Is nothing sacred? Apparently not, as CNN has reported that the YouTube channel for Sesame Street recently was hacked with pornographic content. Indeed, instead of showing material suitable for children, the channel briefly was reprogrammed with sexually explicit videos.
As a result of the porn hack, the Sesame Street channel went offline for a short time. Visitors were informed that there had been “repeated and severe violations of our community guidelines.”
Fortunately, the channel later was brought back to its intended state, as the home page then read: “Our channel was temporarily compromised, but we have since restored our original line-up of the best classic Sesame Street video clips featuring Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, and the rest of the fuzzy, feathered, and googly-eyed friends you remember from childhood.”
YouTube also chimed in stating that it prohibits graphic content and removes inappropriate content when it learns that such content has been posted.
So, what are the lessons learned?
First, it seems that practically anything can happen on the Internet in terms of content – you never know for sure what you are going to get even if you target your search specifically.
Second, parents should take care in terms of allowing their young children to roam free online. Young children should be closely monitored, even, unfortunately, periodically with respect to sites and channels that should be appropriate for minors.
Third, best security measures should be employed whenever possible to try to prevent the negative consequences of hacking. However, those bent on wreaking havoc or causing mischief often times are at least as technologically savvy as the people who seek to prevent attacks.
Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod’s columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.