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A tip for content filter evaluators: erase the list of sites you tested, don't share them on 100 PCs

The sysadmin who made this mistake just barely survived the NSFW backlash

Who, Me? Once again, gentle reader, it is time to dive into the treacherous waters of Who, Me? in which readers tell us tales of days when things did not go quite right.

This week meet a Regizen we'll call "Hugh", who was tasked with installing and testing internet content blocking software on a new fleet of laptops. This was in the early days of the existence of such software, and therefore before browsers could be set to deny access to certain sorts of content. Some degree of manual tuning was therefore required.

In the process of said tuning, Hugh pointed his test machine's browser at – a site that he figured would offer the tamest examples of the kind of content his boss did not want his faithful minions looking at on company kit. Or company time. Or company furniture.

Hugh reasoned that if his namesake Hugh Hefner's companions and associates couldn't make it past the filter, nothing more explicit would either.

The software passed the test, our Hugh finalized the implementation and handed the laptop back to fellow techs who would install the filter onto dozens of laptops and deliver them to the company's denizens.

Then – and this is the bad part – the techs imaged the test laptop and used that image on all of the other laptops they distributed to employees. And because Hugh hadn't cleared the browser history before handing it over to the techs, every single laptop in the organization had a link to in its browser history.

Hugh was called in to the boss's office and invited to explain why exactly this had happened. Luckily he had a legitimate reason for having visited the site, so his interrogation went relatively painlessly. Nonetheless, all of the laptops were returned to IT and reimaged.

From then on, Hugh did his internet filter testing using

Have you made a mistake that was broadcast across your place of work? If so, confess by clicking here to send an email to Who, Me? and we'll tell the whole world about it in a future edition of Who, Me?. In strictest confidence, of course. ®

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