Child porn on government devices: A hidden security threat

Source: CSMonitor

Daniel Payne, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Service, admitted this spring to encountering “unbelievable” amounts of child pornography on government computers.

The comment came during an event in Virginia where military and intelligence officials gathered to address threats posed by federal workers. Mr. Payne, who spent much of his career in senior CIA and intelligence community roles before taking the Pentagon post, wanted to stress the value of monitoring employees’ systems to ensure they remained fit to handle top-secret information.

But the revelation raised many more troubling questions. Who was downloading the sexually explicit and criminal material? How much of it was on intelligence agency networks? And why didn’t the federal government deploy more robust technologies to keep child pornography from spreading on its networks?

While the notion of government employees and contractors with high levels of security clearance looking at child pornography was disturbing on its own, internal records retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act revealed the problem is not limited to military and intelligence agencies.

In the past three years, agencies ranging from the Postal Service to the Federal Highway Administration substantiated about 40 allegations that employees or contractors opened child pornography or provocative images of minors using government resources. The number of confirmed cases may be higher now since many federal organizations, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), did not respond to requests for records about similar investigations.

 

Read More: