Reader Comments

Speaking of pandering, I found this part of the new article a fine example of how to make the Internet a befuddling and scary place...

"...Who knows what's going on at the congressional E-mailbox of Newt Gingrich, another victim? He has an automated-reply program that answers every E-mail that comes in. At week's end, millions of his form letters were still being beamed to Internet users all over the world."
Millions?!?!? Beamed?!?!?!

Hype, and even if it was true, that would be Newt's fault for having a stupid auto-reply program that can easily be told to mail-bomb people. Also, why would Newt be the victim?!?!?!?!?

So much for PED/TIME being interested in educating the public.

I think it's safe to say we're fighting for the same cause, so let me run by you another take on "Way Wrong Number," Time's April 1 article by Joshua Quittner.

You're characterizing Quittner's phone-sex piece as being descended from PED's Net porn horror story. I think they're different. Where PED is barely technically literate, Quittner knows his tech better. Where PED set out to shock, Quittner seems mainly to want to spin his story out, fact by absurd fact. His Wired pieces, his book "Masters of Deception," and his anti-AOL snipings suggest his aims aren't very different from our own.

Sure, Time wants it both ways. Time wants to titillate. It also wants to appear to be stalwartly pro-free speech. I wouldn't want Quittner's job there.

But I think his piece is still a less-than-lurid effort. Its use of lurid details doesn't strike me as terribly PED-like. I'm more troubled by the facts themselves. What bothers me is that a councilman, once offended, can marshal the resources (investigatory, governmental) to redress his wrongs in ways the average citizen seldom can. Suponcic's phone number appears on a phone-sex .gif, so the State Department leaps into action? It's an interesting look at power having its nose wiped for it. Ironically for the case I'm trying to make here, Quittner's piece could end up doing some unintentional harm; but so can any journalism. I don't see him doing anything that would occasion his article being entered into the Congressional Record.

I think you're right to score Time for the effect such pieces have on the uninitiated, particularly when they appear in an ongoing parade of articles about the dark side of the Net. But wouldn't you agree that Quittner's doing us a service by exposing the ways in which Net policy can be made by ignoramuses?

You should come to the newsgroup! Gene is up to no good again with his evasive, obsessive drivel spouting.

Is this Gene Steinberg character a journalist for Time magazine? He is quite annoying in, and I just happened to come across your web page to find he is annoying others as well.

I caught on to this AOL criticism as your "beloved" Gene is a stupid closed minded pain in the but in the audio group. Does this guy get paid by AOL? In audio world he appears to be a paid shill for a magazine.

I love your page.........miss all ya guys out there, Buzz, Swa, Will aka Romeo,Cow,Snow,Mac,Ammo,User, Red Wings......and all the rest

Nice page! Very funny and informative!

- Kira Lynn Burris
- System Administrator

I visited your AOL WATCH page for the first time today. I must say, it is of very high quality! The numerous (and I mean numerous) links were informative, the content was written competently, and the site was an all-around bookmark candidate.

It's people like you who keep Netizens informed. Good job!

"Geek and proud of it!"

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Gene Steinberg, Conspiracy Theorist?
Threats against critics - the AOL way
Net Reactions to Time's Article

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