Back in 1995 there was a huge national outcry when Time magazine revealed that (gasp!) PORN was being distributed on the Internet. The scandal got more complicated when respected media analysts started revealing that the so-called CMU study upon which the Time exclusive was based was riddled with flaws and misrepresentations, and took yet another turn when it was revealed that the author had also written a "how-to" guide for budding porn-site authors.

Most of this is water under the bridge now, of interest only for historical purposes. The fight for liberty in the online age has moved to issues of private restrictions of free-speech in the name of intellectual property management and government violations of liberty and privacy in the name of security. Many of us now long for the innocent days when our biggest concerns were over a few porn sites and whether we were allowed to export cryptography to Canada.

Many of the links to outside sites from these pages no longer work. Such is the nature of the Web, and I am now doubly glad I decided in 1995 that archiving my own copy of these pages was a good idea.

As a final note, these pages resulted in my MIT Web site being blocked by CyberPatrol (and therefore unreadable in all Boston public libraries). Whether this was because they have a brain-dead algorithm for labelling pornography or whether they have a internal policy to ban ideas they find against their business model is unclear, but repeated attempts to have them remove the block were unsuccessful. It will be interesting to see if they've learned anything in the past 7+ years and leave this page unblocked.

He Says / She Says
Linked commentaries on the Rimm study and Time "Cyberporn" article

Welcome to He Says / She Says, a cross-referenced link-farm to some of the critiques of the Rimm study of pornography on the net, and the Time article it prompted. In all the included documents, I left the text unmodified but added links and anchors to relevant parts of other documents.

To get up to speed on the issue, I'd recommend starting here. This will also give you a much larger list of critiques, as I only cross-referenced a few documents that quoted other authors extensively.

Colored dots indicate links leading to relevant sections of each of the following documents:

@ The Rimm Study. The original Rimm study can be found here.

# Hoffman and Novak's critique of the Rimm study. The original can be found here.

$ The Time cover story "Cyberporn" from the July 3, 1995 issue. The original can be found here.

% Hoffman & Novak's criticism of the Time "Cyberporn" article. The original is available here.

& Rimm's original response to Hoffman & Novak's criticism of the Time article. This response was downloaded and archived by Hoffman & Novak July 5th, 1pm CST. The original is available here. Rimm's updated version is available here.

+ Hoffman & Novak's response to Rimm's response to their critique of the Time article. The original can be found here.

= Mike Godwin's critique. The original can be found here.

* Philip Elmer-DeWitt's interview with HotWired. The original is available here.

Last modified: Mon Sep 16 00:06:44 EDT 2002