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X-rated antics extend beyond Sewel: Porn access rife in Parliament

Attempts to access porn rose during holiday breaks.

By James Nunns

Attempts to view porn sites in Parliament hit almost a quarter of a million as MPs and Peers seemingly looked to enjoy their downtime.

Peak activity saw 1,300 requests a day for X-rated sites, such as the now banned ‘hot or not’ site, SexyMP, which was the most popular restricted website.

The requests came through servers that are used by MP’s and peers, but due to Westminster’s strict security filter, any attempt will have been blocked.

While 247,000 attempts represent a slight decrease from 2013 figures of 350,000, it still represents a startling figure.

The figures from a Freedom of Information request by the Express show spikes in traffic during breaks from debating in the chamber.

In April last year there were 42,000 attempted visits made, most of which happened during the Easter holiday.

December also proved a popular month, with 20,000 visits; most of this period is devoted to the Christmas break.

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Ed Macnair, CEO and founder of CensorNet, said: "The news that there were almost a quarter of a million attempts to view porn sites in Parliament last year mirrors an unsavoury trend that is seen in offices throughout the land.

"Buoyed by the prevalence of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), employees and MPs alike are increasingly naively using their devices that they connect to workplace networks no differently to how they would use them in the relative anonymity of their own home."

"With MPs, it’s not just the danger of them viewing unsavoury sites, but that they may be posting inflammatory messages on social media sites. Because of this, the Parliament’s web filtering tools should go a step further and ensure they not only know what websites MPs are visiting, but also track further down to a more granular level as to what content is being accessed or posted."

"Only then, and through better education of MPs, can they eliminate the likelihood of embarrassing stories such as this entering the public domain."

CBR was unable to reach the Commons for comment, however a spokesperson said: "We do not consider the data to provide an accurate representation of the number of purposeful requests made by network users."

According to the spokesperson, anti-porn software may be counting pop-ups as an attempt to view porn.

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