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The Internet Networking United States

US ISPs Announce Anti-Child-Porn Agreement 613

Posted by timothy
from the little-timmy's-law-against-all-things-that-are-bad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It seems that ISPs have gathered together with 45 attorney generals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to form an agreement to crush child pornography. What does that mean? Probably the same as it meant for RoadRunner, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon customers — the end of the newsgroups." Here's the back-patting press-release from the various parties who signed on (the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the National Association of Attorneys General), though the actual text of the agreement does not seem to have been made public.
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US ISPs Announce Anti-Child-Porn Agreement

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  • attorney generals? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot@gotnate . c om> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:30PM (#24235395) Journal

    methinks you meant attorneys general. what is the point of /. having editors if they don't edit?
    you must be new here
    first post

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:32PM (#24235403)

      They could be generals with law degrees.

    • by brianf711 (873109) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:26PM (#24235897)
      I disagree. I think they need to increase their efforts to stop the online distribution of child pornography. There are many sites that have been claimed by some to contain at least some child pornography - rapidshare, myspace, facebook, photobucket, etc; and these should be blocked as well. But even that isn't doing enough if they were to look at the larger ways of distribution. Email, FTP and HTTP have all been used in to distribute child pornography, and if the ISPs were committed to blocking child pornography, they would block those as well. That would only leave a few other things that would need to be blocked to stop child pornography - instant messaging, telnet and a few others. You say they are taking away legitimate purposes of newsgroups, but they are still leaving so many ways of getting child pornography -- so clearly you are a glass is half full and not half empty type of person, and in cases like this, that makes it seem like you are in favor of an internet part full of child pornography.
      • ...that makes it seem like you are in favor of an internet part full of child pornography.

        Speaking personally, I am so fed up with the censorship, fear and repression taking place in our society in the name of fighting child pornography; that I would personally prefer to see an internet half full of child pornography before I see any more rollbacks of freedom along the lines this "Agreement".

        The child porn excuse has long since lost its ability to outrage me into accepting even quite minor restrictions on liberties. Unfortunately, the general public seems so eager to become apoplectic that media outlets have essentially created an industry around giving people their daily outrage "fix". It's like Soma [wikipedia.org], except instead of making them happy all the time, they just get angry/outraged.

        The effect is the same however, as people allow their emotions to overcome their reason, and we lose all ability to object or hold any kind of reasoned debate. It's like a Mass Panic, but in slow motion. Best to run with the herd, lest you get trampled.

        • by corbettw (214229) <.corbettw. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday July 18, 2008 @12:12AM (#24237625) Journal

          You ain't kiddin', brother. In my Intro to Civil and Criminal Procedures class a few weeks ago, the professor started a discussion about the Supreme Court decision overturning the death penalty for child molesters. Almost every single one of those future lawyers (at least one of whom is a cop!) starting shouting about "protecting the children". I don't think I've seen anything like it. These are people training to someday work with the law (OK, not all of them will go on to law school, or pass the bar if they do, but still you'd think they're all thinking adults), and they immediately jumped to "for the children".

          I felt like a lone voice calling out for restraint in not wanting to give the state ever more reasons to execute its citizens. It's easy to forget that not everyone in our society is able to think calmly and dispassionately about things like this.

          And for the record, I have kids, and absolutely want them protected from the predations of child molesters. I also want them protected from the predations of the government; balancing those two isn't easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

          • by KGIII (973947) on Friday July 18, 2008 @01:20AM (#24238067) Journal
            Oh my... Sorry but you get this one. Now, according to the law as practiced and the spirit of the law... Are people given capital punishment because their crime was so grievous that it deserved it according to the "people" (or at least their representatives) or is the death penalty used in cases where the claim is they want to prevent the person from harming additional people in the future? (Please answer 'cause I have some VERY hated statistics for you though you may not hate them, some do, as they're rather *cough*....

            Actually I will just list them now. Irony? I think so... Considering that people who murder people actually sometimes get light sentences and in many rural areas a child sexual offense really only gets the offender a slap on the wrist the first time unless there's a history of it. (Yeah, when my daughter was molested I did some research.)

            Anyhow... Use the D.O.J.'s site and happily compile the statistics anyway you want. There are two groups lowest on the list for recidivism. They are murders and sex offenders. The media would have you believe that is some incurable evil brain malfunction for either case but then go holy batshit if someone actually tried to use insanity as a plea for either. Murderers and Sex Offenders are less likely to re-offend than any other criminals. A robber will go back to prison. A drug dealer will go back to prison. A fighter will go back to prison.
      • by Venik (915777) on Friday July 18, 2008 @01:15AM (#24238035)
        And I say, enough pussyfooting around the problem. The ISPs should strike at the heart of the issue: TCP/IP. That's what needs to be blocked!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by negRo_slim (636783)
        But what of the massive involvement of the United States Postal Service prior to the internet revolution?
      • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Friday July 18, 2008 @02:26AM (#24238449)

        It's funny: if you replace the words 'child pornography' with 'Scientology documents', you can roll this line of reasoning right back to when Helena Kobrin tried to rmgroup alt.religion.scientology. (I really recommend look up the newsgroup on Wikipedia, it's fascinating Internet history.)

        Like filtering Bittorrent, a real reason for dropping the alt.* hierarchy is doubtless bandwidth. When I last looked some years ago, there were over 70,000 alt.* newsgroups, most of which had no traffic except spam, and some of which were meerely names to create ASCII art in the list of newsgroups. And the binary groups with the most traffic tended to be porn. So since people can download porn on their own fairly easily now, why should the ISP's take responsibility for such an expensive resource to maintain? Blocking child pornography hasn't been an excuse for over a decade, since 'NNTP-Posting-Host' became a de facto required field from all NNTP service providers.

        Most of the ISP's I've seen mentioned are only dumping alt.*, not all of Usenet, which still has a lot of useful discussion groups. The Google archives of such groups are wonderful for obscure technical help, and some of the groups remain quite useful for technical discussions or social networking. Dumping those freely created and awkward to flush newsgroups, as a matter of policy, seems to make good business sense and needn't be burdened with the excuse of child pornography.

        • by DJProtoss (589443) on Friday July 18, 2008 @06:45AM (#24239807)
          a reasonable argument, except that if a user is downloading his porn from an isp's newsserver, its basically at no cost to the isp ( no upstream bandwidth is used ).
          If they remove the newsserver, and the user then switches to bt/http/whatever, that *will* cost the isp upstream bandwidth costs, so from that economic point of view, its cheaper to maintain the servers.
          A more likely reason is culpability and fear of lawsuits / criminal investigations for hosting illegal stuff- yes, I know safe harbour provisions, but there are arguements that could be made based on individual groups as seperate channels. I don't know if it would stand up, but I bet the ISP wouldn't want to pay their defence attourneys the cost of finding out...

          as an aside, I suppose an economic argument could be made based around the usage patterns of heavy downloaders, the typical retention of ISP newsservers ( and the subsequent need for upstream fill servers ), and the relative inefficiency of nntp as a binary distribution protocol ( even with yenc ), but that is really just an argument against having a *bad* isp news server - disc space is cheap.
  • by ChowRiit (939581) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:33PM (#24235419)

    Why do I have the feeling that all this will do is block many websites and services that have nothing to do with child pornography, inconveniencing thousands of innocent web users, while the paedophiles find new ways to trade child porn and are barely inconvenienced? I'm all for fighting child porn, but blocking individual websites or newsgroups is clearly not working, and blocking vast chunks of websites and newsgroups is going to result in blocking mostly legitimate content. Would it be too much to ask for these organisations to actually focus their resources on catching the paedophiles for once? I'm not even sure which is worse in society - a paedophile with child porn, or a paedophile who can't get hold of child porn but wants to see naked children...

    • by cstdenis (1118589) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:39PM (#24235479)

      Pretending to do something is much easier than actually doing something.

      • by cstdenis (1118589) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:45PM (#24235525)

        Also, if they solve the problem, they won't have a reason to exist anymore.

        They need something to justify their existence (and pay check).

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:44PM (#24235511) Homepage Journal

      What's worse is redefining "child porn" to mean "naked children". Here's the definition [cornell.edu], read it.

      "any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where -

              (A) the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;
              (B) such visual depiction is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;
              (C) such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
              (D) such visual depiction is advertised, promoted, presented, described, or distributed in such a manner that conveys the impression that the material is or contains a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct . . ."

      - 18 U.S.C. 2256

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        not quite sure where child porn is defined as naked children in your quote? Each list item ends with "engaging in sexually explicit conduct"

      • by Kiuas (1084567) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:24PM (#24235873)

        What's worse is redefining "child porn" to mean "naked children".

        No what is even worse is the fact that they don't even have to be children and it can still be considered child porn:

        (B) such visual depiction is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;

        If I understand correctly it is enough if the person in the film happens to look too young and whilist I agree that intentionally trying to make a film look like child porn is a bit weird it still shouldn't be a crime if every person in the film is an adult.

        Besides in my oppinion it's still preferable for somebody to watch "fake" child porn than the real stuff and having this fake stuff available legally could even cut down the number of those who want to watch real child porn.

        • by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:44PM (#24236035)
          Didn't Larry Flynt win a case on this with his Barely Legal magazine? Barely Legal obviously chooses models who look much younger than they are (e.g., an 18 year old who looks 13). I believe he won.
          • by green1 (322787) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @09:16PM (#24236317)

            I am no expert in this, but my take on it is this:

            if the magazine bills itself as showing girls who are of age ("legal") and shows girls who look too young, but ARE of age, than it "appears" legal.

            however if the magazine uses those same girls, who ARE of age, but CLAIMS them to be too young, then they "appear" illegal.

            basically, as long as you don't claim anywhere that the people portrayed are too young, and there is nothing in the picture to imply it, and you DO claim visibly that they ARE old enough (and they in fact are) then all appearances are satisfied.

            I think that is more what the law is addressing. it allows them to prosecute where there is no way to determine the age of the person in question, but where it is obvious that things are not intended to be legal.

            Back on the main topic though, my concern with such things isn't the blocking of child porn (personally I think that would be a very good thing), it's the possibility of "collateral damage" to innocent sites, and worse yet, "feature creep" where they decide that once they have child porn they'll block pirating, then normal porn, then anyone having a cigarette in a photo, then anyone who disagrees with them on any grounds, etc... (classic slippery slope) and once you get to that point you can't fight any of it without being labelled as a lover of child pornography.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by hellwig (1325869)
              Don't forget that you'd also be supporting Al-Queda and be figuratively spitting in the faces of the America troops. Anything that sparks fear in the simple minded and shame into those who dare to think otherwise.

              Sadly, views like yours will be considered paranoid, until of course they come to fruition, but by then you've already been labelled a communist and no one will listen to you anyway.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by WarwickRyan (780794)

              > "feature creep" where they decide that once
              > they have child porn they'll block pirating,

              I'm pretty sure that the reason for this offensive is exactly that.

              Otherwise, why not just drop the offending groups?

              Or why not use them to track the people posting / making the stuff (and thus get the kids away from them)?

              Probably because NNTP is a really effective method of distributing content, especially HD content. Plus it's one which is hard/impossible for the *AAs to track (without compromising the serve

        • by Caseyscrib (728790) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @11:16PM (#24237239)

          This is slightly off-topic, but Genarlow Wilson was a 17-year old high school football player who received consensual oral sex from a 15-year old girl and was sentenced to prison for 10 years for aggravated child molestation. He received several scholarship offers and was an excellent student. (Source) [go.com]

          There are also many stories of 16/17 year olds exchanging nude photos of each other and being charged with child pornography. (Source) [cnet.com]

          I think kiddie porn (pics of young children) is absolutely disgusting and people seeking it need serious psychiatric help, but our laws need to distinguish between those looking to exploit children and kids that are just sending pictures of themselves over the internet without realizing the consequences.

      • by TehZorroness (1104427) on Friday July 18, 2008 @12:43AM (#24237817)

        What's disturbing here is that they include "computer generated images." For every computer generated image or drawing of child pornography that is taken away, actual child pornography will be made to replace it. Artistic expressions depicting child pornography should most certainly not be considered illegal. If you don't like it, don't look for it - but as long as no children are harmed in the making of it, WHAT THE FUCK IS THE PROBLEM? The very next step is to consider artistic depictions or negative views of our beloved corporations and/or government to be illegal.

        Another one of my pet peeves: I hate when people and groups (*cough* religious groups) try to enforce their ideals upon others. God forbid they would use words, instead they always try to twist the government's arm to enforce their ideals upon the world. This is taking place within this argument, but also can be clearly seen with video game/movie ratings, abortion, and drugs. I have my own ideals and my own concious. I can decide for myself what I think is right and wrong. If you disagree, that's fine. If you can convince me to change my mind on a matter (drug use, abortion. I invite you.), that's excellent. When you are an old fuck who has nothing better to do then enforce your uneducated oppinions on others through violence (that would be allowing the police to raid one's property and seize whatever they need), here's a big FUCK YOU to you. Have a nice day.

    • by explodingspleen (1267860) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:49PM (#24235569)

      I've watched a few episodes of cops where, after raiding a crack den or whatever, the cops then pose as the dealers and do a sting on everyone who buys the product. It seems like it should be similar here--raid the servers, and identify the clientÃle.

      But the REALLY important thing, and I do mean the REALLY important thing, is to trackdown and rescue the exploited children. I'm okay with punishing people for participating in the distribution process; however, the reason we view it as so despicable is because of the value we place on the children involved, and our primary efforts should certainly be directed toward finding the source of child porn vs. find the recipients.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:00PM (#24235657)
      "Pedophile" does not mean "child molestor." Here, let me rephrase your statement:

      I'm not even sure which is worse in society - a heterosexual with porn, or a heterosexual who can't get hold of porn but wants to see naked women...

      Do you see the flaw now?

      As a pedophile, I am sick and fucking tired of being stuck in a corner among the sickest imaginable because of urges I can't control. I didn't fucking ask to like little girls; I just do. It's just one of my idiosyncrasies. I don't kidnap, rape, or molest children, nor do I ever plan to, and I have an entirely constructive relationship with the children I do come in contact with. Surprise! The vast majority of pedophiles are rational human beings, just like you. The man in the white van who offers you candy is a psychotic; the exception, not the rule.

      Please, cooperate with me here. The only way to get this demonizing bullshit to stop is by changing the general mindset of pedophile = sick child raping motherfucker.

      • by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:17PM (#24235805) Homepage

        Wow, I really commend for having the balls to come out and say that. A bunch of my irc buddies are pedophiles/lolicons, and they would love to see this post.

        And, yes, you're right. while there is some intersection between pedophiles and child molesters, it is nowhere near a majority. If you want to see how ridiculous this seems, replace 'pedophile' with 'straight male' and child with 'woman'. You end up with "straight male = sick woman raping motherfucker". Sure, some straight males ARE sick woman raping motherfuckers, but that doesn't mean they all are. It's normal for someone to have strange urges and desires; there's nothing inherently wrong with liking little girls. It's not until you destructively act on those desires that it becomes a problem.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Something like 10% or 25% of males are attracted to extremely young girls based on genetics. I forget the figure; it's something lowish but not negligible like 1%.

          Walk down the street one time when school's getting out and just glance around. Notice there's lots of young girls? ... Notice they're young, curvy, smooth, and--best of all--bleeding youthful playfulness from every pore? Yeah, they're 13. They have tits, among other things. Oddly enough, the health and sexual energy of sexually matured youth

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:23PM (#24235861)

        You and about 12% of the male population in North America according to the only study I've ever read. I don't sympathize personally, but we've already spent the better part of human history demonizing men who like other men and women who like other women. Those obviously couldn't be consensual either. Even consensual anal intercourse between a man and a woman is or has recently been illegal in many states.

        How is that relevant? Knee-jerk reactions to issues based on a gut feeling are not always the best way to determine legal outcomes of peoples' thoughts or feelings.

        Good studies have shown time and again that there is no definite link between the viewing of underage pornography and the abuse of children by that viewer, but because they get turned on by something we lump them in as molestors.

        Here's one that really gets me -- technically a pedophile is only someone who gets aroused by pre-pubescent children, but viewing of 17 yr olds who are supermodels (yes, many professional adult looking models are under 18) engaged in sexually explicit conduct qualifies as viewing child pornography.

        So next time you all say 'think of the children' remember these laws are about you when you were 17 checking out that picture of your naked 17 yr old girlfriend. Yes, that's child pornography too.

        PS look up Genarlow Wilson.

    • by mikael (484) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:09PM (#24235745)

      Egg collectors in the UK (an illegal activity in this country) used to correspond to each other through the snail-mail system, referring to each other as No.2, No.7 etc.. Music fans would exchange bootleg tapes of concerts. Anyone trading digital files will probably end up exchanging memory cards/sticks under the guise of an mom'n'pop shop.

      • by Alsee (515537)

        Egg collectors in the UK (an illegal activity in this country)

        Huh???
        Someone please enlighten me. Is "egg collector" some odd euphemism I've never come across before, or does the UK actually have totally bizarre and pointless law against collecting eggs??

        -

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael (484)

          Egg Collecting Laws [rspb.org.uk]

          It has been illegal to take the eggs of most wild birds since the Wild Birds Protection Act 1954 and it is illegal to possess or control any wild birds' eggs taken since that time under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

          It is illegal to sell any wild bird's egg, irrespective of its age.

          Possession of wild birds' eggs is an offence of strict liability so that anyone who chooses to be in possession of eggs is obliged to show, on a balance of probabilities, that their possession is lawful. The

    • by againjj (1132651) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:11PM (#24235765)

      To me, it sounds like the ISPs have agreed to turn off web sites that NCMEC complains about. They will "use NCMEC's list of active websites identified as containing child pornography, to ensure that no such site is hosted on servers owned or controlled by those companies." This is to "enforce their terms of service, all of which forbid the hosting of such illegal materials on their servers." In other words, sites are going to be turned off based on NCMEC's say so. Thus they look good for turning off sites that are illegal (think of the children!), and NCMEC gets the power they want.

      From TFA:

      Specifically, the cable companies have agreed to use NCMEC's list of active websites identified as containing child pornography, to ensure that no such site is hosted on servers owned or controlled by those companies. The companies will also report these instances to NCMEC's CyberTipline and where appropriate revise their policies around other potential sources of child pornography, such as, for example, newsgroups.

      The agreement with NCMEC will provide cable broadband service providers with an invaluable source of information to help them enforce their terms of service, all of which forbid the hosting of such illegal materials on their servers. The information provided by NCMEC to cable service providers will also help them identify instances of child pornography, facilitating their reporting of such material to NCMEC as required by federal law. This in turn enables NCMEC to refer these cases to law enforcement for investigation and prosecution.

      Oh, and the newsgroups bit seems like sensationalism to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Robocoastie (777066)
      Because that's all control measures ever accomplish. The sad thing is what this is actually a step toward: it's a measure against pornography in general. People already miscategorize "pedophilia" as it is and the anti-porn people know they do that and encourage the misuse of the term so that they can advantage their puritan agendas.
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:33PM (#24235427) Journal

    Well that's that. Usenet is dead. I am glad that child predators won't have any [giganews.com] other [usenet.com] way [usenet.net] to access the cesspool of child pornography that is Usenet.

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:34PM (#24235435)

    ... that have child porn?

  • YAUSDFN (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexborges (313924) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:35PM (#24235437)

    Can we call this the "Yet Another Useless Stupid Deal For Nothing"

    I hate child pornograpy as much as anyone SHOULD, but I know whats a PR stunt that wont solve a thing and will only reduce internet's freedom to share information in exchange for absolutly nothing at all whatsoever.

    How can we convey to the public that the internet's value depends directly on ISP's not being able to discriminate traffic by content?

    How can we put out there the idea that the internet has all this potential for individual freedom and that any kind of attempt to enforce any kind of legal stuff in it will only hinder the potential it has FOR THE COMMON JOE?

    Fucking legislators, fucking ISPs and fucking, unreasonable and plain stupid bible-hugging assholes.

    • Re:YAUSDFN (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ChowRiit (939581) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:40PM (#24235489)

      Maybe the first stage would be to convince the Common Joe that his privacy actually matters to him? People don't seem to CARE about privacy or liberty any more, and I worry that nobody will notice their freedoms being stolen until its too late, as has happened so many times before in history...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The Common Joe does not want privacy.

        The Common Joe wants to be able to pry, poke and be privy to the personal and intimate details of his neighbors, his employer/employees, his local representatives and clergy, friends, enemies, teenagers, celebrities, politicians, historical figures, and especially his spouse. He wants access to all this information so that he can can gleefully pour over it all in the confines of his basement.

        This is what people actually want. If you need any further proof beyond the dist

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wildclaw (15718)

        Oh, they care as soon as it is THEIR "privacy" that is infringed. Just like they care if it is THEIR "free speech rights" or THEIR "liberty" that are infringed.

        You have the right to privacy as long as you don't have anything to hide. You have the right to free speech as long as you don't say anything that will offend me. You have the right to liberty as long as you don't do anything that offend me.

        And what always fascinates me the most is how so many people can't see what is wrong with the previous paragrap

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:39PM (#24235481)

    The ISPs can monitor all your traffic as deeply as they want to, and gather up whatever the local law enforcement needs for a warrant.

    And you have no recourse, ever, thanks to the new FISA ammendments, brought to you with help from your pal and mine, Senator Barack Obama.

    Hey, Mr Hope himself even supports the death penalty for child sex offenders. That'll be fun.

    The good senator will spearhead this witchhunt with truth and hope and change and (bullshit), and all the expanded priveleges of the White House.

  • Here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:42PM (#24235505)

    They'll have minimal impact on the perverts, but no doubt they'll get a chance to tighten the screws on the rest of us. Which is, of course, what it's all about.

    And I certainly wouldn't be comfortable with anything the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has its fingerprints on. It's been caught phonying up statistics and acting in a manner that could best be described as "self-serving" on more than one occasion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      I bet you're a pervert.

      I bet everyone on Slashdot is a pervert.

      Being that a "pervert" is someone who practices "perversion" which is "those types of human behavior that are perceived to be a serious deviation from what is considered to be orthodox or normal." That is, not just sexual.

      But hey, there's plenty of sexual behavior that is "perverted" which makes most Americans blush (like that's hard), and there's lots of people that would love to "tighten the screws" on those practitioners also.

  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:45PM (#24235521) Journal

    I suspect the RIAA and the MPAA are behind this.

    (and no, you cannot borrow my tinfoil hat.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Epu (536381)
      There's an interesting thread at dsl reports [dslreports.com] where some bell south customers point out: 1. many news groups still exist for the purpose of porn, they just aren't named alt.bin* 2. many news groups still exist with porn, erotica, sex, etc in their names. Yesterday, I fired up Pan on att yahoo to survey the damage. The posters were right, and there were many groups left. There were also posts in them from the last few days.
  • Don't be so nieve (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:46PM (#24235531) Homepage Journal
    If this is going to shutdown the newsgroups, it is a semi-clever ploy to curb piracy... disguised as a "think of the children" scenario. I always enjoyed getting what warez I do grab from my ISPs hosted newsgroups, because unlike something like bittorrent, it is my ISP that is in fact "making available". Since there are actual legitimate (though very few nowadays) reasons for the existence of Usenet, they can't just turn it off. Instead, they give the world a bleeding heart story, while the RIAA and the likes line the pockets of these people.
  • Net neutrality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:00PM (#24235659)

    When you announce censorship to stop piracy, everybody gets up in arms about net neutrality.

    When you instead use child pornography as your scapegoat, the majority will turn a blind eye to your censorship efforts.

    Note that the first thing to go was alt.* on usenet, a large source of piracy. If they had choked off alt.* because of piracy, there would have been much talk about net neutrality. Since they did it because of child pornography, nobody mentions net neutrality.

  • by shermo (1284310) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:04PM (#24235691)

    We had one of our ISPs cave to something similar. So I wrote this letter to the marketing director: (pardon the asterisks)

    Dear Steve Jackson

    I'm writing to express my concern over ******'s introduction of website filtering. I believe this sets a disturbing precedent for the continuing provision of internet services by *****.
    An ISP's role is not to regulate what I can use my internet connection for. An ISP's role is to provide me with an internet connection, which **** has been excellent at doing.
    The aim of 'stopping objectionable practices' is a noble one. However, problems soon become apparent when one considers that my interpretation of objectionable behaviour is undoubtedly different from *****'s interpretation. The logical conclusion to this line of reasoning, is that at some point in the future when I want to use my internet connection for something, **** will decide that it knows best, and stop me from so doing.
    This quote from David Lane (Director of Society For Promotion Of Community Standards Inc.) is particularly disturbing: "... [The society] wants the filtering extended beyond child porn content to include the blocking of all hard core pornographty sites and those promoting "objectionable" content defined in secion 3(2)(a-f) of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 (sexual violence, bestiality, etc).".
    It illustrates the problem rather well. I have used the internet for pornography, and I don't expect to be blocked from doing so in the future. If I look at pornography more hardcore than the limits imposed on free-to-air television, this doesn't make my behaviour 'wrong', and I certainly don't expect **** to impose its standards on my behaviour. If I do something illegal, then that's relevant for the Police, not a coporation.
    Additionally, the concept that a list maintained by the Internal Affairs Office will be capable of cataloguing all objectionable sites on the internet is flawed if not outright hilarious.
    There are various software packages available which attempt to keep the internet 'safe' for younger users. I am sure that, combined with actual parenting, these tools are far better suited to keeping children from accessing inappropriate content.
    I should take this moment to clarify that my primary concern is not that I may soon be unable to access pornography with my **** account. Instead, I believe that once this form of filtering has been introduced for one honourable reason, it will only be a matter of time before the practice of filtering is extended to other aspects of the internet.
    It is widely publicized (although not necessarily accurate) that 'peer to peer' (p2p) services consume a disproportionate amount of bandwidth accross the internet as a whole. I extend from this assumption that some time in the future **** may be in favour of blocking p2p services in order to extract more customers from the same amount of bandwidth. This would have a real and noticeable affect on my internet behaviour.
    There are other scenarios in which **** might decide to filter my internet use. For example, I'm sure **** wants to retain their customers, and so logically it would be a sensible idea to block all competing ISP's websites. Or, if there is a damning report about ***** on a news website, it would be very easy to block any user from accessing that website.
    I'm not suggesting that **** does or would do any of these measures, but the only way I can be certain of this is for **** not to regulate my internet behaviour in any way.
    The knee-jerk reaction to this news would be for me to cancel my **** account. Instead I'm going to post this letter on a few popular **** forums, and raise general public awareness of ****'s actions. I will continue to closely monitor ****'s actions, and may switch ISPs if it continues with this course of action.
    Yours Sincerely

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Phroggy (441)

      That's funny, the name of your ISP is the same as my password...

  • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:05PM (#24235701) Homepage

    "I commend the nation's cable operators for utilizing the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) to negotiate and collectively enter into a unprecedented industry-wide agreement with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to limit the availability of child pornography on the internet."

    No agreement is, or ever was, necessary for any ISP to proceed forth to fight child pornography. The fact that some kind of mutual agreement is in place suggests something else is going on behind the scenes. Would NCMEC have prohibited ISPs from fighting against child pornography without an agreement? I doubt that. Maybe these ISPs knew all along they were part of the problem with child pornography? Or is NCMEC trying some more extensive shake-down tactics?

    The big question will be just to how far will these ISPs go in the name of protecting children? Just how many will use it as a false excuse to shut off internet resources that have nothing to do with child pornography and were not even the victim of spammers of such content?

  • by mysidia (191772) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:24PM (#24235875)

    The FCC admonishes Comcast for their P2P traffic management techniques.

    Never fear. Now major ISPs can start blocking P2P altogether in the name of a cooperative effort with government (45 attorney generals), to crush child porn.

    The FCC can't oppose a measure "to crush child porn".

    It's a very crafty political technique.

    There are a lot of people who want to see child pornography crushed. It's a popular political position to take.

    ISP entirely blocking access to an IP, just because some of web pages served from it may include 'undesirable' content (for ISP's definition of the day for 'undesirable'), is definitely non-neutral.

    There aren't that many of the general public who understand what "network neutrality" means, or the harm it will cause when ISPs start blocking sites for arbitrary reasons.

    I'm sad to say, that Network Neutrality will probably be the first casualty of this cooperative.

    It will start with "child porn" illegal stuff, but it won't stop there.

    Yes, all of Usenet, or all of alt.* may die, even with all its perfectly legitimate and legal content and discussion areas.

    Will the general (uneducated) public hear about it, or lose any sleep over it? Probably not.

    First Usenet, then P2P, then IRC, then Youtube, then most of the web (other than major content providers' and business' sites).

  • by PipianJ (574459) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @08:36PM (#24235971)

    Owner of www.example.com: "Uh, yeah, I want to see the child porn blacklist. I think you might have blocked my site by mistake."

    ISP: "Hey! This guy is trying to view the child porn blacklist!"

    Police: "Oh hey, website owner. We're arresting you under suspicion of possessing child pornography."

    Owner of www.example.com: "Wait, what?"

    Police: "You asked for the list of sites, and on top of that, you tried to visit www.example.com, which was on the list. Clearly you wanted to see child porn."

  • by Talkischeap (306364) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @09:04PM (#24236217) Homepage

    I was on Usenet two nights ago looking for a song in my vinyl collection that's in deep storage, and all the .alt.binaries groups I'm subscribed to were there (yes... even those, so stop with the jokes).

    And yesterday AM when I logged on, they were gone, and and "Alt- 411 no such group" error appears instead.

    All the other groups I'm subscribed to are still functioning.

    I spent four hours on the phone attempting to "complain", and got the "standard" troubleshooting script more than a few times, before I politely interrupted one woman, and asked firmly to speak to her supervisor.

    The bitch (oh, did I say that? Why YES, I did, in retrospect) put me on looooooong hold, then came back on the line and said with dripping sarcasm: "I'm so sorry for the loooong wait, here's your extension." ... click...

    After calling back I was again transferred several times by clueless people, dropped a couple more, and finally vented (nicely) on a poor 611 tech guy, the only human I could speak to who actually had technical knowledge.

    And yes, dear friends, he was also completely clueless about the attacks on Usenet.

    I'm now more angry that they have "insulated" themselves from humans with the endless phone tree.

  • How much is there? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by notdotcom.com (1021409) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:54PM (#24237075)

    Maybe I've naive, but how much "Child Pornography" is actually publicly available on the internet? (No links please, thanks)

    I mean, I see PLENTY of "regular" or even crazy-weird porn online all the time, but I've NEVER accidentally or intentionally come across child porn. Are the distributors sophisticated enough to use private/encrypted systems, or do I just not crawl usenet enough? Seems like a fictional problem that sounds REALLY good to elected officials and families ("Yes, let's change to that ISP who blocks child porn, that will solve all of our problems, honey!")

    I'm all for recovering exploited children and keeping them away from child molesters, but why do I not see a photo taken ten years ago and posted on the internet as a particularly heinous crime in this day and age?

    Note... my ex GF was a cop and they (cops) ALL took particular pleasure in busting active child molesters/"public weenie-whackers". I liked to hear about them getting caught as well, and my GF said that 99 times out of 100, the suspect would be the biggest sissy on earth and start "crying for momma" as soon as they were even arrested (not CONVICTED...yet).

  • by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:56PM (#24237099)
    I think what we're really looking at here is the instrument by which P2P for the masses will be destroyed -- all in the name of "we must protect our precious little snowflakes!" -- and before anybody gets started on me, I am NOT a pedophile, child molestor, or sex offender of any type, and I am against all such activities and the people who perpetrate them. Still I assert that this, or something like it, is going to be the hammer that gets dropped on P2P. Think about it: If you're a pedophile, then you're insane to have your wares hosted on a web server somewhere that can be raided, and you arrested. You're better off using the Gnutella network and it's like, and BitTorrent, right? At least, it's plausible, and that's all they really need, is plausibility, because everybody knows that only dirty filthy criminals use P2P, right? Of course what will really happen is that like with anything else, their efforts will just drive the pedos deeper underground, and meanwhile P2P will likely have to evolve in a direction that likewise takes it out of the daylight and fairly deep underground, too -- because no matter what, you can't stop the signal, Mal..
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @11:01PM (#24237125)
    If i'm not mistaken... this is the same as closing highways because criminals may use them for bank robbery escape routes. this isnt about ending child porn, this has more to do with ending distribution routes used by people to destribute content themselves. In other words, the major corporations behind these ISPs have an interest in dictating usage so that they are the single delivery system for content to their end users. Child Porn is an excuse used to distract us from the real situation. The newsgroups is not full of child porn... child porn is perhaps .005% of the porn on newsgroups. The truth is... all of the good porn, tv shows, movies, music, etc etc are on the newsgroups... that means MASSIVE bandwidth usage. The bandwidth used by child porn sick fucks, doesnt even compare to the bandwidth being used by jackers looking at "of legal age" material, or the file traders who are sending massive amounts of data through the newsgroups. Kiddie porn is a fucking political power move. Dont fall victom of it. Its not a widespread issue.
  • by hany (3601) on Friday July 18, 2008 @04:13AM (#24239033) Homepage

    I think it's time to lie down our own cables.

    From neighbour to neighbour. And to bridge longer distances, organize properly and ask a commercial telco (or whoever has cable in place) to simply lease a cable to us. I repeat, lease the cable. Not "provide connectivity".

    That way I think we can get back the control of what's going through the cables. Thus "feeing the Internets".

  • by Arcturax (454188) on Friday July 18, 2008 @08:09AM (#24240239)

    Could this be the end of Eternal September? People serious about wanting usenet access can get a pay account to access it and all the spammers and riffraff that have plagued it since the mid 90's will be for the most part gone. Still there are a lot of downsides of this, but I don't think losing a piracy outlet is one of them. Have you seen the retention of most ISP's these days? They don't retain enough of anything to be worth much anymore. Their binary section usually has a size limit which means that unless you are collecting each piece as it comes in, if you log in, you only see about 1/4 of the last uploaded chunks of the file. And don't get me started on how much they throttle the usenet speed (I'm talking sub dialup speeds). Anyone who uses it for binary access is almost certainly using a pay site that has decent retention and good speed. That isn't going to go away from what I understand.

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