As the global economy crashed and burned, certain top staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission were busy watching porn. Instead of policing Wall Street, some were surfing for smut. This is the revelation making headlines today after the leak Thursday night of a summary of 33 probes of SEC employees using government computers to access pornography over the past five years. For the most part, the summary (PDF) resurfaces information that was already public; and it's worth noting that it was requested by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, and is now being used as political ammunition by the GOP.
The details are as follows: 31 of the investigations took place during the financial meltdown and, as the extent of the crisis became clear in 2008, the number of investigations ballooned from two the previous year to 16. Many of the porn-watching staffers held senior positions and six-figure salaries, and the cases run the gamut from employees simply accessing X-rated material during off hours on a government-issued laptops to watching porn for as many as five hours while on the job.
Am I peeved that SEC personnel were watching porn instead of saving us from the depredations of the financial sector? Sure. But it's not really the time wasting per se that bothers me.
How is it that financial oversight was entrusted to people too stupid to know that you shouldn't surf for Internet porn on the work computer??!??! Did they not notice that even PG-rated celebrity gossip pages will put "NSFW" on pictures of wardrobe malfunctions or Tiger Woods text messages? Did they not know what that stands for?
Don't. Use your work computer. For porn. If you're too dumb to know that, then what on earth are you doing working with one, much less for the federal government? Yeesh.