When you have questions about the security clearance process, we have answers – even about your pornography habits and your security clearance application. A recent visitor to the ClearanceJobsBlog asked if his browser history, and specifically his visits to Pornhub, would be an issue in his security clearance application.

1. Your Browser History is Not a Factor for Your Security Clearance.

Many security clearance applicants have questions about Continuous Vetting and what information is included. Policy has been updated to include the option of searching public-facing social media sites as a part of the security clearance investigation process, but it’s worth noting that the government is not currently doing that. Big Brother is not watching when it comes to your browser history, either. The logistics of tracking the online activity of every security clearance holder have been a logistics bridge too far. And while what you post publicly can certainly come back to haunt you, the government does not have a mechanism, the means, or a legal right to start considering your personal browsing history as a component of a background investigation.

2. Your Browser History is a Factor on a Government or Employer Owned Device.

With work from home the new normal even for government employees and cleared professionals, it’s important to keep personal business on personal devices. Storing or viewing porn on a work device can result in security clearance revocation. Misuse of IT systems is one of the adjudicative criteria used to grant or deny security clearances, and it certainly can be used to revoke a security clearance for an individual who misuses a government device by viewing porn – even if it’s done outside of work hours.

3. Pornography and a Polygraph Examination.

Pornography in and of itself isn’t an issue that would cause clearance denial. The slippery slope is the prevalence of explicit content that depicts young individuals, including animated explicit content. You may be asked if you’ve ever viewed pornography depicting individuals who are underage, particularly when applying with some intelligence and homeland security organizations. If you can’t answer that question decisively and with a clear conscience, it may be time to reconsider your browser history after all.

 

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.