Home Office Page Carries Link To Porn Website

An expired link that was present on the Home Office website and redirected unsuspecting users to a pornographic website has been removed after the authorities were alerted by the BBC.

The cockup, which comes a few days after the Home secretary, Jacqui Smith, became embroiled in a personal scandal which saw taxpayers pay for his husband's adult movie rentals.

The link was supposed to go to a body called the Technical Advisory Board or TAB, a non departmental public body that advises the home secretary on "whether the obligations imposed on communications service providers (CSPs) under the terms of RIPA are reasonable".

While many news outlets say that a computer hacker might have caused the ruckus, all evidences point to a rather less dramatic explanation.

The domain name expired in February 2009 and was acquired by a Japanese webmaster who redirected it to a Japanese porn website which sells websites.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said that the matter would be investigated but there's not much that can be done. The link has been removed from the website after being alerted by a private internet user.

But a number of other high profile websites like Ofcom and 42 other documents on the Homeoffice.gov.uk website contain links to the incriminated domain name.

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Our Comments

Many journalists have jumped to the wrong conclusion, accusing the Home Office of being lax when it comes to security. The domain or the website hadn't not been hacked. But it could have, which is why government domain names or domain names that appear in public documents must be treated with extra care. Because some domain names are more trustworthy than others, hackers and scammers are more likely to use them with devastating effect.

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