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Arrest Porno Spammers? 22 August 2002 Edition
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Several stories in recent days show that the issue of pornography and the Internet is far from dead.

It's now becoming increasingly common to see headlines in the mainstream news which describe how someone has been arrested on charges of possessing downloaded illegal pornographic material.

In order to properly understand the problem it's important to distinguish between harmless "erotica" and evil mind-altering "pornography.

The fact that we have an age-based censorship system clearly indicates that one man's erotica is another minor's pornography -- and the age of the viewer is an important element of determining the legality of such material.

And this is where I get angry.

Not because I think that minors should be given free access to images of naked people engaged in "adult" acts -- but because the authorities seem uninterested in addressing perhaps the single biggest pornography problem on the Net.

Yes, while the Department of Internal Affairs is happy to stake out chat-rooms and act on tip-offs from overseas website raids, they don't appear to be prepared, or willing, to address the issue of porno spam sent to minors.

Even though I've never registered for any "adult" website in my life (does that make me abnormal I wonder?), my mailbox is regularly loaded with solicitations purporting to be from nubile young femmes engaged in all manner of "adult acts."

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  • Have Your Say

    If your kids use email, check their inbox and you'll see that they also get these spam messages inviting them to visit websites laden with adult images that would almost certainly be given an R18 (or higher) classification.

    It would surprise me very much if these solicitations, when delivered to the mailbox of a minor, are at all legal -- but is the DIA or anyone else doing anything about it?

    This story in Tuesday's Herald has reportedly left authorities "disturbed" -- but what about all those 10 year-olds who have received spam from "Layla and Bob", inviting them to come and preview the images from their bedroom webcam at http://www.... ??? We probably have no idea just how many kids act on these invitations do we?

    Aren't authorities "disturbed" by the thousands of similar emails that fill our kids mailboxes on a daily basis?

    Let me make it quite clear that I'm not suggesting we divert resources from the important job of tracking down kiddy-porn merchants and putting them out of business -- but I think this boat has more than one leak and the issue of porno spam in kids mailboxes is not being given sufficient priority.

    Of course there's always the issue of how to deal with this problem -- after all, the senders of these spams are invariably outside NZ's jurisdiction right?

    Well, by delivering an illegal solicitation to a minor, surely whoever sends that spam is breaking NZ law, regardless of where they send that spam from?

    Can't we call on the international resources of Interpol or whatever network is presently being used to hunt down and detain the kiddy-porn merchants to do the same for this type of illegal and offensive behaviour?

    What do you think? A storm in a teacup perhaps?

    Or are you as concerned as I am?

    Even the spammers' lame claim that "you can just hit delete" doesn't carry any weight when this material lands in our kids' mailboxes.

    Is it time to give your newly (re)elected MP and the Commissioner for Children a call and remind them of their obligation to protect our kids from this type of stuff?

    Want Broadband? Move South!
    If you're one of the many Kiwis who live just a little way out of the main centres and have no show of getting access to *real* broadband DSL services then maybe you ought to move south.

    According to the BBC, broadband internet is about to span a fair chunk of Antarctica.

    Yes folks -- we will soon have broadband at the South Pole -- but not at South Head an hour from Auckland. Go figure :-)

    Have your say.

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