ON-LINE PORNOGRAPHY is popular, profit-driven and ubiquitous,
encompassing an unusual, wide-ranging repertoire that includes
everything from pedophilia and bestiality to pursuits seemingly
more appropriate for the bathroom, a new study says.
Many of those images, according to researcher Martin Rimm, are
originally posted on the Internet by pornographers who run
pay-as-you-go bulletin board services - essentially using the
Internet as a sophisticated advertising and marketing vehicle to
lure new customers to their systems.
The report, funded by Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh,
is drawing interest in Washington, where Congress is wrangling over
what, if anything, to do about cyberporn when it deregulates the
Researchers suggested on Monday that their study is the first
systematic look at pornography on the information superhighway, and
is the only study on pornography - electronic or published - that
focuses on what people actually consume, not what they tell
researchers they consume.
The study is scheduled to be published next week in the
Georgetown Law Review, but advance galleys were released to the
press Monday. It reports that about 20 percent of all
communications by volume and 83 percent of all photos downloaded
from Internet's Usenet usegroups were sexual in nature. Usenet
constitutes about 11 percent of Internet traffic. Additionally, the
researchers identified individual consumers in more than 2,000
cities in all 50 states, and 40 countries worldwide.
The 18-month study is based on an analysis of 450,620 images,
animations and text files that had been downloaded from Usenet
groups and "adult" bulletin board services about 6.4 million times.
Rimm said the study was created to examine the relationship between
pay-for-porn bulletin board services - some of which earn their
operators more than $1 million per year - and the popular, but
free, Usenet groups that specialize in sexually explicit topics
with names like alt.sex.bondage.
The study found that just two commercial bulletin board
services accounted for 36 percent of the sexually explicit photos
found embedded in Usenet news groups over 18 months.
In addition, the study says, "The more sophisticated computer
pornographers are using databases to develop mathematical models to
determine which images they should try to market aggressively. They
are paying close attention to all forms of paraphilia, including
pedophilic, bestiality, and urophilic images, believing these
markets to be the most lucrative."
Mike Goodwin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in
Washington, which opposes all forms of censorship on the Internet,
said Monday that Rimm's study used "questionable methodology. …