Skip to comments.Major ISPs agree to block child porn newsgroups (Goodbye USENET)
Posted on 06/10/2008 7:27:56 PM PDT by LibWhacker
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Online forums where thousands of child-porn images have been posted have been stricken from three Internet providers, including two of the nation's five largest, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Sprint agreed with Cuomo to block access to child pornography disseminated through newsgroups and user groups, a hard-to-regulate sector of the Internet designed to bring together users with like interests.
With the agreement announced Tuesday, Cuomo skipped over the untold number of individual users accessing child porn and went to the portals that, unwittingly they all say, provided the route to sharing the illegal obsession.
Cuomo said the service providers blocked child pornography found in 88 newsgroups by his investigators. Newsgroups, a mainstay of the Internet from its early days, are essentially online message boards in which users can post text and files in any of thousands of categories.
The companies also agreed to eliminate the material from their servers and will pay $1.125 million to help fund efforts to remove child porn from the Internet.
The agreements follow a six- to eight-month undercover investigation of child porn newsgroups and will affect customers nationwide.
But, as Cuomo said, such online pornography is difficult to stop. When one point of Web access is closed, the same perpetrators are likely to open another. And his agreements with the online services end at the nation's borders.
"They are very inventive and obviously a lot of this industry moves offshore very quickly," said Professor Christine Corcos of the Louisiana State University Law Center. "As long as the people who produce this material think they have markets, and they think they can reach that market, they are going to continue and the thing is they can just move to other countries."
Cuomo's investigators found more than 11,000 images in the newsgroups using software that identifies child pornography by tracking patterns in the pixels of the images.
Cuomo said the companies acted immediately when told of the concern. He said too many people posted the pornography to prosecute them individually, so he worked to shut off the "faucet" they were using to share the illegal material.
"People are very creative and there is a market for this filth," Cuomo said at a news conference. "We have to work together."
Time Warner Cable acted when it learned users were posting objectionable material and eliminated the newsgroups, said corporate spokesman Alex Dudley. The company will eliminate all newsgroups by the end of the month, he said.
"We are not admitting to any guilt," he said of the agreement with Cuomo. He emphasized that Time Warner didn't provide any of the content and was simply a portal, allowing groups to be created with content provided by the users.
"As soon as we were made aware of the issue ... we took steps to correct," Dudley said Tuesday.
Verizon acted immediately to shut down the sites and was never accused of wrongdoing, said Eric Rabe, the company's vice president for communications.
"There are people doing whatever they do on the Internet all the time and we can't possibly scan every use group," he said. "But there are some things we can do and as soon as it's brought to our attention, we work very quickly."
"The tension there is between allowing customers the ability to communicate with their privacy rights protected and preventing people from doing things that are illegal," Rabe said.
Sprint spokesman Matthew Sullivan said the company also responded. "We embrace this opportunity to build upon our own long-standing commitment to online child safety," he said.
Verizon and Time Warner Cable are two of the five largest Internet service providers in the nation. Sprint is one of the three largest wireless companies in the U.S.
Cuomo said his investigation of two other large national service providers is continuing, but he wouldn't name them. He has used similar probes and the possibility of civil or criminal charges to extract concessions on Internet safety in the past.
Last year, Cuomo reached agreement with the social networking sites MySpace and Facebook to toughen protections against online sexual predators.
This is like making driving illegal to stop drunk drivers!
it will be like playing whack-a-mole...it is so easy to set up usenet type groups that to block them all will be a huge job. but, i agree with making an effort to rid the net of these pervs
What about Skynet?
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Even better Mr Cumo—friend of ACLU and the APA and NAMBLA and that paragon of virtue Herr Spizer - is to execute child molestors and those who put kids in these situations—that will stop em dead.
How about it Mr Cumo? Will the your buddies the lefties allow you to do that?
USENET is a great source for more obscure music. Great selection of jazz and Celtic music, for instance. It’s a bit hit or miss, but you can usually find something pretty interesting there.
Nobody but sick freaks will miss the child porn. The problem is that they won’t stop at this. Authoritarianism never sleeps.
First to go, sites that support illegal activities like child porn.
Next to go, sites that support socially-frowned-upon activities that aren't strictly illegal, just unsavory.
Next after that, politically incorrect websites.
FreeRepublic won't be far behind...
Child pornography is ALREADY ILLEGAL. Just enforce the current laws!!
But you see, their goal is not to stop child pornography. It is to establish network censorship at the ISP level.
That is how, one day, FreeRepublic will die.
Scrubbing the ‘net of anything is harder than getting pee out of a swimming pool.
I'll bet they try everything from putting poison in it, to draining and "refilling" it, before they're done...
Yes. IIRC the was an article posted on FR a few weeks ago where LEO’s were posting their own kiddie porn. Downloading it gave them probable cause to knock down your door and confiscate your ‘puter as evidence.
Thank God my addiction is perfectly legal chocolate...
Right. What these people don’t realize is that anybody can post any image to any newsgroup. If a bunch of criminals cook up a plan in email to share files on rec.arts.tv.soaps, then that’s what they’ll do.
I agree...Think about the sick stuff children can see on the internet....
What are they going to do? Check every image on every newsgroup for illegal content, then ban the group?
Last I knew there were 100,000+ groups with more than 200 gigs per day of new posts. Let's say a single picture is 100K, that equates to possibly 2 million pictures per day someone will have to examine for content (after they are downloaded). Granted, the 2 million is on the high side as the majority of traffic in usenet is made up of movies (a lot of porn) and music, but the task is daunting to say the least.
The possibility this will even make a dent is 0. Short of completely blocking port 119, this will fail the same way other attempts at censorship on the internet have.
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