Hatch Takes Down Link to Porn Site

Hatch Takes Down Link to Porn Site

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- When Orrin Hatch's "Exploring Utah" Web page boasted of his state's natural wonders, he probably didn't mean the link on the page that until Friday morning accessed rows and rows of pictures of bare-chested women.

Hatch spokesman Adam Elggren said the senator's office found out about the errant link -- which appeared on Hatch's senate.gov site -- late Thursday and had it fixed a few hours later.

Elggren said he assumed the page was targeted because of the link to it from Hatch's Web site.

"It's a pretty big coincidence if that's not the reason," he said.

It appears to be the latest case of "porn-napping" -- an increasingly common form of cybersquatting where pornographic Web site operators grab domain names from other companies after their registration expires, said Rick Broadhead, who is writing a book about cyberspace screw-ups.

In this case, Hatch's Web site featured a link to a Utah-related search engine. TheGlobalSearch.com had franchised the search engine site to Utah resident David Alexander, more than a year ago, said Kevin Cowk, owner of TheGlobalSearch.

While Cowk's company renewed the registration on hundreds of other Web addresses, the Utah search engine slid through the cracks. So on May 14, it was purchased by Tim Bach of New Britain, Conn., according to a search of Internet site registrations.

For at least a week and possibly more than a month, anyone clicking on the link from Hatch's site were shown dozens of adult photographs.

"You've got to be careful who you're linking to, especially as a senator, because you're almost endorsing who you're linking to," Broadhead said.

Cowk is furious that someone swooped in on the site.

"I am so ticked off at them personally that if I find them I will throttle their children," he said. Efforts to reach Alexander on Friday were unsuccessful.

Hatch has had a bad week in cyberspace.

He has been demonized on Internet bulletin boards for saying that he might support a program that destroys the computers of people who illegally download music.

"If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that," Hatch said. "If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions.

He backpedalled on Wednesday, issuing a statement that he was suggesting that zapping Internet pirates' computers might be acceptable as a last resort. "I do not favor extreme remedies unless no moderate remedies can be found," he said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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