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Yanks invite FBI to read their e-mail -- study

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Child-protective hysterics who want to eavesdrop on the electronic comings and goings of ordinary citizens in the name of legions of exploited little lambs have successfully won the hearts and washed the brains of nearly all Americans.

The US populace is "deeply worried" about Internet crime; and on-line kiddie porn looms as the greatest terror in the collective imagination. Fully ninety-two per cent of Americans -- far more than have ever so much as touched a personal computer -- claim to be outraged by Internet KP, and half characterize it as "the single most heinous crime that takes place on line," according to a new survey by the Pew Charitable Trust Internet Project.

Women are slightly more susceptible to government and media manipulation, with eighty-six per cent reporting being "very concerned" about on-line KP compared with seventy-four per cent of men.

Either way, the entire populace sounds like an incredible lot of frightened schoolgirls.

Second on the menu of imagined horrors terrifying Americans is credit card theft. Eighty-seven per cent are "concerned" and sixty-nine per cent are "very concerned," in spite of the glaring fact that only a tiny handful have actually had their account numbers stolen and misused due to Internet shopping.

"Only eight per cent of those who say their credit card was swiped reported that the thief might have gotten the information because the consumer had provided it on line," the survey notes. (emphasis original)

As with the kiddie porn horror, women are slightly more frightened of on-line fraudsters than men by a margin of seventy-two to sixty-five per cent.

Next comes the widespread anxiety of Internet terrorism, with eighty-two per cent of Americans claiming to be "concerned" about organized efforts to bring all of civilization to its knees with viruses and packet floods. As one might expect, those who have never used the Internet are considerably more eager to believe in it.

Fear of contracting viruses and Trojans, and being victimized by malicious hackers, rounds out the list of persistent fears keeping America awake all night.

Interestingly, a majority of Yanks (fifty-six per cent) think it's a great idea for the FBI to monitor e-mail and other IP traffic in order to fight all these crimes, which are in fact largely imaginary. Women and Republicans are the most enthusiastic supporters of the Big Brother approach, the survey finds.

Even more interestingly, Blacks are the most concerned about Internet crime, and yet the least likely to approve of federal snooping, while Whites are the least concerned, and yet the most supportive of Big Bro intervening in their daily lives.

Now that's a digital divide worth looking into. ®

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