British employers should ensure that their I.T. resources are free of inappropriate images due to latest legislation that takes effect this month.


As part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, sections 63-67 make the possession of extreme pornographic images illegal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The law comes into force 26th January 2009, with penalties of up to three years imprisonment and substantial fines. To fall foul of the act, an image must be “pornographic, grossly offensive, disgusting, or otherwise of an obscene character” and portray an extreme act.


Risk mitigation software vendor PixAlert is assisting UK employers, both public and private sector, who are seeking to gauge their exposure to the new laws. The company has seen a rise in the volume of inappropriate images stored and circulated on company networks and to external parties.


Inappropriate material was found on 29 per cent of the PCs audited and in 14 per cent of email accounts, and in over 250 network audits, all but four audits uncovered illicit or inappropriate images. A third of illicit images found were “highly inappropriate”, the category which includes images now illegal under the new legislation.


Kieran Caulfield of PixAlert UK, said: “The issue of inappropriate images in the workplace is pervasive, and a proportion of the images found on networks by PixAlert software would be in breach of the new legislation if not removed.”