SEC focusing on the task at, er, hand.

Gotta love a headline like this one: “SEC Workers Investigated for Porn-Surfing.”

The work computer of one regional supervisor for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed more than 1,800 attempts to look up pornography in a 17-day span: “It was kind of distraction per se,” he later told investigators.

Ya think?

But he wasn’t alone. More than two dozen SEC employees and contractors over roughly the past two years have faced internal investigations after they were caught viewing pornography on their government computers, according to records obtained by The Washington Times through the Freedom of Information Act and other public documents.

The activities of porn-surfing SEC workers, a small fraction of the overall work force, have been serious enough to warrant a mention in each of the past four semiannual reports sent to Congress by the SEC’s office of inspector general.

In response to the open records request by The Washington Times, the inspector general’s office provided more than 150 pages of records and transcripts on the investigations, but declined to identify the employees involved. The office noted that disclosure of the employees’ names “could conceivably subject them to harassment and annoyance in the conduct of their official duties and private lives.”

To be completely honest, I couldn’t care less whether a given employee surfs the seedier alleys of the information superhighway and I don’t think the real story here should be on the individual names. As an IT professional, I know full well that there are mechanisms to monitor the extracurricular/personal use of government computing systems. Those systems can detect this kind of activity and systems also exist to actually defeat attempts to surf porn at work. I am curious about the wording of this story, however. They mention the 1 employee who made “1,800 attempts” to look up the material in 17 days. Doesn’t say if the attempts were successful, of course. If they weren’t, then the SEC both has the content filtering systems in place and they were clearly effective at their task. If that’s true, then where’s the story here? If the attempts were successful then I’d say the SEC doesn’t have those systems and I’d like to ask why not.

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One comment

  1. 1800 attempts in 17 days? That’s over 100 attempts a day!!!
    And I was wondering why their regulation of market players was lacking, and for over 7 months, they did not monitor the markets for a report to Congress. Now we know??

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