Do U.S. Workers Have Porn Problems?

Last week, a damaging report was released showing that dozens of employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission had spent significant time searching for pornography at work rather than policing America’s financial system. To make matters even worse, most of the 33 employees were higher-ups earning six-figure salaries. Not surprisingly, this caused quite a stir among our readers and the general public, who voiced their frustration that these government workers would ignore their serious responsibilities and waste tax dollars just to surf for porn.

“Why hasn't the SEC fired every one of these workers, including the highly paid senior leaders who showed such poor judgment and betrayed the public trust? In my (federal gov't) agency, not only is there a clear policy against viewing any such sites, but the consequence of violating it is swift and sure: dismissal. I'm outraged as a taxpayer about this, but I also can't believe the SEC has tolerated this outrage,” wrote one MainStreet commenter.

Over the weekend, it was announced that all of these employees will be punished. John Nester, a spokesman for the SEC, told The Wall Street Journal that each employee has been "disciplined or is in the process of being disciplined. Some have already been suspended or dismissed."

For some cynics out there, this story may fit comfortably with the stereotype of corrupt, do-nothing bureaucracies, but there is another issue here that should be discussed. Americans, and not just their government, may have a porn problem.

According to one recent Nielsen study, 29% of working Americans visited pornographic sites from their office computers. That works out to be more than 21 million Americans. That number has been rising steadily for the past few years. In 2007, 23% of workers accessed porn online at the office.