To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the estimated cost is of the system introduced to block the delivery of e-mails to members containing profanities or other language considered objectionable; what criteria are being used for this editorial system and by whom; how many e-mails have been blocked; and if he will make a statement.
PCD is using existing software to block inappropriate e-mails and therefore the new system has minimal cost. In the first week the system blocked 908 inappropriate e-mails sent to parliamentary e-mail addresses. The system filters incoming e-mails from non-parliamentary addresses and will not affect internal communications, outgoing e-mails or e-mails received from remote workers attached to the parliamentary data and video network (PDVN) via Citrix. The sender of any e-mail that is blocked will be notified and invited to contact the intended recipient to arrange for the blocked e-mail to be unblocked. This will prevent any genuine e-mail from being lost.
PCD recognises that on occasions, constituents might use strong language: for example, if they are writing about a constituency issue on which they have firm views, or of which they have had a bad direct experience. Incoming e-mails that contain only a few mild expletives will be unaffected. Only those e-mails which contain a high proportion of the most offensive obscenities are blocked automatically.