The Corner

More on Porn and the SEC

It’s old news that the SEC inspector general exposed the fact that 33 SEC employees and/or contractors spent significant amounts of time watching pornographic, sexually explicit, or sexually suggestive images during work hours and with government computer resources.

As Matt Welch notes:

I don’t know about you, but porno-surfing enough to get “blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as ‘Sex’ or ‘Pornography’” would place a measurable hit on my production targets, and probably lead to something a bit more severe than a 14-day suspension.

Today, the Washington Times reports that:

In an agencywide e-mail last week, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro warned employees that “any person who violates our clear rules against this inappropriate use of the Internet faces termination of employment.”

Yet the get-tough policy comes after 33 cases of porn-viewing contractors or employees in the past five years – with no employees terminated, according to a letter to the SEC this week from Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

Though five contractors were terminated and eight employees were allowed to resign before getting fired, “the SEC did not actually terminate any of the SEC employees who engaged in this sort of misconduct,” Mr. Grassley said.

That’s annoying. More here.

On the upside, over at Coordination Problem, economist Steve Horwitz has a good post about “the role that porn has played in being the ‘canary in the coalmine’ of not just internet technology but communications technology in general.” 

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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