information Line                        (800) 238-2264
                                                                                                                   (continued)



                                       Page 33                               GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                   Appendix V
                                   Electronic Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
                                   Reported by Federal Organizations




Federal organization/
Major component                    Name of BBS                                           BBS telephone number
                                   Lake Information Bulletin Board                       (423) 632-4721
United States Information Agency   USIABBS                                               (202) 619-4710
                                                                                         (202) 619-4711
                                                                                         (202) 619-4712
                                                                                         (202) 619-4713
                                                                                         (202) 619-4714
                                   I BUREAU BBS                                          (202) 554-6320
                                                                                         (202) 554-6321
                                                                                         (202) 619-5952

                                   Note: Of the 42 federal organizations, 29 reported having a total of 215 electronic dial-up BBSs.
                                   a
                                    The federal organization reported that the BBS is either for internal use only, restricted, or not
                                   available for the general public.
                                   b
                                   The National Institutes of Health reported 23 BBSs within “Enter BBS.”

                                   Source: Information provided by federal organizations responding to GAO survey data collection
                                   form.




                                   Page 34                                      GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix VI

Number of Federal Employees With Internet
Access


Table VI.1: Number of Federal Civilian and Military Employees With Government-Provided E-Mail and WWW Access, by
Federal Organization
                                     Employees with E-mail addresses     Employees with WWW access
                                                         Percentage of                    Percentage of       Total number
Federal organization                     Number       total employeesa     Number      total employeesa       of employees
Agency for International Development       2,000                  66.7        1,500                50.0               3,000
Armed Forces Retirement Home                  23                   2.6           23                 2.6                 896
Board
Commodity Futures Trading                    600                100.0           200                33.3                 600
Commission
Corporation for National Service             518                100.0             0b                0.0                 518
Department of Agriculture                 55,882                  50.8       26,066                23.7             110,115
Department of Commerce                    27,635                  75.9       16,086                44.2              36,418
Department of Defense                   1,113,485                 49.5      771,593                34.3           2,250,192
Department of Education                    4,694                100.0         3,348                71.3               4,694
Department of Energy                      15,500                  87.3       13,389                75.4              17,763
Department of Health and Human            42,061                  80.6       35,207                67.5              52,161
Servicesc
Department of Housing and Urban           11,000                100.0        11,000               100.0              11,000
Development
Department of the Interior                59,340                  83.4       25,830                36.3              71,158
Department of Justice                      8,039                   7.9        8,126                 8.0             101,977
Department of Labor                       13,127                  80.2        7,813                47.7              16,372
                                                  d                  d             d                   d                   d
Department of State
Department of Transportation              61,989                  62.6       16,299                16.5              99,054
Department of the Treasury                78,605                  54.6       11,090                 7.7             144,053
Department of Veterans Affairs            65,000                  26.0       10,000                 4.0             250,000
Environmental Protection Agency           17,177                100.0         7,000                40.8              17,177
Equal Employment Opportunity                  18                   0.7           24                 0.9               2,676
Commission
Executive Office of the Presidente           922                100.0           922               100.0                 922
Federal Communications                     2,100                100.0         2,100               100.0               2,100
Commission
Federal Deposit Insurance                  9,800                100.0         9,800               100.0               9,800
Corporation
Federal Emergency Management               2,400                100.0         2,400               100.0               2,400
Agency
Federal Reserve System Board of            1,200                  69.3        1,000                57.7               1,732
Governors
Federal Trade Commission                   1,000                100.0         1,000               100.0               1,000
General Services Administration           12,500                  80.7       11,000                71.0              15,500
                                                                                                                (continued)



                                        Page 35                           GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                                             Appendix VI
                                             Number of Federal Employees With Internet
                                             Access




                                       Employees with E-mail addresses               Employees with WWW access
                                                                Percentage of                              Percentage of        Total number
Federal organization                         Number          total employeesa              Number       total employeesa        of employees
National Aeronautics and Space                    25,489                    99.3             25,539                 99.5                   25,680
Administration
National Archives and Records                      2,500                    83.3               2,500                83.3                    3,000
Administration
National Credit Union Administration                 950                   100.0                 200                21.1                     950
National Labor Relations Board                     1,900                    95.0                 750                37.5                    2,000
National Science Foundation                        1,200                   100.0               1,200               100.0                    1,200
Nuclear Regulatory Commission                      3,200                   100.0               1,700                53.1                    3,200
Office of Personnel Management                     2,600                    66.7                 250                 6.4                    3,900
Peace Corps                                          714                    79.3                 714                79.3                     901
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation                 764                   100.0                 100                13.1                     764
Railroad Retirement Board                              19                    1.4                  21                 1.5                    1,412
Securities and Exchange                            2,503                    89.8                 180                 6.5                    2,788
Commission
Small Business Administration                      3,500                   100.0               3,250                92.9                    3,500
Smithsonian Institution                            4,200                    64.7               4,200                64.7                    6,496
Social Security Administration                    26,000                    40.0               5,000                 7.7                   65,000
Tennessee Valley Authority                         8,131                    51.9               7,000                44.7                   15,659
U.S. Information Agency                            5,405                    78.9               2,900                42.3                    6,850
Total                                       1,695,690                       50.4          1,048,320                 31.1             3,366,578

                                             Note: We asked federal organizations to report the number of employees with WWW access at
                                             their desktop workstations.
                                             a
                                             Percentages calculated by GAO based on data provided by organizations.
                                             b
                                              The Corporation for National Service provides WWW access to its employees through four
                                             common workstations, not to employees’ individual desktop workstations.
                                             c
                                              The Department of Health and Human Services did not provide information for three of its
                                             components—(1) the Administration for Children and Families, (2) the Agency for Health Care
                                             Policy and Research, and (3) the Health Research and Services Administration.
                                             d
                                                 The Department of State did not provide information.
                                             e
                                              We asked the Executive Office of the President only to provide information for OMB and the
                                             White House.

                                             Source: GAO analysis of data provided by federal organizations.




                                             Page 36                                      GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix VII

Internet and BBS Activities at Three
Selected Agencies

                         We performed work at three judgmentally selected agencies to gain a
                         better understanding of federal Internet and BBS activities. These agencies
                         were (1) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), within
                         the Department of Commerce; (2) Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), within
                         the Department of the Interior; and (3) Social Security Administration
                         (SSA). The following summaries provide a more in-depth look at Internet
                         and BBS activities at these agencies than can be obtained from presentation
                         of only the expenditure and other information provided earlier in this
                         report. We did not verify the accuracy of the information contained in
                         these summaries. We did, however, provide the agencies with a draft of
                         the summaries to ensure that we had accurately represented the
                         information they reported to us.


                         NOAA has approximately 13,500 employees nationwide. The principal
National Oceanic and     mission of NOAA is to describe and predict changes in the earth’s
Atmospheric              environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to
Administration           ensure sustainable economic opportunity. NOAA is responsible for
                         providing a variety of environmental data and information services, such
                         as meteorological, oceanographic, geodetic, and seismological data.
                         Agencies within NOAA include (1) National Environmental Satellite, Data
                         and Information Service; (2) National Marine Fisheries Service;
                         (3) National Ocean Service; the (4) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric
                         Research; and (5) National Weather Service.


Agency Internet Policy   NOAA has a written telecommunications policy covering areas such as
                         planning, management, security, and employee use of Internet resources.
                         The policy’s stated purpose is to facilitate use of Internet products and
                         services in management and decisionmaking processes, ensure
                         compliance with federal laws and regulations, reinforce security
                         safeguards, and increase user confidence in NOAA’s Internet products.


Benefits                 NOAA policy states that use of the Internet greatly facilitates user access to
                         NOAA data and information services and, thus, furthers NOAA’s mission of
                         disseminating its data and information to the public, scientific community,
                         and other government agencies. For example, electronic data transfer
                         reduces NOAA employee paperwork as well as time spent on data entry.
                         Further, the public benefits by being able to access NOAA information in a
                         timely manner.




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                            Appendix VII
                            Internet and BBS Activities at Three
                            Selected Agencies




Oversight                   While NOAA has issued guidance on the use of the Internet, this guidance
                            does not specifically address whether employees are authorized to use
                            Internet resources for other than official government business. NOAA
                            oversight of employee Internet activities is primarily the responsibility of
                            supervisors within NOAA program and staff offices. NOAA has taken
                            disciplinary actions against three employees for improper use of their
                            Internet access.


Internet and BBS Activity   NOAA reported maintaining about 383 distinct WWW sites on about 85
                            computers, providing access to about 95 databases of various NOAA Earth
                            system information, all linked through the NOAA homepage
                            (http://www.noaa.gov). The NOAA WWW presence includes meteorological
                            data and satellite images of the earth’s geography and weather. In a recent
                            report to the Congress, NOAA described the information it provides through
                            the Internet.10 For example, in 1995 NOAA provided information, such as
                            National Weather Service surface and upper air observation data from its
                            system of satellites, aircraft, and buoys, to about 15,000 users per month.
                            Internet users are able to search for, view, and obtain satellite data and
                            images. Other examples of NOAA WWW data include (1) changes in land
                            cover for the Chesapeake Bay region, (2) historical daily maximum and
                            minimum temperature and precipitation data and climatological
                            summaries for 2,200 locations worldwide, and (3) sea-level data for
                            selected areas of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

                            NOAA estimates that user demand for its data will approach a half million
                            inquiries each month by the beginning of the 21st century. NOAA reported
                            that, from 1991 to 1995, requests for digital data increased a hundredfold
                            and online inquiries grew to over 200,000 per month.

                            According to NOAA, about 95 percent of its employees have Internet e-mail
                            access, and about 44 percent have access to the WWW at their workstations.
                            As an example, NOAA said its employees use their WWW access to connect
                            with 13 separate NOAA offices through the Campus Connectivity
                            Demonstration project. This Internet project allows employees to freely
                            share databases and information of differing formats, procedures, and
                            protocols over a common information infrastructure.

                            NOAA reported maintaining nine electronic dial-up BBSs during fiscal years
                            1994 through 1996, one of which was discontinued at the end of fiscal year
                            1996. BBSs do not play a significant role in NOAA’s information

                            10
                              Progress and Challenges: A Report to Congress on NOAA Data Management, August 1996.



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                         Appendix VII
                         Internet and BBS Activities at Three
                         Selected Agencies




                         dissemination strategy and are maintained to provide a low-end access
                         method. These BBSs provide information such as geodetic and global
                         positioning data, local forecasts and warnings, and climate data for
                         building and road designs.


Internet and BBS         NOAA estimated Internet expenditures of about $6.5 million for fiscal years
Expenditures             1994 through 1996—$1.3 million for 1994, $2.0 million for 1995, and
                         $3.2 million for 1996—for providing Internet access to employees and
                         establishing and maintaining WWW sites. NOAA estimated BBS expenditures
                         of approximately $29,000 for the 3-year period.


                         The mission of the FWS is to conserve, protect, and enhance fish and
Fish and Wildlife        wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
Service                  people. FWS activities include biological monitoring, pollution surveillance,
                         fish and wildlife population studies, and environmental impact
                         assessment, among others. The Service is responsible for leadership in
                         identifying, protecting, and restoring endangered species of fish, wildlife,
                         and plants. FWS has approximately 7,000 employees in over 400 different
                         locations nationwide.


Agency Internet Policy   FWS Internet guidance covers a variety of information management issues,
                         including issues such as copyright protections, WWW publishing,
                         appropriate use, and security. Regarding employees’ use of the Internet,
                         the guidance describes it as another tool available for employees to do
                         their jobs and encourages employees to use the Internet to do
                         work-related tasks more effectively.


Benefits                 FWS cited a number of examples to illustrate the range of benefits to the
                         agency that the Internet provides. For example, distribution of FWS
                         National Wetlands Inventory maps tripled at a time when its support staff
                         was being reduced. Also, it said posting new publications on the WWW and
                         implementing an automated e-mail service has been very beneficial. E-mail
                         service provides news releases, bulletins, and other information to about
                         1,800 subscribers. The service reported that it has increased public access
                         to new publications, saved on printing costs, and reached a variety of
                         interest groups without increasing the public affairs staff or manually
                         maintaining large mailing lists.




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                            Appendix VII
                            Internet and BBS Activities at Three
                            Selected Agencies




Oversight                   On April 5, 1996, FWS issued a memorandum on use of the Internet to all its
                            employees. The FWS memorandum, issued in response to a Department of
                            the Interior Inspector General’s review, reminded managers that they have
                            considerable latitude in deciding how the Internet should be used; but it
                            also emphasized that FWS computers, networks, e-mail services, and
                            telephone facilities are for government business and are not for personal
                            use. The memorandum also provided several examples of prohibited
                            activities. According to FWS, it has taken no disciplinary actions against FWS
                            employees for inappropriate use of Internet access.


Internet and BBS Activity   FWS said it maintained 52 Internet WWW sites at the time of our review. FWS
                            reported eight computers nationwide, which host the WWW sites. Each of
                            the WWW sites is linked to the main FWS homepage (http://www.fws.gov).
                            According to FWS each of its seven regions also has WWW sites, each with
                            numerous links to other FWS sites as well as news and information about
                            the wildlife refuges, hunting and fishing permits, and other programs
                            managed by the region. Examples of other FWS sites include the
                            Endangered Species Program WWW site and the National Wetlands
                            Inventory office, which has three sites—its homepage, the Wetland Values
                            Database, and the Maps Database. The Endangered Species site provides
                            information such as lists of endangered species, the full text of the
                            Endangered Species Act, regional news, maps, photographs, and
                            regulatory information for private landowners.

                            FWS estimated that approximately 5,000 employees, or 71 percent, have
                            Internet e-mail access and that about 2,500 employees, or 36 percent, have
                            access to the WWW from their desktop workstations.


Internet and BBS            For fiscal years 1994 through 1996, FWS estimated spending $929,000 for
Expenditures                providing Internet access to employees and for establishing and
                            maintaining WWW sites. FWS estimated that its expenditures for each of the
                            fiscal years were $252,000 for 1994, $329,000 for 1995, and $348,000 for
                            1996. FWS did not maintain any dial-up BBSs.


                            SSA, an independent agency, administers various federal programs for
Social Security             retirees, the disabled, and their survivors. SSA also assigns social security
Administration              numbers to citizens and maintains records of reported earnings for
                            individuals assigned a social security number. SSA currently pays benefits
                            to over 48 million people, annually processes 235 million earnings reports



                            Page 40                                GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                         Appendix VII
                         Internet and BBS Activities at Three
                         Selected Agencies




                         from 6.5 million employers, and issues 17 million Social Security cards.
                         Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, SSA operates 10 regional offices, 6
                         program service centers, 1,300 field offices, and 140 hearings offices, with
                         a total workforce of about 65,000 employees.


Agency Internet Policy   The Administration has issued guidance that addresses management of
                         and employees’ use of SSA’s Internet services. The policy states that SSA
                         will “promote Internet access for SSA employees who have a
                         business-related need as determined by their respective components.” The
                         policy also addresses WWW and Internet matters such as appropriate WWW
                         site content and maintenance and Internet security. The policy addresses
                         compliance with federal laws such as the Privacy Act and Computer Fraud
                         and Abuse Act as well as OMB guidance. The policy clearly states that
                         Internet access is only for official SSA business and that employee usage
                         “may be monitored for traffic, statistical and security purposes.”


Benefits                 SSA’s Internet policy states that the WWW and related Internet technologies
                         hold great potential for providing information to the public more quickly,
                         extensively, and efficiently than ever before. The recent growth of the WWW
                         and its use by the public, the policy states, make it an increasingly
                         attractive and effective dissemination channel for SSA. SSA reported a
                         variety of Internet benefits to both SSA employees and the general public.
                         These benefits included being able to (1) quickly access technical tools
                         and resources, including software, that are essential to employees’ jobs
                         and SSA’s mission; (2) search vendor resources and make online purchases
                         for supplies at the lowest possible cost; (3) provide increased public
                         access to over 300 SSA information publications in English and Spanish;
                         and (4) provide information on assistance available from local SSA offices.

                         SSA also reported similar benefits from its BBSs. Through regional BBSs,
                         managers have access to historical agency reports without having to call
                         the regional office or maintaining cabinets full of paper reports. It said the
                         Online Wage Reporting BBS, currently in the pilot testing stage, enables it
                         to process wage reports electronically, and SSA believes that when fully
                         implemented, the BBS could provide savings as companies file forms online
                         rather than by paper or on disk.


Oversight                Other than supervisory monitoring, SSA system managers currently do not
                         monitor employee Internet use. SSA does maintain documentation of the



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                            Appendix VII
                            Internet and BBS Activities at Three
                            Selected Agencies




                            resources accessed through the Internet, however, and is examining
                            software that could be used to limit access to appropriate Internet sites.
                            Officials from SSA’s personnel and OIG offices told us that they were not
                            aware of any disciplinary actions for employees’ improper use of Internet
                            resources.


Internet and BBS Activity   SSA has been a participant on the Internet since 1989, providing statistical
                            data to educational facilities and other researchers. In May 1994, SSA began
                            providing public access to “Social Security Online”—SSA’s main Internet
                            WWW site (http://www.ssa.gov). At the time of our review, SSA reported
                            having a total of 22 Internet WWW sites. These sites included those for
                            regional and program offices as well as specific SSA programs, such as SSA’s
                            Quick Reference Guide for Employers, benefit information publications,
                            and Social Security welfare reform information sites. In accordance with
                            SSA policy, all sites are to be maintained on one central computer and
                            linked to Social Security Online.

                            SSA also said it recently began experimenting with online personal earnings
                            statements and benefits applications. In April 1996, SSA introduced a
                            service to allow the public to make an online request for a Personal
                            Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES). Through the WWW, a
                            person was able to complete the form, send it to SSA via the Internet, and
                            receive a PEBES statement in the mail within about 2 weeks. In March 1997,
                            SSA began providing the PEBES results online, but suspended the service in
                            April 1997 in response to public concerns raised about the authentication
                            elements used and the potential for fraud. To address these concerns, SSA
                            said it is seeking expert and public input through a series of national
                            forums. SSA’s goal remains to provide the PEBES results online in a
                            real-time, secure, interactive environment, provided the full range of
                            privacy and disclosure issues have been addressed. SSA reported that more
                            than 1.2 million people have accessed Social Security Online, 102,372 in
                            the month of March 1997 alone. More than 100,000 people have requested
                            their PEBES by mail since the program began. During the 1-month period
                            that the PEBES results were available online, more than 71,000 people
                            requested and received their PEBES results instantly.

                            SSA reported that about 26,000 employees, or 40 percent, have access to
                            Internet e-mail and approximately 5,000 employees, or 8 percent, have
                            access to the WWW at their desktop workstations.




                            Page 42                                GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
                   Appendix VII
                   Internet and BBS Activities at Three
                   Selected Agencies




                   SSA also said it provides public and employee access to its information
                   using eight BBSs. SSA is currently pilot testing its Online Wage Reporting
                   BBS. Other BBSs provide employers with information such as changes in
                   Social Security reporting procedures and forms, or they provide SSA
                   employees access to SSA policies and reports.


Internet and BBS   SSAreported significant increases in expenditures for providing Internet
Expenditures       access to employees and for establishing and maintaining a WWW presence.
                   During fiscal years 1994 through 1996, SSA estimated spending about
                   $86,000, $576,000 and $910,000, respectively.

                   SSAalso reported significant increases in estimated expenditures for its
                   BBSs over the last 3 fiscal years—$72,000 in 1994, $130,000 in 1995, and
                   $455,000 in 1996. SSA reported that the increase in BBS expenditures was
                   due to costs associated with its Online Wage Reporting BBS for system
                   improvements such as increasing the number of telephone lines, modems,
                   computers, and printers, and to provide additional training to BBS
                   personnel.




                   Page 43                                GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
Appendix VIII

Major Contributors to This Report


                        James H. Burow, Assistant Director
General Government      Michael W. Jarvis, Senior Evaluator
Division                Don D. Allison, Senior Evaluator
                        Michael A. Tovares, Evaluator
                        Thomas M. Beall, Social Science Analyst
                        Stuart M. Kaufman, Social Science Analyst
                        Vasiliki Theodoropoulos, Senior Evaluator/Communications Analyst


                        Larry J. Modlin, Assistant Director
Accounting and          Mirko J. Dolak, Technical Assistant Director
Information
Management Division
                        Stephen F. Palincsar, Webmaster
Office of Information   Jane K. Ervin, Publications Graphic Specialist
Management and          Joseph Carmel, Computer Specialist
Communication           Kenneth L. Cooper, Electronic Publications Specialist

                        Susan Michal-Smith, Senior Attorney
Office of General
Counsel
                        Linda J. Libician, Evaluator-in-Charge
Dallas Field Office     Marcia B. McWreath, Evaluator
                        Christina M. Nicoloff, Evaluator
                        James L. Rose, Evaluator
                        Enemencio S. Sanchez, Evaluator
                        James W. Turkett, Evaluator




(410045)                Page 44                         GAO/GGD-97-86 Internet and Dial-Up Bulletin Boards
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