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Unacceptable Abuse

The amazingly dim-witted things people do with their computers -- as if the IT staff will not find their misbehavior due to monitoring and policy.

We had a tawdry situation last week with some blatant misuse of company resources. A staff member in our accounting department had a problem with their ACME laptop. This person does a good amount of travel for work and thus we had issued them a laptop instead of a desktop computer. Well --- when one of our PC techs was working on the laptop he noticed a hoard of pron (reverse the R and O). You would think that in this day and age people would realize that such actions are really frowned upon. And we believe we block most of that at the border using our firewall and other products. We figure that this person must have been downloading the pron while they were at home. While we allow some personal use of company systems we specifically prohibit offensive material. Our acceptable use policy is concise but straightforward. All employees must sign it when they are hired and they receive a brief about our policy annually. And we have the occasional violation or situation where a supervisor approaches us to check out something they suspect. Without specific involvement of our human resources department we won't dig into an employee's system or do more in-depth monitoring. In this situation though the pron files were right in the My Documents folder and so when the tech was testing the system they saw the ton of graphics.

So we had to take this to our Human Resources department and let them handle the next steps. Our Human Resources manager met with the manager of the employee involved and they admitted the situation. I thought they might try to claim they should be okay doing this since it was on their own time, but the person readily admitted their indiscretion and pleaded for leniency. While this could be grounds for termination the managers decided to put this person on probation. I made sure to let our PC tech know that we have to be professional and that this situation was not to be discussed with others, and I trust our staff to handle things properly.

Years ago we had a similar situation where a staff member had dozens of pictures of himself nakid on the computer. Similar situation to the one above, we had to fix the computer and our tech noticed the pictures. I almost laughed out loud when they told me. Sometimes I am just amazed at what people do with their computers. I mean, how stupid can you be.

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