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Usenet Blocking Intensifies

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the forest-for-the-trees dept.

Censorship 449

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The war against the alt.* hierarchy of Usenet continues as NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has convinced two more ISPs to drop access to part of Usenet. They've also set up the website NY Stop Child Porn, and convinced California to join them in the fight. In some sense, this is rather like bulldozing the slums to fight crime; sure, it might get rid of a lot of undesirables, but it also affects many innocent people, and everyone will now start migrating elsewhere in droves. The article notes, 'Cuomo's new web site signifies that he's clearly not done yet. It includes contact information for 20 ISPs that presumably operate in New York, and text of a letter to send to them to urge that they sign on to the campaign.' And you thought the Eternal September was bad..."

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Wonderful. (4, Funny)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#24160827)

no more kinky sex stuff on usenet :\ That's the only good part of it, too.

Re:Wonderful. (3, Insightful)

Chrono11901 (901948) | about 6 years ago | (#24161301)

pointless, nearly everyone who does pirate stuff off of usenet uses something like giganews.

  Hell i wish they put more legit stuff on it, i get 1.5-2MBs via giganews; I even download things like wow from it because its way faster then any other method.

it's just a cover (5, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 6 years ago | (#24160831)

It's not just (or probably even mostly) about the kiddie porn - it's the software, video, and music that gets shared in the alt.* hierarchy, too. And the ISPs probably don't mind not providing a service that doesn't do much but cost them extra for bandwidth and storage.

Still, Cuomo's an asshole.

Re:it's just a cover (3, Insightful)

christurkel (520220) | about 6 years ago | (#24160925)

No, Cuomo is a politician.

Re:it's just a cover (5, Funny)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 6 years ago | (#24160935)

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

Re:it's just a cover (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161429)

And, like potatoes, politicians are best when run through a mechanical slicer and deep fried.

Re:it's just a cover (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161021)

Best "redundant" mod ever :)

RATM (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24160937)

they don't gotta burn the books
they just remove 'em you not remember? (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#24161031)

Remember, the first rule about USENET.

You don't talk about USENET..... you not remember? (4, Funny)

dougmc (70836) | about 6 years ago | (#24161195)

First rule of Usenet is read the FAQ.

alt.binaries.* came later.

Re:it's just a cover (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161047)

>And the ISPs probably don't mind not providing a service that doesn't do much but cost them extra for bandwidth and storage.

And customers.

Considering once the data is on their network, it costs them (virtually) zero to transmit it to their customers, a usenet leech is the best customer you could ever have.

Re:it's just a cover (2, Funny)

crispin_bollocks (1144567) | about 6 years ago | (#24161061)

Grandstanding and posturing worked for Spitzer - Cuomo's obviously running for governor.

Re:it's just a cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161243)

Cuomo is having hot steamy sex with the commercial usenet providers. Forcing ISPs to block the alt.* hierarchy is only going to increase supernews subscriptions.

Today Usenet (3, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 6 years ago | (#24160861)

tomorrow the world!

bbs FTW! we dont need no steenkin ISPs.

So whats to stop some enterprising individual from putting all of Usenet on a distributed, encrypted network?

Re:Today Usenet (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161117)

Money, the laws of physics, etc.

But for the Grace of God, Go I. (0)

twitter (104583) | about 6 years ago | (#24160867)

What is the difference between Paris Hilton and a $20 whore? Family money.

The choice of metaphors here is awful. It would be better to directly say that censorship is not the way to prevent child exploitation.

Re:But for the Grace of God, Go I. (-1, Troll)

inTheLoo (1255256) | about 6 years ago | (#24160999)

Bulldozing slums does not prevent crime, it is a crime. Yet it happens [] more frequently than you think. The "undesirables" are made that much more desperate and ready to commit crime. Look at California, where people who can't find affordable housing are trying to get buy with trailers and mobile homes but just get run from neighborhood to neighborhood. That is what happens when we treat each other like vermin.

Moderators: Please note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161077)

twitter and "inTheLoo" are the same person [] .

And as an aside to the public service announcement, I have to say it's hilarious to see him trying to shill his own posts with accounts that are all posting at -1...

AGREED (2, Insightful)

od05 (915556) | about 6 years ago | (#24160885)

While Usenet does have useful value, it IS full of kiddie porn [] .

I mean seriously, do any of these usenet categories contribute anything of value to society???

Re:AGREED (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24160985)

this is for you []

Little girls running down the beach naked isn't cp either.


Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161261)

I could not load the link. I use Virgin internet, is this a problem?


Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161275)

Only if you want your connection to keep its virginity.

Re:AGREED (4, Interesting)

cliffiecee (136220) | about 6 years ago | (#24160995)

I mean seriously, do any of these usenet categories contribute anything of value to society???

Well, you could apply that question to all of Usenet and on average, the answer would be No.

Besides... if alt.binaries.* gets blocked, the pervs will just move to the rec.* branch, or whatever strikes their fancy. They've done this in the past; they're probably doing it now. In all seriousness, they might as well ban Usenet binary distribution altogether. That's what they're going to have to do if they're serious about going the distance with this.

DISAGREED (5, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | about 6 years ago | (#24161033)

It's quite easy to simply stop carrying the feeds for those groups. What this action is, is the equivalent of using thermonuclear bomb to kill a fly. I'm sure that out of the multiple thousands of groups in the alt.* hierarchy, there's probably some kiddie porn. For all I know, there might be some in the free.* hierarchy, but I have zero interest in searching through all the hierarchies to see if I can turn up any kiddy porn. I guarantee you it isn't present in the*,*, alt.animal.*,*, or the* groups. Even looking through the list of the alt.binaries.* groups, they're overwhelmingly obviously not kiddie-porn groups. But hey, somewhere in there there might be some.

Saying Usenet is "full of kiddie porn" is pretty much a lie. There are a lot of groups in the alt.hierarchy I've belonged to over the years, and still do, and I've never seen any. However, I've always used the rule of "if it looks like something you're not going to want to see, then don't go there!


Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161441)

This is just insane.
One of my first introductions to internet discussion/forums were the newsgroups.

I literally have cozy childhood memories, from groups such as, and now they wanna block alt.*?

This is fucking insane.
What is WRONG with this fuckheads.

Re:AGREED (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#24161057)

Just to be technical...unless the kids are doing something isn't kiddie pr0n. If if the bar is 'that' low, then we got a bunch of parents out there that are liable to be arrested and taken to jail for taking shots of their little kids bathing or running around nekkid...

Re:AGREED (4, Funny)

Xizer (794030) | about 6 years ago | (#24161065) []

Uh oh! A website with questionable content!


Re:AGREED (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161327)

Yes, I propose that we block www.*.org. This will block 12chan and many other bad websites. Won't someone think of the children?!


crispin_bollocks (1144567) | about 6 years ago | (#24161089)

Knew right where to look, eh?

Re:AGREED (4, Funny)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 6 years ago | (#24161099)


I mean seriously, do any of these TV shows contribute anything of value to society???

Re:AGREED (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 6 years ago | (#24161143)

Is some of that really 'kiddie porn'? I checked out naturism newsgroup has lots of regular looking folks not engaging in sex and doing regular activities in the nude, I wouldn't exactly call that 'porn', many of them look like family vacation/bbq/get together photos to me IMHO.

Looking at pictures in doesn't seem like porn to me at all, (disregarding cross posters) there are regular people taking pictures in the background in a few of them.

I think this all has to do with judeo-christian cultural values of the west and it's crazy puritan heritage, other cultures do not share the same values. The idea of 'kiddie porn' is not universal.

People are naturally born naked, and many other cultures are comfortable being around people (strangers) in other countries, it's only really the west that is so repressed.

Re:AGREED (2, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | about 6 years ago | (#24161277)

People often have problems defining kiddie porn, but they know it when they see it ... and many, when they see pictures of a naked family having a bbq ... they know it's kiddie porn. (now, the actual law may (and actually does, in the US) say something else, but that doesn't matter -- they know this is kiddie porn, and off they go on their crusade against it.)

Now, that works for the naturism group. But if the name has `erotica' in it, that suggests that it's actual pornography. As for alt.binaries.erotica.teen.female, well, that group is probably mostly full of pictures of 18 and 19 year old girls, and that's not child porn. Looking up the mclt group, it means `My Collection of Lolitas and Teens' ... which also seems to like 'em young, but as for how young, I don't know, and I don't feel like checking.

Either way, if they've found child porn in 88 groups, it seems stupid to drop the entire alt.* hierarchy because of it -- just drop those 88 groups.

Re:AGREED (2, Informative)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 6 years ago | (#24161339)

it's only really the west that is so repressed.

So, it's just the west? There's moderate to severe nudity taboos in Japan and China (don't know about the rest of the Far East), in many middle eastern countries, and most of the post-Russian block countries. In fact, the only place off the top of my head where nudity is a normal part of society is Africa, and the in much of Europe it's tolerated (kinda), and that's, uh, the West. No, nudity taboos are pretty universal among developed nations - the West has nothing to do with it.


blahplusplus (757119) | about 6 years ago | (#24161365)

You did not understand what I said. You missed the gist of what I said completely.


Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 6 years ago | (#24161411)

No, I understand completely, but the fact of the matter remains that many non-western cultures consider "child pornography" to be just as awful an offence as here in the west - countries that have no Judeo-Christian background. While there are places that do not share this, it's not related to Christan values, and it's not related to the west.

Remember, since I used a quote, I was only dealing with that section of your post. I never said anything about the rest of it.

Re:AGREED (3, Informative)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 6 years ago | (#24161161)

Take a look at all the newsgroups you listed. What do they all have in common besides being in the alt. hierarchy? Here's a hint. Look at the second item in the name.

They aren't just dropping alt.binaries. They are dropping the entire alt. hierarchy. Including the ones where you can't even trade files.

These people have admitted that they only found child porn in 88 of the 100,000 newsgroups.


Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161477)

They don't need to ban all alt domains, or even all of the binaries... but if questionable material is so plainly obvious as "", then something ought to be done about it.

Re:AGREED (3, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | about 6 years ago | (#24161367)

While Usenet does have useful value, it IS full of kiddie porn. alt.binaries.erotica.teen.female I mean seriously, do any of these usenet categories contribute anything of value to society???

If there is a street in your town conveniently called Rapey Lane, just don't walk down it.

Demolishing Manchester becase of Moss Side is only a good idea on paper.

Re:AGREED (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 years ago | (#24161483)

I mean seriously, do any of these usenet categories contribute anything of value to society???

Does blocking them?

they should stop chasing ISP's (4, Insightful)

crazybit (918023) | about 6 years ago | (#24160891)

and start chasing the people that harm the children.

Re:they should stop chasing ISP's (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | about 6 years ago | (#24160923)

And stop hurting the people under 18 who take pictures of them selves.

A life sentence for taking a picture of *yourself*? (In prison or registered a sex offender, there isn't much difference in some places)

NY AG is despicable (5, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 6 years ago | (#24160899)

What really bugs me about this is the fact that the Attorney General has employed bogus threats to get ISPs to comply with his demands.

The AG's allegation is that all these ISPs have engaged in deceptive practices by on the one hand having terms of service that prohibit illegal content, and on the other hand failing to actively screen such content. If the AG's legal theory were correct, prohibiting illegal content would create a responsibility to screen all such content, and from what I can see it doesn't even matter whether the content actually originates on the ISPs servers.

Folks, the Attorney General's behavior is blatantly unethical. He's using false legal claims to bring down legitimate forums, and the ISPs are bending to his will.

Filling Spitzer's shoes (1)

mi (197448) | about 6 years ago | (#24161005)

Folks, the Attorney General's behavior is blatantly unethical.

Just as his predecessor Mr. Spitzer's — also known as "fucking steamroller" — was in prosecuting activity, in which he himself engaged for years (his other unethical traits could fill a book). I wouldn't be surprised, if Mr. Cuomo gets caught with child porn in the next few years...

Re:NY AG is despicable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161167)

It's been a while since I've hung out on Usenet, but I seem to remember the alt hierarchy consisting of three types of groups: binary groups, groups for discussion of sexual fetishes, and groups with gag names.

I'll admit I spent a lot of time in the binary groups in my teenage years, but I have to say that you have to plug your fingers in your ears and hum very loud if you want to pretend that a trivial filtering solution doesn't make itself immediately apparent.

It's time to stop pretending that ISPs can't trivially drop the binary groups and that the legitimate discussion groups can't be integrated into moderated hierarchies.

Re:NY AG is despicable (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 years ago | (#24161347)

Folks, the Attorney General's behavior is blatantly unethical. He's using false legal claims to bring down legitimate forums, and the ISPs are bending to his will.

anyone see the woody allen movie The Front ?

for some reason, the 50's blacklisting comes to mind. not sure why.

Spam filters (3, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 6 years ago | (#24160905)

This will be no more effective than spam filters anyway. Block any group named "kiddy porn" and they'll rename it to k1ddy p0rn, and all the way down to "kay didalee dee pooArn" Filter it by the binaries and you create a race between the sick fucks and the police. One side will make undetectable binaries, the other side will want to detect them. And you'll push up demand for stuff that hasn't already been passed around ;_;

Re:Spam filters (4, Insightful)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | about 6 years ago | (#24161349)

Gee, it's almost like the war against drugs and piracy! Strange how people keep doing what they want, against the "laws", despite the prevalent "morality" of their state. It's almost like the state doesn't truly represent the people at all.

Somebody tell that tool that you can *add* groups (4, Insightful)

Cordath (581672) | about 6 years ago | (#24160917)

One of those nice little features of usenet is that people can *create* groups. If they ban the entire alt.* hierarchy, people are just going to create new groups outside the alt hierarchy for everything, legal or not. This will, of course, be an enormous headache to sort out since there will be *many* new groups being created for each existing group and it will take time for people to agree on which ones to use. Perhaps some of the new names will even make sense...

e.g. startrek.ds9, music.lossless or porn.bigtits.

Re:Somebody tell that tool that you can *add* grou (5, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | about 6 years ago | (#24161083)

It's not just the alt.* groups or the binary groups. My ISP (Time Warner) dropped usenet access completely last month. I'm sure that's what the other ISPs will do soon as well. Gawd, I remember calling my ISP when their news server went down, and it was like pulling teeth to get anyone on the phone who had even heard of usenet, or would admit that they (at that time) provided such a service.

Re:Somebody tell that tool that you can *add* grou (4, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | about 6 years ago | (#24161295)

TWRR dropped Usenet because they were sending too much money to Newshosting for their outsourced news server, and Cuomo gave them a convenient excuse.

Re:Somebody tell that tool that you can *add* grou (2)

base3 (539820) | about 6 years ago | (#24161405)

Ding! Surprised more people haven't figured that out. The ISPs get to dump a bandwidth-intensive and sometimes even outsourced service. And as a bonus, they can say they're helping "protect the children."

Re:Somebody tell that tool that you can *add* grou (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161153)

This is only true on the alt.* heirarchy. On the Big 8 you need to go through a review process [] to have additional groups added.

Re:Somebody tell that tool that you can *add* grou (2, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 6 years ago | (#24161213)

At which point they'll just ban it entirely. They're already using overkill, what's the differences between a nuclear and a thermonuclear bomb if you don't care about the target's safety?

Protecting the children (5, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 6 years ago | (#24160943)

Now I can be protected from

I'll miss it, but after all, it's for the children.

Also, there should be no "content" on the internet not owned by a benevolent large corporation.

Losing is worth it to serve our new masters.


Re:Protecting the children (3, Interesting)

wild_quinine (998562) | about 6 years ago | (#24161351)

Alt was always going to be the internet's pariah, even before the binaries. Popular history has it that the first three newsgroups in the alt hierarchy were, alt.drugs, and alt.rock-n-roll.

I've never seen any kiddy porn on usenet, but I know that there's 5 terrabytes a day of something illegal.

For me, the rub of it is that I just upgraded to an encrypted usenet service so that I can't get clapped in irons for downloading TV shows, and now I'm worried that I'll be labelled as a sex offender.

Bring Back BBS (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 6 years ago | (#24160947)

There are moments when I really miss the BBS world. Yes, I love my broadband connection over the internet, but I remember a time when I could dial into a BBS, no snoopes, no riaa, nothing but me and folks that could try to share at ridiculous slow rates compared to today, but without the crap we have to deal with today,

So now ISPs may block access to usenet? lets see, my options where I live are DSL through AT&T or cable through Charter. Wow, like I will be able to choose a path were I wont be blocked!

Yes, I remember BBS and can only imagine how we can circumvent this POS called the Internet and move forward to a time where I could "connect" without friggin Big or little brother watching me. (the tense change was intentional)

I think I'll just sip on my third vodka and club and ponder what I can do.

Re:Bring Back BBS (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#24161085)

"So now ISPs may block access to usenet? "

Unless I'm mistaken, they aren't blocking access to USENET, what they are doing, is essentially blocking groups or encouraging ISP's to drop carrying USENET on their own servers. You would still be free to connect to pay or free USENET servers out just won't have one run by your ISP to connect to any longer.

usenet on the ropes? (5, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | about 6 years ago | (#24160955)

This whole thing is really sad. I love usenet. It's basically the only way I form more than passing personal relationships online. It's a great way to learn about and stay up with anything you're interested in. My ISP completely dropped usenet access last month.

I suspect that a lot of usenet users are simply going to give up at this point. There's been a vast amount of spam recently for knockoffs of shoes, purses, and watches. Many people whose ISPs have given up are not going to go to the trouble of finding affordable usenet access. Personally, I tried paying octanews, who ripped me off. Then for a while I used google groups, which reminded me of how much better a newsreader is than a web browser for participating in usenet. Finally a slashdotter recommended astraweb, which is working great for me now. Many people who had been using text-only usenet may not realize that you can pay for usenet access by the gigabyte rather than by the month, which means you can basically pay $10 and have usenet access for the indefinite future.

I mentioned usenet to my sister the other day, and she asked me what it was and why I wanted to use it. I actually had a hard time explaining it until I thought about it later. Basically, it gets the job of running a discussion group done way better than web browser interface. It's also noncommercial and very general -- none of this stuff about screwing around with some specific web-based group that will evaporate in a few years and that has no world-wide profile.

Re:usenet on the ropes? (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | about 6 years ago | (#24161151)

I gave up reading on USENET around 7 years ago - many of the technical discussion groups became spammed by junk mail and overloaded by students looking for quick solutions to their coursework assignments.

There was some mystique in dialing up your ISP, hearing than modem connect and see your newsgroups download. Then you could spend an hour or so just reading the world technical news and humour.

Re:usenet on the ropes? (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | about 6 years ago | (#24161419)

I mentioned usenet to my sister the other day, and she asked me what it was and why I wanted to use it. I actually had a hard time explaining it until I thought about it later.

My take: It's an online forum with unmoderated groups that gives you a choice of hundreds of programs to access it, similar to email. The choice of programs means there are really good ones that respond quickly and have good filtering options, and no fucking advertisements or images to load at all. Since there are hundreds of thousands of groups, you get a common interface to whatever topic you want to discuss. When you're subscribed to your groups of interest, you can quickly check for new messages within a couple of seconds. With web-based forums, you don't get any of this; you're stuck with whatever the administrator uses for each forum, and with sometimes over-zealous moderators.

Re:usenet on the ropes? (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 6 years ago | (#24161447)

Not all usenet groups are unmoderated, thank goodness. Consider comp.lang.c++.moderated, or

Re:usenet on the ropes? (2, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 6 years ago | (#24161489)

I just tell people usenet is a forum for cat lovers.


HTTP (4, Informative)

giminy (94188) | about 6 years ago | (#24160959)

Just wait...if Cuomo discovers that child porn is shared via HTTP, he might force ISPs to drop access to the web.

I have dug a lot of Cuomo's recent suits for their customer/consumer-friendliness (recently he settled with Verizon when they advertised unlimited cell phone use and then dropped customers who talked too much, and also sued Dell for failing to deliver support). This is kind of silly, though. I mean, it's essentially declaring war on a protocol. It reminds me strip #2 of Get Your War On [] .

Re:HTTP (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | about 6 years ago | (#24161087)

Just wait...if Cuomo discovers that child porn is shared via HTTP, he might force ISPs to drop access to the web.

Some pervs send kiddie porn through the mail -- let's ban the USPS!!

Re:HTTP (2, Funny)

Kev Vance (833) | about 6 years ago | (#24161381)

Just wait...if Cuomo discovers that child porn is shared via HTTP, he might force ISPs to drop access to the web.

No, that would be overreacting. Not the *whole* web... just the .coms!

glad Icann is still holding out (1)

epilido (959870) | about 6 years ago | (#24160989)

I guess the predictions about .xxx are correct, get every one together and then close the space. People will find a way. Kinda like life don't you think.....

The USENET is dead! (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 6 years ago | (#24161003)

Long live the usenet!

Seriously, though. There are very, very few people left who use the USENET for anything real.

I mean, give me a break, the alt groups were a problem 10 years ago, and some ISPs are still carrying them? That's just stupid. When we were carrying the alt groups at BEST we had to set the article timeout for the high-bandwidth groups to 1-day, and that actually did a pretty good job stopping all the idiots trying to download 5000 part port movies over their dialup modems. They just couldn't keep up before the stuff timed out.

ALT had a signal to noise ratio of 1:1000 10 years ago, I'm guessing its more like 1:50000 now. Only a fool carries it. There are plenty of other ways people can exercise their freedom of speech (and most do, in other ways now).


Re:The USENET is dead! (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#24161115)

"Seriously, though. There are very, very few people left who use the USENET for anything real."

Far from it...I still find programming advice, and discussions out there. I've had discussions with lawyers and accountants on corporate law (especially when wanting for form my own corp)...and lets not forget the huge amount of binary material out there, easy to download tv shows you might have missed in real time.

I'm guessing your are gonna say that IRC is dead and unused for anything real too?

Re:The USENET is dead! (3, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | about 6 years ago | (#24161211)

From a technical standpoint, I have absolutely no problem with an ISP dropping access to USENET. It's an old protocol that has outlived its usefulness. No one expects their ISP to carry access to UUCP anymore, this is no different.

But that's not the argument that Cuomo is making. He's essentially saying that because some third grader pissed in one end of one pool, we have to close and drain all the municipal pools and outlaw swim lessons. This is absurd. Kiddie porn traders used to send their garbage through the mail, did anyone suggest shutting down the postal service? What's next, will he try to force ISPs to inspect every email that traverses their network and make sure there are no images of little kids in them? (Oops, I think they're actually already doing this one.)

He's had some good press lately with the consumer protection stuff, this is just completely insane and should be laughed out of court.

Re:The USENET is dead! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24161287)

> He's had some good press lately with the consumer protection stuff, this is just
> completely insane and should be laughed out of court.

It isn't in court.

Re:The USENET is dead! (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 6 years ago | (#24161479)

Not yet, but that's about the only avenue the AG has to get his theory enforced. His office doesn't regulate ISPs, so he'll have to get a court to agree with him before anything can be done.

Re:The USENET is dead! (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#24161303)

And the same technology that vigilantes, freedom fighters and subversives use also work for the rather disgusting practices of child porn.

However, what can anybody do when crypto-fs DVDs are made in which the keys are transferred via some stego'ed image on some photo site?

Good luck catching that.

Re:The USENET is dead! (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 6 years ago | (#24161307)

First of all, you're confusing a network protocol and a community. The Usenet of NNTP is the same as the Usenet that used to be propagated via UUCP. Some people might still get their messages via UUCP - how would you know?

Second of all, we don't have many things we took for granted at the height of Usenet:

  1. Multiple competing clients for a single discussion venue
  2. Downloading messages for offline viewing
  3. Cross-posting between multiple groups, storing only a single copy of the message
  4. Reliable and accurate flagging of read messages
  5. Reading a cross-posted message once and seeing it marked read everywhere
  6. Ability to delete (err, cancel) posts
  7. Extensive filtering and archival, depending on client
  8. Real, nested, arbitrary deep threads. Most online discussion venues on the web have dumbed-down linear threads that are a pain to read

Today's fragmented web has nothing that can approach Usenet, and every time somebody wants to add these features to some web app or another, he has to do it from scratch, and often incompatibly and poorly.

Re:The USENET is dead! (1)

dougmc (70836) | about 6 years ago | (#24161323)

You obviously don't know Usenet very well.

Yes, it's on the decline, but there's still thousands of people who use the text group to have discussions every day, and many more who only use the binaries groups.

Some groups have been abandoned to the spammers. But not all.

Usenet > alt.binaries.*

Why not ban just alt.binaries.*? (1)

gambolt (1146363) | about 6 years ago | (#24161045)

That would be slightly saner.

Re:Why not ban just alt.binaries.*? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 6 years ago | (#24161173)

Yes, it would. But you are forgetting that these are corporations and lawyers that we are talking about. They avoid sanity like the plague.

Charge the ISP's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161101)

Why not go after and charge the ISP's themselves, then? Hey Attorney General -- I know a few companies who have child porn on their servers.

Beware .... (-1, Offtopic)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 6 years ago | (#24161107)

my sig says it all.

What will people do without alt.*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161113)

There are other ways [] to put yourself out there without Usenet you know. Wonder what the AG thinks about the alternatives? Heh.

NY Stop Child Porn? (5, Funny)

barzok (26681) | about 6 years ago | (#24161129) [] - is that like [] or [] before they added their hyphens?

Or are they trying to lure in the kiddie-porn people, hoping they'll be looking for New York'S Top Child Porn?

nerds, you brought this on yourselves (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161135)

Whenever there is an industry that has a social problem linked to it's products or byproducts, the industry has two choices. 1. clean up the problem yourself, or 2. pretend there isn't a problem, and wait until the government cleans it up for you.

The 'internet industry' has decided the latter course of action. I have seen hundreds of stories on slashdot about the evils of censorship. I think I have seen maybe 1 or 2 stories about stopping pedophilia. It is not that nerds are pedophiles, it's just that they feel no responsibility for the ways their product (the internet) is used in brand new ways by sick people to hurt others.

You have this logo of Einstein, you paste it on all your science stories. But apparently, you have learned nothing from Einstein, for if he had anything to teach us at all, it is that we are responsible for the consequences of our creations, and the effect they have on people's lives. No man is an island and nobody lives in a bubble.

If Internetania, including slashdot, had been working as hard to stop child exploitation as it has worked, say, on stopping spam, or stopping memory leaks in compiled languages, then the government would not have to step in and do the job for you.

But you let it fester. You just assumed that, alt.child.rape, alt.stories.incest.preteen, or whatever was not your problem, not your concern, and you could look the other way. Well, fortunately, you people do not run society, in a democracy everyone is supposed to have a say, and a lot of those people are social workers, survivors, and family members of abused kids, and they don't really think 'alt.binares.preteen' or whatever is something that they can turn away from and pretend doesn't exist.

Re:nerds, you brought this on yourselves (2)

KnowledgeEngine (1225122) | about 6 years ago | (#24161253)

Did you ever consider for a moment that some of us are just against nanny state mentality and government? I for one would rather see our tax dollars spent on more worthwhile ventures than to support the furthering of the nanny state agenda. This is just another in a long line of tax dollar wastes.

Re:nerds, you brought this on yourselves (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161257)

hey stupid fucker....maybe the real problem isnt fucking banning the camera which takes the picture but the person who uses the camera to take the picures of the fucking kid you fucking idiot.
why the fuck should WE police the TECHNOLOGY when the PEOPLE are the problem ? go after the fucking child abuser and stop "cleaning up" after the horse has left the fucking barn, you fucking idiot.

Re:nerds, you brought this on yourselves (1)

dougmc (70836) | about 6 years ago | (#24161345)

Yeah, if I was going to post a load of tripe like that, I'd do it anonymously too.

New Legislation Coming Soon (2)

KnowledgeEngine (1225122) | about 6 years ago | (#24161197)

I hear they are currently working hard to eliminate vowels from the vocabulary also on the grounds that they are found in numerous vulgar words and if the kids cannot use vowels it will severely limit their ability to cuss. Let's hope they do not convince Webster to remove the vowels.

Attorney Generals are out of control (0, Redundant)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24161221)

Cops suck.

Much of the traffic on alt is movies and music... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24161225)

I wonder what the connections are between Cuomo and the **AA?

What about the Alt.'s that are perfectly fine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161249)

There are plenty of Alt.binaries that are not just kiddie porn.

Its the same old problem of destroying legal "tools" or "methods" of communication that may harbor bad things.

Its the same old problem all over again., while full of spam, is certainly perfectly legal for amateurs to post naked pictures of themselves. Sure its sex oriented, sure its full of spam... but it does not mean the government can just destroy it at will. EVEN IF some sick fuck from outside the country decides to flood it with kiddie porn with subject headers that appear to be of legal age.

Its always possible to trade metallica songs under the name "my dads band.mp3"

Where will people now share pictures and movies, music.... ? I ask this because whatever you think of copyright infringement... EVERYTHING has a copyright. If I film my friends having fun and post it on alt.binaries.home.videos, I'm sharing my video through newsgroups... and it is copyrighted... by me.

Should i now not be able to use the newsgroups because other copyright holders are more important than I?

Should we rip down the internet because child porn is available on it?

Why are we destroying ourselves to stop a few?

What is really more important?

I do so love the month of September. (1)

maeka (518272) | about 6 years ago | (#24161269)

This post was written Fri Sep 5428 18:59:58 EDT 1993

Why is the New York State Government (2, Informative)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 6 years ago | (#24161279)

worried about other people's sexual perversions? They have enough of their own to worry about as it is.

When are we going to take our Internet back? (1)

kwabbles (259554) | about 6 years ago | (#24161317)

Eventually we'll have to unite and fight back against censorship, shutdowns, throttling, surveillance, and government control.

Imagine... the first "virtual revolution".

Re:When are we going to take our Internet back? (1)

lordofwhee (1187719) | about 6 years ago | (#24161485)

It'll happen, eventually. It's just a matter of time before people start to open their eyes and see what is really happening to them, and how few rights they actually have anymore. I rather hope it will happen in my lifetime, it'd be nice to see every single corrupt motherfucker in the government getting a nice kick in the balls (or tits) from millions of revolutionists, one at a time.

Somebody wants to be Governor. (4, Insightful)

leereyno (32197) | about 6 years ago | (#24161355)

Cuomo isn't an attorney, he's a politician.

He's playing the "Ooooh ooooh look at MEEEE!! I'm stopping those evil kiddy porn traders from hurting kids! I'm going to huff and puff and blow their house down!!!" game.

Of course nothing he is doing is having any sort of an effect whatsoever, but then that isn't the point. The point is that the average dimwitted (but I repeat myself) person doesn't knows very little about computers and absolutely nothing about usenet. But they sure do vote! So when Cuomo shakes his stick and growls at imaginary hobgoblins, the voters think well of him, and remember that good impression come election day.

Unfortunately the only real way to stop someone like him is to give him REAL problems to deal with and REAL bad guys to chase after.

This is what happens when you get rid of the mob, people like Cuomo have too much time on their hands.

Sad day -- but how relevant is Usenet anymore? (4, Interesting)

Shalom (11335) | about 6 years ago | (#24161363)

I used Usenet way back in the day when it was the primary--nay, just about the only way to find like-minded people to discuss topics of interest. Particularly the alt hierarchy.

But now I find that web site forums, Google/Yahoo groups and email lists have supplanted Usenet. I haven't found any content I was looking for for a really long time on Usenet and haven't found a reason to delve there myself. I think the last time a search returned Usenet was a tech support question I asked like 4-5 years ago. We used it a little bit for Mozilla coordination but even then it felt like the bastard child of communication--bug reports, IRC and email lists were the method of choice.

It's definitely a sad day, killing a fly with a sledgehammer, etc. etc.--but how relevant is Usenet anymore really? Is it actually still heavily used and I just don't happen to know anyone who uses it?

Pro-control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161443)

There are some sick things on usenet. Control does need to be exerted over the content of these groups, but outright censorship is not the way. I'd support an outright lack of service until the legitimate groups can be separated from the ones hosting illegal content in each jurisdiction. That is the legal, and open way to go for this. Outright state that its not the same, but that you are creating a derivative of purely legitimate content and not carrying the the original in any form.

Re:Pro-control (5, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 6 years ago | (#24161491)


Information can never hurt anyone. If you want to stop harmful acts, then stop harmful acts. As a Supreme Court justice one said, the answer to bad speech is more speech. Not banning what you personally find offensive. Banning things is the way to a repressive, stagnated culture.

Also, what ISPs are doing, although reprehensible, is perfectly legal. Stop the sloppy thinking already. Learn to separate the concept of "right" from that of "legal". You'll get bitten in the ass time and again.

The answer to "why shouldn't I do this?" should always be "because it's wrong", not "because it's illegal."

Surprised it's taken so long (4, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 6 years ago | (#24161445)

Frankly, I've been amazed for years at Usenet's continued slipping  under the radar.  It's interesting that these days it's considered a kind of advanced or very geeky part of the internet, when in the old days it was often our first foray into global networking (after FIDOnet, of course!).

Increasingly, it seems like Usenet is being hosted by a few large, dedicated Usenet providers, and ISP's just subscribe to them for their users, which is understandable.  Who wants to maintain an NNTP server?

Only problem is it makes it easier to take down.

The stupids, now that they are starting to finally grasp the true power of the internet, are naturally keen to see it destroyed...because they're stupid.  We gotta remember who's right in this struggle, and the importance of protecting unpleasant and unpopular speech--including filez, warez, movies--everything.  If you can keep me from sharing data you don't want shared, you can control what I say.  There's no two ways about it, you can have one or the other--free speech or control over content.

Besides, didn't I read a year or two ago how some of the big Usenet providers were working with the Feds to try to filter out the kiddie porn?  I highly approve of that action, and I think thats where we need to draw the line.

you voted for Democrats, you deserve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161471)

You nerds voted for Spitzer, Cuomo, and the other Democrats. You were warned multiple times that the left stands for "the good of society" above individual liberties. If they think that something is bad for society, they ban it.

Owning a gun is bad for society. Driving a car is bad for society. Smoking a cigarette is bad for society. Drinking alcohol before you are 21 is bad for society. Owning a little house that you can afford is bad for society -- if you can't afford a 20 acre McMansion then you should live in an apartment with the other hoi polloi.

And now, reading alt.* groups is bad for society.

You listened to the seductive lure of socialism. You brought it upon yourselves. I have no sympathy.

contrarian view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24161493)

I maintain the mostly misunderstood, contrarians view on this:

information is never evil

I don't care how horrible the image, how awful the sound, how shocking or offensive the video, or even how criminal the act that made the information... the information, by itself and after the fact, is NOT evil and, in my opinion, the US runs a horrible slippery slope by making some information "illegal" to possess. What next, burning books again? Get permission to learn something? See something? Know something?

When laws are crafted [for the sole reason] to try and curb market forces, they are in the wrong place and usually fail. Laws are the system we have to direct behaviors so society works and people are safe from each other (note: not from themselves). Mostly, the market and the financial drivers behind it is a completely different thing.

Law enforcement needs to do their job, and stop people from preying on other people, whatever their age. We need to fund them to the level they need so they can accomplish it, and hold them accountable for the results. Really. Like so many other places, it is getting harder with technology progression and with rate of technology change for law enforcement to stay up with things but that failure to adapt on their part does not justify lazy practice down the line or the erosion of core principles in how society works. Nor does it mean making ill-formed laws or government agencies where they dont need to be. Law enforcement needs to aggressively find, prosecute and jail people who harm others and break the law.

And we need to call the idea that some data bits are "illegal information" for what it is: "government thought police".

The fundimental flaw of the internet (2, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 6 years ago | (#24161495)

I have always believed that the flaw of the internet was in fact one of its strengths, The idea that it is a web of unrelated legal entities routing traffic. Once one starts to think about which traffic to route, the internet as a "free" (as in freedom) medium breaks down.

This is exactly what we are seeing today.

The problem with the internet is the same problem we have with the U.S.A. Fascism! The joining of government and industry is a dangerous precedent and strategy.

Just remember, Hitler (no godwin here, actual history) was fighting terrorists and protecting the children. We should be very suspicious of government that employs industry for its objectives because that mean industry will employ government of its objectives.

With RIAA, MPIAA, the telecoms and ISPs, and the new FISA bill can we ignore this any longer?

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