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The Courts Government Graphics Software News

Graphics Advances Make Identifying Real Images Difficult 531

Posted by timothy
from the click-here-to-convict-your-enemy dept.
destinyland writes "The FBI's geeks admitted they were nervous over computer-generated images at a recent forensics conference. In court they're now arguing that a jury 'can tell' if an image is real or computer-generated — which marks the current boundary between legal and illegal. But reporter Debbie Nathan argues that that distinction is getting fuzzy, and that geeks will inevitably make it obsolete." Note: some of the linked (computer-generated) images may be disturbing.
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Graphics Advances Make Identifying Real Images Difficult

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  • So SFW, or NSFW? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by celery stalk (617764) <micglin AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:12AM (#23680817)
    Disturbing doesn't really give us much to go on, and I don't feel like being the guinea pig.
  • by neomage86 (690331) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:13AM (#23680835)
    I thought the purpose of child-porn laws were to ensure that no children were hurt (a fairly noble goal).

    As long as no children are hurt in the production of these images, why does it matter how real they look?
  • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:14AM (#23680841) Homepage
    As CG graphics improve and more photography is done digitally instead of on film, what's to stop a savvy defense lawyer from convincing a jury to dismiss photographic evidence -- including video from surveillance cameras -- on the grounds that it's computer-generated and therefore fake?
  • by neomage86 (690331) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:16AM (#23680881)
    Do you have any evidence to suggest that viewing child porn (or, more specifically, cg child porn) increases crimes against children?

    That reminds me of Ken Thompson's argument that video game violence increases real-world violence.
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:20AM (#23680937) Journal

    The justification for child porn laws is that real children are harmed in making it. The justification for arresting purchasers is that they create the market for it. It doesn't matter whether they buy CG or real porn, they still encourage the crimes against children


    What? That conclusion doesn't follow from the premises you gave.

    The justification for making the production of child porn illegal is that it harms children. The justification for making owning child porn illegal is that it encourages producing child porn (and thus encouraging more harming of children).

    CG child porn doesn't harm children in its production, because its production doesn't actually involve children. And following the analogy, consumption of CG child porn would encourage the production of more child porn, but given the fact that you can produce it without running afoul of the law, you'd get more CG than real child porn produced.

    How does producing images that look like child porn without actually abusing children encourage crimes against children?
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:22AM (#23680955) Journal
    If you couldn't find the actual victims or any other evidence that the producer had abused a child in making the images, maybe you shouldn't be prosecuting them.
  • by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:32AM (#23681071) Homepage Journal
    There's a big gap between "not a good idea" and "illegal."
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:34AM (#23681093) Journal

    There does seem to be a link between viewing child porn and abusing children. Now that leaves open the question is do child molesters like child porn or does porn encourage it.


    Ok, if there seems to be a link, support that assertion with something besides what comes out of your ass.

    But then I also know people that are 80 and smoked a pack of cigs a day since they where 12 and I know a few people that survived combat without a scratch.
    I doubt that anybody would say those where both harmless.


    I agree, I wouldn't say those are harmless. However, I also wouldn't say that those examples are comparable to the kiddie porn/child molestation link.

  • by ArikTheRed (865776) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:39AM (#23681147) Homepage
    Sweet Jesus, you made your point. Now please stop saying "pr0n".
  • by Aranykai (1053846) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (resnogls)> on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:40AM (#23681169)
    Its almost like the burden of proof is on the prosecution and you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
    Wow, how novel.
  • by xaxa (988988) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:45AM (#23681229)
    And could someone please convert Slashdot to Unicode now? Sorry for all the stupid characters in that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:46AM (#23681255)

    I am posting as a AC since I modded the parent. You both are right. The situation is a catch-22. The advance of computer generated graphics allows both people who are turned on to images of children having sex to view these images without any actual abuse of children happening, AND to people that do abuse children in order with an alibi - they can just say the image isn't real.

    Possibly many people would just say that looking at child porn is wrong and immoral, whether any actual abuse took place or not. So I'd say that the day CGI is indistinguishable from real imagery, CGI will be as unlawful as the real thing. There are already a lot of proposals in this sense, sadly. Unfortunately I don't think this will actually help real abusers getting caught.

  • by Tom (822) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:47AM (#23681271) Homepage Journal

    I thought the purpose of child-porn laws were to ensure that no children were hurt (a fairly noble goal).
    Pfft.

    The purpose of child-porn laws is to create fear in parents and then tell them your party will take care of their children and they needn't worry - if only the vote for you. In other words: The purpose of child-porn laws is to generate votes.

    I've yet to see the slightest bit of evidence that any of these laws had any meaningful effect on actual child abuse at all. It's probably because the aim of those laws is the dangerous foreign stranger who abducts and abuses your child (a nightmare for all parents) instead of father/mother/uncle who abuses a kid (the by far most common case in real life).
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:51AM (#23681321) Homepage Journal
    "Disclaimer: I like porn and violent video games as much as the next guy, but there is research that shows that it does have negative consequences to the weak minded."

    But you see....a weak or weak minded individual can be susceptible to most anything....but, is that reason to remove the choice to view pr0n or play vi0lent video games? Some people are going to get addicted to any number of things, and abuse any number of things...some of those acts are criminal. But for the majority of us that are 'normal'...why should our freedom to indulge in pleasurable things, as long as they don't physically harm REAL people (ok, a little leeway on the S&M people who enjoy being hurt, but, that's a side topic) be infringed upon. If someone gets off on watching rape videos, why not let them...if the act (which is illegal in real life) is simulated by actors or CGI...what's the harm?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:52AM (#23681329)
    Also, think about this. If you look at pr0n, doesn't it make you horny?

    Now, let's talk about child pr0n. Doesn't matter whether it's virtual or not -- if you're a pedophile, it will still make you want to go out and act on that, just as 'normal' pr0n does for the non-sexual-deviant.

    Do you really think that stimulating child predators with pr0n -- even virtual pr0n -- is a good idea?


    This is slashdot. People here don't have girlfriends, which makes it easy to compare with child porn (no, wait, just read on).

    Watching porn makes us horny. So, does that mean we rape women? No, we jack off.

    How about a paedophile? Watching child porn makes him horny. Does that mean he rapes children? No, he jacks off.

    Sure, there are rapists both among normal(tm) people and among paedophiles. Why would they need porn? To jack off? But they can't rape someone at the same time. No matter what, if they jack off, that "wet spot" is not going inside a victim (child or otherwise).

    So, watching porn and jacking off reduces the number of rapes (statistically proven for years when it comes to adult porn). But *producing* child porn increases it. (Legal adult porn is made with willing actresses, and thus not rape). That's why we outlaw child porn.

    CGI offers to remove the "increases it" part.
  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:52AM (#23681347)
    it has the words "illegal" and "porn" even in its URL. So guess what the Firewall think what you might be browsing....
  • by MadMartigan2001 (766552) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:53AM (#23681359)
    If they can generate images of kids that you cannot tell are fake, then they can generate images of YOU that cannot be identified as fake. So, it's just a matter of time before we start putting "sicko pedo bastards" in jail for harming innocent children when in fact, not a single real person appears in the photo. At the same time, real sick and twisted pedophiles, who are smart enough to cover their tracks, will continue to abuse real children. But who cares about that right? As long as we hang a few, innocent or not, it makes us feel better.
  • Re:NSFW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xaxa (988988) on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:56AM (#23681397)

    It'd be nice to see a "NSFW" (Not Suitable For Work) tag on the article. I clicked the link and I'm at work, and am now worried that large men with guns will appear. Saying "The following images may be disturbing" is too ambiguous.
    You have a warning. It's up to you to decide what the risk is to you, and whether to click the link or not.
  • by Zarhan (415465) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:05AM (#23681503)
    Canon at least is, in their DSLRs, have the option to put on "authenticity verifier". Basically it's a hash of camera's serial number, the image, and some private key, and it's stored as a EXIF tag. The idea is that if you take the pic straight out of camera without doing any modifications you can vouch that it's authentic.

    Problem of course is that you could just generate the image on a computer and photograph it off a display screen...
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:05AM (#23681507) Homepage

    The idea is that each pixel would be assigned its own identifier. Kind of like HTML format like #342332. You then take the sum of the identifiers (or something like that) and use the camera's encryption key and sign the document.

    I won't speak to the technical issues with this. They're not my concern.

    As someone who owns several cameras and does a lot of photography -- I kinda worry about anything which will make images tied to the photographer. If I photograph a crime, or evidence or police misbehaving, or a protest march, or what have you ... I'm kinda leery about having my identity (or at least, my cameras identity) being burned into everything I do. I lose the ability to anonymously photograph things.

    Also, I'm not going to pay for the technology in the camera so that at some point I can prove that it's a real photo and not CG -- it would add costs to my camera and no benefit whatsoever.

    Besides, a hell of a lot of digital photography goes through at least some post-processing. It's part of the worklfow, peoples grannies can now use red-eye removing software, or cropping, or what have you -- "altering" an image isn't nearly as nefarious as you seem to think in the overwhelming majority of photos.

    The only cameras I can see this idea being viable for would be surveillance, police, or other things that need to establish their evidentiary pedigree. For the rest of us, proving it's a real photo isn't necessary.

    Cheers
  • by value_added (719364) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:08AM (#23681545)
    How does producing images that look like child porn without actually abusing children encourage crimes against children?

    It doesn't, in the same way that producing images that look like Natalie Portman encourages crimes against Natalie Portman.

    But that's not the point, is it? The fear underlying all this legislation is that someone "might" want to view such images, and "might" want to do something after viewing them. Given the current hysteria, any degree of "might" (in any context) is considered unacceptable. That's where the thinking starts and stops.

    Forget the logic, or that most all real abuse happens in the home or by a close relative, or that child porn, with few exceptions, and in the sense of traditional porn, doesn't and never has existed on the internet or elsewhere, that there is no industry or corresponding market, or that most people interested in this stuff are closet types who, if given the choice, would happily stay in their basements and talk to no one.

    Complicating the matter is that kids are maturing earlier, sex is everywhere (whatever that means), and there's no one at home or with the time to watch over them (both parents are working). This shifts the responsibilities and obligations to everyone else. But since few want such a role, legislation is required to force us, however indirectly, into taking on those responsibilities. And to make it easier, we need to create a bogeyman to justify things.

    Remember, "abuse" is whatever Dr. Phil says it is, so with everyone being "abused" these days, our legislators are only too happy to pass more laws. Law enforcement, of course, are equally happy, but most often for very different reasons.
  • Correlation != Causation.

    I really wish people would understand this. Correctly, it's "Correlation is not necessarily Causation." Too many people think this is some magic mantra that proves (or disproves) something. Correlation may, and very often does, lead to conclude Causation. Correlation is evidence.

    And if you think porn isn't harmful to some people, you are just delusional. Porn is similar to alcohol. In moderation it's not harmful, but excessive exposure can be damaging.

  • by Alpha830RulZ (939527) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:19AM (#23681665)
    95% of rapists have viewed porn. 100% of rapists were given milk as a child. Clearly we should also ban milk.

    Sheesh, what passes for a math and logic education these days...
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:21AM (#23681689) Journal

    Rather than speaking from your ass, you could do a little research on your own.


    Ah, but I didn't make any assertions, I merely challenged someone who was making assertions to back them up.

    Of course, there is a causation/correlation argument that could be made here, but to someone with tendencies already, this may push them over the edge whereas they may have lived a normal life without it.


    Or, to put it another way, this study doesn't in any establish a causal link between pornographic exposure and child molestation, nor does even hint at your suggestion that a lack of exposure to child pornography might prevent a person from acting on their sexual desires for child.

  • by Drakonik (1193977) <drakonik@gmail.com> on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:23AM (#23681729) Homepage
    I would mod you up with all the points I had, if I hadn't already spent mine.

    Pedophiles are everywhere. Your best friend might be one. Your boss might be one. Your MOTHER might be one. They're not all psychopaths on a child-murdering rampage.

    Saying that any kind of porn encourages acting out the content of said porn is like saying that playing a violent video encourages you to go out and kill people.

    If someone is interested in having sex with children, then they've already made up their minds whether it's worth the risk or not, and locking away child porn isn't gonna remove material for their fantasies. Have you SEEN some of the clothes and swim-suits children wear these days?
  • by Alpha830RulZ (939527) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:29AM (#23681801)
    In moderation it's not harmful, but excessive exposure can be damaging.

    Um, sez who? You and your baptist minister? Perhaps you can look to Denmark for evidence - porn is freely available, has been for a long time. Perhaps their low sex crime rates are evidence of porn causing a harmful repression of initiative, or...? ;-)

    I would submit that anyone that pornogrpahic material can 'harm' has already been harmed by some other cause. People with anything resembling a healthy mental state are not moved to violent acts by pictures. I further submit that children are not harmed by porn. Having had a certain amount of exposure from the time I was 12, I feel qualified to comment that until you are old enough to care about sex, porn is uninteresting, and then once you -are- old enough, it tends to lead to fairly predictable behavior. If masturbation strikes you as illegal and dangerous, perhaps porn is harmful. But few will agree with you, I'm afraid.
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:30AM (#23681811) Homepage Journal
    "Playing violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Kombat can increase a person's aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings

    and in actual life, according to two studies... Does that qualify as harm? I would think so. However, since you seem to value my own opinion over that of trained psychologists, I'll answer that question for you with another question. Is the damaged caused by violent video games greater than the harm caused by the gov't stepping in trying to regulate such things? Then ask yourself the same thing about child molestation and child porn. Be sure to recognize that while violent video games are not illegal, child porn is. Also, be sure to consider if your opinion would change if you had been a victim of either crime.

    There are TONS of things that are harmful...and proven harmful to adults, that are perfectly legal. Alcohol and smoking are two great examples. Let's target booze. It is proven to be harmful if abused in humans. It provably DOES change and alter behavior, with many cases linked to violent and/or sexual behavior that is illegal. Yet...do we ban booze? No...we make the person responsible for their actions, whether under the influence or not.

    Same with violent video games and pr0n, (which have much less concrete data behind their influence on behavior than alcohol)...you are responsible for your actions after being exposed to them.

    Bottom line, IMHO, as an adult, you should be allowed to do pretty much what you want UNTIL it violates anothers freedoms or harms them.

    Viewing CGI depictions of crime causes no harm to a victim...whether it be simulated murder, incarceration, or sexually deviant behavior. So, what is the harm? Seems pretty much like playing some video games actually...just more realistic, and some people get their jollies off on it.

    I don't think it is the govt.'s place to tell you as an adult what you can do, use, view or participate in unless it harms another person directly. It is not the place of the govt to protect you from yourself....do what you will, but, face the consequences if you fsck up....THEN the govt steps in.

    Just my $0.02...

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:55AM (#23682159) Homepage Journal
    Hello Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle.
    95% of people lung cancer smoked 100% drank milk. So milk and not smoking causes lung cancer.

    Please that is the old line that a bunch of hippies came up with when trying to say pot didn't doesn't lead to other drugs.

    Your math and logic are just as bad as anyone you are trying to criticize.
    In my original post I did make a statment leaving open that it may not have to be a cause. However don't you think that throwing away the very idea that the easy availability of constant sexual stimulation might have an effect on sexual behavior as just a bit silly?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:07AM (#23682299)
    About that logic... What about the percentage of non-rapists who viewed porn? What about the number of non-rapists who were given milk as a child (also 100%)? If the numbers are the same for milk, then we throw it out. How about porn though? Is there actually a statistically significant difference? Your cute non-logic-based response sure doesn't answer that.
  • by jeffasselin (566598) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ednilocamroc]> on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:19AM (#23682481) Journal
    The problem with laws that target crimes mostly committed by mentally unstable people is that those people are mentally unstable, and will not be deterred by respect for the law, fear of justice any more than they would be by standards of morality, or their conscience.

    So yeah, many of those laws are for show, as in they can be used to punish and try to prevent recidivism, they will not prevent most of such crimes in the first place.
  • Re:NSFW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:50AM (#23682875)
    For some reason, he wanted a NSFW tag on an article that is, well, NSFW. You can write articles about child porn (and even have pictures that are disturbing) without running afoul of NSFW guidelines. Disturbing is a very vague word. NSFW is not.
  • by nospam007 (722110) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:50AM (#23682881)
    No comments and already both sites are down? Wow.

    Just add a 'disturbing' and the slashdot crowd actually reads TFA, I second the 'wow'.
  • by Eccles (932) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:51AM (#23682895) Journal
    Also, think about this. If you look at pr0n, doesn't it make you horny?

    Uh, no, I look at pr0n because I'm already horny, and the wife is asleep or left early for work.

    And when I look at pr0n, I will often see or read and by stimulated by things that I would not actually like in real life. Consider how many women admit to rape fantasies, but would be greatly harmed by the real thing. Just as 2girls1cup (which I haven't seen, but I've read descriptions of) hasn't led to an outbreak of cropophilia, and the growth of the internet hasn't led to mass increases in the amount of sex people are having, images aren't forcing behavior. If anything, they may sate urges that otherwise might be directed in harmful ways.

    As another example, the typical use of hotel pr0n is for it to watched, on average, for 12 minutes. The guy on the business trip who satisfies himself that way is the guy who isn't then going down to the bar in the lobby and picking up a woman there for the night. So if anything the existence of those movies (or laptops with internet access) probably reduce immoral behavior among married businessmen.

    So making CG images available may actually reduce the number of pedos who seek out real victims.

    asstr dot org has plenty of pedo stories. Do you think it should be banned for stimulating child predators?
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:53AM (#23682925)

    So I'd say that the day CGI is indistinguishable from real imagery, CGI will be as unlawful as the real thing.

    Sadly, you will be right. And when CGI will become illegal, all kinds of art stored on computers will become questionable, to the point where merely accusing someone will be trivial.

    And then we're right back in that weird world where you have to prove your innocence to a tribunal of witch hunters. It will be fun.
  • by Detritus (11846) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:54AM (#23682933) Homepage
    No children need to be involved for the state to prosecute and destroy the life of someone who is in possession of thought-crime material. From what I've read, much or most of the "child pornography" that is in circulation is decades old, much of it from commercial publications that predate the current hysteria and draconian laws about child pornography. You never have to touch a child, just be in possession of some 30-year-old Danish porn magazine that shows naked teenagers. When do we start burning witches and heretics? How did we end up in a world where it is a major crime to possess books or art that have been deemed dangerous or obscene?
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:02AM (#23683087)
    Good fucking lord. Photoshopping is now considered manufacturing child porn? Do you remember what the purpose of the child pornography laws was?

    At some point, it is useful to step away from definitions of words and look at the purpose of actions. In this case, no one was harmed, but you sent someone to jail. Nice work. In the meantime, real child molesters were still running around.
  • by Feanturi (99866) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:17AM (#23683307)
    Umm, weren't the Japanese as a culture already pretty screwed up with regards to how men historically treated women, before widespread porn? Isn't Japanese porn instead a statement about what these men have always wanted from their women?
  • by B Nesson (1153483) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:25AM (#23683435)
    These were just as damaging as a man photographing or videotaping himself raping a child?

    Is this what you're actually saying? Photoshop is as damaging as rape?
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:29AM (#23683501)

    In Virginia, we found him guilty because he "manufactured child porn"
    Well done. I wonder though, that maybe in the future we could have special representatives from a given community to ensure that mere technicalities do not stand in the way of common sense. I don't know, maybe we could call them a "jury of our peers", or something. It'be great, because while the current system can convict based on a strict interpretation of the law, even when it doesn't make sense and does not resonate with the deeper reasoning behind the law, a so called jury would see, that for example in this case manufacturing child pornography means the punishment of behaviour that involves kids in sexual scenarios, that you cannot manufacture child pornography without actual children involved.

    Congratulations, another case when people can't make difference between "ewww, that's gross" and "that is/should be illegal".
  • by Stoutlimb (143245) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:30AM (#23683521)
    On that last part... I'd like to point out that porn is also much cheaper than dating. It's good to balance these positive aspects with the negative, especially when there's not much of a chance of getting a date worth spending money on. I'm sure my observation would resonate with most Slashdotters.

    The trick is to forget the porn when you date, or better yet, share...
  • by clam666 (1178429) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:30AM (#23683529)

    The main thing I learned from studying psychology for six years in university is that every study apparently has an agenda, and with all the ones I participated in as a member or a researcher, they are all based on faulty assumptions about how humans work, and how people respond when they know they're being studied.

    The "conclusions" below, are inherently rife with all sorts of debatable points.

    * developed an increased sexual callousness toward women

    Or the kind of people that will get paid/studied to watch hard core porn for weeks are the kind of people that already have sexual callousness.

    What the hell is sexual callousness anyway? I'd argue that it's the default setting for males, who are not mate-for-life animals, despite what the Bride Magazine and the Bible leads us to believe.

    * began to trivialize rape as a criminal offense or no longer considered it a crime at all

    Or were just being more honest about what they actually thought. Few people run around telling everyone they know they trivialize rape, murder or such due to the social consequences. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to consider murder as a viable alternative to dealing with customers or employers or family members. In America we trivialize rape, murder, and violence constantly in our culture. Football and UFC are acceptable "alternatives" to violence that we aren't allowing ourselves to do, so we invent a rule-based sport, unless we can make a case for war somewhere on earth, then we do it with a vengence. Rape was never considered a crime in marriage, until very very recently. Women married in their early teens. Hard core porn exists because it's something we cannot acceptably do, though plenty of people want to. Porn doesn't invent the desire. We have the desire so some people like it. We don't like abused children, but B. Spears claimed to be a virgin in a schoolgirl costume and sold a whole lot of albums. I'm sure eveyone watched her videos for the music.

    * developed distorted perceptions about sexuality

    That's agenda all over. What is "distorted"? Anything other than missionary? Bologna. Define normal please.

    * developed an appetite for more deviant, bizarre, or violent types of pornography (normal sex no longer seemed to do the job)

    Normal sex rarely does the job anyway, but I'm a pervert. I'm sure oral sex is deviant and bizarre too (so silly, you'll never make a baby that way). I feel sure that this study should have concluded that wasting time trying to give the girl an orgasm is bizarre and distorted. In my biology classes they stressed that female orgasms are not relevent to procreation. The Bible we're supposed to procreate, not enjoy it, so she doesn't get one. Amen.

    * devalued the importance of monogamy and lacked confidence in marriage as either a viable or lasting institution

    Agenda. Monogamy is an invention from thousands of years ago to protect children and provide for women. It isn't natural at all, for men or women. I base this on the observation that almost everyone has had sex with more than one person (slashdot excepted) and many times cheat on each other. Also, we apparently have divorces from monogamy, when it get's too boring, so we don't take it that seriously.

    * viewed nonmonogamous relationships as normal and natural behaviorxi

    Agenda. That's because it isn't normal behavior. We lust or have sexual thoughts about other people all the time. We may emotionally have strong connections to an individual, but sexually it's normal to think of someone else now and then or appreciate a woman's assets as she walks by.

  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:34AM (#23683575) Journal
    Well, you know, it's a bit like cell phones and brain cancer: if it has a signifficant effect, where are the piles of bodies, so to speak?

    Since 1984, porn has become a lot wider available. Not that it didn't exist before, but now you don't even have to drive and rent a VHS cassette. A majority of men has seen a lot more than six weeks worth of porn in their lives, and the numbers for women are rising too. (I wonder what porn causes in those, then. They start thinking rape is OK too?) Look around you at the mall, and at least half the people you see are viewing porn regularly, or did at some point.

    If there were that big an influence, we'd see the effects all over the bloody place. I mean, seriously, you if you have causation you must have correlation too. Not the other way around, duly noted, but causation => correlation every single time.

    Did the number of rape offenses rise signifficantly? No, I don't think so. In fact, it seems to decline with the availability of internet porn. Hmm.

    Did it cause widespread mis-treating and demeaning attitudes towards women? I don't know about the USA, so feel free to fill in the blanks, but at least in the less-prudish continental western Europe I see not much of that. You see naked boobs even on billboards and on ads on busses here in Germany (no hardcore stuff, though), and brothels are all over the place, but it's also one of the most equal minded countries. IIRC, it's got one of the most equal women/men ratios in tech jobs, and in a lot of other jobs too. And I just don't see that callousness towards women all around me by now. Do you?

    If it causes an appetite for more deviant, bizarre, or violent kinds of pornography, then there must be a cap to that slope. Because we haven't had any "breakthrough" in extreme porn since 1984. All those guys watching porn for all these years, should by now be at the stage of raging lunatics that don't get off on anything short of Death By A Thousand Cuts by now. And it just didn't happen. Most people barely progress a bit past missionary position in their taste for perversions. There are some more "extreme" niches, but the keyword is that they're niches.

    And here we come to the meat of what that study's about:

    * devalued the importance of monogamy and lacked confidence in marriage as either a viable or lasting institution

    * viewed nonmonogamous relationships as normal and natural behaviorxi

    Ah, heh, so that's what it's about. "Oh noes! People get as immoral as to sometimes have a mistress too! And some even have sex without marriage!!" I.e., OMFG, some people are no longer (pretending to be) models of puritan morals! The world is coming to an end! Heh. I'm sorry. You had my attention for a bit while it was about rape (a heinous crime, no doubt) and demeaning women. But if they had to pad the list with, basically, "oh noes! people are not staying monogamous!!" as teh uber-danger to humanity, it speaks volumes about the mind-set that produced it and for which audience.

    And never mind that they did so before porn too. I hate to be the one who breaks your (or their) fantasy bubble, but we have a stretch of some thousands of years where people had lovers and mistresses and premarital sex, long before porn movies. We have renaissance authors writing such things as that the unmarried women of their time being saits from the front, and martyrs from the back. A reference as thinly veiled as it gets to anal sex. (I know, buggrit, and here we were enjoying a nice fantasy in which only porn causes people to get such perverted ideas ;) We have stuff like Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund thanking the city of Konstanz in writing for providing some 1500 prostitutes for the Council of Constance. (You know, the famous one where they burned Jan Hus at the stake and thus started the Hussite Wars.) We have such civilizations as the ancient greeks, which were as close to amoral sexually as it gets, even by the standards of a modern hardcore addict. Etc

  • by Xtravar (725372) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:49PM (#23684631) Homepage Journal

    Simple. If I have absolutely never heard of a product, how would I know it's available to buy it?
    Or rather:
    "If I have absolutely never seen women treated in misogynistic ways, how would I know it's an option for me to act in such a way?"

    I'm not saying I necessarily agree, but you walked right into that one. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2008 @02:29PM (#23686125)

    It's sick and I wish the parents would teach their kids better, help them understand modesty and self-respect.
    Quick question.

    Do you REMEMBER being a teenager?

    hah!

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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