A bill for 17 porn films in 4 days? Now that's obscene

She reluctantly agreed to shut down her entire pay-per-view service.

This was, of course, completely unnecessary. All cable providers offer parental filters that can block adult content.

If Time Warner's service rep had actually known what he was talking about, he'd have informed Scott that programs can be filtered by rating, channel, time or even title. All you need is an identification number to change the settings.

But apparently what happened to Scott is a sensitive subject for Time Warner. Jim Gordon, a company spokesman, declined to discuss her case or how all that porn ended up on her bill.

Nor would he comment on the alarmingly shoddy level of service Scott received.

"We take customer privacy seriously, which we know our customers appreciate, and as such we are not able to comment on a particular customer's account," Gordon said.

Scott said that since I started nosing around, she's received mixed messages from the cable company.

Two service reps have insisted that the porn orders were legitimate and must have been made from inside the house, she said. Two others have said it's possible an electrical short caused the funny orders, or that perhaps Scott's cable account was hacked from elsewhere.

I don't know about electrical shorts, but a quick online search turns up various reports of cable customers encountering unexpected charges for porn.

Tech experts say that digital cable networks are just like any other digital network and that determined hackers can find a way in.

Asked whether cable boxes can be breached, Time Warner's Gordon suggested I take up the matter with Motorola, a leading maker of the company's hardware. A Motorola spokeswoman said only that "Motorola's set-top security is unsurpassed."

At this point, all Scott knows for sure is that her pay-per-view service has been restored and that she now has a filter to block orders of adult content.

Oh, and Time Warner told her she doesn't have to pay that $154.65 after all.

David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send tips or feedback to david.lazarus@latimes.com.

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