Leinster House staff disciplined over illegal site log-ons
on 21/10/2013 00:00:00
The records show thousands of attempts to access porn, nudity, escort, and gambling websites - among other questionable links - have been made by people working in Leinster House since May.
Among the websites unknown individuals attempted to access were:
Others, including Sky Bet, www.victoriassecret.co.uk, www.fantasy. premierleague.com and celebrity-specific pages dedicated to singer Miley Cyrus, model Heidi Klein, and actress Elizabeth Hurley were also accessed.
However, despite the seriousness of the incidents, officials said they cannot provide any information on any disciplinary action faced by those involved.
In a statement, an Oireachtas spokeswoman confirmed a number of individuals have been disciplined for their deliberate misuse of taxpayer-paid for computer equipment.
However, she declined to clarify how many people faced the action, what disciplinary measures were involved, and whether the individuals were suspended, fired, or simply warned about their conduct.
The lack of information, the spokeswoman clarified, is because, under civil service rules, it is an offence to provide any personal details on staff - regardless of whether they are breaking clearly stated legislation.
"The office of the Houses of the Oireachtas service operates a strict 'acceptable usage policy' [AUP] which applies to journalists, visitors, contractors and staff," said the spokeswoman.
"The AUP states that 'staff are also put on notice that any contravention of these principles may be regarded as a matter to be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure'.
"Where inappropriate usage is identified, it is investigated and where spyware and malware computer viruses, and other technical issues, are ruled out as being the cause for the traffic, these access attempts are dealt with through the formal disciplinary procedures...
"Disciplinary action has been taken where the AUP has not been followed."
Under the Oireachtas computer usage rules, all online activity by staff, journalists, contractors and visitors is logged.
An "industry standard" system is in place to block sites including pornography, gambling or malicious downloads, among others, which are "considered inappropriate".