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3/7/2003
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Readers Respond To Bob Evans' Column On Visa's Anti-Porn Battle

Evans' column last week about Visa's efforts to battle child pornography elicited some strong reactions. Here's a sampling of those responses.

You can continue to E-mail him at bevans@cmp.com and share your thoughts. Or go to his discussion forum.


I got this note from your system to say my E-mail was not delivered to you. I was writing to tell you about a broken link to the Christian Science Monitor article referenced in your article re: Visa. And to thank you for the good article--and for a good publication in general.

Maybe it got rejected because I had the word "p...o...r...n" in it? I dunno. That word was NOT in the subject line.
Phil Dawson


Good management on the part of Visa International, good work on the part of you for letting me know through InformationWeek!
William R. Camiré
South Yarmouth, Mass.



Kudos to Visa. And kudos to yourself for reporting a bright spot in a horrible thing.
Mark L. Peterson
EDS employee and concerned citizen



It's refreshing to read an article that takes the view that it's not all that difficult to be able to "simply recognizing the big, fat, nonblurry line between right and wrong and saying, 'Enough.'"

I appreciate the good old common sense behind that line! (I'm sure there will be no dearth of those who will be quick to argue that the line is not one that's "big, fat, nonblurry!")

I wish more in our educational system would be as forthright as you are in your article. Thankfully there are some who are trying.
Dilawar Edwards
Professor of Education, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Programs, California University Of Pennsylvania, California, Pa.



I have to admit, I don't usually read your articles. Not a choice to avoid, just a decision based on topics and my own limited time to peruse them. This topic grabbed my attention for one of the very reasons you brought up, namely how a company can balance the basic profit motivation with its people's personal desires to influence the world in a positive way. I'm glad to see Visa take a stand. I have very strong feelings about (i.e. against) the way religious and moral thinking is pushed on people in general by a self-nominated chosen few, but this is basic human-value stuff. Kids don't have the experience and knowledge to decide for themselves so many of the things that will affect them for the rest of their lives. They just end up being used, abused, and thrown away like the newsprint we wrap fish in. I'll probably read a greater percentage of your articles now just because you've also taken a stand and because we have something in common.
Richard Morrisson


I just finished reading your March 3 back-page article, "Kudos To Visa for Battling Pornography." In a period of roughly 330 business days, Visa managed to locate 400 child pornography Web sites, for an average of 1.2 sites per day. A Google search could have done better than that. In fact, I'd expect the FBI has a list longer than that and that it would have been willing to share it.

Just how much of my credit-card interest did Visa waste "closing down" these 320 sites (less than one a day!)? And how many were back on the air using telephone-number billing a week later?

Instead of congratulating them, you should have asked, "Was it worth it?"
Ross A. Patterson
Professor of Education, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Programs, California University Of Pennsylvania, California, Pa.



It was like a breath of fresh air hearing that Visa is taking a stand against child pornography. Thank you for highlighting this in your column.
Bob Arrowsmith


Thanks for putting this story out to readers of InformationWeek. In the course of events when all value seems to point only to the almighty dollar, it's good to hear of a company that would, as you stated, say, "Enough," and adopt a real value, a virtue that demonstrates its concern for decency and victimized children in our society. Thanks for stating all so straightly as well.
Grant C. Millikan
Chief Information Officer and Assistant Provost, Office of the Provost, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.



I have read your columns for quite a while. Your column is one of the main reasons that I look at InformationWeek. It's food for thought from a perspective that I don't have time to develop on my own. I appreciate your bringing to my attention someone taking action for right. I passed on to a local newspaper columnist a copy of garbage that I resented being sent, and all he could say was that it was free speech. I'm frustrated at times that I can't come up with a credible argument to respond. There's a limit to free speech, and I feel that it has been often violated.

Thanks for your column.
Larry B.


I applaud your column "Kudos To Visa For Battling Pornography." Child pornography and slavery are the worst things that a human society could engender.
Khanh Luu
Certified Java Programmer for the Java 2, Software Developer



Thanks for a well-written and very meaningful article about Visa working, via IT, to crush child pornography within its reach.

I wanted to let you know that the referenced link to the breaking story in the Christian Science Monitor is a valid link, but has no story once you get to the page.

Anyway, thanks again--this is a real "score one for the good guys" article with a heavy positive kudo to IT in general.
Marc


I worked for a well-known vacuum cleaner manufacturer in Bristol, Va., as its network administrator. One of the employees was suspected of having pornography on his computer by his co-workers, but our proxy server didn't log any evidence to support the claims. I went on-site to inspect the system after hours and was appalled at what I found. The individual had installed a modem and was using his fax line to browse the Internet without being monitored. But his Netscape cache was full of child pornography. I copied the offensive material to one of the servers and went home. I cried nearly all of the 45-minute drive.

The next morning, I told my manager what I had found and pointed him to the server for the evidence. He suggested they were young nudes and did not plan on pursuing the matter. I was horrified to think this was going to be swept under the rug. I threatened to go to the police if nothing was done, but my manager seemed unaffected by this threat. So I hit him hard with one sentence that changed his mind. The sentence was, "What if those young nudes were one of your daughters?" The employee was fired by the end of the day.

I'm glad to hear that Visa has decided to stand up against this type of looking away.
Anthony Reece
MCSE



Thanks for reporting on this issue.

I've thought for some time that IT professionals are the modern equivalent of the wizards of the dark ages. What we do seems like magic to the common man. Wizards are judged by whether they were good or evil. I think that in the future we will be judged in the same way.
Bruce Spidel
Senior Engineer, International Centers for Telecommunication Technology, Terre Haute, IN



Well said.
Gary Unterschutz


Well said in standing up for what's right by crediting Visa for battling child pornography. Similarly, I hope other technologists will stand up against pornography in general and other dangerous pastimes that increasingly threaten the Internet as a safe medium for my young children.
Steve Jensen


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