April 14, 2003

Children may often be exposed to porn spam, according to new data

NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.

NEW YORK (14 April 2003) – Children may often be exposed to “porn spam,” according to reports submitted to ObscenityCrimes.org, a Web site that gives people a convenient way online to report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws.

Since Morality in Media launched the Web site in June 2002, citizens in all 50 states have submitted more than 20,000 reports. MIM forwards these reports to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in Washington and to U.S. Attorneys (federal prosecutors) around the nation. Each state has at least one U.S. Attorney.

On March 12, the following questions about the receipt of “porn spam” were added to the Web site’s On-Line Obscenity Report Form:

__ I received porn spam that linked to the above [named] Internet site
__ My child was (or could easily have been) exposed to the porn spam

Of the 2514 reports received March 12 through April 11 that indicated receipt of porn spam, 974 (38.7%) were checked, My child was (or easily could have been) exposed to the porn spam.

“Today, hardcore pornography once available only in ‘adult bookstores’ (if at all) is now accessible through the Internet in most American homes. And much of it can be accessed by children free of charge with just a click of the mouse,” Robert Peters, president of MIM said.

“Porn spam poses a triple threat to children. The descriptions of sexual acts and organs found in porn spam are often vile; a significant amount of porn spam comes with pictorial material; and curious and vulnerable children may also click to the Web site that is marketing the pornography-where they will often be able to view hardcore sex acts of every kind imaginable, free of charge,” said Peters.

“Children’s exposure to ‘porn spam’ could be reduced drastically through enforcement of obscenity laws against Web sites that use spam to market hardcore pornography. The Supreme Court has held repeatedly that obscene material (or “hard-core pornography”) is unprotected by the First Amendment; and in 1996 Congress amended Federal laws to clarify that use of an interactive computer service to transmit obscene material is prohibited,” Peters said.

MORALITY IN MEDIA is a nonprofit national organization, with headquarters in New York City, working through constitutional means to curb traffic in obscenity in the marketplace and to uphold standards of decency in the mainstream media. Author: Patrick McGrath   04/14/2003

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