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Beyond Tolerance

Child Pornography on the Internet

Philip Jenkins

Publication Year: 2001

Perhaps nothing evokes more universal disgust as child pornography. The world of its makers and users is so abhorrent that it is rarely discussed much less studied. Child pornographers have taken advantage of this and are successfully using the new electronic media to exchange their wares without detection or significant sanction. What are the implications of this threat for free speech and a free exchange of ideas on the internet? And how can we stop this illegal activity, which is so repugnant that even the most laissez-faire cyberlibertarians want it stamped out, if we know nothing about it?

Philip Jenkins takes a leap onto the lower tiers of electronic media in this first book on the business of child pornography online. He tells the story of how the advent of the internet caused this deviant subculture to become highly organized and go global. We learn how the trade which operates on clandestine websites from Budapest or Singapore to the U.S. is easy to glimpse yet difficult to eradicate. Jenkins details how the most sophisticated transactions are done through a proxy, a “false flag” address, rendering the host computer, and participants, virtually unidentifiable. And these sites exist for only a few minutes or hours allowing on-line child pornographers to stay one step ahead of the law. This is truly a globalized criminal network which knows no names or boundaries, and thus challenges both international and U.S. law.

Beyond Tolerance delves into the myths and realities of child pornography and the complex process to stamp out criminal activity over the web, including the timely debates over trade regulation, users' privacy, and individual rights. This sobering look and a criminal community contains lessons about human behavior and the law that none interested in media and the new technology can afford to ignore.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

Throughout the book, I quote extensively from Internet newsgroups and bulletin boards, where the level of writing, grammar, and spelling is often abysmal. To reflect the tone of these groups accurately, I have left...


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pp. xi-xii

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ONE Out of Control?

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pp. 1-24

Over the last decade, politicians have often been agitated by the issue of Internet regulation, and they have usually couched their concerns in terms of protecting children. How can the young be kept clear of the...

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TWO Child Pornography

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pp. 25-51

For most observers, child pornography is not only repulsive but genuinely baffling, which may explain the reluctance to believe it is so widespread on the Internet, except as a kind of sick joke. Surely so...

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THREE Into the Net

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pp. 52-87

So how does child pornography work on the Internet? While a distinguished literature describes the organizational patterns found among various kinds of deviants, social, political, and sexual, perhaps no structure thus...

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FOUR A Society of Deviants

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pp. 88-114

Over the last half century, sociologists and criminologists have devoted much attention to studying forms of organized deviance, subcultures or gangs, in order to understand their values, ethics, and structures; but few...

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FIVE Moralities

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pp. 115-141

Subcultures are often characterized by distinctive systems of values that, to a greater or lesser extent, set them apart from mainstream society. Deviant groups like criminal gangs and sexual subcultures appear to operate on value systems...

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SIX Policing the Net

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pp. 142-164

The extent of the pedophile presence on the Web may seem startling to those who regard computer networks as an ultimate Orwellian nightmare. Over the last decade, the privacy issue has attracted ever more concern and increasingly...

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SEVEN Vigilantes and Militias

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pp. 165-183

Though trap sites as such might be mythical, some Web sites have acquired the reputation of being dangerous for porn enthusiasts, for reasons that might be instructive for future prevention efforts. Significantly, the most feared...

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EIGHT A Global Community

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pp. 184-203

New communication technologies have often been extolled for promoting the unification of humanity and the reduction of international tensions; when radio first developed in the 1920s, the BBC adopted the idealistic motto...

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NINE Where Next?

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pp. 204-224

Child pornography is a substantial presence on the Internet, and its potential audience is likely to grow rapidly as Internet usage expands. Given this fact, what, if anything, can be done? Is it possible to suggest solutions or responses...


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pp. 225


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pp. 227-253


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pp. 255-259

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pp. 260

Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of numerous books, including...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814743843
E-ISBN-10: 0814743846
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814742624
Print-ISBN-10: 0814742629

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2001