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Home > Culture and Society

The pervert at the next desk

15 June 2005

This week we learned that internet porn is responsible for almost 50 per cent of computer misuse by workers in town halls, hospitals and - quelle surprise - police stations, according to a report by the Audit Commission.

The actual figures themselves are staggering: officials investigating internet use by 140,000 employees at the Department for Work and Pensions found 2.3 million pages of pornographic material had been accessed. The next time you get any correspondence from the DWP, it might a good idea to give it a quick wipe first.

What the report suggests is that public servants are getting through a hell of a lot of porn at work, and quite possibly wanking like wild monkeys as they send out P45s, order more bedpans and fill out crime reports. This raises two issues:


1) Who the hell bothers to look up porn when you're actually in an office? There have been instances of employees being sacked after wanking in the office late at night, but during the course of the average working day, there just isn't that much opportunity to masturbate - unless you have a very liberal line
manager. Of course, you could download the porn onto disk and take it home for further perusal, but why not just look the porn up while you're in a wank-friendly environment in the first place?


2) Are we surrounded by sexual perverts? The reason we ask this question is as follows:


A large proportion of people accessing porn at work are, quite simply, blokes arsing around. Most men like looking at naked women (although not all men are into pornography, obviously) and a lot of pornography isn't really much more than topless pics of the likes of Victoria Silvestedt. There's also a laddish element to porn that doesn't really have much to do with sex - it's a bonding, 'phwoar!', I'd-give-her-one thing that provides a bit of banter about something other than football. (Another 'lad' aspect of porn is the gross-out factor. Naked grannies, people doing things with horses, etc.)

Similarly, a lot of porn is more explicit, but not particularly hard core: waving your arse in the air while naked on all fours for the benefit of sticky-palmed masturbators is hardly the most edifying thing women can do, but it's not that terrible in the grand scheme of things. Noone's being forced to do anything too awful, and the appeal of soft porn is actually quite pitiful: it's a essentially a fantasy about having sex with attractive women, when in fact you're just sitting around engaging in solo love.

However, and this is a big however, internet porn is often much more hardcore and rather horrible. The Audit Commission report found that of the 2.3 million porn pages, there were 18,000 images and sites involving child abuse.

And even if porn doesn't involve child abuse, a hell of a lot of it is pretty unsavoury: humiliation of women, stuff like double-anal and fisting that you wouldn't previously have thought physically possible, and generally more about degradation and pain than sex. A large part of workplace porn is going to fall into this category.

All in all, it's a bit worrying. Although the report focuses on public servants, there's no reason not to suppose it's mirrored in every office or workplace with internet access. And it's not very nice to think that if you pop in to your local police station to report a stolen bike, the guy behind the desk has just spent his tea break eagerly accessing pictures of people being fucked by Alsations.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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