Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oireachtas staffers score an own goal!!

Some naughty Leinster House staff and members have been downloading soccer matches and using official computers to store music and personal family photographs!

And now the powers that be have ordered them all to wipe all personal photos, videos and music files off their computers for fear they would infringe copyright laws.

A recent audit of IT security of the Houses of the Oireachtas computers revealed that there were over 900,000 image files (photos) and tens of thousands of audio and video files stored on them.

Among the video files found on the computers were extracts from and in some cases whole football matches in South Africa earlier this year or in past sporting events.

Among the thousands of photographs found on the system, many were in folders entitled ‘Holidays Barcelona 2009’, ‘John’s Wedding’, ‘First Communion’ or ‘Mary’s School Sports Day’.

All staff in the Houses of the Oireachtas – including TDs and Senators – were sent an email from the head of the ICT division telling them to remove these files immediately.

The email pointed out that the large number of personal photos, videos and sound files create two risks for the computer systems – they increase the length of time it will take to restore data in the event of a major systems failure and ‘many of them are likely to involve copyright infringements’.

The Audit Committee has directed that all unnecessary material, especially large files such as photos, music and videos, must be deleted from the system.

“Members, their staff and party staff are requested to review all files and software they may have saved in their email accounts, on their computers or on Oireachtas servers and to delete any material which is subject to copyright and for which no copyright licence is held.”

“Oireachtas computer systems, including PCs and laptops issued to members, are corporate systems, and storage of material on those systems is not considered to be personal use.”

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