Carnegie Mellon Computer Network

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Date: 1994

Region: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Internet


Artist: Usenet news groups dealing with sex (i.e. alt.binary.erotica.*)

Confronting Bodies: CMU SysAdmin Vs. Student Body

Dates of Action: November 1994

Location: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA., USA

Description of Artwork:

The Incident: CMU's Vice President of Computing Services, Bill Arms, made the decision to pull internet bboards pertaining to sex (i.e. netnews.alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.*, netnews.alt.sex.stories, etc.) from being access by users with accounts on CMU's computer network, Andrew. This was done in haste and without obtaining proper feedback from the student body. The decision was based on fear of breaking Pennsylvania's state pornography and obscenity laws.

Results of Incident: The bboards were indeed banned to Andrew users although a few of the text only bboards were not banned. It was mostly the bboards containing encoded binary picture files of erotic material that were banned. A student free speech protest was held.

Source: Dillon Lin. I am a student at CMU, other info includes the campus newspaper, Tartan. There is a WEB site on Andrew as well as local bboards discussing the incident.