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ATTENTION "ADULT RATED" BBS SYSOPS: BIG BROTHER MAY BE WATCHING YOU! [Editor's Note: We received a printed copy of this article in the mail anonymously. We don't know what the intention of the send was but the content is enough to scare the daylights out of plenty of Sysops. We don't have an opinion here as basically their case does have some merit, however, there is another on.] From: The National Coalition Against Pornography "Standing Together" Newsletter. Community Action Column, March-April 1990 "Computer pornography? It's Everywhere...." by Christine Marshall Most people who contact N-CAP for help in eliminating illegal pornography in their city are concerned about a multitude of outlets. Some of the sources on their lists are adult bookstores, X-rated movie houses, and pornographic magazines and videos available in mainstream stores. Many groups have found success in eliminating some, or all, of these pornographic sources. But a new pornography source has been added to the list that few groups even don't know exist; sexually oriented computer bulletin board services (BBS). A pastor of a small church in Texas who has a computer science degree recently contacted me about a pornographic BBS he discovered in his own community. After doing a bit of research, he provided me with the following information and asked that I inform you as well. BULLETIN BOARD SERVICES (BBS) A BBS is a "host" computer connected to the telephone lines by a modem. Computer users can call the host computer to exchange programs, play games, leave "electronic mail" messages, or converse with the host cmoputer's operator. Some BBS's now have "adult" sections or are entirely "adult" oriented. They contain programs that draw explicit color photographs of various forms of sexual activity on your monitor. Some of the BBS's even make the photographs move-creating a "movie" on your computer screen. CHILD MOLESTER NETWORKS Apparently, the U.S. Customs Agency has been aware of and investigating adult BBS's for some time. Obscene BBS programs that originate in other countries and are illegally imported, are being used by American computer hobbyists. The privately used foreign programs are now breaking obscenity laws and causing damage through computer networks across the country. U.S. Customs has learned that many of the BBS's make it easier for pedophiles to molest children by listing the names and locations of potential victims-and by encouraging sexual activity with minors. Some of the programs found to this date have come from Germany. U.S. Customs has been involved in investigations because the importation of obscene material is prohibited by law. In their investigations, they have documented the use of these networks by pedophiles as an aid in molestation of children. Another concern is the availability of adult BBS's to children. The BBS's are not restricted by age; very few require proof of age before allowing access. Many homes now have a computer with a modem, and often the children are more computer-literate than their parents. It is possible that a child may access an adult BBS without his parents' knowlege. He can easily hide his activity by pushing a button to make the screen go blank when a parent enters the room, and then push another button to make the action continue. These programs allow children to watch explicit computerized pornography in their homes without the knowledge of their parents. ACTION STEPS When I learned of all this, I immediately wondered what course of action I could take as a relative "computer-illiterate" and average citizen. This is what I found that we all can do: 1. If you have access to a computer and modem, check your local BBS networks for adult services. If you find any, notify your sheriff and the local U.S. Customs agent. Give them as much information as possible to aid in their investigations. 2. Let other concerned neighbors and groups know of the existence of the adult BBS's. Encourage them to join you on Action Step 1. 3. Write or call the U.S. Customs Agency to encourage them to continue investigating pornographic BBS's. You can write them at 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20229, or call (202) 566-8195. Law enforcement agencies to respond to the needs of the people they serve. Let them know that your community needs them to get rid of illegal, pornographic bulletin board systems. [Another Editor's Note: Having been a long time BBSer, and having seen many of the campaigns aimed at Bulletin Board Systems, I see a simple answer here that perhaps these people have overlooked. KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILD IS DOING WITH IS MODEM! If a parent gives a teenager a modem and leaves him alone, with no supervision, who's fault is it when the child calls an adult BBS and downloads an X rated file? A parent certainly wouldn't give a thirteen year old child the keys to the family car or the liquor cabinet. We at "Telecomputing" believe that a certain amount of parental responsibility is needed here... not more law or taxes to pay the salaries of the "Modem Police."


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