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Voluntarily censor one of the internet's oldest mediums

Sprint, Verizon, and Time Warner cable agreed to a nationwide block on access to Usenet newsgroups that offer child pornography, wrapping up an eight month undercover investigation and complaint from the New York Attorney General’s office.

“The pervasiveness of child pornography on the Internet is horrific and it needs to be stopped,” said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, speaking in a press release.  “We are attacking this problem by working with Internet Service Providers to ensure they do not play host to this immoral business.  I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry.”

Usenet – one of the internet’s oldest applications – dates back to a time long before the World Wide Web. Its popularity died down as web sites and web-based message boards came into vogue, relegating it to a forgotten “back alley” frequented by niche crowds. One thing Usenet hasn’t been forgotten for, however, is its ability to store and distribute files such as music and, in this case, pornography.

Traditionally, ISPs have stayed out of enforcing restrictions on what its users’ access, citing the legal immunity granted to them by maintaining a policy of noninterference. That immunity has come under attack from a wide variety of sources. Previous aggressors include the content industry, frustrated with ISPs’ permissive stance on piracy, as well as the ISPs’ themselves as they explore ways to further monetize their infrastructure. Now, with its investigation concluding, ISPs can add the New York state Attorney General’s office to that list.

Investigators had to take an unusual course of action, however. Traditional approaches failed; ISPs responded with a routine disclaimer of responsibility for the content of their networks. Instead, investigators chose to invoke a section of each their service agreements that promised to take action against users who distribute child porn; when the contacted ISPs failed to act after receiving a series of anonymous complaints from investigators, the Attorney General’s office pounced by threatening to charge them with fraud and deceptive business practices. The ensuing agreement was a result of these threats.

Cuomo says the unconventional approach was necessary, because traditional methods are not working. Attacking individual distributors has “limited effectiveness,” he said, because American demand for child pornography is often supplied internationally, frequently hailing from countries doing little in the way of enforcement.

“The ISPs’ point had been, ‘We’re not responsible, these are individuals communicating with individuals, we’re not responsible,’ ” said Cuomo.  “Our point was that at some point, you do bear responsibility.”

As part of its agreement, the three ISPs will also pay $1.125 million to underwrite the investigation and “fund additional efforts by the Attorney General’s office and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to remove child pornography from the Internet.”

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RE: Nice try, but...
By Drexial on 6/11/2008 11:28:46 AM , Rating: 0
In japan they require it to be blurred while playing it on television.... you cant watch that stuff on tv in the US. its all together different.

I absolutely agree with this decision. But too call art from the Renaissance period to be pornography... that's rediculous... It was about celebrating how amazing the human body was, not sexually, but scientifically. there aren't nude boys because they got their jollys off on it. They were amazed that the human form was so amazingly adaptable and unique from person to person.

if these images are viewed as sexually explicit then you are suffering from some form of sexual repression. We are far more intelligent then animals and animals walk around nude, and they don't go around trying to 'procreate' with every animal they see around. The human body being nude is natural, the only reason clothing was invented was to adapt to environmental conditions. It was latter decided that it was a form of sexual repression. that if people didn't see it they wouldn't think about it. where i feel this is the complete opposite. the less they see it the more they think about it.

If you see a woman walking down the street with no top, you don't have to imagine whats there, you see it, its there, no second thoughts. how ever in highly censored cultures, if you don't see it you imagine how they must look, then you want too see them, then you feel you have to see them.

the more sexually censored a culture, the more sexually repressed they are, and the more likely to act.

RE: Nice try, but...
By wordsworm on 6/11/2008 7:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
It was about celebrating how amazing the human body was, not sexually, but scientifically.

So what's to stop any pedophile from making the same claim about some nude pics of kids? I mean, as long as they're not engaged in getting raped, then it must be art. So, for as long as children are photographed nude in classic poses, soft core porn using children will live long and strong. Unfortunately, people continually defend soft core 'art' child porn. So be it. By the negative points on my comments, I can see that I'm obviously in the minority here.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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