Officials download in excess

  • 2001-11-08
  • Aleksei Gunter
TALLINN - The Estonian state's Information Technology Center this week announced a crackdown on downloading of games and music by employees of state institutions.

The center, which oversees IT development throughout the state, revealed that games and music account for about 30 percent of all material downloaded by state institutions.

Starting Nov. 1, special limitations come into force, aimed at stopping employees accessing Napster-type sites which allow downloading of music, video and other kinds of entertainment.

"With these measures we expect to save about 1.3 million kroons ($74,285) a year," said Marko Mannik, who is responsible for communications between institutions in 15 county towns and cities connected by the Peatee (Main Road) network.

Internet use will be regulated both by technical methods such as the use of fire walls and by the implementation of traditional regulations by directors of institutions.

In fact, Mannik acknowledged, the amount the government pays annually for its 9 Megabit per second channel (currently 4 million kroons) is not based on how much data is downloaded. But entertainment content is slowing down the system for people who have serious work to do, he said.

Heno Ivanov, of the IT center's data exchange department, points the finger primarily at local governments in remote areas and smaller state institutions. "Larger state organizations, which have their own IT systems and need the Internet for their work, usually exploit it in accordance with the rules," he said.

The entertainment sites most popular with state employees include, and, a Russian entertainment portal. But news and search Web sites are still most popular among officials surfing the Net.

Statistics show that the police uses the Internet more than any other institution, accounting for about 10 percent of overall traffic.

The Peatee network allows data to be accessed at 100 Megabits per second in the Tallinn area and 2 Megabits per second in rural areas.

Access to Web sites outside Estonia is via a so-called "outer connection" provided from a special base in Tallinn.