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More on AOL "child porn" spam (fwd)

da dies hier auch diskutiert wurde:

Forwarded message:
>From owner-fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu Tue Oct 22 07:22 MEZ 1996
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Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1953 04:13:11 -0500
To: fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu
From: declan@well.com (Declan McCullagh)
Subject: More on AOL "child porn" spam
Sender: owner-fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu
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Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 06:58:08
Subject: Child pornography e-mail spam from "r9ch@aol.
From: atropos@aol.net (David O'Donnell at America Online)

Please note that if you received unsolicited mail from "r9ch@aol.com" or =
"tiptoe0001@aol.com" yesterday (Sunday 20 October 1996), both accounts =
were closed early this morning. Copies of the messages have been =
forwarded to our legal department. Please do not send in more reports of =
this abuse.

__ David B. O'Donnell (atropos@aol.net, PMDAtropos@aol.com)
\/ AOL Internet Development Outreach and Technology Manager
   Tel.: 703/453-4000 x4255; FAX: 703/453-4102     "Spammum
   WWW: http://www.idot.aol.com/atropos/       Delendum Est"


[Thanks to Dave Cassel for this. --Declan]


     Earlier today an AOL user e-mailed hundreds of people, announcing "I
     have pictures, VHS tapes, posters, audio recordings, and games
     based on child pornography."

     The notorious mail included a price-list and an address in Jackson
     Heights, New York. Several hundred students at the University of
     Oslo reportedly received copies, as did students at Yale. The
     message was e-mailed to Oregon, Georgia, Illinois, and New York, as
     well as England, Australia, Holland, Finland, Germany, and Canada
     (according to Usenet posts). The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
     received several calls, as did Interpol. One ISP reported 10 of
     their 1,000 users received copies--close to 1%.

     Even some net personalities received copies. Ron Newman, formerly
     of the MIT Media Lab, received the e-mail at five different
     accounts. Joe Shea, editor of the American Reporter, received a
     copy; Philip Elmer-DeWitt, author of Time magazine's "Cyberporn"
     cover story, received two. The authors of "The Stalker's Home
     Page," and "Why AOL Sucks" also received the e-mail.

     Responding to complaints, AOL stated "we have closed the accounts
     involved, and our legal department is taking action." Postmaster
     David O'Donnell posted to Usenet, "Please do not send in more
     reports of this abuse". Over 50 people complained to the New York
     police department, who investigated the location--a P.O. Box--with
     the FBI. (On a mailing list Brock Meeks noted that AOL has a
     "working relationship" with the FBI.)

     A reporter for the New York-based Newsday says the newspaper will
     probably carry a story about the event in Tuesday's edition.
     (http://www.newsday.com) According to one Usenet post, the
     address belongs to one of AOL's "disk dancers". The mailing address
     of the (presumably-framed) New Yorker is for sales of a program
     that lets AOL users spend time on the system without being charged.

     This is not the first time AOL's hacker community has cross swords
     with child pornography. The documentation for AOHell contains a
     section called "Why I made AOHell." "I'm sick of all the God damn
     pedophiles," the program's author states. "AOL constantly closed
     the 'Hackers' Member room, but refuses to do anything about all the
     pedophilia rooms...If AOL is going to do nothing about this type of
     sick behavior then I will do everything I can to screw AOL up."

     Instead, users signing onto AOL tonight received an advertisement
     for hardware that can "grab color images right from your camcorder,
     VCR, or TV." This December marks the five-year anniversary of the
     first child pornography scandal on AOL. In 1991 Newsweek reported
     that one subscriber posing as a child "received pictures of what
     appear to be youngsters involved in sexual acts." AOL's members
     didn't find out about the incident until the story turned up on
     CNN. (Mainly because the outraged user went straight to the

     In 1993, ten-year-old George Burdynski disappeared from Brentwood,
     Virginia. He was never seen again--but his disappearance launched
     the largest child pornography investigation in FBI history. In
     September of 1995, the FBI raided the homes of 120 AOL users, and
     in July the FBI raided 100 homes just in Cincinnati. Days before,
     one agent told the Cincinnati Enquirer "there are new people being
     identified daily." The FBI had information on more than 3,000
     users--which at the time constituted one out of every 1,200 AOL
     subscribers; "FBI and America Online records revealed that during
     one 25-minute span when an illegal photograph was made available on
     the computer service, about 400 people nationwide downloaded the
     picture to their computers." Jean Villanueva stated that AOL
     contacted the FBI "upon receiving the material, and verifying that
     it was in all likelihood illegal". (At least one children's rights
     activist questioned the legality of the delays "verification" added
     to AOL's response.)

     Earlier that year U.S. Customs Officials cracked a child
     pornography ring operating on America Online. In February of 1995
     two teachers in Florida were charged, and a third suspect arrested
     in Salt Lake City. A Customs official said photographs were being
     downloaded directly from AOL's shareware section, which apparently
     wasn't monitored round-the-clock. The first guilty verdict from
     that investigation was handed down in February of 1996--for
     photographs a user transmitted in July of 1994. In August an AOL
     user in San Francisco was indicted for his involvement in a
     13-year-old Kentucky girl's 2-week disappearance; in November of
     1995, a New Jersey man was sentenced for actions with a young boy
     in July of 1994.

     The San Francisco Chronicle suggested problems were exacerbated by
     AOL's fully-anonymous screen names. In fact, up until September of
     1995, AOL wasn't even verifying the full authenticity of the credit
     card information users input. That created an entrenched subculture
     of disk dancers that persists to this day. The Washington Post
     reported that between March and June, over 370,000 fake accounts
     were created with bogus credit card information.

     Ironically, the ten-year-old boy who disappeared lived just miles
     from AOL's headquarters in Vienna, Virginia. One children's rights
     advocate is considering setting up a fund in the boy's name.