Porn site outs some govt depts as users

Public servants at almost 50 Australian federal and state government agencies have been exposed accessing pornographic material on the Internet, according to documents obtained by Computerworld.

The list, compiled by the administrator of a Western Australia-based pornography site, alleges the public servants accessed her Web page -- www.bernadette.net -- during work hours using government-owned equipment.

A vocal opponent of the federal government's controversial Internet censorship plans, the site's founder Bernadette Taylor, has posted a full list of alleged offenders on her home page in a bid to highlight the flaws of a 'hypocritical government'.

Taylor said she has created a list by collating all of the Australian government proxies that have accessed her site. A proxy represents the single point at which a section of government accesses the Internet, meaning that more than one individual may gain Web access through a single proxy.

"What my list does initially is demonstrate that people are accessing adult-natured Web material from their government PCs during office hours," Taylor said on her site. "Now, that said, I do have the full detailed server logs which show exactly what these people are viewing."

According to Taylor, she has 'outed' the public sector porn customers as a demonstration of the unworkable demands placed on Internet service providers (ISPs) by the federal government, which insists it is up to content providers to monitor the nature of material posted through their services.

Ironically, agencies related to two of the most outspoken proponents of the censorship legislation -- Tasmanian Senator Brian Harradine and Federal Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston -- feature prominently in the list.

Government departments and agencies whose proxies are named on the site include:

Federal Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts; Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services; Comcare Australia; Federal Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs; Centrelink; Tasmanian Department of Treasury; NSW State Government; Queensland Education Department; State Parliament of Tasmania; Tasmanian Department of Justice; Mineral Resources Tasmania; Office of Sport and Recreation, Tasmania; Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, Transport Division.

A spokesman for Senator Alston's office claimed the inclusion of its proxy on the list is the result of "research" activities it conducted after being told of the existence of the site.

Federal Public Service Minister David Kemp and Senator Harradine, however, failed to return phone calls by press time. Taylor was also unavailable for comment.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.

More about CentrelinkDepartment of HealthDepartment of JusticeQueensland Education DepartmentTraining and Youth Affairs

Show Comments