More than a million attempts to access online sites, including X-rated and social media pages, were made from within the Parliament building over three months, official data shows.
One of the attempts – unsuccessful because the government’s IT agency, Mita, blocked access – was to access a site featuring explicit images of 19-year-old actress Maisie Williams, best known as Arya Stark in the fantasy television series Game of Thrones. In the site, her face was superimposed on a porn star’s body as she was engaged in a graphic sex act.
Three other pornographic pages, including a porn search engine, were listed among the websites sought using the internet service within the building.
Searches were not necessarily done by MPs
The Clerk of the House of Representatives, Ray Scicluna, pointed out that the searches were not necessarily done by MPs, because anyone with access to the internet service in the building, including staff members, could be responsible. In fact, the site featuring Ms Williams’s face was searched at a time that Parliament was not sitting, the likelihood being that a staff member sought it.
This newspaper asked to view Parliament’s internet service logs over a period of 12 months, but the request was deemed to be too much for the authorities to meet. The period was shortened to three months.
A review of the searches done when Parliament was sitting, usually between 6pm and 9pm Mondays to Wednesdays, gives a pretty clear picture of what MPs are looking up while laws are being debated.
While local news websites were popular, thousands of Facebook pages were also viewed. Twitter was a less-frequented social media platform but still racked up about 80 access attempts, according to the logs.
More than 100 YouTube videos were viewed, and websites streaming football matches were also in demand but were mostly blocked.
Sports news websites, such as the popular Italian Gazzetta dello Sport, also featured. When the allegations that Economy Minister Chris Cardona had visited a brothel in Germany were raised in Parliament in January, a sex forum was accessed via the internet service. The website details the raunchy experiences of people who claim to have frequented the brothel in question.
Dr Cardona strongly denied visiting the establishment.
Wireless internet access in the Parliament building is password-protected, although the password is given out on request.
Once connected to the wireless network, users are free to browse social media sites.
Clerical staff with wired internet connections do not enjoy unfettered access, which is why a number of access attempts showed up as ‘not allowed’ in the data made available to this newspaper.
This is not the first time irregular searches in Parliament have been flagged.
A request under the Freedom of Information Act was made in 2014, and it resulted that one person had tried to access porn sites during an electrifying debate on Enemalta. The attempt was blocked.
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