June 12, 2003

The best way to stop porn spam is to enforce Internet obscenity laws

NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.

NEW YORK (12 June 2003) — Morality in Media President Robert W. Peters had the following comments on the introduction of S. 1231, the “Stop Pornography and Abusive Marketing Act,” by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York):

“Senator Schumer’s ‘Stop Pornography and Abusive Marketing Act‘ is reasonable, and Morality in Media expects to support the bill. But if Senator Schumer really wants to ‘stop pornography,’ he must also insist that federal Internet obscenity laws [18 U.S.C. 1462 & 1465] be vigorously enforced.

“Porn spam exists primarily to promote websites that market hardcore pornography. Merely blocking ‘spam,’ without attacking the Web sites that use spam to advertise their illegal products, is like trying to block a rapidly rising river with sandbags while ignoring the ever-widening breach in the levee.

“When U.S. Attorneys begin to vigorously enforce Internet obscenity laws (and, in appropriate cases, the RICO-obscenity law) against Web sites that market hardcore pornography, these Web sites won’t be around to push unwanted porn spam into countless American homes and workplaces.

“Porn spam poses a triple threat to children. The language in porn spam is often vile beyond description, and porn spam often comes with prurient pictorial material. Clumsy, curious, and vulnerable children can also easily click to the Web site marketing the pornography-where they will often be able to view hardcore sex acts of every kind imaginable, free of charge.

“But porn spam isn’t the only disreputable ‘marketing tool’ that pornographers use to trap the unwary; and inadvertent exposure to pornography is not the only risk that children face when using the Internet. A Yankelovich poll (“Teens Unseemly Web Visits,” Newsday, 9/7/99) found that 25% of teen Internet users said they went to ‘X-rated’ sex sites. Among teens with lower grades (C-F) or poor attendance, the percentage rose to 34% (“Gasp! Kids look at sex & violence online,” N.Y. Post, 9/7/99). An Australian study conducted by the Australia Institute and released March 3, 2003 (AAP News) found that 40% of 16- and 17-year-old boys had sought out hardcore pornography Internet sites.

“Children are also harmed when parents become addicted to ‘adult’ pornography and the addiction contributes to the breakup of the children’s families. And children are harmed when pedophiles use ‘adult’ pornography to stimulate themselves and to desensitize and instruct their child victims.”

MORALITY IN MEDIA is a nonprofit national interfaith organization, with headquarters in New York City, working through constitutional means to curb traffic in obscenity and to uphold standards of decency in the mainstream media. Morality in Media also operates the ObscenityCrimes.org Web site, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws to Federal prosecutors.

Author: MIM   06/12/2003

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