NEW YORK -- A ruling in New York should come as a relief to people who have a habit of checking out the Internet at work. A judge has ruled that use of the Internet is no more goofing off on the job than reading a newspaper or making a brief personal phone call. "It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work," Administrative Law Judge John Spooner said. Spooner gave the lightest of all possible punishments to a New York City worker who was accused of disregarding warnings to stay off the Internet at work. The 14-year veteran of the Department of Education used his office computer to visit news and travel Web sites. A lawyer for the man described the ruling as "very reasonable." Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a billionaire who knows what it is to put in a full day -- is upset with the judge's ruling. Mayor Bloomberg said city employees are working for the taxpayers, who expect people to work He said spending hours surfing the Internet at your work desk is inappropriate.