March 16, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study -- Internet surfing in public and porn adult sites

You have to be careful with internet kiosk and also those lockdowns. Here is example of internet kiosk off High Street outside Sainsburys that is very public and apparently can still be used to display material not suitable for public.

Outrage over High Street's free porn
FREE internet access in Littlehampton town centre has been suspended after a man was caught looking at pornographic images.
Shocked staff from nearby shops spotted the man surfing for porn sites for up to two hours at a time, using the iTravel internet kiosk in the pedestrian precinct, just yards from a police CCTV security camera.

The kiosk, outside Sainsbury's, was installed in May, 2005, and has an average of 1,600 users a month searching for train times, local weather reports and maps or using the free e-mail facility.

But the man seen surfing last week was searching for something quite different.

Shop assistants became aware that he was spending an increasing amount of time at the kiosk, and he was reported over the town's Shopwatch radio network after pornographic images were seen on the screen.

Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council were told and the kiosk's provider, Cityspace, was alerted.

Sue Perkins, chairman of Shopwatch, said: "I think it's terrible. It's not right for someone to do such a thing and I'm really pleased that our system picked up on it.

"I am concerned for the children in the town and what could have happened. It's a shame that it didn't get reported to the police as perhaps then they could have caught the man."

Since Cityspace was alerted, all nine of the company's kiosks in West Sussex, including ones in Worthing, Shoreham, Bognor and Horsham have had their internet search facility suspended.

But the kiosk in Littlehampton, which is overlooked by a town centre CCTV camera, was not the first to have been used in this way.

Sophia Henri, spokeswoman for Cityspace, said the company has nearly 500 kiosks around the UK and that the first such problem was in Horsham in February. Since then only the Littlehampton kiosk had also been used in a similar way.

She said that the usual security protection in the machines to stop unsuitable websites being accessed, Surf Control, had done a good job but access to "innocuous sites" with no clear pornographic links, but still containing pornographic images, had been proved still possible.

"Nothing is 100 per cent safe when you are dealing with the internet," she said, "This is a council service providing something for the public that has never been tampered with in this way before and it's not something that Cityspace will tolerate.

"The web search service has been suspended on all our nine machines in West Sussex and will not be reinstated until the problem is solved.

"The Surf Control security software we use on the machines has always been in place and its job has been pretty robust. It's a controlled walled garden.

"All our machines are managed and monitored by us and the hardware is kept clean and graffiti-free.

"It's a shame because the websearch is a useful service to people who don't have internet access at home and are looking for information or shopping. That is what it is there for."

Sgt Sharon Parker of Littlehampton police said they had received no reports from the public about the man and that provided the websites accessed were legal, the only crime that could have been committed was a public order offence of causing distress to people walking past.

A spokesman for the county council, which pays for the terminals, said: "We regret if people have been seen managing to view images on the terminals that were considered offensive.

"We have acted quickly with Cityspace and, as a result, have removed the facility that provides internet access despite the fact that there were strict filters in place. This will be for the foreseeable future, and involves all nine terminals.

"The journey planner and timetable information, which is the main function of the terminals and is extremely popular, remains in full use. People will also still be able to access the BBC's website and a jobs search facility, but no other websites will be available."
15 March 2007

News - Littlehampton Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

Posted by staff at March 16, 2007 07:27 AM