April 30, 2001 04:38pm
Army Moving to Restrict Web Porn
by: Seth Hettena
(SAN DIEGO, CA) -- The Army is installing Internet software at more than 100 military posts worldwide to prevent the viewing of pornography and other inappropriate material.
The Army said it wants to prohibit some 200,000 Army personnel from accessing porn, gambling and other sites prohibited on government computers. The purchase also comes as the Army is struggling with the problem of sexual harassment in its ranks.
Asked if the Army has a problem with soldiers viewing Internet porn, Karen Baker, a Pentagon-based Army spokeswoman, replied, ``Probably no more than society at large.''
``We don't maintain any data on this type of activity, but we employ human beings,'' she said Friday.
The Army is paying $1.8 million for Web-filtering software from San Diego-based Websense Inc. Each base will decide what sites to block in accordance with Army policies, said Stephen Larsen, a spokesman for the Army Communications-Electronics Command Systems Management Center in New Jersey.
Websense says besides improving productivity by eliminating distractions, the software promises to ``reduce the liabilities associated with Internet use.''
Sexual harassment lawsuits involving allegations of porn in the workplace have forced employers to pay costly verdicts and settlements.
The Army has been hit by a series of embarrassing harassment scandals, including disclosures in 1997 that sergeants at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland preyed on female trainees.
A study ordered by Army Secretary Togo West after the Aberdeen scandal found inappropriate behavior was commonplace and that soldiers viewed such behavior as part of normal Army life.