A new law has been approved by the House of Representatives that will require government agencies to block pornography on computers used by federal employees.

The accessing of pornography in the workplace is a serious issue. While the employees who access the adult material at work may feel like they are doing no harm, the accessing of adult websites carries an unnecessary risk of malware being downloaded onto computers and government networks. The recent massive data breaches experienced by government agencies have highlighted the need for improved protections to be implemented.

Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act Passed by House

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Alabama)-sponsored the bill – the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act (H.R. 901) – which is part of a new government reform package. Palmer saw a need to introduce new laws to block pornography on computers after it became clear that the problem was widespread in federal agencies.

Federal workers were suspected of accessing pornography at work and internal investigations revealed that a number of workers had been accessing sexually explicit material; in some cases, for many hours each day.

One notable instance involved a worker who was suspected of accessing pornography on a federal computer. When EPA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigators visited the employee, he was actually viewing pornography at the time. He admitted to accessing the material for two to six hours a day.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) OIG also conducted investigations. A 2010 report indicated 33 employees had been discovered to be accessing pornography at work. Last year, media reports suggested there was a porn crisis in the federal government, saying the problem was serious and widespread.

Aside from the huge drain on productivity, if an agency fails to block pornography on computers there is a considerable risk of employees infecting their computers with malware or causing a data breach.

The reform bill was passed 241-181. The new law will require agencies to block pornography on computers for all workers, although access will still be permitted for certain individuals who require access to the material as part of their investigations.

WebTitan – A Quick and Effective Way to Block Pornography on Computers

WebTitan is a highly effective, but easy to implement web filtering solution that can be used to quickly block a wide range of inappropriate web content from being accessed by employees. WebTitan is an enterprise-class web filter that allows organizations to block specific categories of web content such as pornography.

Once the solution is installed, to block pornography on computers system administrators only have to tick a checkbox. Websites and webpages containing pornographic images will no longer be able to be accessed by employees. Since WebTitan ties in with Active Directory, it is easy for different permissions to be set for individuals, user groups, or for the entire organization.

Filters can also be applied to block productivity draining websites such as Social media platforms, gambling websites, and gaming sites. Bandwidth draining activities such as video and audit streaming can also be blocked, as can websites known to contain exploit kits or malware.

WebTitan can be used to quickly and easily enforce acceptable usage policies and improve the productivity of the workforce as well as an organization’s security posture.