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United Kingdom Censorship It's funny.  Laugh.

FOI Request Reveals UK Houses of Parliament Workers' Passion For Adult Content 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the sounds-about-right dept.
Anita Hunt (lissnup) writes "Hot on the heels of Dave Cameron's demands to make such content universally 'opt-in,' the Independent reports 'Westminster computers were prevented from accessing sex sites 114,844 times last November alone and on 55,552 in April, while February saw just 15 and in June officials blocked 397 attempts.' No explanation has been offered for the variation, although it would be interesting to know if the fall in the number of recorded/reported attempts coincides with the date the FOI request was filed."
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FOI Request Reveals UK Houses of Parliament Workers' Passion For Adult Content

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  • Bogus. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:47PM (#44761063) Journal

    Those figures look bogus.

    One month has 114,000 accesses, another month just 15.

    I'm suspicious of those figures.

    Of course, I do still expect that they are a bunch of porn hounds.

    • Those figures look bogus.

      One month has 114,000 accesses, another month just 15.

      I'm suspicious of those figures.

      Of course, I do still expect that they are a bunch of porn hounds.

      Perhaps they're like the American Congress, and take month-long vacations?

      • Perhaps they're like the American Congress, and take month-long vacations?

        More.

        But not in Febuary.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's quite simple, MPs rut in early winter. Curious species, beautiful plumage.

          • MPs rut in early winter. Curious species, beautiful plumage.

            if only they were all nailed to a perch as well

      • by daremonai (859175)
        My guess is that all the high numbers represent errors in the filters, or the statistics, or both. Remember, these are only blocked accesses, not all accesses. Why would anyone - even a member of Parliament - repeatedly try some site that was blocked hundreds or thousands of times?

        The submitter's theory makes no sense, either. If the drop in numbers was due to the FOI request, why would the numbers be down in February, up in April, and down in June?

        • Re:Bogus. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @06:33PM (#44761843) Homepage

          Having seem what sites get blocked, I'll agree with "bogus".

          For a long time I couldn't get to the JPL Mars Exploration website, because of three letters in the middle of its URL (which used to be marsexploration.jpl.nasa.gov).

          And as for trying to access the old physics preprint server (since renamed to ArXiv): xxx.lanl.gov -- forget it.
          (I hate to say what autocorrect just tried to corect "lanl" to...)

        • by ozbon (99708)
          Why should the high numbers represent errors, but the low ones don't?

          I'd tend more to think that the low figures equated either with a) reclassification or b) having got rid of some people who were constantly trying.

          Also, how do you know they were repeated access attempts on a site, rather than attempts at many, many sites, all of which got blocked for some reason or other?
    • by Russ1642 (1087959)

      You don't know what is blocked until you try to access it. I've seen the strangest websites blocked by corporate filters. I seriously doubt they're trying to access pornhub.com.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You don't know what is blocked until you try to access it. I've seen the strangest websites blocked by corporate filters. I seriously doubt they're trying to access pornhub.com.

        Not just that, but if porn is blocked why would you be intentionally trying to access it. These are false clicks, viruses, redirects, and as you say, stupid blocking. At one location I could never seem to remember that urban dictionary was blocked.

      • Re:Bogus. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:23PM (#44761343) Journal
        Boy ain't that the truth! I did a 6 month temp job at a hospital once and one of my jobs was to show nurses how to beat the porn filters! It turned out the PHB who had bought the crap (at an insane markup over a martini lunch from what the rumor mill said) refused to even entertain the thought that his software might be shit but the stupid software would block ANYTHING to do with words like breast or prostrate no matter how many times the IT guys told the stupid software not to, kinda a problem when you have a large part of the hospital dealing with cancer. So I got to go out each morning and show the noobs how to blow past all the filters that the PHB paid insane money to put up, the wonders that is corporate bullshit.
        • by bored (40072)

          Yah, and next time someone in Mgmt decided they need a reason to fire you with cause, they just point out how you broke company policy on a daily basis...

          Sometimes its just better not to fight.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Nope! Mama didn't raise no fools so i had in writing from the head IT guy that part of my duty was "Showing new nurses how to bypass any and all filters that might hinder their performance" and that was that. But you have to remember I was only temping there so other than a basic CYA I didn't give a shit as i was headed to the outdoor by summer anyway.

            But I can tell ya I'm a HELL of a lot happier now running my own little shop! Sure the pay ain't as good but ya know what? No more being told to fix a problem

    • Re:Bogus. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by X0563511 (793323) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:09PM (#44761251) Homepage Journal

      Smells like a virus or malware could have ballooned those large figures.

      • by Muros (1167213)
        That isn't really even needed. Lots of advertisements on "legit" sites that redirect to dodgy ones, and pull images from those dodgy ones.
      • or, the conservative party.
      • by jonbryce (703250)

        They had major problems with their filters when the Sexual Offences Act was being debated in parliament.

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      It could be the work of bots. Invested by bots in some months that access thousands of sex sites (and bill the Government), or infested by different bots that route sex site traffic through government computers.
    • They are listing the number of blocked events. If they adjusted the filter to not block, the sudden fall in numbers would be explained.
    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Maybe internet porn was being discussed in parliament that month?

  • First off, the definition of "sex site" is always questionable in this kind of situation, especially a workplace. Second, an infected computer is a pretty effective way to "hit" a lot of porn in a short period of time, at least as network monitors would count them. Third, it's been several months, meaning any number of variables could have changed that would significantly change the quantity of "hits".

    It feels silly to count "hits" in this day and age. I'd better stop reading this thread before I get nos

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:39PM (#44761461) Journal

      You are correct in all counts, I would only add that there is a major source of infection that most geeks around here probably don't even think of that could seriously tilt those numbers...USB drives and sticks.

      Working in a little shop I tend to get exposed to more hardware than most and can see trends emerging and in the past few years the number of cheap flash sticks infected with clickjackers and other bugs have frankly gone right through the roof. Since they can no longer count on autorun they instead disguise themselves as "value added" software on the drive, drive security software, free movie players, stuff like that. Many of these bugs are clickjacker variants which for those that have never encountered one are used to commit ad fraud by driving up hits to websites, many of which are porn sites. With a clickjacker you'll see page hits suddenly explode, I have seen clickjackers that would cause hundreds of new windows to open within seconds, talk about dragging a machine to a screeching halt.

      So just going by the data we have here, with the number of hits going from over 10,000 to less than a hundred? Sounds like somebody let a clickjacker loose on their network. Feel sorry for the IT guy if that was the case, the new clickjackers are nasty little buggers and pretty damned hard to kill without just wiping everything and starting over. I hope they had a really solid backup strategy in place if that were the case, otherwise talk about a nightmare.

      • by tsotha (720379)

        So just going by the data we have here, with the number of hits going from over 10,000 to less than a hundred? Sounds like somebody let a clickjacker loose on their network.

        Or someone updated the white list. It may just be that legitimate sites related to current legislative topics were getting erroneously blocked by the filter. Filter gets updated and bam! All those adult clicks go away.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          But to have THAT many hits? I'm sorry but if it were a couple thousand I might buy that but at over 10,000 to less than a hundred? Sounds like a classic clickjacker attack to me.

          I had of all things a preacher bring in his new laptop with a clickjacker, I was recommended by a member of his flock for being discrete and needless to say the guy was ashamed and feeling like a fool, sure that somebody would think he was a perv because his PC would just spam porn pop-ups the second he hit the desktop. I told him i

  • I'm guessing this play [wikipedia.org] would no longer find as large an audience.

  • by themushroom (197365) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @04:55PM (#44761141) Homepage

    and started looking for those nudes of Kate from their home machines.

  • So-called "Fair Work Australia" the Australian Labor government's workplace commission declare that using your employer's facilities during work hours to distribute pornography to fellow employees is not a sackable offence.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/sending-porn-emails-at-work-no-longer-a-sackable-offence-fair-work-commission-rules/story-fni0fit3-1226710444957 [heraldsun.com.au]
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-04/porn-emails-at-work-not-automatic-sacking-offence/4933426 [abc.net.au]
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-se [smh.com.au]

  • > FOI Request Reveals UK Houses of Parliament Workers' Passion For Adult Content

    OH THANK GOD, they're normal human beings.

    • Re:Whew! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:12PM (#44761261)

      I hope it's not normal to browse porn sites at work. Ewww.

      • It was for the one network admin I dated, but worse... His Saturday routine was to go in to do computer/network maintenance when he'd have the office to himself. He said he didn't wash his hands while there because he was careful not to get anything on them, but that a couple of times, he'd had to rinse his underwear in the office bathroom sink and dry it out in the break-room microwave. When I got a bit grossed out about his "activities" at the office, he claimed that several friends in the industry evide

      • by u38cg (607297)
        In fairness, it's not exactly a normal office. If you're an out of town MP it's more like a hotel without a bed.
    • by ozbon (99708)
      They're politicians. That means they're neither normal, nor human.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What bothers me about this is content is filtered in the first place. True, respect for politicians is at an all time low, but they are supposed to represent the public and the idea that someone, unidentified can control what information these representatives have access to is troubling on principle.

  • We have bluecoat in my office and I frequently hit a link for generally something funny and get BLOCKED: ADULT CONTENT warnings. Fact is, in most workplaces EXCEEDINGLY few people are actually stupid enough to genuinely look at pornography on the computers, far more often it's a false match or an interesting interpretation of what constitutes "adult content"

    This article isn't worth a damn but it will get your average person up in arms about those "scumbags in Parliament!!!"

    Move along, nothing to see here

  • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @05:31PM (#44761403)

    No, say it isn't so!

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1996-01-23/ [dilbert.com]

    To update it to today, "So you're pitting your intelligence against the collective sex drive of everyone?"

    --
    BMO

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If everyone's allowed to look at porn, then you, who writes the laws, are not superior for you are not above them but standing alongside them.
    Just like the catholic church wants no one else diddling little boys, the republicans want no other men having sex with college boys, the UK government wants to be the only ones around able to download titties.

    All of those initiatives to ban things for "morality" only ever come down to a single thing: "Because I want to be more special than you are"

  • by Technician (215283) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @06:27PM (#44761801)

    We have a no porn policy posted at work as part of the hostile work environment compliance. We have a corporate filter with a splash page providing warnings. Policy does acknowledge the occasional mis-directed web page, bad search result, ads for adult content or products. Even Slashdot provided some warning pages due to some troll links that are NSFW.

    Even though I have never searched for Adult content at work, I get the splash several times a week. Sometimes several ads on an otherwise normal page have shrunken warning splash screens so based on counts alone, normal web activity including surfing Slashdot is good for several hits to several 10's of hits on a Adult or other restricted site link. Hacking is the other big reason I see the warning page, but the description given for the reason the site is blocked is for hacking. When I follow info following Defcon talks often provides prohibited advertisements or articles or "Hacking" websites.

    If you are not on a corporate filter/proxy, then you may not realise how easy it is to add to these counters without even trying.

  • Due to embedded iframes everywhere you look, i bet a lot of the blocked 'attempts' were due to these, and not the true intent.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I posted this elsewhere too...

    Government Spokesperson said: "We do not consider the data to provide an accurate representation of the number of purposeful requests made by network users. [There are a] variety of ways in which websites can be designed to act, react and interact and due to the potential operation of third party software."

    So they admit that their own statistics for their own filtering software are probably junk, and yet theyre happy to propose filtering and blocking on ALL of us {UK} because o

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