Wikipedia Article on Cindy's Torment
Cindy's Torment is a torture porn that sparked internet censorship debate in the early 1990s. (Here's the full fiction: Cindy's Torment)
Wikipedia had a article on this, but it was removed in late 2008 (as of 2009-02-19). The following is a mirror of the article that was on Wikipedia. (slightly edited.)
“Cindy's Torment”, a graphic sex story published in Spring of 1990 on Usenet, led to an early example of censorship in cyberspace. The posting by “Anonymous John”, which described repeated BDSM rape, sparked a debate on the limits of freedom of expression on Usenet.
The story itself details a governmental office relationship where an East Asian secretary is forced by financial pressure to submit into sexual slavery. Despite being posted in “alt.sex.bondage”, the graphic nature, racial element, and non-consensual aspect together combined to spur an outcry. While different readers disagreed on which particular features of the story were decisive in defining the story as “beyond the pale”, the vociferousness of the objections led an unknown technically adept person to erase all trace of the posting from Usenet. This attempted act of censorship proved both the illusory nature of unrestrained freedom on the fledgling Internet and the quixotic aspect of trying to decisively control the spread of content within it. While the erasure of the original posting was technically successful, a thing that had previously been considered impossible, the notoriety of the story ensured continued re-postings of (sometimes degraded) versions saved on the mass storage of the newsgroup's readers. The story also led many institutions such as the University of Waterloo to, for the first time, exclude groups like “alt.sex.bondage” from their Usenet servers. Soon afterwards, Waterloo excluded the entire “alt” hierarchy, although there is dissent about whether this was intended as an act of censorship. This event got occasioned mentioned in major newspapers such as the “Houston Chronicle”.
== References ==
- Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Net? , by Jeffrey Shallit of the University of Waterloo. http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~shallit/afraid.html (local copy net_censorship_Jeffrey_Shallit_2000.htm )
- Computer porno: a keystroke away , by Joe Abernathy, Houston Chronicle. computer_porno.txt
- Net History in Brief , by Brad Templeton. http://www.templetons.com/brad/nethist.html (local copy net_history_in_brief__1989__Brad_Templeton.htm )
Here's Wikipedia page that discussed the rationale for the deletion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Cindy%27s_Torment