Significant Increase in USDA Employees Viewing Porn on Govt Computers During Work
Another federal agency is embroiled in a large-scale pornography scandal and in this case, it took leadership five months to block hundreds of websites used by employees and contractors to watch porn on government computers during work hours. It involves the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a bloated agency notorious for wasteful spending and an eye-popping $140 billion budget. The agency’s mission is to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition and related issues.
Back in September the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) blasted the agency for misusing information technology networks to view pornographic content on government-issued computers and other communication devices. In a management alert memo the watchdog revealed a “significant increase” in the number of USDA employees and contractors viewing and sharing unlawful or otherwise inappropriate pornographic content using their government-issued computers and other communication devices. Some of the content includes child pornography, according to the USDA OIG memo. “This employee misconduct is preventable, and it unnecessarily exposes USDA and its systems to significant risk,” the OIG memo states.
The USDA watchdog harps on the security risks of surfing these dicey websites on agency equipment but fails to mention the atrocity of public employees getting paid by taxpayers to enjoy porn. “Websites that disseminate pornographic material historically have proven themselves to be a network attack vector and, as such, present an ideal opportunity for those individuals who would seek to compromise a USDA employee or contractor for the purpose of extorting access to the Department’s network(s) and/or sensitive or classified information,” the OIG writes. This begs the question; why did USDA management take so long to finally block access to the porn sites? It wasn’t until late last month that the agency’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) acknowledged a problem and announced that, beginning this week, more than 400 websites will be blocked. A news organization dedicated to covering the federal government obtained the email sent from USDA chief information security officer Chris Lowe to the agency’s more than 100,000 employees. “Lowe sent a memo to staff detailing the sites to be blocked, which include popular sites such as Facebook, Snapchat and What’sApp as well as dozens of incomprehensible URLs,” the article reveals. It’s not clear if the rampant porn surfing among USDA employees played a role in a recent $8 million increase to enhance the agency’s cyber security capabilities. – READ MORE
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