High-Level DOJ Official Latest Gov't Employee To Be Caught Watching Porn While On The Clock

from the it's-always-those-wankers-up-top,-he-said-literally dept

It's good to know government employees are hard at work. (This statement mainly applies to male employees.)

Throughout the past several years, internal investigations have rooted out a bunch of government employees who are wasting tax dollars by visiting websites and viewing content no doubt strictly prohibited by workplace policies. We're talking porn. Lots of porn. Just incredible amounts of porn consumption.

These apparently non-essential personnel have racked up some amazing porn stats. Some SEC employees were reprimanded (but not fired) for spending up to 98% of their workdays watching porn. An employee at the US Geological Survey's [cough] EROS Center visited 9,000 porn webpages en route to infecting the agency's computer system with malware. An EPA employee spent their work hours compiling a comprehensive library of over 9,000 pornographic images.

It's not just the federal government either. The City of Baltimore's Department of Public Works discovered an employee was spending about half the work week (~20 hours) watching porn on the clock. Over in the UK -- home of the always-impending porn filters -- government employees accessed porn 300,000 times over a 14-month period.

Porn consumption is apparently a government tradition -- one that spans the world and is celebrated by all levels of governing bodies.

Here's yet another data point, emanating from the US Department of Justice. (via NextGov)

The DOJ's Inspector General was tipped to some in-office porn viewing by a high-ranking official. This was no office drone. This was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Its investigation confirmed what was suspected: more porn consumption on a government computer.

From the one-page summary [PDF] released by the OIG:

The OIG investigation substantiated the allegation that the then DAAG viewed sexually explicit images on the DAAG’s government computers, in violation of DOJ policy. An OIG forensic examination of two DOJ computers issued to the DAAG determined that the computers contained data regarding numerous sexually explicit website searches, visits to websites hosting sexually explicit videos, sexually explicit search engine terms, and sexually explicit images.

The DAAG then lied about their porn habits. This is a bold move, considering lying to investigators is a criminal offense. Of course, it's only the rarest of government officials who are ever charged with lying to investigators. This one was no exception. The DAAG resigned before the investigation was concluded and no criminal charges were brought.

That's the quality of help we're paying for. They're people who should be held to a higher standard than private sector employees. But they never are. Fireable offenses rarely result in firing. Massive amounts of wasted time result in reprimands, rather than demotions or termination. And yet, we're supposed to act like the government has our best interests in mind when it engages in a tiny bit of oversight. These employees and their enablers are jerking far more than themselves around.

Filed Under: doj, porn, waste


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 7:53am

    The Governments dime, funded by us!

    With such extensive research into such a particularized subject by government employees, one would think that at the very least they would release some results. Did they find any good porn, and if so, where? After all, we did pay for the research.


    Let us not forget to move the conversation forward:
    https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/09/10/moving-encryption-policy-conversation-forward-pub- 79573

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bob, 13 Sep 2019 @ 10:02am

      Re: The Governments dime, funded by us!

      They could at least publish their results before they quit.

      On a more serious note, what the heck was their network defense team doing which enabled so many downloads and searches? I would hope they at least establish a web filter and do some packet scans to at least stop malware and the exfiltration of data. No filter will block every piece of porn but after so many downloads and searches it should have picked up something.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2019 @ 1:29pm

      Re: The Governments dime, funded by us!

      Hey... thanks for running with my suggestion in your sig! :D


      Let us not forget to move the conversation forward:
      https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/09/10/moving-encryption-policy-conversation-forward-pub- 79573

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 8:06am

    'Look, I 'punished' myself, no need for you to.'

    The DAAG resigned before the investigation was concluded and no criminal charges were brought.

    The fact that that actually works is beyond crazy. 'Well, your actions were serious enough that we were going to fire you, investigate your activity, and maybe bring charges against you, but if you're going to quit I suppose that's punishment enough.'

    If quitting is enough to dodge an investigation and potential charges I'd say that's pretty good evidence that the investigation was a farce from the get-go, only there to present the facade of Doing Something with little to no intention of actually handing out a punishment, because if someone's actions are that bad it shouldn't matter whether they're employed when they are charged, only whether they were when they did the actions in question.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 8:20am

      Re: 'Look, I 'punished' myself, no need for you to.'

      I must be in a strange mood today. When I read your subject line, and considering the subject of the article, I imagined a different kind of 'punishment' than what your comment is actually about. Did you intend the double entendre?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pixelation, 13 Sep 2019 @ 11:14am

        Re: Re: 'Look, I 'punished' myself, no need for you to.'

        That's what I was wondering as well. A little Masochistic porn.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 3:24pm

        Re: Re: 'Look, I 'punished' myself, no need for you to.'

        I did not, but that does rather fit the subject in question so I'll chalk that one up as a funny coincidence.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 5:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: 'Look, I 'punished' myself, no need for you to.'

          Well then, kudos to your subconscious mind, and may you (and it) continue to excel in your endeavors.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TasMot (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 9:44am

    Porn consumption is apparently a government tradition -- one that spans the world and is celebrated by all levels of governing bodies.

    Well I hope they were good looking bodies at least.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 10:05am

    Not doing their job / don't pay them

    If people can't seem to be fired for viewing porn and they can't get into trouble for lying, is there any chance of at least not paying these people when they quit?
    They were hired to a job but if they're spending 50% or 98% of their day viewing porn, then they weren't doing their job so they shouldn't be paid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2019 @ 12:26pm

      Re: Not doing their job / don't pay them

      Not saying they should have been watching porn on the clock (or if so, use your cell phone so it's not tracked! Jeez), but what if "doing their job" only took 1 hour out of 8 each day?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 3:21am

        Re: Re: Not doing their job / don't pay them

        Then why in the name of all that's holy are we paying them for 8hrs worth of work, damn it?

        Either do the job you're paid to do or let a competent person earn the money.

        I've spent years being too poor to go out with friends because I was stuck in low-paid jobs. I'm in a sweet situation now, but honestly, stories like this make my blood boil.

        Watch porn at home. Imagine being a woman sitting near the creep. How does she feel about it? I'd be very uncomfortable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Agammamon, 13 Sep 2019 @ 6:33pm

      Re: Not doing their job / don't pay them

      Well, except that its a government job. These people are spending that time watching porn because there's no work for them to do. They're bored.

      They should never have been hired in the first place because there's nothing for the sub-secretary to the assistant to the assistant department head to do except buff up the manpower numbers and make the department head look more important - so he can justify a larger budget to tackle whatever problem his department was originally instituted to handle in the first place.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 3:22am

        Re: Re: Not doing their job / don't pay them

        Erm... over here in the UK, there's work for them to do, they're just not doing it. Really annoying if you're depending on them to sign stuff off or process paperwork.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2019 @ 12:01pm

    usual case of 'dont do what i do, do what i tell you'!

    the problem is that these government employees will be used in the statistics that the governments use to verify the implementation of filters, as excuses by the entertainment industries that sites that allow downloading infect machines with malware and are financed by groups that encourage child pornography and terrorism!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2019 @ 1:02pm

    How can anyone watch that much porn, and exclusively porn?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    WarioBarker (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 2:07pm

    I guess this employee was...

    puts on sunglasses

    Caught with his pants down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    takitus (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 5:10pm

    Focus on the inefficiency and lying

    Most people are going to read this story and emphasize the "government employees watching porn!" aspect, but I'm not sure why the content they were wasting time on is important. How is this fundamentally different than, say, spending working hours on Facebook or reddit? Similar observations go for all forms of "safe for work" censorship, which seem to mainly be an outlet for moralizing, rather than serious attempts to curb time-wasting.

    Hopefully Techdirt readers (and writers) agree that what's important here isn't the juicy content, but the inefficiency and bureaucratic wagon-circling done to hide it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 5:52pm

      Re: Focus on the inefficiency and lying

      True, with a few caveats.

      First, if this was child porn or revenge porn or something like that, then this would be more certainly a criminal issue.

      Second, there are two articles where the fact that porn was involved added some irony or additional humor to the story: one involving the UK, which is currently trying to make mandatory porn filters; and the other involving members of the EROS squad. It’s not any more wrongful, but it’s definitely more hilarious!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Agammamon, 13 Sep 2019 @ 6:36pm

        Re: Re: Focus on the inefficiency and lying

        Still, what everyone is focusing on is this dude was watching porn and that's a no-no.

        But if he had spent the day watching Youtube videos he would have been just as worthless but would still have his job. If he had spent the day watching porn on his personal phone he would still have his job.

        Dude had nothing to do all day. That's the real issue here. That's what's important. Its 2019, is porn even a no-no in general society anymore?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2019 @ 12:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Focus on the inefficiency and lying

          Porn has always been associated with connotations of something scandalous, desiring something unattainable, possibly objectionable. When you think about it, porn is the documentation of an act that isn't anything special. So it's framed in the context of power fantasies, alternative fetishes, and things generally not taken to be the norm or acceptable behavior.

          Deviancy is a major part of the draw. It's also what fuels copyright trolling for porn; at the height of the Prenda scandal, industry insider Q Boyer stated firmly that he believed enforcement was knowingly banking on the salacious aspects of porn litigation to get suckers to pay up.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Sep 2019 @ 3:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Focus on the inefficiency and lying

            Woman here; it's very creepy to be near someone who is watching porn where everyone else can see it. Do that at home.

            RE: social media, cat videos, etc., you're wasting your employers' (that's us if you work for the government!) time and money.

            Do you remember the story of the American sys admin who got a Chinese bloke to do his job so he could play around on Reddit and YouTube all day? It's fine to play around on social media, etc., during breaks, I'm doing that now with a timer running in the background, but to fool around when you ought to be working is taking liberties. Not okay.

            To watch porn right in front of others is downright objectionable, and to women like me, it's intimidating. I mean flippin' 'eck, guys, where's the line?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 10:35pm

      Re: Focus on the inefficiency and lying

      Well, I don't know about you but say about my job what you will, it does not get me turned on.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 13 Sep 2019 @ 5:47pm

    They're people who should be held to a higher standard than private sector employees. But they never are.

    I have a slight problem with this statement, at least in this context. Let’s say you have a private-sector employee who is accessing lots of porn during work hours and, when asked about it during an investigation by their employer(s), lies about it. Then that employee resigns before the company can fire them.

    Generally, that’s the end of it. Unless they then try to go for unemployment benefits or another potential employer asks, the company just washes their hands of the porn-addicted employee and moves on. And, unless child porn is involved or the porn is otherwise illegal, neither the government nor some other third parties generally get involved in the dispute, either, other than to criticize or make fun of the employee.

    In other words, under these specific circumstances, a private-sector employee is treated no different from this public-sector employee in that the employer stops dealing with the situation or employee once the employee resigns.

    As for not being prosecuted for lying to federal investigators, I’m not sure that that would apply. I could be wrong, but I think the lie would have to be material to some criminal investigation or an investigation pursuant to a lawsuit. I don’t think it applies here, where nothing illegal or compromising to our national security is involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 13 Sep 2019 @ 6:12pm

    One thing to keep in mind..

    When porn viewing reaches the levels (and lack of self-control) reported in the headline stories, it's not just jerking off on the job and wasting tax dollars. It's an addiction that needs treatment. These workers have clearly lost the ability to see how porn is affecting their daily life, same as gambling addicts or drug addicts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Agammamon, 13 Sep 2019 @ 6:39pm

      Re: One thing to keep in mind..

      Dude wasn't shirking work to view porn. Dude wasn't having problems in his personal life from viewing porn.

      Dude just had nothing better to do at work.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 13 Sep 2019 @ 6:29pm

    Given how dumb you have to be to be watching porn on a work computer when you have a perfectly functional phone, isn't it paradoxically for the best to have these morons watching porn rather than working? Isn't that the least damaging position we can put them in?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2019 @ 6:58pm

    But isn't viewing quality educational television like Hot Taxpayers Lose Their Shirts vol. 69 job-related enough to be a good use of public funds?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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