Firms keep silent over child pornography

Most companies probably won't call in the police if they find an employee has child pornography on their PC, says a 'shocked' Internet Watch Foundation

Most UK companies would rather keep quiet than call the police if they caught employees downloading child pornography, according to research published by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) on Wednesday.

Seventy-four percent of 200 companies surveyed said they would not report an incident to police and 38 percent wouldn't discipline or dismiss an employee who had downloaded child porn.

"These results are shocking," said Peter Robbins, the chief executive of IWF. "The research has confirmed our expectations that a majority of IT managers are in fact uninformed of the correct procedure to follow, rather than being unwilling to sit up and act. This is supported by the fact that 38 percent of IT managers questioned wouldn't do anything or wouldn't know what do if they caught an employee downloading illegal images of children."

"Once an appropriate acceptable Internet use policy is in place, we believe that IT managers will have no hesitation in reporting their findings to the police or a law enforcement agency," Robbins added.

The survey results were released at the same time as the IWF launched an initiative to stamp child pornography in the workplace. The organisation said its "Wipe it Out" campaign aimed at promoting awareness of Section 45 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which gives IT managers more power to combat illegal images found on their servers or on an employee's electronic devices.