Is Usenet safe?
[Index Usenet risks ; Usenet safety]
Well, that depends on what you mean by "safe."
- Usenet messages are generated by the broadest cross-section of people you can imagine. Most are polite and intelligent, some are rude, disrespectful, and even obscene. This cross section of people and opinions can be found in almost any news group. In general, the obscene, rude and disrespectful posts are found in controversial debate groups (abortion, for example) and the erotic discussion groups.
- Usenet news groups cover the broadest cross-section of topics you can imagine. Politics, education discussions, recreational drug use, pornography, are all thrown in together. In most cases, these topic areas "keep to themselves" and groups stay on the purpose for which they were founded.
- There is no central monitoring authority for the messages or the content. You must rely on your news reader software to block out any unwanted information from your children, for example. See Censorship
- You may get a virus if you choose to run software you receive from Usenet. It is not easy to do this "by accident," so you can consider it safe to read all messages. See Can't view graphics and attachments for more.
- Although it is not common practice, it is possible for the news server to track which articles interest you. You should assume that someone could determine exactly what you are reading.
- If you choose to post, you should be aware of additional safety issues: Is it safe to post?
Usenet RKT: Is it safe to post?
Usenet RKT: Censorship
Usenet RKT: Can't view graphics and attachments
Usenet RKT : What is Usenet? Why do I care?
Usenet RKT: How to access Usenet
Usenet RKT: What happens when I "subscribe"
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Copyright 1997, Forrest J. Cavalier III, Mib Software, INN customization and consulting