Alarming news from Italy, where the Senate has been hit by -- oh, there's no polite way to say this -- hardcore homosexual pornography. You can hear those content filters clang shut from here, can't you? There's a suggestion that the attack is linked to the sacking of a gay member of staff which has already caused protests on the street outside.
Whatever the cause, the effect is startling: screens all around the building show quantities of spectacular anatomy deployed in interesting and distracting arrangements. While one can dig back in history and find plenty of senatorial precedents -- the fearlessly curious should look up the emperor Elagabalus who could show even The Spectator's editorial team a thing or two -- yer modern Roman is woven from stiffer moral fibre. Work ground to a halt, giving new meaning to the term 'hung parliament', while teams of highly-trained IT specialists tried not to look as they detumesced the hard drives.
One would be misguided if one were to condone this form of obscene vandalism. It may be true that as protests go, it is a remarkably effective approach. It can't be denied that despite the massive inconvenience nobody was actually hurt and no data was lost, nor that there's a possibility that some viewers of the tide of filth actually found it educational -- perhaps even enjoyable. It is a shocking affront to the dignity of a noble institution. I do hope that other organisations, misguidedly perceived as in some way homophobic, don't suffer similarly: I would be saddened and horrified were some of the more muscular adherents to the Levitical and Pauline traditions of Christianity to feel the diabolic force of studly pixels on their desktops.
I'm also unhappy to report that some people may have taken the opportunity to find the whole business an excuse for smutty double entendres. How else is one to take the following report from Sophos' website?
"The worm allowed hackers to display hardcore homosexual pornography on monitors around the organisation. First noticed on Monday night, computers in the senate chamber, and every senator's office, were said to have been affected by Tuesday morning."
"The Rbot family of worms includes backdoor functionality..."
There really is no need to stand for this sort of thing.