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Internet

Backlash over Net Porn Begins

Carnegie-Mellon University's study on sex on the Net, which was the focus of last week's Time cover story titled "Cyberporn," is under attack on multiple fronts.

According to several academics, the study, which was written by an undergraduate engineering student and published in the Georgetown Law Review, did not undero the usual peer review process and makes too many generalizations that are not properly substantiated.

One of the central problems with the study is that the data was gathered mainly from a subset of private bulletin board systems that specialize in selling pornography to adults. A representative from the Electronic Freedom Foundation said using this subset of users to explore interest in pornography was analogous to studying violence among American males using a subset of prison inmates.

Critics also noted that the study took the results from the subset of adult bulletin board enthusiasts and then extrapolated those findings to claim that pornographic images are common on public networks and not just on Usenet.