Nine D.C. Employees Fired for Viewing Porn at Work

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Nine city employees in the District of Columbia have been fired for using government computers to visit an "egregious" number of pornographic Web sites in 2007.

The action comes after a monthlong investigation of the computer usage habits of municipal employees by the city's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, according to a statement released Wednesday by Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty's office.

In addition, an unspecified number of individuals in 18 city agencies were sanctioned for violating city computer usage policies. The investigation is continuing and could result in further actions against those found in violation of the computer use policies, the statement said.

The investigation, which began Dec. 15, was triggered when an employee at the Office of Property Management complained about other employees using their government computers to browse for and download pornographic content from the Internet. After an initial investigation uncovered a large number of employees using their work computers to browse porn sites, the CTO's office expanded the investigation districtwide.

Three days after receiving the first complaint, the city launched a full-scale forensic analysis of 10,000 city computers for porn usage between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2007, and began developing sanctions based on the number of times an employee accessed a porn site, according to the statement. The sanctions ranged from a warning letter to suspension and termination. The statement did not say how many computers were found to have visited porn sites.

However, based on the "large number" of employees that were discovered to be improperly using their computers, the city purchased 20,000 licenses of a Web continent management tool designed to prevent users from accessing pornographic sites. Implementation of that tool was completed in the first week of this month.

A spokeswoman from the mayor's office Thursday said the software that was implemented was from Websense Inc., a San Diego-based company that sells a wide range of e-mail and web content filtering software.

This story, "Nine D.C. Employees Fired for Viewing Porn at Work" was originally published by Computerworld.

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