Seven workers from the LFV Group have been fired, while another worker has quit after being reported to police for suspected violations of Sweden’s anti-child pornography laws.
“This is an awful story and I’m both shocked and disappointed,” said LFV Group head Lars Rekke to the TT news agency.
The porn site surfing was uncovered following an LFV investigation into why the agency’s computer network seemed to be so slow.
As a part of the probe, LFV performed a more detailed analysis of internet traffic on the agency’s computers and found a large amount of traffic directed toward pornographic websites, including at least one site featuring child pornography.
According to Rekke, the employees’ porn surfing habits don’t appear to be a part of any organized activity.
“They worked in different facilities throughout the country, from Luleå in the north and southwards. We’re talking about various islands of activity,” he said.
According to LFV’s investigation, the employees had spent sizeable portions of their workdays visiting various pornographic websites.
“It was between 25 and 75 percent of the workday,” said LFV spokesperson Lars Röhne to the Aftonbladet newspaper.
He said it’s not possible to discern whether the LFV employees were actively surfing the entire time or if they were downloading material while completing other, work-related tasks.
According to Ronnie Eklund, a professor at Stockholm University and expert on employment law, visiting pornographic websites at work doesn’t necessarily lead to an employee’s termination.
“There aren’t any rules spelled out in law governing this; rather, it depends on the guidelines established at any given workplace,” he told TT.
But the rules at LFV leave little room for misinterpretation, according to Röhne.
“Everyone has signed a paper stating what rules apply to LFV’s computers,” he said.
According to the document, employees are allowed to conduct personal business on office computers – like paying bills – if the job allows it.
But it’s totally forbidden to visit websites which could be considered ethically or morally offensive.
Rekke characterized LFV’s internet policy as strict, yet generous, but the porn surfing scandal has him considering revisions to the current rules.
“It’s too bad that innocent people are going to be affected if we decide we need to toughen the rules,” he told Aftonbladet.
“I can’t guarantee that we’ve seen the entire scope of this mess. We’re likely going to do more spot checks in the future.”