Porn Viewing vs. Coffee Breaks

Thursday - 5/27/2010, 4:00am EDT

There was a time when, if you wanted to view pornography, it took some planning. And you generally did it on your own time.

You had to rent a film, close your curtains and watch it in the privacy of your home. Or, so I am told, go to one of those places (usually in the seedier parts of town) and rent space in a booth alongside like minded connoisseurs/pervs.

Thanks to technology, we can now view porn at work. And get paid for same.

This is much better because we are usually fresher during the day. Also it leaves our spare time for doing other things. Also, there is no danger of Grandma walking in at the wrong time, like at home.

So I am told!

Depending on your job, and your supervisor (who may be doing it too) you can watch naughty-too-definitely-illegal stuff 6, 7 hours a day. And still have time for lunch.

Now all you have to do is have an office to go to. Get a job in a place, like the U.S. government or the Acme Widget Company, where they, the taxpayers or customers, supply you with a computer. Then you can watch all the porn you want and get paid while doing it instead of your silly old job.

Peering at porn appears to be a national problem. But if you read the papers or watch TV news, you might think it is a government-only problem. Can you say Securities and Exchange Commission? Or Minerals Management Service?

(Is it maybe time to discretely check the monitor in the next cubicle, or would that be wrong?)

But it happens everywhere. Apparently a lot.

We generally only learn about it if it involves a federal worker or a high-profile person like a member of Congress or the Washington area university president busted for very serious kiddie porn habits.

Many feds are understandably embarrassed by the revelations of SEC and MMS porn-watchers and swappers. The most angry and embarrassed include most of the workers at those agencies who do their jobs.

An Interior Department official said she twice, after investigating the situation, fired workers, one high-ranking, for viewing kiddie porn. A retired Justice Department official said he also got rid of two employees for similar reasons.

A few years back, Commerce Department employees successfully blew the whistle on a high-ranking official who often strayed from his official duties to watch porn. And sent it on to like-minded friends. His activities came to light after a sexual harrassment complaint. Same thing at the General Services Administration. And probably elsewhere.

So what do feds think about the situation?

  • Jay from DOT writes "I hope you write something about those clowns at the SEC and now the Minerals Management Service who instead of doing their jobs, are looking at porn all day! They are a disgrace and should be fired! They make the rest of us Feds look like idiots!! My SES called a meeting years ago and told everybody NO PORN and I got the message, not that I was looking at it anyway!!"

  • "I am appalled at the stupidity of people, smart people and tech-savvy people, who view porn at the office and e-mail it to colleagues. Don't they know these are government computers and that they can be monitored? What are they thinking?" Phil

  • "The Pentagon has some weird birds for sure. They are both military and civil service civilian. I don't know about other places but in my division we have a no-tolerance policy and computers are blocked, to the extent possible, from receiving information from some sites." USA

  • A caller said "...the publicity linking us (feds) as watching porn instead of the financial markets was overblown...but what else is new? That said, it is inconceivable that federal officials would stonewall Congress or the public refusing to name names and by dishing out punishment, brief suspensions, in the form of a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle. They know who they are and we, employees of the agency with the brand-new black eye, know who they are. The only people who don't are taxpayers and congressional watchdogs." Steaming at the SEC.

So your take? Overblown or overdue?

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

LiveScience notes the earth is putting on some weight... in the form of space dust. The USGS says at least 1,000 tons of material enters the atmosphere every year and makes its way to Earth's surface.