Equipment to monitor Internet use by Department of National Defence employees could be operating within days.
Maj. Jamie Robertson said yesterday -- after it was disclosed that a second department employee is faces child-pornography charges -- that a $100,000 Optimal Internet Monitor system is being configured by technicians.
John Bruce Lockett, 56, of Gloucester was in court this week, charged with possessing child pornography. The case was remanded to April 30.
Mr. Lockett, a civilian electronics technician with Defence Information Services in downtown Ottawa, has worked in the department for nine years.
In December, Blair Evans, 46, a civilian scientist at the National Defence Research Establishment at Shirley's Bay, was charged with possessing, making, and distributing child pornography. Mr. Evans's case has been remanded to mid-April, said his lawyer Michael Edelson.
Maj. Robertson said the department established a special team to deal with employees' involvement with child pornography on the job after the Evans case came to light.
He said the department promptly clamped down on access to sex-related newsgroups and cut off access to Internet Relay Chat (IRC), with which people communicate through electronic messages.
Once working, the new equipment will monitor employees' use of the Internet and flag their use of "inappropriate sites".
A record of all employees' usage will be fed into the monitor's database, "and we can follow who's using what, and where, so if there's a problem we can pinpoint what site is accessing this material."
As for employees' privacy, Maj. Robertson said, "there's a balancing act that has to be played out here, and the bottom line is that these are business accounts.
"It's not a recreational thing where it's on their own time, at their own expense, at home. This is at work, and the department is not going to put up with people accessing illegal or inappropriate sites".
He said Mr. Lockett was charged after a Defence employee at the Canadian Building office on Laurier Avenue West discovered child pornography at a workstation. Ontario Provincial Police were called and charges were laid.
He has been suspended without pay pending a departmental hearing due within a few days.
Mr. Evans was charged in December with downloading more than 20,000 pictures and video clips of child pornography from the Internet.
A married father of two, Mr. Evans had been living in Gloucester for 18 months after moving here with his family from CFB Valcartier, Que.