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Auditor: University employees downloaded music, porn

Posted June 17, 2008

— Two employees of North Carolina Central University and one at North Carolina State University used state-owned computers to download music, movies, games and pornography, State Auditor Leslie Merritt said Tuesday.

N.C. Central discovered a potential problem during an internal review, and Chancellor Charlie Nelms reported computer misuse to University of North Carolina system administrators, who then turned the investigation over to the State Auditor’s Office. During their investigation, auditors discovered a former N.C. Central employee got a job at N.C. State and continued to misuse computers, Merritt said.

Investigators found hundreds of movies had been downloaded over the past three years, and some were hidden in the universities' computer networks. The N.C. employee also allowed a friend to use his work computer to download music, investigators said.

The three employees, who worked in the information technology departments at the two universities, told investigators they liked using the university computer networks because they provided faster downloads than their personal computers.

All three have been fired.

Other findings of the N.C. Central investigation include the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, unauthorized access to servers at another university and the failure to properly verify new employee’s employment and education history, Merritt said.

Other findings at N.C. State include possible violation of federal copyright laws and intentional deletion of information to conceal inappropriate use.

“With the universities’ cooperation, information systems auditors were able to uncover, analyze and categorize a vast amount of inappropriate data stored on state-owned computers and servers,” Merritt said in a statement. “In the Information Age, state auditors must stay one step ahead in using technology to detect fraud, waste and abuse."

The findings have been sent to the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Wake County and Durham County district attorneys and the state Attorney General's Office for further investigation and possible prosecution.

N.C. Central issued a statement Tuesday, noting that security policies and procedures have been updated to prevent further misuse of the university computer system.

N.C. State said in a statement that it plans to conduct additional employee training on policies prohibiting illegal downloads.


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  • howdiditgettothis Jun 17, 2008

    To OrdinaryCitizen and other posters who blow this off as a trivial --

    Did you ever wonder why many businesses have such poor customer service or why the cost of things have skyrocketed?

    Stealing is stealing -- whether it is a paperclip or wasting time surfing the internet!

    What are you being paid to do at work??????

    You and people like you drive up the cost of doing business and make wait times for services unbearable.

    If people actually WORKED at their jobs, then there would be a lot less wait times and wasted time -- and my dollar might be worth something!

  • legofyam Jun 17, 2008

    Way to go Les! Keep up the good work! We love you in Durham NC!

  • thinkfirsttypelater Jun 17, 2008

    I wonder if they're tracking how many hours their employees spend playing solitaire.

  • CoCo Jun 17, 2008

    You can track this activity so easily over the network. Why do they act so surprised?

  • chivegas Jun 17, 2008

    OMG! People used the internet at work to DL music, movies, and porn! I'm so surprised...Not Apparently a very slow news day at WRAL...

  • JimB Jun 17, 2008

    Only two people out of all the employees at NC State???? Does this sound like they went after these two guys? Sure does smell to me like someone had a vendetta against them.

  • fkhaywood Jun 17, 2008

    The state can track people using computers for illegal and inapproproate downloads, but can't find deleted emails to the governor? Yeah, right!

  • napdog123 Jun 17, 2008

    State Auditor Les Merritt is the absolute BEST State Auditor this state has seen!! His administration has uncovered more corruption and waste with taxpayers money than any of his predecessor's!!! It doesn't matter what political affiliation you are with, you just can't argue against the FACTS!!! He has done an OUTSTANDING JOB....ONE HE SHOULD KEEP TILL HE RETIRES!

  • raglangr Jun 17, 2008

    Meritt is up for re-election, so it's not a shock he'd come down on something like this right now. It generates free press for him.

  • Pridefootball07 Jun 17, 2008

    haha the riaa cracks down on us college kids so hard for downloading music and comes after us but yet our advisors, teachers, deans, chancellors, and every other staff member on campus is doing the same stuff

    suck it up and pay for your music

    and lay of the porn...don't you know you'll go blind haha