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. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • DigitalOcean tries to take sting out of price hike with $4 VM
    Cloud biz says it is reacting to customer mix largely shifting from lone devs to SMEs

    DigitalOcean attempted to lessen the sting of higher prices this week by announcing a cut-rate instance aimed at developers and hobbyists.

    The $4-a-month droplet — what the infrastructure-as-a-service outfit calls its virtual machines — pairs a single virtual CPU with 512 MB of memory, 10 GB of SSD storage, and 500 GB a month in network bandwidth.

    The launch comes as DigitalOcean plans a sweeping price hike across much of its product portfolio, effective July 1. On the low-end, most instances will see pricing increase between $1 and $16 a month, but on the high-end, some products will see increases of as much as $120 in the case of DigitalOceans’ top-tier storage-optimized virtual machines.

    Continue reading
  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022