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Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2002 / 10 Shevat, 5762

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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Consumer Reports

Let's stop the deluge of porn e-mail -- ON SEPT. 11, one industry didn't close for business. Spam continued to bombard e-mail users, including pornographic spam.

As Tom Geller of the anti-spam SpamCon Foundation in San Francisco noted, within hours of the terrorist attacks, spam e-mails were capitalizing on the carnage. "No terrorists here!" boasted one e-mail. "Join our porn site, turn off the TV, quit watching the crap happening in the states, and join our free site," it continued.

Geller's group doesn't differentiate between porn spam and business-scam spam; SpamCon hates them all. Well, who doesn't hate spam? Deleting unsolicited messages takes time. Geller estimates that because Internet service providers disseminate this deluge of unwanted information, consumers have to pay some $3 to $4 per month for e-mail they don't want.

Still, there is something particularly invasive about pornographic spam. Whether it's "Hot Amy" inviting Internet users to watch her on her Webcam, or Jessica or Tammy, or invitations to spy at Asian hotties or messages that claim to have captured celebrities in revealing positions, the consumer is thrust into a world that demeans women and men, too.

Improved e-mail technology has only made matters worse. These days, you don't have to open an attached file or click on a box to see naked writhing bodies. Sometimes all you have to do is open an e-mail and you get a big surprise -- maybe graphic photos, or maybe the opportunity, with one click of the mouse, to see women getting cozy with dogs. Or you're automatically sent to a Web site, which ensures you will receive more spam.

You don't even have to open some e-mail to be treated to a misogynistic subject line. As in -- animal rights activists be forewarned -- "hot girls and wild horses."

Geller's group may not distinguish between home-finance spams and flesh spams, but this woman does. Promises of peeks at "teen sluts" are far more irritating and distracting than spams pitching a low mortgage rate.

And, of course, there is no way that the sites can tell if the e-mail reader is age 18 or older.

Then again, any group that would advertise sex with "teens" probably doesn't care how old the paying clients are.

Even filters don't keep out all the junk. Consumers can set it up to block mail from one address, only to receive the same e-mail from a different one.

Geller's organization maintains a Web site ( with advice on how consumers can cut down on spam. The site also lists state laws that may help consumers who care to protest the dirty deluge.

Meanwhile, some Internet service providers can and should work harder to spare their customers from the flood of spam, pornographic and otherwise. They can monitor and block e-mail addresses of known offenders.

I'm not saying that people who want to log onto porn should be denied that access. But if they can choose to have it, the rest of us should be able to choose not to be treated to the salacious subject lines. Ditto for our children.

Without even meaning to, the unsuspecting consumer can find herself staring at images that wouldn't rate space in most magazines that come in plain brown wrappers. I never requested such fare, but I got 22 porn spams over the weekend.

And the worst of it is, I didn't have any choice.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.


01/21/02: No 'Little Boy Lost'
01/16/02: Son of Supercar
01/12/02: Beware the European view of the death penalty
01/09/02: Other people's children
01/07/02: It doesn't fly
01/03/02: Going from the Atlantic City Boardwalk to Berkeley
12/31/01: In America, punishment should fit the crime
12/28/01: What I'd like to see in 2002
12/24/01: Don't heckle ink monopolists
12/21/01: Mumia finds safety in numbers
12/19/01 The self-help PBS shopping network
12/17/01 Caught on tape
12/14/01 Know when to hold 'em
12/10/01 Old friends
12/06/01 I read the news today, oh boy
12/03/01 It's not cricket
11/28/01 Admissions and omissions
11/26/01 Guns and abayas
11/21/01 Depraved minds think alike
11/19/01 Guilty, a la carte
11/14/01 Interpreting the entrails of Election 2000
11/12/01 Life and liberty
11/09/01 Safety is as safety does
11/07/01 More hot air on global warming
11/05/01 Bumped Pakistani's molehill
11/01/01 Freedom snuffed out
10/29/01 Give war a chance
10/26/01 Airline bill needs liftoff
10/22/01 The Riordan Principle
10/19/01 Before America gets tired of the war on terrorism
10/17/01 Patriot games
10/15/01 I was a 'McCainiac,' and I have seen the light
10/12/01 University of Censorship's fall semester
10/11/01 Poor little rich boy, Osama
10/07/01 Don't feed Israel to the beast
10/05/01: bin Laden is not our Frankenstein monster
10/04/01: Where no man has gone before
09/26/01: Who's bloodthirsty?
09/26/01: What's to understand?
09/20/01: Barbara Lee's line in the sand
09/14/01: You gotta love this country
09/13/01: ENTER TERROR
09/11/01: You can't clone ethics
09/06/01: NOW's goal: equal rights for women without equal responsibility
08/30/01: What's love got to do with it?
08/24/01: A clean, well-lighted place for junkies
08/20/01: Bush should stand up for justice
08/08/01: Don't give Peace (Dept). a chance
08/03/01: Lose a kid, pass a law
08/01/01: Welcome to France, killers
07/30/01: Why it's easy being green (in Europe)
07/26/01: If disabled means expendable
07/23/01: Condit should not resign
07/18/01: Feinstein should learn her limit
07/16/01: A drought of common sense
07/13/01: The catalog has no clothes
07/05/01: It's Bush against the planet
07/03/01: The man who would be guv
06/29/01: Wheeled, wired and free
06/27/01: O, fearful new world
06/25/01: End HMO horrors
06/21/01: Either they're dishonest or clueless
06/18/01: Freedom is a puff of smoke
06/15/01: In praise of going heavy: Yes, you can take it all
06/13/01: McVeigh: 'Unbowed' maybe, but dead for sure
06/11/01: Gumby strikes back
06/08/01: Los Angeles' last white mayor?
06/07/01: Kids will be kids, media will be media
06/04/01: Draw a line in the sand
05/30/01: Just don't call him a moderate
05/29/01: Operation: Beat up on civil rights
05/24/01: Of puppies, kittens and huge credit-card debts
05/22/01: Bush needs an energy tinkerbell
05/18/01: Divided we stand, united they fall
05/16/01: Big Bench backs might over right
05/15/01: Close SUV loophole
05/11/01: Kill the test, welcome failure
05/09/01: DA mayor's disappointing legacy
05/07/01: If it ain't broken ...
05/03/01: They shoot civilians, don't they?
04/30/01: Executions are not for prime time
04/12/01: White House and the green myth
04/10/01: The perjurer as celeb
04/04/01: Bush bashers don't know squat
04/02/01: Drugging our oldsters
03/30/01: Robert Lee Massie exercises his death wish
03/28/01: Cheney's nuclear reactor
03/26/01: Where California and Mexico meet
03/16/01: Boy's sentence was no accident
03/14/01: Soft money, hard reform
03/12/01: Banks, big credit lines and consumer bankruptcy
03/09/01: Free speech dies in Berkeley
03/02/01: When rats have rights
02/28/01: Move a frog, go to jail?
02/26/01: They knew they'd get away with it
02/20/01: How Dems define tax fairness
02/16/01: The jackpot casino Carmel tribe?
02/14/01: You can fight school success
02/12/01: Hannibal -- with guts this time
02/08/01: A family of jailbirds
02/05/01: Reality's most demeaning TV moments
02/01/01: Justice for the non-Rich
01/26/01: Hail to the chiefs of D.C. opinion
01/24/01: A day of mud and monuments
01/22/01: Diversity, division, de-lovely D.C.
01/19/01: Parties agree: Give back the money
01/17/01: Get tough with the oil companies, or forget pumping more Alaskan crude
01/15/01: Mineta better pray that no attending confirmation senator has ever driven to San Jose during rush hour
01/12/01: Europeans should look in the mirror
01/10/01: Dems' reasons for dissin' Dubya's picks
01/08/01: Jerry, curb your guru
01/03/01: A foe of Hitler and friend of Keating
12/28/00: Nice people think nice thoughts
12/26/00: The Clinton years: Epilogue
12/21/00: 'Tis the season to free nonviolent drug offenders 12/18/00: A golden opportunity is squandered
12/15/00: You can take the 24 years, good son
12/13/00: Court of law vs. court of public opinion
12/08/00: A salvo in the war on the war on drugs
12/06/00: Don't cry, Butterfly: Big trees make great decks
12/04/00: Florida: Don't do as Romans did
11/30/00: Special City's hotel parking ticket
11/27/00: No means yes, yes means more than yes
11/22/00: The bench, the ballot and fairness
11/20/00: Mendocino, how green is your ballot?

© 2000, Creators Syndicate