Porn, lap dancing club and XXX websites banned at Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office’s filters blocked thousands of attempts to access banned content on its computer networks, new figures show (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

A gentlemen’s club, celebrity porn and an iconic urban video channel are among the online content banned by the Cabinet Office.

The list of failed access attempts on its servers also includes hundreds of attempts to access webcam content and gambling websites.

Innocent material including an artist’s nature photographs were among the links detected by the firewall between May 2021 and June this year.

A dataset released under the Freedom of Information Act lists hundreds of blocked attempts to access inappropriate material, including a strip club in east London called the Nags Head Gentlemen’s Venue.

On its website the club says it is ‘one of London’s oldest lap dancing establishments’, with ‘beautiful girls from every corner of the world’.

Internet users at the Whitehall department, which supports the prime minister, also tried to access the Urban Dictionary and Urban Thesaurus, which translate slang into everyday English.

Webcam porn included a ‘trap worker’ feed which attracted 92 attempted hits by an unknown device linked to the Cabinet Office’s systems.

Other host names suggesting prurient content include ‘Thai girls gone wild’, strip chat and several addresses with XXX in the headline.

Inappropriate content about celebrities also attracted attempted views on devices, either deliberately or inadvertently, such as through pop-ups.

Betting and lottery sites – including those belonging to Coral, William Hill and Paddy Power – attracted hundreds of clicks.

The single biggest number of attempts in the 17-page list was 612 requests to access a profit accumulator site.

Spiff TV, a long-established urban video channel, was also in the dataset, with two requests denied.

An attempt to access UK Skunkworks, which says it has one of the most extensive ranges of cannabis seeds in the country, was also recorded.

Some innocent hosts were also red-flagged, including one belonging to British neon and text artist Rebecca Mason, with 34 recorded attempts.

A site devoted to artistic pictures of the outdoors and natural world entitled Female Nature Photography was similarly off-limits.

A yoga studio, Sainsbury’s grocery reviews, a site dedicated to wedding card messages and the New Docklands Steam Baths also appear on the list of innocuous content that was denied to users.

Other URLs suggest filtering of links and websites with harmful content and code that could lead to systems becoming infected with malware.

In total, there were 9,130 blocked attempts, according to the dataset released by the Cabinet Office in response to the request from Metro.co.uk.

The department did not release the full information requested but did provide an annex with the host name and number of access attempts.

Other government departments, including the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Treasury, refused to provide any information after receiving the same request. After weighing up the public interest, the MoJ claimed that disclosure would ‘adversely risk the nation’s security’ and potentially compromise ‘the prevention and detection of crime’.

In its response to the request, the Cabinet Office said: ‘The data is for attempts for a device to access a site and does not represent a deliberate attempt from the device user.

‘A list of blocked websites and attempted times can be found on Annex A.

‘All blocked attempts are monitored and any follow up investigations and actions were subject to the appropriate local processes and procedures.’

A government spokesperson added: ‘Tight controls are in place to make sure government devices cannot be used to access inappropriate content.

‘In some cases, devices may attempt to contact blocked sites because of automated pop-ups or redirects from legitimate sites. This data shows how such automated attempts are blocked.’

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