Written by Harry Porter
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Topics: Women, Britain

Friday, 9 July 2004

image for Fury as UK's 'carnal clickers' are thrust into the spotlight
Careful with that mouse, missus!

Britain's cyber-spacemen and women are furious that their online habits are being captured - and exposed - for history.

The row broke when the British Library published the names and telephone numbers of over 3,000 surfers next to the websites they had been visiting.

The information was released as part of a UK-wide project to archive the most frequent web pages visited. As the average lifespan of a site is only around 40 days, capturing what the UK looks at now is seen as an opportunity to gain an insight into Britain's society and culture.

But the British Library did not expect the results - and reaction - it received.

One Newcastle resident is even claiming his wife left him after discovering his penchant for long sessions on a vinyl underwear site while an office worker in Coventry has lost her job after being traced through her telephone number and outed as a two-hour per shift satire writer.

"People visit the pilot study website, check a dodgy site, then call you at home," said Thomas Davidson (34), 12 Rowan Crescent, Middlesbrough, who insisted on remaining anonymous. "If they're not ridiculing you then they're trying to blackmail you."

Eric Reilly, Depute Head of Government and Technology at The National Archives, said: "Websites, unless they are subscription based, are in the public domain and people need to realise that.

"While we're still a long way from a definitive image of Britain in 2004, things are starting to take shape and will come into focus as we progress."

Mr Reilly revealed that already sex sites were way out in front with the average British male spending 18 hours a week on so called ‘carnal clicking'.

Holiday information, eBay and searches for a plumber are the next most common websites.

"The average casual male surfer tends to switch on his computer and delete all the files offering cheap software and Viagra at unbeatable prices," he added.

"He then hits on his preferred porn sites, looks at a few mpegs, looks up something that he's been trying to find out, goes back to a porn site, checks his favourites, then stares at the screen for 12.25 minutes before logging off.

"Females tend to look at things they want to buy."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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