Two thirds staff downloading porn at work

Listening to the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 this lunchtime, I'm astounded that people are still getting away with downloading online pornography whilst at work.

Cyber Crime Security

The show's item on pornography follows the publication of a report by sex therapist Dr. Christoph Ahlers. In it, he claims that millions of office workers are logging on to the world's most popular free porn website from their work computers. He says that of 60 million people viewing the X-rated site on a daily website, two thirds were doing so while at the office.

Vine's two guest speakers focused on the 'human element' of online pornography; the clever lady from the TUC discussed employment law and the second suggested we were all over reacting because 'that's what men do'!

Thankfully there was an acknowledgement from both guests that browsing porn at work was simply wrong and unsociable. Yet there was still hardly any mention of the risks downloading porn has upon the organisations itself:

  • risk of litigation for not stopping it;
  • risk of damage to corporate reputation for allowing it;
  • risk of losing business;
  • risk of unleashing an an attached virus into the corporate IT system;
  • risk of competitive stagnation by not managing staff time properly;
  • risk of opening up an illegal image, e.g. concerning child abuse;
  • risk of killing someone by having one's attention diverted in another direction;

Organisations must have a communications policy in place to deal with situations where porn is downloaded and to provide a mechanism in order to discipline staff appropriately. The policy must be linked to the employment contract (or indeed vice versa) so that it can become a sackable offence.

Some employers have likened these kinds of inappropriate behaviour to theft - after all, perpetrators are paid to work whilst at work. But with this economic climate, there is certainly no excuse for members of staff wasting their time online in this way. Businesses must get a management grip of the issue!