ISPs agree to block access to child porn sites, newsgroups

Verizon, Sprint, and Time Warner Cable agree to block Internet newsgroups and Web sites nationwide that disseminate child pornography, according to The New York Times.

(Update June 10, 1 p.m.: We've learned some details about what's going to happen. Time Warner Cable will pull the plug on tens of thousands of Usenet discussion groups after the N.Y. attorney general's office found child porn on 88 of them. Verizon and Sprint plan to limit Usenet, too. --Declan McCullagh)

Internet service providers Verizon Communications, Sprint Nextel, and Time Warner Cable have agreed to block Internet newsgroups and Web sites nationwide that disseminate child pornography, The New York Times reported Monday.

The move--part of an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo expected to be announced Tuesday--will affect customers across the country, the newspaper reported. Negotiations are reportedly continuing with other ISPs.

Part of the plan is to shut down access to Usenet newsgroups known to traffic such images, as well as Web sites that host child pornography.

"The ISPs' point had been, 'We're not responsible, these are individuals communicating with individuals, we're not responsible,'" the newspaper reported Cuomo as saying. "Our point was that at some point, you do bear responsibility."

The agreement was reportedly reached after the attorney general's office threatened charges of fraud and deceptive business practices when the companies ignored investigators' complaints.

Cuomo has made safety of children on the Internet a priority of his office. He subpoenaed Facebook in September 2007 after his office conducted an undercover investigation that he said yielded a slow response from the social network to complaints of harassment and inappropriate conduct. The subpoena eventually led to an agreement between Facebook and the attorneys general of 49 states.

Earlier in 2007, Cuomo joined a group of New York lawmakers in introducing a bill to crack down on the presence of sex offenders on the Internet , specifically on sites where they could get in touch with minors.

 

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