Area: ASKACOP Msg#: 582 Rec'd Date: 10/29/93 22:37 From: Bob Eden Read: Yes Replied: No To: All Mark: Subj: Info To Parents #1
The following letter is copied verbatim, from the works of Chief Alfred Olsen, of the Warwick Township Police Department, in Lititz, Lancaster County, Pa. Chief Olsen's comments are of special interest to parents who have children involved in modeming and Bulletin Boards. Following the letter will be child behavioral warning signs and comments from Chief Olsen and myself.
THE DANGER OF COMPUTER BULLETIN BOARDS by Chief Alfred Olsen Warwick Township Police Department 315 Clay Road, Box 308, Lititz, Lancaster County, Pa. (717) 626-3162
Over the years, as more and more pressure is applied, pornography
(especially that involving children) is being driven further and further underground. Resourceful pornographers and suppliers have employed a variety of methods for sneaking their goods into the country and then distributing the product to their customers. Of all these techniques, none has been more successful than the worldwide use of computer bulletin board networks.
To briefly explain, there are literally tens of thousands of
computer bulletin boards around the world and millions of actual users (subscribers). In central Pennsylvania alone, there are at least 500 known boards currently in operation. For the uninitiated, these bulletin boards are capable of connecting any home computer (with a modem - cost, approximately $50.00) to almost any place in the world. Now, bulletin boards (which are very much like electronic magazines or clubs) come in every range of interest. If you were interested, you could find bulletin boards with themes that range from cooking to dogs, to baseball cards, to religion, to sex, to satanism, to the KKK, to drugs, to murder and every other topic in between. Wandering through a bulletin board (BBS) is very much like reading a club newsletter and attending a meeting at the same time. Some of the information can be found in files areas (and copied to your home computer - including graphic photographs and full action movies), some of it is in message bases and the rest is exchanged during "live" chat sessions (one computer to another).
I realize, that this is at once amazing and infinitely
confusing, but bear with me just one moment. For the time being, simply keep in mind that a computer in central Pennsylvania, can connect itself to a computer in the Far East in about thirty seconds. Once that connection is made, whatever goes on in the Orient is now going on here. For example, if you had an interest in obtaining sexual materials featuring young boys (something that is clearly illegal in the United States), all you need do is select that topic from a menu (a bill of fare, so to speak) and see what they have to offer. Typically, you would be able to find stories depicting child sex (including a wide variety of rape fantasies), a list of still photographs that can be viewed on your screen and copied to your home computer and a selection of short films which can also be viewed on your screen. If you would like to order full length films or actual photographic prints, that service is available as well. And, as if that is not enough, if you would like to have an actual child-sex encounter, you may also find a listing of contacts who can make that arrangement for you. Are you shocked? Well don't be, because this is only the beginning.
You may have come to expect that an enterprise of that sort
might exist in the Far East, and you might even reluctantly concede the fact that modern technology is capable of connecting the criminal element all over the world. But, what if I told you that this very same thing is happening all across the United States. The fact of the matter is that in this country anyone with a personal computer can connect himself to any vile activity he or she can think of. If the computer operator happened to be a thirteen year old boy, for example, he could make contact with a sexual network (in the privacy of his own bedroom, without anyone's knowledge) and obtain virtually any material his little heart desires.
Okay, now hang on, because it gets worse from here on in. In
many cases, while collecting these sexual materials, the youth may also be invited to attend a "social gathering" or perhaps make arrangements for a "private encounter" with someone he has never met before. I'm sure you can guess the purpose of these meetings, so I won't elaborate.
On the other hand, our 13 year old may not be all that
interested in sex, so he finds something a little different. Perhaps he wants to buy a stereo system that his parents can not afford, so he calls a bulletin board that broadcasts stolen credit card numbers, or maybe he hates his parents and logs onto a board that will teach him how to steal from his father without getting caught or how to blow up the family car. Does this seem far fetched? Well it's not! Along the same lines, a child may log onto a seemingly innocent Star Trek Fan Club Bulletin Board and suddenly find himself invited to a satanic mass, might be offered drugs through the mail or might meet some new friends who want to help him to kill his parents.