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NYT Discovers Internet's Wild Side: IRC 627

maztec writes "The New York Times (free soul-sucking registration required) published an article today entitled The Internet's Wilder Side. Apparently, according to the article, 'the Internet has come to resemble a pleasant, well-policed suburb , [but] a little-known neighborhood known as Internet Relay Chat remains the Wild West.' In essence the article concerns itself with how IRC is the breeding ground of all the Internet's Evils, from animal pornography and illegal file sharing to virus making and computer cracking, it all starts here. I'd continue pointing out interesting quotes, but that'd be a waste. Go read it yourself. And if you're on IRC, remember, you're evil. Even if you're one of those do-gooders who uses Mozilla, LFS, or FreeNode servers for software development."
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NYT Discovers Internet's Wild Side: IRC

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  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orgazmus ( 761208 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:30AM (#9073822)
    Is not every place with free speech and relative stealthness a breedingplace for:
    -terroris ts

  • by steve buttgereit ( 644315 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:30AM (#9073824) Homepage
    I think this best sums up what is at play here:

    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." -- Lovecraft.

    IRC is still more difficult to use than AOL chat rooms and largely the domain of techies. Sure bad stuff happens there because it's not part of the mainstream, but I don't know that it's worse there than anywhere else... ...god help them if they find USENET.

  • Re:God forbid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ErisCalmsme ( 212887 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:30AM (#9073832) Homepage Journal
    Haha you beat me to it man! Newsgroups should be whispered, not spoken aloud lol. Let's keep it our little secret shall we?
  • by lxt ( 724570 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:31AM (#9073843) Journal
    The article implies IRC is the cause of the evils. IRC is a medium, not a cause. It's just a way of organising so called "evils". You still have to want to get to the "evil" material in the first place.
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peden ( 753161 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:31AM (#9073854) Homepage
    While the submitter might be right in hinting that the New York Times, does not know jack about the internet, they do have a point. IRC _IS_ the breeding ground for all sorts of weird stuff, be that legal or illegal, and although many people use it for strictly legal purposes, it could do with some cleanup. The question remains though, should IRC be censored along with everything else (little by little, our precious internet is going mainstream), or should it remain as it is? Personally I am for the staying of IRC, yet I also share the concerns of the Times.
  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:33AM (#9073882) Journal
    Wow, talk about your corporate motivated propoganda.

    the Internet has come to resemble a pleasant, well-policed suburb

    I guess the key here is well-policed, huh. Wouldn't want to offend.

    The problem that the corporate world has with IRC is that it's a network of humans, exchanging ideas and conversing freely. And, to make matters worse, they aren't paying a monthly/weekly/hourly fee to do so.

    I've read a lot of these "watch out for these free social based things on the internet, the only way to keep your kids safe is to stay on with your credit card in hand" articles.

    Meh, fuckit.
  • by darthcamaro ( 735685 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:38AM (#9073960)
    I live on IRC and sure as 'hell' don't consider myself to be evil. This lame ass journo probably got flamed and didn't know what do to. IRC is better than IM and is used by anyone and everyone in the dev community. I can't imagine participating in any of the FOSS projects that I do without IRC - it just wouldn't be possible.
    Speaking of which, is there a /. specific channel on Freenode?
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:39AM (#9073977) Journal
    The "problem" with IRC is that it connects people. IRC isnt a breeding ground for weird stuff, humanity is.

    The main beef is that IRC is an old, open protocol with countless free servers out there. How are you supposed to charge 10 cents per instant message when such things exist?

    Babies are safer when you write a lot of checks. Beware free things, they're inherently evil and unamerican. IRC is like a slum (he doesnt mention which network, I'll assume they're all the same). AOL chat rooms are where high class individuals masturbate.
  • What a load of BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phyruxus ( 72649 ) <jumpandlink&yahoo,com> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:39AM (#9073979) Homepage Journal
    IRC isn't any different, really, than a web page or a video cast. It's all just bits. The reason NYT can't understand this isn't that they're dumb, it's that they're inherently journalists not technologists.

    IRC isn't "where animal porn comes from", animal porn comes from people who like animal porn. Failure to apprehend this fact smacks of gross stupidity. IRC is just a chatroom. It's exactly the same as an AOL chatroom or an ICQ chatroom. The room isn't the place, the conversants are the place. Conversations can happen Anywhere. Plus our Constitution (you know, that thing Dubya keeps trying to shred) GARUANTEES us the right to free speech and peacable assembly. IRC is not some magical source of villainy, it's every streetcorner in America rolled into one blank page awaiting words.

    IRC isn't the problem. People are the problem. And we already have the solution. It's called the code of law. Not that the law is always the best law, but my point is that IRC is neither good nor evil, merely a tool. People who realize this can take the proper step, which is to try to fight the problem not the symptom. People who don't realize this make total asses of themselves in very public fora.

    "A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire
    "d'Oh!" - Homer

    PS, I didn't RTFA because I'm too lazy. Did YOU rtfa? ;-) Okay, then flame on, but please post a link without registration so I can rtfa and flame you back. One.

  • Godwin's Law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aneurysm9 ( 723000 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:40AM (#9073985)
    ...and I.R.C. users speculate that terrorists also use the networks to communicate in relative obscurity.

    Am I the only one who thinks Godwin's law needs a new corrolary?

  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:40AM (#9073988)

    Just calling them "chatrooms" makes me think you're full of shit.
  • by frinkster ( 149158 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:40AM (#9073998)
    You still have to want to get to the "evil" material in the first place.

    And if there's anything the drug war has taught us, it's that as long as people want something, people will get it.
  • by mattgreen ( 701203 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:41AM (#9074009)
    One more established form of media just disparages another because it doesn't understand it, or because it fears it. It's a shame, because average newspaper readers inevitably equate, "IRC = bad," and continue to spread the hearsay when it comes up in conversation.

    What are they smoking, anyways? The web is anything but a well-policed suburb. If anything, it's a middle school that is in perpetual recess. They just know if they were to apply these same arguments to the web that people would not stand for their bullshit.

    Once again, social acceptability shows itself to be completely arbitrary.
  • by rbanzai ( 596355 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:44AM (#9074041)
    Although my 65 year-old father has been using newsgroups for years for his cancer support contacts the mainstream media still doesn't have a clue about them. It's kind of amazing since these weenies don't have anything else to do other than dig up things to try and scare the public with.

    As for IRC I'm sure it's the pit of sin and mania that they describe but really, so what? Any communication stream will be used that way!

    I've tried IRC a couple of time but have to admit I don't know how to use it properly. I've tried about five different IRC clients and still am completely lost when I try and do anything.

    Maybe if I wait long enough it will be replaced by something that doesn't confuse me. :)
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by painandgreed ( 692585 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:45AM (#9074047)

    The question remains though, should IRC be censored along with everything else...

    Umm, what's censored currently? Nobody reviews my webpages before I put them up. There are plenty of porn and even illegal porn sites out there that you can get onto if you want to spend the time. Warez exist still and with a little work i coudl probalby find any program authentification code I want. The only place there might be censorship would/could be Google or other search engines if they blocked certain searches.

    If by censorship, you mean when illegal activity is found it is acted against, it has been censored for a very long time. Long before the web became a household word, IRC warez were being traded and people were being arrested for doing so. Police are already in IRC looking for peadophiles just as they are chat rooms.

  • by potus98 ( 741836 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:50AM (#9074127) Journal

    The suburbs is where all the s#!t happens that everyone *thinks* is limited to the "inner city".

    Leading market for gang growth and presence? The burbs.

    Leading market of drug users and drug spending? The burbs.

    Leading market for pr0n? Burbs.

    By far the leading market for SUVs (speaking of so-called evil)? Burbs.

    Number one users of so-called Earth killing pollutants? Burbs.

    The list goes on and on and on...

    Why do so many entities (read: media) STILL portray the suburbs as some sort of pure, loving, pastures of solice? The suburbs are like a nice, ripe tomato: All shiny and pretty on the surface, but a disgusting mess 1mm below the surface.

  • by DroopyStonx ( 683090 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:50AM (#9074129)
    It is still possible - though sometimes a bit difficult - to find mature technical discussions among the tens of thousands of I.R.C. chat rooms, known as channels, operating at any one time.

    What the hell? How is it difficult to find mature technical discussions? What do you want to discuss? Windows? Type "/list windows". Linux? "/list linux". When the results are complete, click the channel you want. Simple. Use your head, if results come back "#linux_sluts - Sluts who get naked and slutty for linux guys XXX", then chances are that's not a good place to discuss the latest kernel.

    These news articles are always reporting about unnecessary things. Why target IRC? AOL has the same type of shit. Take a look in the member created chat rooms... "m4m will swallow" "my dog, ur place" "azn m4 hamster" "canadian hookers" etc..
  • by idiotnot ( 302133 ) <> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:51AM (#9074142) Homepage Journal
    The print media look down on something different from their lofty, tradition-bound medium? Say it ain't so! They're objective journalists.* They'd never do such a thing.

    (But don't mention Jayson Blair, the USA Today dude, or William Randolph Hearst, lest you get your shins bitten).

    *journalist: n. a reporter who refuses to think.
  • Re:God forbid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by in7ane ( 678796 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:53AM (#9074165)
    "The pirated copies of music, films, games and other software were generally distributed using a separate Internet file-transfer system"

    You are right, and they are getting close as well.

    With newsgroups it will be even better though, since the groups are actually stored (possession) on company owned servers somewhere, which people pay subscriptions (profit) to access the messages (distribution) from - no, don't give them the idea... (actually I do wonder, how to the 'complete' newsgroup providers get away with this?)
  • Uh.... what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KeeperS ( 728100 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:53AM (#9074168)
    the Internet has come to resemble a pleasant, well-policed suburb

    Uh... it has? Are we using the same internet? The internet is full of spammers, annoying flash and pop-up advertising, worms, spyware, and all kinds of other undesirable things. If anything, it sounds more like the ghetto to me, not a well-policed suburb.

    a little-known neighborhood known as Internet Relay Chat

    Little known? I wouldn't call IRC mainstream, but it's certainly not obscure either.

    Anyway, given the crap ratio of that quote, I don't think I'll bother to read the article. (Gasp! What's this, someone posting without reading the article?)

  • Re:God forbid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:53AM (#9074176) Homepage
    I can't wait to see what happens when they discover newsgroups. Man, their heads will pop. ;)

    Heh. Newsgroups are less interactive, so I bet they wouldn't be as impressed. They can't watch live conversations between skript kiddiez and warez d00dz, so it'll have less "punch". Personally, that's what I like about newsgroups-- not having to talk to a 14 year old doofus and stroke his tiny ego enough to give me what I'm looking for is worth the spam-wading.

  • eMail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:55AM (#9074195) Homepage Journal
    Is not exactly that in email as a whole you will not find pornography, saying something that could break copyright laws (is not so common sending i.e. movies by email, but i bet could be send how to download them), offensive language, etc (and that, leaving spam on a side). Mailing lists don't do things much better. And email is truly used by everyone, not like IRC.

    Of course, is used also for useful things, and even they will agree that the email should not be regulated or banned because some people do a bad use of it.

  • by steve buttgereit ( 644315 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:58AM (#9074237) Homepage
    Yes and when I was that I age I was teaching my computer teachers how to use computers, but that doesn't mean a damn thing. 1) the young often times more easily adapt to complicated technologies than older people, 2) a twelve year old often times doesn't have much better to do than fuck with an IRC client, 3) -Most- 12 year olds don't use IRC because there are more readily available methods (like AOL and IM).

    Much of the point is that IRC takes more to get logged in, it takes more to find the client, it takes more to find an IRC server. Finally, you have to go looking for IRC whereas AOL and IM clients are thrust in your face.

  • by Zarxrax ( 652423 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:00PM (#9074249)
    Countries across the world dislike the United States. We have no morals, crime runs rampant, etc, etc. It's because we have free speech of course. Countries like china filter the internet to prevent free speech, thus preventing the evil. Apparently now, the new york times also agrees that free speech only breeds evil. Only when everyone's thoughts can be controlled, and made to conform to what the people in charge think is the "right way" will evil cease to exist.
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:01PM (#9074264) Journal
    I read somewhere that criminals and terrorists and child molestors and pirates also communicated on telephones!? Its not like people have the right to freely talk to eachother so lets restrict the telephone system. Maybe only approved people should be allowed phones?

  • I use IRC pretty often, and I've been a chanop in quite a few places (including some on EFNet, #1 in all of IRC!). Certainly, a lot of pirating goes on, but it still pales in comparison to people just going on to hang out with people with similar interests and/or careers from around the globe and talk shop or shit. The NYT's look at things, however, makes one think that all us IRC users are criminals and terrorists.

    But then again, what would you expect from such a fascist rag?

    IRC is a great place to communicate with others or find stuff that isn't available elsewhere (like anime titles that haven't been licensed for distribution in N. America). Actual pirating is bigger outside of IRC, and many of these so-called 'elite' pirates would use something more secure than IRC to communicate with each other.

    Simply put, the NYT has once again shown that it's not worth the paper it's printed on (or the electrons it's sending).
  • oh, of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SomeGuyFromCA ( 197979 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:09PM (#9074364) Journal
    Yes, IRC, along somewhat with newsgroups, form the sort of back streets and dirty alleys that people find sort of distasteful. And yes, pretty much anything you might care to want is there on IRC or USENET for the taking, whether copied games or copied media or porn.

    Or, friends you never met, meeting nightly to commiserate and socialize, or to trade tips on their favorite games, or just to let common interests bring them together.

    That's what this whole internet thing was built for in the first place - communication *between* *people*. (True, people at universities and in the military, but...) Not sitting passively in front of the computer having a corporate content pipe shoved down your throat.
  • by Milican ( 58140 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:11PM (#9074391) Journal
    We use IRC every day for legitimate work. We're not the only ones. Don't take my word for it though. Check out this link []. We progam, chat every day on IRC, and use source control tools to get our work done. This article while accurate in many ways was very unbalanced. That is a mark of poor journalism and is only done to sell newspapers. This is expected of publications like The Enquirer, but should not be the mark of the NYT.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:13PM (#9074419) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like yet another attempt to steer the 'general public' into lumping people together.

    "Look at this, only bad people use IRC... Perhaps there should be something done about this"

    Much as they are doing with P2P users, or even OSS people...

    Before you laugh, look at the use of the term 'hacker' and how the media perversed it into a bad word... The 'media' has great power over the mindless general public.
  • by Zareste ( 761710 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:16PM (#9074467) Homepage
    the Internet has come to resemble a pleasant, well-policed concentration camp.

  • by idiot900 ( 166952 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:22PM (#9074530)
    This makes it sound like all you have to do is plug a windows machine into the net and your in trouble. As much as I can't stand working with windows I find this to be over the top.

    Actually, it's not over the top at all. There are a number of worms that will infect a Windows box as soon as it's plugged in. I've seen a new XP install get infected within 20 minutes of first bootup.
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:25PM (#9074562) Journal
    "In some ways, the biggest problem is Microsoft Windows itself. Windows has holes that can allow a hacker to install almost anything on a computer that lacks a protective program or device called a firewall. Users' vulnerability can be compounded if they have not installed the latest patches from Microsoft."
  • Mos Eisley (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bfsmith9 ( 614114 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:28PM (#9074603)
    What a miserable article. It makes me sick. "Hackers gone wild." (It's always hackers, right? It's never, ever crackers, or phreaks, or software/music pirates, or whatever. Hackers, yes. Drill it home. Though the author does seem to know about other terms - like "warez", which the article carefully defines.) Love the SW reference. Can you picture righteous Obi Wan Ashcroft? "IRC... you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." A breeding ground for terrorists. OK, all set. Pack it up - we're done. Why read any more? We'll just have to outlaw this, along with guns, 747's, non-GPS cellphones, non-M$ systems, boxcutters, etc.

    "It is still possible, though sometimes a bit difficult, to find mature technical discussions..." Oh, come on! Which is it? Is it careening toward almost impossible, or do you just not know how to use IRC or what to look for? Then they have Bill Beer^h^h^h^h Bierman from U. of Hawaii who talks about how the "kids" use it to "go nuts." Girls Gone Wild - IRC!! "...seem to be ...dedicated to every sexual fetish!" Love this article! It's got everything! Violence, fear, sex, depravity. You have to admit - this kind of thing will sell newspapers.

  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:30PM (#9074621) Homepage Journal
    Well, I'm making a living right now because of that, so in a way I'm glad it's actually true. If you plug a Windows box directly into a high-speed Internet connection without updating everything first, the probability that you will be ownz0r3d rapidly approaches 1.

    If no firewall/NAT router is present, then it's absolutely inevitable that you'll get nailed on a Windows box. If the Windows box is pre-configured with a software firewall that's enabled, and fully updated, your odds of survival are good.

    I spent much of yesterday cleaning up things for a single client who had bought a new Dell a few months ago and put it directly on a SDSL connection. It was literally riddled with nasty stuff. She had called me when it started the Sasser-driven shutdown process - until that happened she had written off the computer's misbehavior as normal.

    And I have a lot of users in similar situations. Basically, most computer users buy it and expect it to work. They don't know about or care about security, and frankly shouldn't have to.

    But I can't complain, because Windows helps put food on my table. When they finally get it right, it'll be time for a new career!
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by System.out.println() ( 755533 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:31PM (#9074642) Journal
    If you post a page on almost any hosting service, and put kiddie porn on it, it'll likely get taken down. If you host it yourself, they'll probably trace your IP address, shut down your domain, etc.

    But if you connect to IRC through a proxy there's very little anyone can do.
  • Re:God forbid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoe ... g ['m.o' in gap]> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:48PM (#9074849) Homepage
    Yep. IRC + newsgroups = the original P2P and IM. alt.binaries.movies.divx or alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* anyone?

    Why hasn't someone set up a second internet over the main one, where IP allocation is dynamic, and untracable? You're only tracable through your IP address, so if you get allocated a random one, and routing still works, and you throw in a little IPsec, voila.
  • by carlos_benj ( 140796 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:57PM (#9074964) Journal
    It's kind of interesting that the NYT would engage in what I would consider sensationalist press.

    Right. That's /.'s job....

    From the article:
    Probably no more than 500,000 people are using I.R.C. worldwide at any time, and many of them are engaged in legitimate activities, network administrators say.
    The /. take?
    And if you're on IRC, remember, you're evil.
  • Re:God forbid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 3Suns ( 250606 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:12PM (#9075089) Homepage
    Next thing you know they're going to be finding UPS liable for shipping boxes of contraband information.
  • Re:God forbid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cshark ( 673578 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:13PM (#9075093)
    This was some of the most irresponsible journalism I've seen in a long time.

    First off, since when is the www a "well policed little suburb?" There's just as much shadiness on the web as there is on IRC. And it's super easy to get at. Just enter it into Google, and you're on your way. All without even touching IRC.

    The author also made some funny contradictions. Like the part where he says there are only 50,000 people on all of IRC on at any given time. And then in the next paragraph and the rest of the article he goes on to say how there's no way to know how many people are online. Funny, but a NYT editor should have caught that.

    The article was big on assumptions, and short on fact. If they really wanted to bring it home, they should have interviewed a virus writer or hacker who actually uses the system for this kind of thing. That would have made it an interesting piece.

    And rather than going on about how bad the thing is, the author should have proposed a solution, or spoken to someone who offers a solution.

    I don't know.
    A lot of this should have been covered in Journalism 101. I guess if the point of the article was fear mongering of the technically challenged, it got it's point across. But it seemed kind of yellow to me.

  • Re:God forbid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rudeboy1 ( 516023 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:31PM (#9075291)
    Just got done reading that "article."
    I didn't realize they gave jobs to people who were that bad at journalism.
    ""Can you tell us why the police were here a couple of weeks ago?"
    "I have no idea, I wasn't here."
    "Did you have child porn on your web site?"

    What the hell? They don't list his response to the last question in the article. What kind of a statement is that? The whole article reads like a nosy neighbor telling all about someone she called the cops on. I live in a small town in FL, but here, when they do a "investigative report," it is at the very least somewhat legitimate. They show you pictures of flies on hamburger about to be cooked and served, or something like that. Do these guys advertise as a news channel or a tabloid show?
  • by robochan ( 706488 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:43PM (#9075399) Homepage
    who caught the irony of all the "...said in a telephone interview" parts of this?
    They're investigating a communication medium, yet can't even be bothered to use that medium to interview people related to it?
    wtg NYT!
  • by beforewisdom ( 729725 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:50PM (#9075466)
    IRC is a niche thing, so I don't think it is very silly the NYT "discovers" it now.

    It can only have been in the last few years with popularization of the internet that non IT people would be on the net enough to hear the term "IRC"...enough for it to move into a reporter's vocabluary.

    Earlier ( and still many present clients ) irc clients had very unfriendly interfaces.

    Now there is chatzilla and gaim which make it friendly enough for ordinary people to venture into it.

    I still run into many IT people who never heard of IRC or even USENET.

    Regarding their other point which people made fun of, usenet is wild if you look at decorum, but its not wild if you think that one time you had to know something to use it and now anyone with a browser can go to Google and read it like a blog.

    The streets are paved there.

  • Re:God forbid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kombat ( 93720 ) <> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:54PM (#9075503) Homepage
    If anything, what WPVI did was abuse of journalism, IMO.

    One man's "abuse of journalism" is another man's "Freedom of the Press."

    Watch out, lest I report you for "abuse of speech."
  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @02:44PM (#9075972) Journal
    Sadly, it's the soccer moms getting freaky that constitutes most of the pr0n.
  • Re:God forbid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @02:55PM (#9076122)
    Sorry but lets look at the web and then see if its a well maintaned suburb. Just like a real suburb, once you scratch the surface you see the crap underneath that makes city life so fulfilling.

    1. Fake amazon, paypal ,etc sites. It doesn't matter if they get pulled down, within minutes they have your credit card number. How often do people drop their cc number in newsgroups or irc?

    2. Spyware. Lots of it. Misleading ads. Electronic extortion "look we can open your cd drive with activex, pay us 20 dollars for "security software"

    3. Web exploits.

    4. Ads and cookies compiling data about your surfing.

    5. Sites that teach hacking, p2p info, etc that no one on irc would bother to tell n00bs.

    Seems to me the web is a lot more dangerous for users than irc and newsgroups combined.
  • Re:God forbid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <`gro.sndnyd.derbatip' `ta' `todhsals'> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @03:12PM (#9076300) Homepage
    I don't think so, really. There's a reason you can't drive until you're 16... it's because you aren't capable of making good decisions until then, and often much later than that. The key is MOST people. There are always exceptions, but for the most part, if you're a 'kid', you aren't emotionally mature enough to be more than a pest.
  • Haven't read the article but...

    It IS accurate to consider IRC as underground, and the world wide web as the mainstream. Apart from the fact that the mainstream crowd has never heard of IRC, there are many more underground stuff happening. I don't know about sex-related stuff but there is definitely more software/music/movie/etc piracy.

    The internet world is just immitating the "real" world. Just like how the mainstream knows nothing about illegal drugs/guns/satellite dishes/etc that can be purchased in the underground, they also know nothing of IRC. You know... 90% of the population probably never even knows where the underground black market for a particular product is--they never come into contact. Similarly, 90% of hte population probably never ever comes in contact with IRC...

    Sivaram Velauthapillai
  • Re:God forbid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by InterventionOne ( 691513 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @06:44PM (#9078366)

    The article wasn't aimed at you. It was aimed at the general public. It was fairly balanced and described the good, the bad, and the ugly of IRC.

    This is a good point, but I'll debate the "fairly balanced" for two reasons:

    (1), as you sort of pointed out, it's much easier to get caught up in the "bad" than it is to notice the "good" in this article.

    (2), couple #1 with the fact that "the general public" tend to be paranoid when it comes to computer stuff that they don't know diddly squat about, and suddenly this article is yet another case of FUDSI.

  • by dcam ( 615646 ) <david@uberconcept.TEAcom minus caffeine> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @07:32PM (#9078705) Homepage
    Before I could even select which updates to install, I had a windows messaging box (the Windows functionality, not MSN messager) pop up. Anyway, I finished installing all the updates, and then proceded to install a virus checker and spyware removal programs, and the virus checker indeed did find stuff (I forget what).

    This has squat to do with worms and viruses. Windows 2K+ ships with windows messanger service set to start up automatically. Messenger service is designed for sysadmins to send message to the network. This has been exploited by spammers to sent out message box popups to people who haven't:
    1. disabled the service
    2. Installed a firewall.

    You should have installed a firewall *before* you connected to the web.
  • You're next (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poptones ( 653660 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @09:07PM (#9079393) Journal
    Apparently you don't watch the evening news (never mind read the messages these folks exchange). If you're busted and they find ANYTHING that will give them reasonable cause to suspect you are hiding something hardcore (or even just actionable in their jurisdiction) they'll take your computers, your monitors, routers, switches, mice, keyboards, your DVD players, your game machines - you'll be lucky if they leave you with a clock radio and a telephone. []

  • Re:God forbid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yosemite ( 6592 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:48AM (#9081168)
    I actually appreciate that 14 year olds, or any age, can get on the net. I was exposed to an amazing array of information near that age that I might not have had access to if I hadn't started to explore the net.

    I would really have to say that worrying about "agism" on slashdot is a waste of your time. The net, at least to me, is the domain of geeky teenagers, maybe you dont know it yet. That might be because of non-tech savvy older generation can't compete, but in any event the net provides for most kids a greater degree of autonomy then is possible in their everyday lives. So in that sense I think teenagers should be given more leeway then adults, they deserve it. You know-youth culture *always* supercedes the older generations.

    Let the kids roam, its good for the ecosystem. In fact, script kiddies are good for the ecosystem too as well as people who program and teach people to program. Hellz, there's plenty of room for all.

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