Government Study Determines That There's Porn Online

from the thanks-for-clearing-that-up dept

Remember how the government basically subpoenaed everyone they could possibly think of to get data to support their argument defending the constitutionality of the COPA (Child Online Protection Act)? Apparently, they used all of that data to crunch some numbers and tell the court that (would you believe it?) there's actually some pornography online. Aren't you glad that plenty of taxpayer money went into figuring that out? Despite what both sides in the case are trying to say about the results, it's not clear that it really says much at all. They found that 6% of queries lead to results that have adult material (and only 1% if filters are turned on) -- but it's not clear what that really means. A query returns tons of results. Is it counted if only one leads to sexually explicit material? If all of them? A certain threshold? The first link? Also, how do they define adult material? While it may be obvious in some cases, in plenty of others it's very much a subjective decision. Finally, the 6% number is still misleading, because most of those searches are probably by adults who are looking for completely legal adult material. If the case is about protecting children, shouldn't the real question be how often adult content is returned when kids do searches? So, in the end, we have the government demanding (and getting) a bunch of data from all sorts of internet and search companies, and then conducting a survey with taxpayer money, to tell us that there's a fair amount of porn online (though not overwhelmingly so) -- but little else of practical use to the actual question at hand, about whether or not the law is constitutional.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 4:52pm

    Not a serious study

    "...but it's not clear what that really means. A query returns tons of results. Is it counted if only one leads to sexually explicit material? If all of them? A certain threshold? The first link? Also, how do they define adult material?"

    If these parameters were not defined as part of the report then it is baseless and worthless as a scientific document. In other words it was never intended as a serious study, which raises the question; Why was the data collected. I suspect that the data itself was always irrelevant, rather the entire exercise was constructed for alterior motives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Xenohacker@hotmail.com, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Not a serious study

    "I suspect that the data itself was always irrelevant, rather the entire exercise was constructed for alterior motives."

    I second that...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    SimplyGimp, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Not a serious study

    Werd.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    edstamos, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 6:42pm

    pay me

    i'm looking at porn on my other monitor right now. send some taxpayer money my way!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Not-so-Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 6:48pm

    So what should I tell my kid when they search for beavers on google?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Charles The Tech, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 7:02pm

    Re: [no subject] by Not-So-Anonymous Coward

    You should tell your kid that they are not allowed to use the internet unless you can act like a responsible parent and monitor their internet activity.

    If you are allowing your child free-access to the internet then you get what you deserve.

    US Government shouldn't be a nanny to your children. Take responsibility or put them in foster care.

    Charles~

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Moogle, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 7:09pm

    beavers on google?

    You can tell him he needs to use a better euphemism when discretely looking for porn, because he'll have to search through over 100 images with safesearch off to find so much as a boob. I gave up trying to find regular search results or safesearch on image search results.

    I'd recommend that *you* leave safesearch on on your computer (or at least turn it back on after you're done). Even if you don't, he'll find a good picture of a beaver for his biology paper long before he finds smut.

    ---

    For a report for my CompSci ethics class, I interviewed teachers, administrators, and librarians at a technology oriented elementary school. They've pretty much never had a problem with the tykes finding bad material - the only problems they had were when a parent or someone posing as such used the library computers and left smut open after they left. The kids would usually run to the teacher and tell them there was something on the computer that wasn't supposed to be there. (that's what I was told, and I'm inclined to believe them.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, but not a coward, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 7:11pm

    In other news

    scientists discovered today that water is wet!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    zcat, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 7:12pm

    beavers?

    Curiously enough, I just searched for beavers on google. With no filtering.
    The first page of results was entirely about small furry mammals (and in one case, larger non-furry mammals playing baseball)

    So just for fun, I looked through all of the first ten pages and couldn't find one remotely adult link anywhere.

    And did I mention this is _without_ using Google's safe-search filter?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    okiedawg, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 7:32pm

    Porn study

    Why haven't the states figured out how much tax revenue could be generated for education by taxing this $10B industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    B, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 8:15pm

    Government Studies

    I saw a list somewhere once that had a long list of odd government studies that have been conducted. A waste of money if you ask me (not that I pay taxes yet).
    Besides, then internet doesn't have that much porn (depending on the types of sites you visit). It all depends what kind of sites you are visiting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Rico J. Halo, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 8:24pm

    What it was really about...

    Some bureacrat wanted a reason to spend however long being PAID to watch porn. What a great gig!!! ~RJH http://www.thatpoliticalblog.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 8:37pm

    Re: What it was really about...

    And people wonder why I plan to try to find a government job once I get my degree in hand. Where else can such a job be found? :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 8:38pm

    I hate these discusions, they rile me up and theres no good outlet - I gues sthis will be it for now.

    This study is rediculous, porn is everywhere in life. Why not go against something more useful like violence? We need a war against violent imagery now. Number 5, what if your son searched for history? I'm sure he'd get a lot of violent images, or even Iraq would dispaly lots of violent images, where is the study here? It would be MORE meaningful than this shit. Damn It the Internet was NOT MADE FOR CHILDREN, GET OVER IT!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 9:04pm

    Re: beaver is a clean word

    beaver returns quite clean results on Google! What did you think it'd return??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Grandfather Time, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 10:30pm

    oh my!

    Porn you say? Online? Who would have ever thought!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    what I'm Called, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 11:15pm

    GOVERNMENT STUDY DETERMINES THAT THERE'S PORN ONLI

    I've noticed a common factor in these government ,bait & switch, hearings or commistioned studies. Hint, it's in this sentence; "government demanding (and getting) a bunch of data from all sorts of internet and search companies" it is that they are getting a bunch or data. If I remember correctly, the government has asked for information form the internet service providers and until now have really been stone-walled until now. The quetion isn't were they trying to defending the constitutionality of the COPA (Child Online Protection Act, it is would this work on finally getting what they always want control and it did work for the government this time and it shows when it comes to privicy in america each damn hour or so we the people are getting less and less of it. Just think if they can get our information, you know us the people, over something as stupid as this issue think about your own on line privacy, and when you think about it remember most of us consider our online privicy as keeping people around us from knowing that we are viewing and touching to on line porn. Well now president has been set and the government know knows the can damn the service provider to hand over the goods. We are all losers because most don't vote and by not we give our government over to special intest groupls that pay hand over foot to rule our government and boy do they rule it So as we bitch about the money spent or how nothing was really accomplised again with this study or that study the wolf is dressed in sheeps clothing and is really good at getting what he wants without us really understanding first what they are really after and 2nd how it keeps chipping away bit by bit at our rights and more importantly our so called freedoms. damnding companies to hand over information, wire tapping who know who know, holding people without the right to a spped trial in other countries, arguments between domestic partners, when on would state ideal threats of hurting or killing the other are now prosacuted as terrioiest threatsl. What the hell is happening to governed by the poeple for the poeple. I'm tiered of special interest groups controlling the government and asking people if they voted only to hear the lame excuss of whats the use I'd only be choosing the lessor of 2 evils. Do we get it if we vote it makes the evil responsalbe to us the people not the special inteaset groups which then we could vote out the crap like we did hear in California when we got ride of a week governor and got Arnold. Well enought said I guess whats the use it's not like most of us really consider or think about politics and then do something about it we would just rather do nothing and bitch about them doing nothing, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    what I'm Called, Nov 14th, 2006 @ 11:29pm

    my last comment

    Sorry about all the errors in my previous comment, I didn't have the opportunity to re-read and edit it before posting. I had to deal with parenting issues; luckily, it wasn’t about inappropriate Internet content popping up. Hopefully you get the just of what I'm trying to say.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Jack Hoff, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 12:24am

    Where can I find some of this "porn"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Paul, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 1:20am

    uh..

    Hey #9, try a google image search for beaver, you'll find 3 naked ladies on the first page.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Exiled From the mainstream, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 3:38am

    Also In other news...

    The grass is green and the sky is blue! I'm sorry but what. the. F***!?!?!

    Nice to know my dads tax money went into something GREAT. Need to get registered to vote next time elections come up... But who am I kidding? It seems like everytime you meet a smart person you also find 80 morons that think they're rulers of the cosmos or something. That guarantees the prettiest face wins. Then again this IS America! Home of the fat people and hypocrites. (Did I mention I don't like living in the US much anymore?)

    There was definitely ulterior motives to this stuff including the government wanting to see how far it could go with this. And I bet it could get them alot of checks in the mail from big business if they gave out stuff like this to them, free targeted advertising anyone? Wait thats SPAM!

    To quote Charlie, "Good Grief!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    That one guy, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 8:57am

    Re: uh..

    "Hey #9, try a google image search for beaver, you'll find 3 naked ladies on the first page."

    If by "naked ladies" you mean "that oh so hot, wet, dripping.....aquatic mammal action" which can be found freely throughout the first 15 pages of a GIS of "beaver" WITHOUT SafeSearch on..then yeah, TONS of naked ladies.

    Oh man, look at all that fur! That one's got quite the tail on her if you know what I mean ;) ;)

    OH GOD!!! Now I see it! Oh man, this is completely out of line and MUST be stopped immediately. Please children I beg you to shield your eyes!

    http://www.slylockfox.com/e-comics_htd/e-htd_beaver/htd_beaver.gif

    Horrible. Just horrible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    dataguy, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 9:15am

    That's an underestimate

    When IBM first released webfountain they did a study of the web pages available at the time. If I recall correctly, they said that about 30% of the net was porn with about another 30% duplicated material. (how much of the duplication was duplicated porn I don't recall but I'll bet the majority of it was).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    savage, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 2:53pm

    Re: uh..

    I did a image search with safe filter off, which is not the default setting and on the 9th page got one porn pic. that was a magazine cover --and the woman was wearing a bra and panties.
    Makes me wonder if YOU search so much porn that google knew your preferances.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: [no subject] by Not-So-Anonymous Coward

    AMEN to THAT!!!

    OOOOOOOOOOOH!... It's soooooooo *MUCH* fun to 'make' them, but it's _not_ so much fun to raise them CORRECTLY!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 11:55pm

    it takes 35 pages to get to the first pornographic image - then WHAMO! the rest of the search is pure porn. Google's got some technology running to filter adult images as "less relevent" and thus, further back in the search.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 12:00am

    Re:

    if he see's porn, tell your kid "Stop looking at beavers. Start looking at pussy cats."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Kryndar, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 10:16am

    Beavers, again

    I just did a google image search for beavers with the filter off. I assumed there would no results other then the animal, I did the search because of the person posting that they got three naked women on the front page. However I did in fact on the first page get two nude images and on that was clean but from the name a clear preface to a porn site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 10:37am

    Re: uh..

    GTFO there is porn...online i never knew that

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    NightmareMagma, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 8:03pm

    this is the funniest shit i've ever seen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    OG Kilo, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Not a serious study

    well i guess porn online just gets the publisity it demands

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Unknown, Dec 12th, 2006 @ 7:52pm

    No beavers here

    I tried searching beaver as well and found nothing more than furry little critters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Yeah, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 12:47am

    PORNOGRAPHY ON THE INTERNET?

    What next? News blogs?

    Wait..What's a blog, anyway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This