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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 wordsworm on 6/14/2008 12:26:46 PM , Rating: 2
I felt it was my OBLIGATION to EDUCATE you on the basic theories of infantile amnesia

The reason you felt it was your obligation to educate me on these basic theories, as you call them, is because you yourself are insecure with what you are trying to force yourself to believe so that you can camouflage your own personality with that of those whom you feel drawn to become assimilated with.

My 'courses' have simply been books that piqued my interest with Desmond Morris being my first taste. I don't need lecturers telling me what to think, or some pedantic shrill.

The great thing about reading great thinkers' books, such as Skinner, Piaget, Freud, Plato, Aristotle, etc., is that they are raw. I don't need them to be chopped, broiled, and stewed to the point of the nutrition having been leeched from them, which is usually the practice of journal articles, masters' and doctorates' theses.

Please read a few books and learn to digest them without having some lecturer telling you what to think about them. Memorizing a few lines here and there from books and lectures isn't actually going to develop you as a thinker. A computer can memorize a million lines from 100,000 stories and not understand a single one of them. You can even create an algorithm to chop them up and regurgitate them so that it can pass a graduate course, but it doesn't mean it understands any of it. Fortunately, thinking isn't a requirement for a doctorate, but rather some intellectual Frankenstein.

Skinner interests me because he has a book called Walden Two, which is supposed to be Skinner's idea of a dystopia.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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