Avoiding Discrimination Cases – Why Content Filtering Matters So Much

Posted by Niall Mackey on Mar 8, 2016 1:52:22 PM

avoid discrimination cases No matter how liberal your business may be, every one of your employees has their own standards of taste and decency. That picture John in accounts emails round the office may seem harmless to him, but Amanda in the service department may find it grossly offensive.

John’s “humorous” pic isn’t funny at all when Amanda gets a copy in her inbox; she’s embarrassed and upset. His thoughtless email could even land your company in court facing a harassment case.

But the problem gets even bigger when John decides to send this inappropriate content to people outside the company. If his message lands in a customer’s inbox, you could be facing another harassment charge and a huge stain on your corporate reputation. The sort of character damage that your business may never fully recover from.

An AUP can only help so much

Your email acceptable use policy should already contain provisions banning John from sending poorly judged content. But the reality is that someone is eventually going to push the boundaries, assuming they’ll never be caught.

Which is when NSFW content ends up in your customer’s inbox. The rules are in place to prevent it happening, but there’s nothing to physically prevent this content being sent. It is hard to argue that your business has done everything possible to prevent an incident when there is nothing but your employee’s word to prevent an NSFW incident.

Backing up rules with rules

Obviously the answer is to implement some form of content blocking technology. But in the age of multimedia-driven marketing and communications, simply blocking all image and video attachments is not going to be acceptable - far too many legitimate files will be quarantined in error.

Instead you will need an intelligent content filter, capable of discerning between John’s inappropriate content, and Amanda’s product photographs that are being sent to a prospective client. Obviously you will need to scan incoming email to identify and block similarly questionable content sent by customers (or spammers).

Providing legal proof

Using a content filter also provides your business with proof that you are doing your best to protect your employees from exposure to questionable images. The content filter creates an audit trail in the event that further disciplinary action needs to be taken against John (or to fully investigate Amanda’s report of harassment). The blocked images are tagged and quarantined, ready for use as evidence in any tribunal or legal proceedings.

The content filter is actually a key component in protecting your business against prosecution.


To learn more about Topsec Email Security and Topsec Image Analysis module to see how both can be used to insulate your business against problems with inappropriate content, please get in touch.

Looking for further reading? Check out our eBook below:

IT Manager's Ultimate Guide to Hosted Email Security - UK Government Ediition

Topics: Content Filtering