We were working on a program of requirements for a federal bureau out in Denver, Colorado. Spending a few weeks in Denver over the summer with some of my favorite colleagues from the San Francisco office was pretty good in and of itself, but this interview simply made the trip.
A typical programming interview discusses things like headcount growth, need for special spaces, etc. We were heading in to our last interview of the two week trip, and I’ll admit I was ready to be done. This interview was with one of the computer guys…typically we talk about server farms and other techno-speak that may or may not be related to space needs.
This interview, with the head of computer security, started out fairly typically. We talked about what they do, where their current space is, and what are some of the existing deficiencies. We had noticed a room that had a “no admittance” sign, so we asked about it…and that’s where the interview got interesting.
Apparently this government agency has three people who are responsible for watching the internet usage of the entire Agency. Yes, you guessed it. They are locked in a room because they are watching people watching pornography on their government computers.
These people are good at their jobs. They know when you’ve merely accidentally clicked a porn site (like whitehouse.com instead of whitehouse.gov – did that once!), or if you’re purposefully out there searching for it. They know how long you spend on each site. They have figured out all the key words…and not just simple things like “nude girls” – they’ve got you filtered on “nood grils” too. Or typical porn search terms in every language known to man.
Some of the stories he shared included the time they caught an agency director viewing porn in the office for 6 hours straight (turns out she had brought her teenage son to work one Saturday), or the person they found with the leather fetish (apparently this is ok as long as there are not “nood” shots). There were a few cases where they actually caught people with child pornography – and had them arrested and put away.
We let this guy go well beyond his one hour time slot just to hear the great tales of catching people checking out the porn. Lesson learned: DO NOT try to get away with viewing porn at work. You will be caught. You will be fired. They do not discriminate (yes, that means viewing same-sex porn is still not allowed)!
Looking forward to whatever tales I’ll hear during my next set of programming interviews!