Surfing porn on the boss's time

Nearly 70 percent of all pornographic traffic occurs during the nine to five workday. This equates to one in five Australian workers specifically surfing pornography online during their working hours, according to SexTracker, an online site that monitors and tracks online pornographic activity.

This problem isn't simply a bandwidth issue, but a legal minefield.

Websense A/NZ manager Graham Connolly said companies shouldn't simply be concerned about bandwidth related to downloading movies or viewing the Olympic Games, they should ensure there is no access to images some colleagues may find offensive.

"It is something CEOs need to be aware of so they just don't say that no one would be stupid enough to [access pornography] at work," Connolly said.

But the SexTracker results prove that employees are viewing sexually explicit material in the workplace with Connolly claiming there is a "let's get away with it at work" mentality.

"In the paper-based publishing environment, this kind of material is only available to those who proactively, knowingly, seek it out but there is no such protection in the online world," he added.

But it is not just disturbing images that are a bugbear for network managers and, worse case scenario, the boardroom, it is the amount of freely available content online that is driving organizations to consider, and re-consider, their online policy.

Many organizations have now included "online enterprise solutions" as a way to select the categories - by user, group or time slot – and block employees' online access.

The Police Association of South Australia (PASA) deployed employee internet management software in order to keep their active Web users away from disturbing images and therefore, out of court and productive.

According PASA IT manager Andrew Dunn, they needed to set an example for a safe working environment, and therefore could not risk employees accessing Web sites accidentally or otherwise.

Dunn, who is responsible for 25 desktops and three servers, said it allowed them to create a policy that protects employees rather than restricts.

"Because of the liberal usage of policy, we can maintain strict Internet usage through software and know an employee will not come across illicit material," Dunn said.

"We think as an employer it is our responsibility to ensure employees will not come across anything like that online as not all users are Internet-savvy."

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