This story represents an increasingly problematic and rarely discussed issue in the filtering debate, "porn trip wires". Among other tactics such as mousetrapping, smut dealers are now hacking in legitimate web sites to ...repopulate them with adult content. Conclusion, porn brokers are adopting aggressive and illegal means to market. Make no mistake. This issue is entirely new and different than the current debate of freedom to access.
Obviously the smut industry is embracing technology to peddle, more accurately plant, their porn to an unassuming and underage public. Parental chaperones, the choice of the anti-filter crowd, are only as useful as their Alt Tab reflex time.
So here we are. Undesirables are infiltrating our libraries, finding new and more insidious ways to do this. Meanwhile, we librarians sit and watch outsiders take control of our collections, holding fervently to our "principles".
Is anyone in my profession willing to consider filters as a means to stop this?
(the following article is available via Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe. I was unable to find a â€œfreeâ€? copy on the web)
April 5, 2004, Monday
"Websense Research Shows Online Pornography Sites Continue Strong Growth, Increasing by Over 1.5 Million Since 2000, as Internet Porn Vendors Pioneer New Technology"
â€¦Even employees who have no desire to visit pornography Web sites may do so unintentionally because porn companies purchase expired domain names for innocent-sounding Web sites, and use them to redirect Web surfers unknowingly to their own X-rated sites. Victims of this tactic include the Dutch Government and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Porn vendors have also successfully hacked into legitimate Web sites to repopulate them with adult content. For example, in Feb. 2004, a New York Assemblyman's campaign Web site was hijacked by a porn vendor named "Bob," and instead of the Assemblyman's home page, voters got "a guide to help find the best porn sites in the world."
According to the National Research Council, an additional tactic known as "mousetrapping" is used by porn companies to automatically redirect surfers to another Web site when they attempt to leave an adult site. This redirecting can repeat dozens of times, and usually requires the user to shut down the browser or restart the computer, which often leads to an increase in employee complaints and IT help-desk calls.
"Today's online pornography companies are incredibly aggressive and do whatever it takes to attract and keep visitors, from hacking into existing mainstream sites to stopping surfers from leaving their sites all together," said Kester. "In addition to putting the company at risk for sexual harassment or hostile workplace lawsuits, Internet porn clogs up valuable company bandwidth as well as wastes IT management's time."