Census and Property
In July of 1995, Time magazine proudly announced that the Internet was awash in pornography. They reported that 83.5 percent of the digitized images on USENET newsgroups were pornographic (38). They based their numbers on a "an exhaustive study" completed by Martin Rimm, an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University. They go on to say that BBS operators estimate that 98.9 percent of the online consumers of porn are men (40). Although it is well known by now that Time grossly distorted the figures--more reasonable estimates place "the cyberporn threat" at "only about one-half of 1 percent of all Internet communications" (Burstein and Kline 110), what makes Time's article interesting is not the debate over numbers, but how Time describes the threat of cyberporn:
For Time, online pornography is a threat because it is no longer a "seedy" business ghettoized and held at bay by the public censors, but terrifying shape-shifter that can cross erase boundaries between public and private, producer and consumer, other and self.