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Workplace porn in the UK is rife. More than 70 per cent of firms have disciplined staff in the last two years as a result of workers viewing pornographic images on company PCs, a survey published this week reveals.

The study by computer image detection firm PixAlert in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) also found more than half (54 per cent) of UK managers were unaware of legal responsibilities over illegal and inappropriate images in the workplace. Two in three of the companies surveyed failed to keep their 'Computer Acceptable Usage Policy' up to date, exposing them to potential criminal or civil claims. A majority of companies used at least some URL blocking or censorware apps, but nearly 70 per cent have not installed technology capable of identifying improper images.

Imogen Haslam, CIPD Professional Adviser, said: "Many people may view some inappropriate computer images as a bit of harmless fun. But this is not just about sparing blushes. A culture where some dodgy pictures are tolerated can all too easily create the environment where far more offensive or even illegal images can find their way into an organisation – by accident or otherwise."

She said that human resource departments needs to work closely with IT to make sure that the systems are in place to monitor and enforce policies. "Employers need to have clear, consistent policies that leave no room for doubt in the minds of employees and keep up to date with the rapidly advancing array of technology that can make it easy for unwanted images to slip into the workplace unnoticed. This should not be left to the IT department alone. It’s not computers that bring inappropriate or illegal images to work, it is people," she added.

The PixAlert/CIPD Annual Survey assembled the responses of IT and human resource directors at over 200 medium to large-sized UK organisations from both the public and private sectors. ®

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