Users of the UK Parliament’s internal network, including MPs, Lords and their staff logged onto gaming websites four million times in the last year. The most popular sites were the Premier League’s fantasy football league, the quiz site sporcle.com and the role playing site wizards.com.
A freedom of information request reported by the Sun showed users of the network accessed trivia and chat website i-am-bored.com 19,345 times from Palace of Westminster computers. Other users wasted time on a website that enables visitors to grow virtual cabbages and fruit. It had a total of 25,779 hits from within the parliamentary estate.
Between January 2013 and January 2014 there were 3,844,636 attempts to access gaming websites from Parliamentary IT servers. Sporcle had 457,368 hits and Fantasy Premier League had 86,157.
Jonathan Isaby from the Taxpayers’ Alliance boss described the use as “unacceptable”. However a spokesman for the Parliamentary Internet Communications and Technology (pict) justified the figures by saying they included pop-up adverts.
He added: “Some sites use an auto-refresh tool which keeps reloading elements of a page without the user clicking any buttons.”
He explained that staff can use the internet outside work time but that there were “clear boundaries”. News of the usage of the parliamentary internet system comes shortly after reports that Patrick Rock, an advisor to the Prime Minister, was charged with possession of child pornography.
Whilst there is no evidence of criminality, parliamentary system users still access 300,000 legal porn websites per year from the Palace of Westminster.