Federal agencies in the United States have a reputation for being bloated bureaucracies with employees doing a lot of hanging out and very little real work. Take the Environmental Protection Agency, for instance. The EPA is supposed to look at ways to save energy and clean up the environment, but apparently that’s not exciting enough for some employees.
Those workers were so busy downloading and watching porn that they had time for little else. In fact, one employee was spending six hours a day looking at porn (out of a 8-hour workday), and another was accessing a child pornography website using his government email and had downloaded 7,000 pornographic sites to his government laptop.
And not just there, but at other agencies as well. One Treasury Department worker had looked at 13,000 porn sites in a span of six weeks. At the Housing and Urban Development agency and at the Commerce Department, several employees were watching porn videos – so many at one point that the computers froze, and the General Services Administration – the agency that handles such mundane requests as new office chairs for a department – employees were busy being titillated by explicit videos and dating sites advertising foreign and exotic women.
All this came out in a report by the Inspector General – the agency that oversees federal government operations. Most workplaces have rules limiting the number of personal things you can do while on the clock, such as talking on the phone with friends or checking your Facebook status, and it goes without saying that it includes staying off porn sites.
But not in the federal government. At least not until now.
North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows says he’s fed up with these shenanigans, and he’s introduced the “Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act,” which would require that the Office of Personnel Management issue guidelines banning government workers from visiting porn sites at work or remotely on government-issued computers and mobile devices.
Some federal agencies have rules against downloading and watching porn on a government computer, but because there isn’t a system-wide rule, a few employees have treated the federal workplace like their own racy playground.
“It continues to take place. There is absolutely no excuse for federal employees to be viewing and downloading pornographic materials on the taxpayers' dime,” Meadows said in a statement, adding that it is also a safety issue, because it makes it easier for outsiders to gain access to sensitive government files.
“Downloading these files, which are often ridden with viruses and malware, poses a cybersecurity threat at our federal agencies," said Meadows. The North Carolina legislator had introduced similar legislation last year, but it went nowhere. However, since the Republicans are now the majority in Congress, as the new chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Relations, Meadows has more sway in getting it through this time around.
Ironically, the bill would ban agencies that monitor porn sites for a living – such as the Federal Communications Commission – from doing their job of making sure smut doesn’t get on family-friendly television.