Technology Expert Warns Parents - Beware! E-Porn Targeting Kids Online
The head of a company that helps state governments prevent pornographers from targeting minors with inappropriate e-mail says the adult entertainment industry is fighting to keep its grip on such an effective delivery system for cyber-porn.
“Online pornography is a billion-dollar per year industry,” said Matthew Prince, CEO of Unspam. “And e-mail is becoming the delivery system of choice for porn purveyors.”
Prince was responding to a recent study forecasting $12.6 billion in revenue for the adult entertainment industry this year. “One of the porn industry’s major marketing tools for making that enormous profit is e-mail,” noted Prince. “And many of the e-mails they send are hitting the in-boxes of children and teens.”
Prince has already helped two states, Michigan and Utah, implement Child Protection Registry laws that empower parents to block e-mail addresses their children access from receiving adult-oriented emails. “The law in Michigan and Utah is similar to the do-not-call list,” explained Prince. “Parents simply log on to a websites run by the states in order to register the e-mails they wish protected. The service is completely free for parents and schools seeking protection, and companies that send adult-oriented e-mails are required by law to delete all registered addresses from their mailing lists.”
Since the laws went into effect in 2005, thousands of parents have registered e-mail addresses they wish to be protected from pornography and adult materials. Scores of public and private schools have also registered their school domains to block adult advertisements from classrooms.
While many of the companies sending pornographic e-mails initially complied with the laws in the two states, in mid-November the Free Speech Coalition, an organization representing the adult entertainment industry, filed suit in Utah challenging, in part, that the state’s Child Protection Registry law violates the Constitution’s free speech guarantee (Lawsuit ID: 2-05C2949).
Prince said that argument is not likely to hold up in court. “The argument that this law is somehow infringing on the free speech rights of legitimate e-mail marketers is absurd,” said Prince. “This is a reasonable effort to protect minors from materials society has always deemed harmful to kids. The senders are not barred from sending their e-mails to adults -- just those addresses registered as accessible to children.”
Prince noted that statistics show the problem of children accessing or receiving porn online is significant. “One study found that 80 percent of minors using e-mail regularly receive inappropriate e-mails,” he said. “Another survey found that between 20 and 30 percent of visitors to pornographic websites are under the age of 18.”
What do parents think about the problem? “Our own study found that 87 percent of parents are concerned about their children receiving inappropriate e-mails,” he said. “And an overwhelming 96 percent think they should have the ability to block their children’s e-mail addresses from receiving pornographic content.”
Prince predicted that the court will ultimately rule in favor of parents protecting their children through Utah’s Child Protection Registry law. “It’s clear that at the heart of the Utah lawsuit is an unwillingness on the part of the adult entertainment industry to take reasonable measures to keep pornographic e-mails from reaching children,” said Prince. “We feel confident the court will agree.”
Given the increasing importance and influence of the Internet and e-mail in our culture, Prince said it is crucial that society take the steps necessary to protect its most vulnerable members from harm. “That is what the Child Protection Registry laws are all about,” he said. “Keeping our kids safe.”
For more on Unspam’s efforts to help states implement Child Protection Registries, visit www.unspam.com.
To find out what the Free Speech Coalition is up to and how it represents pornographers and others in the “adult entertainment industry,” log on to www.freespeechcoalition.com.
Utah’s Child Protection Registry went into effect on July 15, 2005. If an e-mail address has been registered for 30 days, the law forbids sending an electronic message that “advertises a product or service that a minor is prohibited by law from purchasing; or...contains or advertises material that is harmful to minors.” (http://www.le.state.ut.us/~code/TITLE13/13_26.htm)
Erin Barry, Unspam
435-615-9205 x 303
[Posted by WDC Media PR]
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