Website access attempts (2017)


How many attempts to access websites classified as pornography were made by computers inside the parliament since 2010 - can you give me a yearly breakdown please?




Please note that whilst the House of Commons and the House of Lords are separate public authorities in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) is a joint service providing information and communications technology services for both Houses of Parliament. The information below covers both Houses and all users of the parliamentary network e.g. MPs, Members of the House of Lords, their staff, staff of the House Administrations and non-parliamentary network users participating in parliamentary business.

Some information is held by the House of Commons.

The number of attempts to access websites classified as pornography (CSV CSV 1 KB) between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016.

Numbers of attempts to access websites classified as pornography previous to this time are already published on the parliamentary website:

As these periods of information are reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), this part of your request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

The number of attempts to websites classified as pornography between 1 January 2010 and 30 April 2012 are not held by the House of Commons.

Please note the following important details about this information:

  • All attempts to access websites classed as pornographic on the parliamentary network were blocked.
  • All users consent to the stewardship of their ICT services and the implications of their use of these via agreement to abide by Parliament’s Acceptable Use and ICT Security Policies. Data about internet use is retained by PDS on behalf of the two Houses who have agreed to PDS deploying resources to protect the Parliamentary Network (PN) from inappropriate use as well as technical and legal risks. This includes deploying industry standard solutions to block known or likely vectors/sources of data-mining, spam, software viruses, spyware and other forms of malware and illegal material.
  • The staff policies for both House Administrations permit staff to access the internet for personal use in non-working time (while setting clear boundaries and having measures in place to discourage inappropriate use);
  • Up until May 2016, the data covers all sites access via all ‘non-public’ computers on the parliamentary estate.
  • From May 2016, the data also includes requests which are sent via the guest Wi-Fi service, and this will include personal devices, not just computers on the Parliamentary Network.
  • Members of either House and their staff, as well as certain administration staff of both Houses in public-facing/engagement roles, may access various internet-based media to respond to the public; and
  • These figures may not readily indicate the volume of internet usage in terms of activity or time for these websites for the following reasons:
    - A user may access a site that contains optional or automatic links to another, others or other ‘pop-up’ arrangements, which are recorded as views or sessions without active connection linking, redirection or active connection to websites that are inaccessible from the PN. Internet access management arrangements will nevertheless be recorded in this dataset depending on the design of some websites, some views of what might be regarded as the same website may be recorded under different entries;
    - These records do not distinguish between requests instigated purposefully by an individual user and those that are the result of automation, e.g. the operation of unauthorised third party software, temporarily sitting on users devices and website design. PDS has advised that the profile of requests to view websites in general, whether blocked or not, indicates beyond reasonable doubt that automation and the variety of website design has a significant impact on these numbers.