ACS PR condemns ABC's search hacker
Sun, 11 Jun 1995 19:18:12 +0000
On Jun 10, 2:55pm, McKenzie Wark wrote:
> At this stage, the ACS response to the posting, presumably by a
> researcher from the show 'Hot Chips', looks like an over reaction.
I'm not so sure. The way the 'net is portrayed in the media is
significantly out of step with the reality of the situation, with only
small signs of improvement. The hype about the 'net is growing faster than
the level of knowledge about it held by the general media, and for every
'net-literate journalist there is another that is only too willing to push
the image that the 'net is some kind of hacker, pornographer, paedophile
and bomb-maker playground.
What if the request by Hot Chips had read as follows?
'I(the) program urgently wants to talk to teenagers who have
spread pornography on the 'net, been contacted by paedophiles,
or been in a situation where either was possible. We want to
hear about your experiences for a story on teenagers and
Internet crime. We've talked to the academics - now we want to
talk to you!'
> The present letter can have no other effect than to frustrate and
> alienate any journalist who is sincerely pursuing a legitimate line
> of inquiry.
I don't believe so. The "sincere" journalists have long ago decided that
the 'net is no more over-ridden by crime than suburban streets, and have
chosen to pursue 'net-related stories about provision of really valuable
resources and services (disabled support, knowledgebases, nifty use of
communications technology, whatever).
I'd describe much of the media attention the 'net is getting right now as
bandwagonism. It's an easy target. Get video footage of young teenagers
buying cigarettes or porn at their local store and the audiences will yawn.
Claim that the 'net is a cesspool and they'll be glued to their screens.
Some people may recall the Tony Sarno article on the front page of the SMH
that turned an Opposition promise to connect all of the schools to the
internet into a headline something like "Opposition proposes to connect
schools to the porn super-highway".
If you can combine porn, the 'net and election promises into a single
article, you've got a hot story. You don't even need election promises;
substitute in hacking or phreaking or bomb making or paedophiles. Given
this kind of media environment, I think Tom's media release is appropriate.
It's arguably an over-reaction, but if that's the case I think it's a
We'll see, anyway.
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