Things I wish I hadn’t seen or known about

3 Monkeys Comic

As an IT person, you often have to work on someone’s computer to fix a problem. Often you find things that you wish that you didn’t see.

It has been my experience that in the companies I have worked at, I have seen all kinds of adult subject matter that I didn’t want to see. This isn’t a complaint but rather just one of the risks of the job. I never go searching for it, but it always seems to be close by.

For example, I was in a company where I was in the board meeting supporting the executives. When I fixed the problem with his computer not connecting to the screen he accidentally clicked on an adult movie and then said to the board “I don’t know how that got there.” Ok then.

3 Monkeys Comic
3 monkeys comic

Another time I was fixing a computer for a company where they were unhappy with their last IT consultant. I noticed a file that shouldn’t be there, and when I opened it was saved porn sites that the person had visited. When I asked the company what I should do with it, he said to delete it. He said that they suspected he was looking at porn but couldn’t find any evidence and now that he is gone the evidence doesn’t matter.

It isn’t just adult materials, it is also racist and violent things. Growing up in a small town there were plenty of those people as well. One person that I helped had violent stories saved and I was conflicted on what to do. Should I tell the police, or is this just a harmless fantasy? It isn’t always clear what the ethical thing to do is. With racist things, I just pretended I didn’t see it, but I never helped that customer again. If they called I said that they weren’t my type of customer.

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Too often I have seen things on people’s computers that have disturbed me. I am not the morality police and if it doesn’t hurt anyone I don’t judge. However with that said, many people should probably hide their files better when they ask an IT person to fix their computer. Maybe don’t put it in a folder with an obvious name?

We don’t want to see it, and if it crosses the line then we have to report you. I never looked for problems but if there was a problem, I am ready to deal with it.