Surfing for Porn and Getting Paid

A company that specializes in blocking X-rated and other unwanted sites hires people like Gene Toye to find them.

How many people can claim to have a job that allows them to surf porn, sports and millions of other websites that are not allowed anywhere near PCs in corporate America and K-12 schools?

Gene Toye can. An analyst for St. Bernard Software, a maker of messaging security products, Toye evaluates and categorizes websites. “My friends think it’s a crazy job,” he says. “Everyone thinks all I do is look for porn all day. They call me ‘Porn Guy.’” During the past five years this college student has worked part-time at St. Bernard, classifying sites into 73 general categories —such as real estate, society, malware, lingerie or phishing. An in-house software application guides Toye and 15 other part-time analysts, providing them five sites at a time to assess.

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Having a human in on the evaluation —rather than just automated technology —is critical, says Morgan Christian, a development manager and Toye’s boss.

Those categorized websites are automatically fed into St. Bernard’s iGuard database, which now contains more than 30 million URLs and IP addresses. The database populates St. Bernard’s iPrism appliance, which enables small and midsize customers (mostly educational institutions and midsize businesses) to block employees’ unproductive digital desires.

At Network Services, a paper and janitorial supply distributor, CIO Paul Roche has reaped the fruits of Toye’s labor with iPrism. Though Roche doesn’t know Toye by name, he’s aware of the work. “[St. Bernard] has people who literally go to websites all day long,” Roche says. From the 73 categories, Roche can tell iPrism which sites to allow and which to block for his employees. His company now has a more locked-down Web environment, which lessens the worries of him, his IT staff and HR. “My [appropriate use] policy is so easy to enforce,” Roche says. “And it’s nothing my IT staff has to do.”

Back at St. Bernard, Toye prepares for another shift. Not surprisingly, there’s always something new to see.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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