An inspector for the state of Connecticut resigned from his position after an internal investigation by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). DAS documents obtained by the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters show the inspector had been using his state-issued laptop computer for viewing pornography, playing video games, gambling and shopping online during regular work hours.
The report was released by DAS, which provides human resources for the Office of the State Building Inspector. Because of redactions made to the documents, neither the employee in question or his specific employment role are being identified.
The report details what a forensic examination of the employee's laptop revealed, including "excessive use of the internet for non-state business." A review of computer use from Jan. 19, 2016 through Oct.19, 2016, showed the employee had accessed over 250 websites that did not have anything to do with his position. Those websites were said to include auctions, chat rooms, dating sites, employment searches, gambling, personal finance, interactive video games and shopping.
The examination of the laptop also showed several pornographic images and photographs of “women in lingerie”. The inspector was also found to have received nude photos from “various women” on Skype during work hours. The records show the employee was also playing World of Warships, an interactive online video game.
When confronted about the computer activity, the employee said he was “not proud of or denying” what he did, according to the report.
Employees at the Office of the State Building Inspector are responsible for many public health and safety functions, including making sure structures are up to fire, safety and building codes. Inspectors also oversee code compliance for elevators, escalators, boilers and hot water heaters around the state.
"We're the people who protect the public health and safety and make sure that these buildings are done correctly," said State Building Inspector Joseph Cassidy, who was not part of the investigation. "It takes a lot of focus. It takes some dedication because you're always the umpire. You're the one that's making the call," he said of the importance of an inspector's duties.
"Our best job is a job that nobody ever knows we were there because everything went right," said Cassidy.
DAS said they are unable to comment about the case because of an agreement with the union for the inspector, who resigned.
"You should not be visiting pornographic websites or games on your state-issued laptop," said Lon Seidman, a technology expert and former IT manager.
Seidman said that monitoring inappropriate online activity is difficult for any employer, but it needs to be done.
"This is not just about somebody wasting time on the state payroll," he said. "It's also about conducting risky activities that could put the state's security at risk."
Because of the inspector's repeated inappropriate access online, "a very large amount of spyware, malware and adware" was found on the system, according to the DAS report.
Seidman said malware and spyware can spread quickly through a computer network.
"Once you're behind that firewall, you have the ability to start causing a lot more problems," Seidman said. "This is why it's very difficult for IT managers to do their job in keeping everything secure when people are doing things they shouldn't be doing on these computers in the first place."
The DAS internal investigation found the employee violated the Acceptable Use of State Systems Policy. The employee agreed to resign, effective June 8, 2017, and to repay DAS for 13 work days totaling $2,238.50.
DAS said this sort of case is rare, but when it does happen, it is taken seriously.