Corporate porn: The great Australian e-bludge

At least 80 per cent of company email is pornography or other electronic "litter", says Alan Schaverien, local managing director for email monitoring company Content Technologies.

According to a study commissioned by the company, most corporate management staff are more aware of the high frequency of non-work-related email sent into, out of and within their organisations than their subordinates realise, but do little or nothing to prevent it. In fact, the study found that 50 per cent of management staff did nothing to deter staff from sending potentially compromising email.

"Management have got a fairly good idea of what's going on, or are also involved. It raises the question of why they aren't doing anything about it," he said. "They're either in denial or they want to avoid the issue."

Schaverien said staff at all levels of companies considered the most common form of "dangerous" email to be those containing sexual pictures. Although management were aware of emails containing sexual pictures, most executives suspected sexual emails sent between employees were of a much milder level of "titillation" than employee interview results revealed, he said.

Apart from the possibility of tarnishing a company's corporate image, Schaverien said employees challenged copyright laws by unwittingly attaching their company logo to sexually explicit email.

Project Media, the company commissioned to conduct the survey, interviewed 566 managers and staff from 150 Australian businesses. According to the survey, 90 per cent of large enterprises have (although don't necessarily enforce) an email-related policy. Only one third of small-to-medium sized enterprises have email policy.

In Australia, Content Technologies provides 400 businesses with email content monitoring and security products.

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