Fishing for smut

The Canadian government is cracking down on sex-related Internet surfing.


Jack Boulware
April 26, 2000 8:00PM (UTC)

Beware the corporate internal review, especially if you're an employee of the
Canadian government's Department of Fisheries and
Oceans.
One such survey, released last week, produced some startling news
about the Internet habits of 10,000 department employees.

Either they've had some slow news days in the fisheries world, or staff members
aren't enjoying much of a social life because, on average, each employee visits a
sex-related Web site seven times a day.

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Obtained under Canada's Access to Information Act, the survey is based on research
conducted in 1998. It concludes that at least 10 percent of department Internet
traffic is not work-related in any way. In addition to sex-crazed employees, the
survey also found mismanagement of funds relating to computers and technology. But let's face it. Sweaty, red-blooded fisheries workers clicking furiously at
their computers, hearts pounding with surreptitious lust: Isn't that what we want
to hear more about?

The detailed survey of Internet use found that, for one week, employees' visits
to sex and dating Web sites averaged about 70,000 hits per day. The most
popular sites among the sex-surfers were video games, sports, and the Holy Grail
of Canadian fisheries workers -- the explicit live teen site, which advertises the "horniest
teens on the Net!" With all this surfing, who's got time to monitor the rainbow
smelt population? Or eat lunch, for that matter?

Authors of the survey conclude that the results raise serious questions about
overall productivity in the department. Fisheries employees have since been
warned about inappropriate use of the Internet and, if caught, face a reprimand
or even lose their job. The Liveteen.com folks can now expect less traffic from
Canada, because the department has blocked some of the offensive sites. But as
with cancer, pet rabbits and automotive rust, porn sites just keep multiplying and
spreading. Paul Hession, head of the department's information technology
division, admits that with so much available porn, enforcement is a problem.

"There are so many of them that it is virtually impossible to apply the blocking
technology to all of them," Hession told the Vancouver Sun. "They pop up all the
time, and there's a risk they can be accessed."

A new department policy that limits Internet use has apparently cut down on the
visits to sex sites, but no surveys have yet been conducted. The impact of porn
surfing upon Newfoundland's Task Force on Fish/Crab Price Settlement has yet to
be determined.


Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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