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Audit: Colo. emergency computers were not used for porn

Ed Sealover
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado

COLORADO ” Colorado Emergency Operations Center computers were used to access dating, entertainment and travel Web sites but not pornography, according to an audit released Monday.

The Department of Local Affairs, which oversees the Centennial center, has already installed Web filters to block such sites and begun requiring employees to sign a policy on acceptable computer use, officials said.

DOLA Executive Director Susan Kirkpatrick came under criticism last October when she agreed to let employees use emergency operations center computers to try to get World Series tickets ” an allowance she rescinded before tickets went on sale.



A 9News investigation then uncovered Internet history records showing some pornography sites on the computers.

But Becky Richardson of the state auditor’s office said Monday that while her investigation found 341 inappropriate sites having been accessed by the computers since 2004, none were pornographic.



The computers showed pornographic “cookies” ” parcels sent by a web server to retrieve a site ” but such cookies can be sent from other sites, and usage history showed no intentionally visited porn sites, she said.

Members of the Legislative Audit Committee clashed Monday over whether Kirkpatrick has taken enough steps to clear up the problem, though.

Rep. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver, said she is comfortable with administrative changes that have been made and criticized Republicans who pushed for the audit as being “politically motivated.”



But Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, continued to blast Kirkpatrick, an appointee of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, for past missteps and said she has not done enough to ensure the operations center is prepared for an emergency.

“I’m not confident that if an incident were to happen in the state of Colorado that that incident center would be available 100 percent of the time,” McNulty said.

He said he still has concerns about use of the center, which serves as a home base for disaster operations about 10 percent of the time and also is open to public-safety groups and some non-profits for training. Such groups could use computers inappropriately or take up needed space in time of crisis, he said.

Kirkpatrick told committee members she will look at limiting the number of outside non-profit groups that can use the center for training.

Later, she said that while officials have an unwritten policy that only groups who could be called in for disaster help, such as the American Red Cross, can use the center now, she is happy to make it formal.

“The department believes at this point we have adequate controls in place over use of computers,” Kirkpatrick said. “In addition, I personally have learned a great deal about the use of state computers and apologize for any misunderstanding I may have had last October.”


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