Comcast plays New York anti-porn game
Bad news for Usenet
After a legal threat from New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo, Comcast has joined the grandstanding American politician's quixotic crusade against online child pornography.
In signing Cuomo's anti-child porn "code of conduct," the country's second largest ISP has agreed to shutdown certain Usenet newsgroups containing "sexually lewd photos featuring prepubescent children" and rid such images from its web servers.
Five other big-name American ISPs have already signed the pact - AOL, AT&T, Time Warner, Sprint, and Verizon - and yesterday, in announcing Comcast's capitulation, the New York AG also trumpeted the signing of cut-rate ISP NetZero.
"Today's agreements with Comcast and NetZero will deliver another blow to the despicable online child porn industry," Cuomo said. "I commend the companies for working with my office to aggressively eradicate online child pornography and strongly urge all outstanding Internet service providers across New York and the nation to get on board."
Of course, the Cuomo crusade is little more than a publicity stunt - and an excuse for ISPs like AT&T, Time Warner, and Verizon to block access to much larger swaths of the Usenet.
Comcast has already agreed to eliminate child-porn from its servers through a pact with the National Association of Attorneys General (which includes Cuomo) and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). So there's little change on the web side.
"We are committed to working with attorney general Cuomo - and his attorney general colleagues - on the pressing issue of child pornography on the internet," reads a canned statement from Comcast executive vp David L. Cohen. "Signing this agreement in addition to the already announced steps Comcast is taking with nearly the entire cable industry, 48 state attorneys general, and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will enable us to step up the fight against child pornography."
The question is what the cable ISP will do with Usenet, which it serves up through Giganews, a third-party outfit. Will it simply block access the 88 porn-ridden newsgroups Cuomo has identified, squash all binary groups like AT&T, or ban Usenet entirely à la Time Warner? Comcast has yet to say. ®
Usenet is sooooo 1990s
I didn't even know Usenet still existed.
As others have pointed out, those who are determined to see something like alt.binaries.pictures.sex.gay.male.prepubescent will still get their rocks off somehow; as for the rest, well, we've got more sense than to go to the stake over Comcast users being able to view kiddy porn.
The Comcast move "bad news for Usenet", according to the strap-line. Whoever dreamt up that strapline, perhaps the police ought to view HIS home computer.
In spite of Tears of LoveJoy, Its' for BEST.
Theres an additional problem with USENET & that is innocent posters get Porn, Child Porn & just plain Vulgarian porn emailed to address after postinG in any USENET Group. They also sell pirated software & HIT Police Establishment with some real spicy Viruses, enought to shut down AOL SetTop Boxes entirely.
USENET is Mistake, Top to bottom.
Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.
Why would anybody be dumb enough...
...to think this is actually about "Child-Porn"..?
I suppose nobody remembers that the RIAA (ET AL...) actually, specifically, declared "war" on the Usenet several months ago (because of "rampant", "unauthorized file-trading").
And, I guess that nobody remembers that when, the very-same RIAA was publicly-attacking "P2P", the exact-same "Child-Porn" excuse was used (by the RIAA) as the reason Congress should ban ALL "P2P".
And, surely, no corporation would dare to use "Child-Porn" as a smokescreen for expanding their ability to curtail, various, -undesired- consumer-actions.
And, Im positive, no politician would use "Child-Porn" as a rationalization for greater "Voluntary cooperation" (I.E. behind-the-scenes government-control of the Internet) ...from the big telecoms.
...Nor, would any politician, actually, merely USE "Child-Porn" for political-coverage/gain.
NO... NO... Of course NOT... So... Lets all just keep talking about the red-herring... ERRR... I mean "Stopping Child-Porn", and "protecting children"..!
Besides... its not like (the newly-converted) Comcast, was basically in the middle of being let-off, with a slap-on-the-wrist, by the U.S. Government... for any anti-consumer actions... is it..? And, AT&T certainly isnt being allowed to reassemble its illegal-monopoly... after various illegal (but, now, immunized) cooperative-operations with the current administration... is it..?
So... these actions (by the telecoms, and various politicians) MUST ALL simply be a matter of "social" concern, and responsibility. Right..?