pornography : me again

Tonya Frederic frederic at
Mon Jan 31 06:35:19 EST 1994

First I'd like to respond to Cathy Quinones and then I have some information
regarding this incident for anyone interested.

Cathy wrote:

>Wow, you seem to be awfully preoccupied with what "Mike" keeps in his
>directories.  I think that if he's been granted permission to have an account,
>and permission to use the said account, he has the right to protect
>whatever files he has in there, except for those that need to be accessed
>by other users.                                       ^^^^

In this research group we commonly use programs and files that belong
to others in the group, and if someone is not around it is accepted that 
people can go looking for something they need among his/her directories.
On one of these occasions when I was looking for a program he said I could
get from him, I discovered that I was unable to do so because he suddenly 
had protected all of his directories.  Of course if one of us has something
we don't want the others to read we protect it, and of course that is our
right.  It was merely an observation consistent with the fact that he was
obtaining pornographic pictures from certain news groups.

>Just to play devil's advocate, how do you define pornography?  Would it
>be ok to you if your officemate were to read sex-related newsgroups when
>there is a chance you may stand behind him and accidentally read what he
>has on the screen?  If not, then you should demand that your advisor just
>ban all non work-related use of this computer (as people's definitions of
>"unacceptable use of research equipment" may vary).  

What people read and look at is their own business when it's in private.
I'm certainly not going to strain my eyes to try to read what's on his
computer screen, so reading sex related newsgroups probably has to be
considered a private thing.  However, when I walk around the corner and
there's a big color porno picture staring me in the face, I don't think
it's unreasonable to voice my distaste and ask that such things not go
on in a workplace.   

I am fairly certain that my advisor would object to these machines being 
used to view either written or pictorial pornography, but I am not going
to bring it to his attention unless this continues to occur.  "Mike" is
or will be aware that I object and that action will be taken if it happens
again because he reads this newsgroup.  I had actually already decided
how best to handle this before writing the first time, namely by writing
a letter to this group describing the incidents and the actions I was
considering taking.  I hope it made him squirm and I hope that some of
the supportive responses I received made him understand that I'm not the 
only woman (or man, for that matter) who considers this a serious issue.  

Thank you all for your advice.  I was not really sure myself whether 
others would take this seriously or consider me to be overreacting.


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