Government Employees Viewing Pornography at Work

Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 1:27 PM


Last week, after a government employee’s computer in the General Services Administration (GSA) was infected with a virus, IT staff started an investigation to find the cause.  What they found was shocking. The employee had been visiting dating websites for more than two hours a day, regularly viewed pornography, and even had a user account on his work computer for a pornographic social network. 

Just a week before this event, an investigation was conducted because another government employee in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was spending up to six hours a day looking at pornographic material at work. 

Another high paid government official had over 7,000 pornographic images on his work PC and was viewing pornography when agents showed up to investigate him.

The issue of viewing pornography while at work is becoming a widespread problem with government employees and all employees for that matter.

The US Treasury Department reported that about 30% of computer misuse investigations since 2012 were pornography related. In 2010, the Pentagon was under scrutiny because of military officials downloading pornography. The Security and Exchange Commission had more than 20 cases of pornography viewing at work reported in 2010. Since then, after multiple discussions on how to block websites and install filtering, it has continued to be a problem. 

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Not only is this practice a waste of our tax money, this practice also puts sensitive information at risk. In the case of the GSA employee, a virus from the porn website he was visiting infected his e-mail, and sent a mass e-mail to everyone in his address book.

Sharon Nelson, president of a computer forensics firm, Sensei Enterprises, Inc., says that many free porn sites secretly sell the ability to spread malware to other malicious individuals.  The general idea is that the free porn site includes the ability to install Trojans and Viruses on the computers of its visitors and sells this functionality to others.

Nelson adds: “If they give away free porn and they can inject malware, they can make a lot more money from the information they derive.”

Employers can’t be expected to monitor what everyone does online all day but there is a simpler and more practical solution. Installing an Internet filter and monitoring software can alert an administrator of potential abuse, can easily pay for itself, and it is proven to immediately reduce the amount of wasted time at work.

In a recent case study done by ContentWatch, a business increased employee productivity by 35 percent and eliminated the viewing of pornographic content in their work place just by installing a filtering/monitoring solution and telling their employees that “they could be watched.”

In most cases a filtering/monitoring solution such as ContentProtect Professional pays for itself in less than a month with the gain in employee productivity. This type of a solution will reduce the risk of malware infection and can also help reduce company liability from sexual harassment lawsuits and other HR-related issues that result from viewing inappropriate content in the work place.

To learn about the many options available for employee filtering and monitoring please visit