Over 24,000 attempts to access porn sites from parliamentary computers since election, data confirms

Figures published in light of Damian Green's resignation as PM's de facto deputy over 'misleading' statements on same issue

Harriet Line
Monday 08 January 2018 14:48
Comments
The figure of 24,473 attempts represents around 160 requests per day on average
The figure of 24,473 attempts represents around 160 requests per day on average

More than 24,000 attempts were made to access pornographic websites in the Houses of Parliament since the general election, according to official data.

The figure of 24,473 attempts represents around 160 requests per day on average from computers and other devices connected to the parliamentary network - which is used by MPs, peers and staff - between June and October last year.

It comes amid a sex scandal in Westminster, which saw Theresa May sack her de facto deputy Damian Green after he made “misleading” statements about allegations that police found pornography on computers in his parliamentary office in 2008.

In his resignation letter, Mr Green continued to deny “unfounded and deeply hurtful” claims that he downloaded or viewed the material.

The data, released after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Press Association, shows a spike in attempts to visit the sites in September, with 9,467 requests from both the Houses of Lords and Commons that month.

But parliamentary authorities say the majority of attempts are not deliberate.

The figures also show a sharp decrease in attempts to access pornographic websites in recent years.

In 2016, the parliamentary filtering system blocked 113,208 attempts, down from 213,020 the previous year.

Figures for January and February 2017 could not be provided by the parliamentary authorities due to changes in technology and the way the data is held.

But the available data showed there were 30,876 attempts from March to October.

During this period, parliament was dissolved from late April to early June ahead of the general election, and MPs were away during the summer recess from the end of July to early September.

A Parliamentary spokesman said of the figures: “All pornographic websites are blocked by Parliament's computer network.

“The vast majority of 'attempts' to access them are not deliberate. The data shows 'requests' to access websites, not visits to them.

“There are 8,500 computers on the parliamentary network, which are used by MPs, peers, their staff and staff of both Houses.

“This data also covers personal devices used when logged on to Parliament's guest Wi-Fi.”

A separate (FOI) request showed there were also at least 2,751,755 attempts to access blocked websites on the parliamentary network from January to October this year.

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in