Technical Reports

The ICICS/CS Reading Room

UBC CS TR-93-02 Summary

Free Speech, Pornography, Sexual Harassment, and Electronic Networks, February 1993 Richard Rosenberg, 38 pages

Linking most universities and many companies around the world is a vast computer network called Internet. More than 7 million people, at 1.2 million attached hosts, in 117 countries are able to receive and send messages to about 4,000 newsgroups, representing the diverse interests of its users, as they are usually called. Some of these newsgroups deal with technical computer issues, some are frivolous, and some carry obscene or pornographic material. For purposes of this essay, it will be assumed that by most standards the postings of concern consisting of stories with themes of bestiality, bondage, and incest and encrypted pictures with scenes of nude women and men, and even children, are pornographic and offensive to many people. The issue under discussion is what to do about such offensive material. Issues of free speech, censorship, and sexual harassment arise. These as well as many others are explored and recommendations are made.

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