Opinion

Effective way for organisations to tackle ‘porn in the office’

For too long, the "porn in the office" issue has been the elephant in the room - a genuine corporate concern but one that organisations had no idea how to address and so have just ignored, writes Andrew Millington, managing director of Exclaimer Image Analyzer.

But with every e-mail containing the company name in the sign-off, the potential brand damage associated with the dissemination of pornographic material outside the organisation is significant.

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, employers have a legal obligation to take all reasonable practical measures to protect staff from inappropriate material. Companies and individual executives can also face criminal prosecution if employees are found using the company's IT to distribute porn or download child pornography into the workplace.

If organisations want to reduce the security risk, it is essential to be able to identify images and videos that contain pornographic material. But organisations also need a way of managing this problem without requiring face-to-face employee confrontation or expensive HR reviews.

By using an e-mail monitoring tool, organisations can monitor images and set rules to automatically respond to the activity in a variety of ways. These range from simply blocking the image to automatically informing both sender and recipient(s) that the acceptable usage policy has been breached, with the e-mail including the relevant policy clause.

By automating the identification of material and notification of the relevant employees, organisations can take control of this serious security issue. With the right tools in place, they can meet their duty of care to employees by taking every possible step to minimise unwanted exposure to this material, either through malicious intent or humour, drive down the volume of activity on the corporate network and, critically, safeguard brand value.

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This was first published in April 2010

 

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