Before the advent of the Web, discussions and dissemination of information commonly took place over newsgroups. Typically such discussions now take place on discussion boards, and information is shared in a variety of ways. But newsgroups are still around and widely used.

Because of the anonymous nature of newsgroup usage, pornography is commonly spread, particularly in certain forums dedicated to more prurient interests.

Sexually explicit content on Usenet newsgroups is often more extreme than those on adult-oriented Web sites… Sexually explicit Usenet newsgroups serve as conduits for advertising of adult-oriented Web Sites and as a medium in which sexually explicit content can be exchanged among users. Internet service providers make choices about what Usenet newsgroups to carry; some carry the full line, and others carry only a subset (e.g., all except those devoted to child pornography).28

For most users, newsgroups are simply not part of your online life. But for individuals seeking access to illicit material, it is not an uncommon source.

28 National Research Council Staff, Youth, Pornography and the Internet.

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