How Big Is the SEC's Porn Problem?

Thomas Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said the SEC investigations highlight poor management practices at government agencies.

"The agencies that sometimes complain about a lack of resources, they're not doing such a wonderful job of managing their existing resources if this kind of activity is going on," he said.

In the private sector, he said, this sort of violation wouldn't be tolerated, but in the public sector it could be more tempting because it's difficult to fire government employees.

"Apparently, this group of workers didn't have enough to do to keep them busy," he said.

Web security experts say that given the potentially sensitive data stored on government networks, visits to sexually-explicit sites can be especially dangerous.

Dave Meizlik, a spokesman for Websense, a company that provides Internet filtering and Web security systems, said security threats emerge with surfing more risque Web sites. Included on a number of those sites are malicious links embedded with data-stealing code, he said.

According to a 2009 Websense Web security study, 69 percent of all sites with adult, gambling or drug-related content served at least one malicious link and 50 percent of Web pages categorized as "Sex" served malicious content.

"Productivity is just one aspect of the issue. The bigger issue here and the real danger is security," said Meizlik. "When they're after data, it becomes even more of an issue when you're talking about an organization like the SEC."

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