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Why ISPs' "Stand" Against Child Porn Is Actually Not a Stand Against Child Porn

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the thinking-of-the-children-means-actually-thinking dept.

The Internet 283

TechDirt has an insightful article on the recent push for ISPs to turn off Usenet access under the guise of fighting child pornography. Unfortunately, the "stand against child porn" isn't actually a stand at all, it seems — more like ignoring the issue while trying to snag some headlines and good will. "Taking a stand against child porn wouldn't be overly aggressively blocking access to internet destinations that may or may not have porn (and there's no review over the list to make sure that they're actually objectionable). Taking a stand against child porn would be hunting down those responsible for the child porn and making sure that they're dealt with appropriately... Also, this sets an awful precedent in that the ISPs can point out that it's ok for them to block "objectionable" content where they get to define what's objectionable without any review."

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283 comments

Copyright infringement, too (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247419)

I'm sure no small part of the decision is also to either avoid legal problems form or to give a reacharound to the content producer industry. Lots of warez, mp3, and dvd rips get traded on usenet. Shutting off alt.* puts a dent in that. Temporarily, at least, till everyone moves elsewhere.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (5, Interesting)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247635)

I'm calling Bullshit! ISP shutting down usenet does nothing about anything. Hell, how are they shutting down usenet? Blocking port 119? That is bullshit too.

Shake the google tree for usenet access and see what falls out. You'll get at least half a dozen dedicated usenet providers alone. Most of the offering unlimited access and SSL connections for around 20 bucks a month. All most every one of them offers SSL connections and connections on ports other than 119 just to get around blocking 119. Hell, the one I use even has port 80 and 25 open for nntp. They use SSL connections just so some dumbasses can't see what your downloading.

No this is feel good bullshit that won't even put a dent in kiddy porn.

Thus is Bullshit, I say, Bullshit!

Re:Copyright infringement, too (5, Insightful)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247645)

Blocking port 119?

In the name of protecting the children? Just watch.

Oblig. (1)

halsver (885120) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247747)

Think of the children! Won't anyone think of the children!?

Re:Copyright infringement, too (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247795)

C'mon mods. Parent put the finger right on it. Just because it's short doesn't mean it isn't 100% insightful, informative, *and* interesting.

You know no one with any power or position is going to take a stand against this; it is the ultimate leverage — and those who stoop low enough to use it know that perfectly well.

Welcome to the United States of For The Children.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247707)

I never said it was actually intended to do something productive, just that it's also part of the calculation.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (5, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247787)

It appears all they're doing is not hosting in their local NNTP cache the listed newsgroups. They're not blocking ports, blocking all Usenet access, or ceasing hosting of Usenet.

Of course this doesn't make it impossible to get CP. But it does reduce the avenues for accessing it. Claiming that is pointless because there's "another way to get it" is like saying there's no sense in locking your door. A sufficiently motivated thief will gain entry.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (2)

camperslo (704715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247959)

It appears all they're doing is not hosting in their local NNTP cache the listed newsgroups.

Is it just the specific kiddie-nasty groups or all of alt.* or alt.binaries.*?
Perhaps this is getting pushed by some with an agenda to suppress some other (video/music) content?

Re:Copyright infringement, too (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248215)

Is it just the specific kiddie-nasty groups or all of alt.* or alt.binaries.*?

I don't know about any other ISP, but Verizon dropped all but the "Big 8" without warning or explanation about three weeks ago.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248169)

If all they are doing is refusing to cache the alt. hierarchy then how has that changed? I haven't been on Usenet in a couple of years because it was my experience that with my provider (Verizon), I could get complete feeds. There were always SOME parts of the download missing. When you're trying to get a 60+ part RAR file, even one missing chunk is enough to prevent a successful transfer. I subscribed to SuperNews for a little while, but now I just get everything with bitTorrent. Is Usenet still even useful for file transfers? It seems like with file sizes these days the limitations of NNTP make it about the most inefficient mechanism out there.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247797)

You can call bullshit all you want, but since you're a pirate, no one cares.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247957)

That was my understanding too and I thought I'd go see what these newsgroup providers take on it was.

Quick jump to Giganews and they're actually even taking advantage of it by offering deals to users of all the ISPs who are dropping alt.*

It's always nice to see sensible companies cashing in on the idiocy of others ;)

Re:Copyright infringement, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24248005)

Mostly...

But I think Usenet won't work if its just a couple of dedicated providers doing so. I doubt the critical mass is there to maintain alt's cornicopia of warez and crap if its just a smaller subset of people paying 20 a month.

Besides, ISPs are also moving to the "Oh wow you just used 100G in a couple days on stuff we can't track so you must be abusing things and we're cutting you off" model of behavior at the same time.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (4, Informative)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248035)

The other funny thing is that while the summary cries "Usenet", TFA only mentions Usenet in passing, and the article to which it connects does not mention Usenet at all. That is basically a copy of the same article that was posted here a short while ago which didn't mention Usenet either.

From TFA:

All 18 cable companies have agreed to use NCMEC's list of active Web sites identified as containing child pornography, to ensure that no such site is hosted on servers owned or controlled by those companies.

(emphasis mine)

Why on earth are people screaming "They are turning of Usenet!"?

Re:Copyright infringement, too (4, Insightful)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247639)

Port 119 is not the only port used by premium usenet providers, many provide access via alternate ports.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247687)

I guess if they were really really really really really serious, they could do some packet inspection to weed out all these evil potentially-kiddie-porn-laden NNTP packets (you know what nests of pervs places like alt.fan.tolkien and alt.atheism are). The way I read it, it looks like the few remaining big-name ISPs still running news servers shutting them down while declaring "it's for the children", when in reality, it's probably more for the reason the ISP I worked at finally killed the feed, because only a very small fraction (in my case, about one in ninety or a hundred customers) actually using them.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247713)

Of course if the shut down usenet would anybody notice?
I so miss the days when usenet was useful.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247715)

They don't care about that so much as just not wanting to provide you with the bandwidth for which you paid. This is Cheap Bastards Syndrome, not Copyright Police.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248165)

It is nothing more than an act of appeasement, and any semi intelligent human can tell you what that will get you.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24248171)

its all about torrents now mostly anyway isnt it? I mean newsgroups are so 1996.

Re:Copyright infringement, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24248187)

Shutting off alt.* puts a dent in that. Temporarily, at least, till everyone moves elsewhere.

There's also the issue of Do We Want To Store This Stuff, on the part of the ISP.

Looking at my ISP's usenet archives, which go back a fair way, there's severely underage porn sitting there, on their servers, in Melbourne Australia. By a quick look around, there's around two to three and a half gigabytes of it. A quick and almost certainly illegal in this country peek shows it's genuine.

It's sitting there on my ISP's servers, freely accessible. Hell, through a friend I know who used to work for them, I know the building the servers are stored in, and I know she could tell me the floor they're stored in.

If this was any other company storing child porn on their computers, they'd be ripped apart in seconds. Not only are they storing it, they're distributing and selling it; they provide access to every one of their paying customers.

But then... afaik they're protected as common carriers, so legally they're not distributing it, but the original poster is. Also, blocking all of alt.* is like burning down the block of flats that one pedophile lives in. Shotgun approach = fail.

Well DUH (2, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247435)

It's a PR job, pretty much everyone reading this knows that already.

The good news is that it will all eventually backfire and we'll all get a class action check for $1.59.

Re:Well DUH (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247447)

Exactly. Going after the predators would require real effort, and that shit is hard.

Re:Well DUH (0)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247585)

Going after the predators is something the police already do. It's difficult and it's expensive. They also get pretty good cooperation from ISPs (to find out, for example, who was associated with a given IP address at a particular time).

This may primarily be to restrict consumption of illicit material produced outside of US jurisdiction. Despite what the article says, I haven't seen any actual evidence that the "agreement" is to stop carrying Usenet newsgroups.

Re:Well DUH (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247701)

"Despite what the article says, I haven't seen any actual evidence that the "agreement" is to stop carrying Usenet newsgroups."

How about the fact that a 6 weeks ago, Roadrunner stopped serving Usenet altogether?

Re:Well DUH (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247769)

I don't know if you'd accept this as evidence, but Time Warner/RoadRunner recently stopped carrying ANY Usenet content. They claimed this was due to "low subscriber usage," but it came out almost immediately after Cuomo's armtwisting [arstechnica.com].

Re:Well DUH (3, Interesting)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247847)

I had actually forgotten about that. It's certainly possible the two are related. Time Warner could be telling the truth about their reasons. They could also be using the "suggestion" to stop hosting some Usenet as an excuse / opportunity to stop hosting all of it. I don't know, but I'll freely admit it's a possibility.

I guess I should have been more clear -- it doesn't appear that the "request" was to stop hosting Usenet altogether, but to stop hosting some particular newsgroups.

Unless they want to try to effectively kill off Usenet altogether, I don't see encouraging ISPs to stop hosting it as a smart move, as it could boost the popularity of non-ISP Usenet hosts.

Re:Well DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24248099)

That's what she said. Before she called the cops on me...

Re:Well DUH (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247527)

By the way, if you want to get a few bucks over the $1.59 here's the formula:

1. Create content - You singing an original song or some software, whatever.
2. Wait until someone distributes it illegally.
3. Demand that ISPs use their shiny new content filtering to remove it, since they have that ability to block CP, they can block this. (They won't, you're too small)
4. Sue.
5. Profit.
6. Repeat.

There are several variations you can use for this, all of which will generate a settlement check.

Re:Well DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247891)

The good news is that it will all eventually backfire and we'll all get a class action check for $1.59.

And I'm OK with that, as long as the CEO of TimeWarner has to write one million of them out by hand like Steve Martin had to do in The Jerk.

Captain obvious saves the day! (0, Redundant)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247439)

Is this really a surprise to any of us? I honestly don't see how this is even news. It's like saying "Airport security actually doesn't provide much more security at all! It's all just a publicity stunt!". We all already know the real reasons they are doing it, and we all know that it is retarded.

But because we seem fascinated with moot headlines/news, I've decided to post a few more.
"Things get wet when you put them in water! More at 11!"
"Myspace is full of angsty teens!"
"Santa isn't real kiddos! It's just a way for parents to keep you in good behavior!"
"Pro Wrestling is all faked! Oh noes!"

etc... etc...

O Rly? (3, Funny)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247515)

"Things get wet when you put them in liquid water! More at 11!"
"Myspace is full of angsty teens and pedophiles"
"Santa is real but works for the NSA"
"Pro wrestling is fake, so are the breasts but it's fun to see women tear their clothes off each other anyway"

Fixed...I think...kinda.

in soviet USA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247457)

This is nothing more than a MAFIAA sponsored ploy to reduce free trade of their IP. Child porn is the tack they have taken this time. But this assault on personal freedom and privacy is just another underhanded strike by the billionaires that wish to control us all as sheep, milking our dollars as we simper and dribble while sucking down their provisions like the drug-addled fools that we are.

Re:in soviet USA (4, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247601)

IOW: This is the beginning of the "Great Firewall of America".

Re:in soviet USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247901)

You mean "the great firewall of the world". An annoying number of routes wind up going through the US, even if it seems like they shouldn't.

Fortunately for the rest of us, this just means that the rest of the world will have to build up infrastructure around the damage that is the US and start routing around them. (Which will also help avoid the US military's numerous "cyber-warfare" divisions.)

Things are looking up for Canada to become a new bandwidth super-power, as the Europe and Russia have to rely on them to skip past the US.

etc (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247459)

i think that the riaa, mpaa, and bsa are obscene. maybe they should block them from my internet.

Not to honk my own horn.... (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247469)

Or any slashdotter's (now that doesnt as good as it did when I thought about it), but yeah, WE thought so: its just for nothing.

And thats GOOD as well. What on earth can the ISP's do against child porn, other than snooping arround in real time at everything all users do?

This guys think that the net fosters child porn. What, didnt they see that greek pottery from a gazilion years ago?

Dual-edged sword (4, Insightful)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247503)

Also, this sets an awful precedent in that the ISPs can point out that it's ok for them to block "objectionable" content where they get to define what's objectionable without any review."

I would think the ISPs would be more concerned with the perception that they are somehow responsible for policing for this kind of content. Once you open the door to that kind of expectation, how can you close it again?

Re:Dual-edged sword (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247821)

That's why they started with child pornography. As TFA states, who can protest anything that appears to be a blow in the fight against child pornography? Anyone who protests this move will be easily labeled as either being naïvely soft on child porn, or as being some sort of pedophile themselves.

The next step? A "family friendly" ISP, that blocks all pornography all together. Then ISPs that block websites or forums where people discuss controversial topics like drug use. All in the name of being "family friendly," and at each step, pointing to the previous step when someone questions it ("Why are you blocking http://www.erowid.org/ [erowid.org] ?" "Well, we block objectionable content all the time, such as pornography, because we are family friend.").

A blow against net neutrality (5, Insightful)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247505)

From my point of view, anytime any institution mentions child porn, they are actually using that as a cover to gain control. Since when did everyone become so altruistic and when has child porn become a rampant problem? The FBI has been using this line also but only to gain control over the networks for other purposes. The ISPs will be the same in which case, it is the first blow against net neutrality for them. It is also a clever trick since no one would be against a plan to go against child porn. A bit of a political move in my eyes.

Re:A blow against net neutrality (2, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247663)

Exactly! I'd like to see actual statistics about how much child porn is produced in a year. And I'm not talking about pictures of kids taking a bath. Nudity isn't illegal. It's the explicit sex acts involving children that are what compose "child porn". Where are the real statistics on that?!

Re:A blow against net neutrality (1)

Xemu (50595) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248221)

I'd like to see actual statistics about how much child porn is produced in a year. And I'm not talking about pictures of kids taking a bath. Nudity isn't illegal. It's the explicit sex acts involving children that are what compose "child porn". Where are the real statistics on that?!

Here: http://www.unicef.org/magic/media/documents/beyond_all_tolerance.pdf [unicef.org]

Re:A blow against net neutrality (1)

Xemu (50595) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248253)

I'd like to see actual statistics about how much child porn is produced in a year. And I'm not talking about pictures of kids taking a bath. Nudity isn't illegal. It's the explicit sex acts involving children that are what compose "child porn". Where are the real statistics on that?!

Here: http://www.unicef.org/magic/media/documents/beyond_all_tolerance.pdf [unicef.org]

A quote:

The little research being done (principally at University College Cork in Ireland
within the COPINE project supervised by Professor Max Taylor) shows that the
number of children drawn into the traffic is consistently increasing. In 1998/99, a
study was made of how much child pornographic material was being distributed
within News Groups. Over one year, more than 50,000 child pornographic pictures
were collected. A couple of thousand children were exposed, and for every
week there was a new child, previously unseen. Parts of the study were repeated
in 2002/2003 and it was noted that the weekly frequency of new children had doubled.

Fuck Godwin (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247771)

Until we read history and REALIZE that this is a fundamental fault in a media-accessible society, we'll never learn.

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." --Adolph Hitler

Re:A blow against net neutrality (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248145)

Exaclty my thinking.. and on a curious note, what does the FBI do when some person hires the use of a spambot network to send out craploads of image spam with actual pictures attached? Arrest everyone that got the Image? Or just shut down all email? I have a feeling it would pass through most spam filters, since if the message is over a certain size, it is statistically less likely to be spam...

to be fair (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247549)

1. there really IS child porn all over alt.binaries.erotica. completely mislabeled and miscategorized

2. furthermore, nntp is a dying protocol. there is no way they could get away with this with smtp or hhtp. but to the average joe, nntp is utterly obscure

conclusion: they are going to get away with it, and they are going to put a stake through the heart of nntp

Re:to be fair (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247649)

nntp is a dying protocol.

I'll admit I haven't generated any nntp traffic in about a decade. But, are the ISPs actually blocking nntp traffic or are they just taking this an excuse to turn off their newsgroup servers and relays, fire the maintenance people, and buy some ivory backscratchers with the savings?

Re:to be fair (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247679)

To be fair, people drive to the back-alley porn and buy illegal pornography ( or other things ).

So i guess we should start banning car use on back alleys?

Re:to be fair (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247781)

Good grief, my favorite hangout on Usenet averages about three or four hundred messages a day (I know, I don't get much of a chance to post on weekends, and when I look on Monday, there's often seven hundred new messages). A lot of the web forums out there would give their left nut for that amount of traffic.

It's true that there are lots of vacant and abandoned groups, but then again, there were plenty of those back in the early 1990s when I first started posting to Usenet. A lot of the vanity groups croaked, but there are still areas of Usenet that are very active. Even in the mid-90s when the Internet started its big growth spurt, most of the new consumers didn't know anything about Usenet. I remember my first ISP job was going around installing Trumpet winsock on computers, and when it came to setting up xnews, people would ask it was, and after I explained it, most of them said "Don't bother".

Re:to be fair (3, Funny)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247925)

there is no way they could get away with this with smtp or hhtp.

Ah, yes, the Hyper-Hoopla Transfer Protocol!

Re:to be fair (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248121)

furthermore, nntp is a dying protocol.

Which is why it would be attractive to anyone dealing with illegal images. It's like having underground tunnels that nobody rarely visits, except to those knowing where the entrances leading to the surface are.

Why is viewing so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247553)

I mean, shouldn't we be going after the people making child porn, and not the people viewing it?

Re:Why is viewing so bad? (2, Insightful)

lordofwhee (1187719) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247693)

We should be going after the kiddie raping motherfuckers who DON'T look at little suzie down the street on the internet, they go entice her with candy in a white van and take her behind the gas station. THAT'S abuse. It's like saying looking at trees is abuse of the trees. It's not, and it's exactly the same in this case. Hell, internet kiddie porn probably keeps more kids from being raped than it encourages. Think about how many people there are that are actually pedophiles. Not kiddie-rapers, they just like little kids. So they hop on Usenet, download a video or two, and that's that. Now, what if they couldn't? They might eventually end up kidnapping little suzie.

Re:Why is viewing so bad? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247737)

Since the "object" you are viewing is illegal to produce and legally shouldn't exist at all ( at least where you live ), it is logically extended to the act of viewing.

To what end? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247587)

To what end will ISPs stop blocking things that could be used legitimately? I mean, some block or throttle P2P traffic because their infrastructure is out of touch with the 21st century and as a kowtow to the **AA. Now they're blocking newsgroups which have more uses than just porn. What next? Are they going to start blocking all porn sites in general just because it's impossible to verify that all sites aren't disseminating smut of an illegal nature?

Re:To what end? (1)

dark whole (1220600) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247673)

What next? Are they going to start blocking all porn sites in general just because it's impossible to verify that all sites aren't disseminating smut of an illegal nature?

Not if the porn industry throws the ISP a cut. They probably WOULD block it if there was enough extra lining in their pockets.

Re:To what end? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247705)

And according to the FCC, they're not allowed to throttle P2P traffic.

They're only blocking enumerated newsgroups that are primarily used for trading CP, not blocking all access to newsgroups. Further, the only blocking of newsgroups they're doing is restricting what newsgroups they are hosting locally.

Likewise, the only action they're taking against websites is removing sites with CP (illegal content that is against their terms of service, which they're well within their rights to remove) that are hosted on their network -- not blocking access to some list of sites.

It doesn't seem that the author of TFA read the freakin' (original) article.

10 Years Gone (4, Insightful)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247591)

I worked for an ISP from 2001-2006 (Dreamscape Online) who had their POP raided in 1998 from then-AG Steve Vacco (he was running for re-election if I remember correctly).

Here's a nice writeup on it: http://www.theharbinger.org/xvii/990119/blair.html [theharbinger.org]

In 1998 I heard about this in the news, and was annoyed at the common man's lack of knowledge about technology. By the time I worked there the ISP outsourced it's newsgroup servers.

I love the attorney's quote at the end of the article. How people should go after the originators and not the ISP's.

I was very glad to have worked at a place which seemed to have set a precedent. But did it really? I mean, here we are 10 years later, and some average Joe sixpacks (including AG's) still have no clue as how to fix social issues.

Because that's what they are. They're social issues not technical issues. Hell, the internet connection is just the carrier. We need to get ISP's out of the service (and content) business _NOW_.

Somehow I feel like this is bureaucratic BS ... like my local municipality saying they're going to take care of pot holes, only to come examine and scrutinize my driveway ... and patting themselves on the back for the excellent job they're performing.

I want to see this stuff wiped out as much as anyone else. But for some reason they're focusing their efforts at the wrong ends of the internet.

CYA (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247597)

Can you blame them? With this they get press releases and can claim that they are doing SOMETHING, whatever that something might be against child porn the next time the US AG gets a bug up his ass about child porn online.

Re:CYA (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248083)

Can you blame them? With this they get press releases and can claim that they are doing SOMETHING, whatever that something might be against child porn the next time the US AG gets a bug up his ass about child porn online.

Blame them? Yes. I can understand why they're doing it, but I don't like the direction it takes the ISPs; censorship is always bad. I don't wish to state the obvious but, hey why not?, I'm an adult. I can vote, I can certainly decide whether or not I find something offensive.

And, if that 'something' is material of a criminal nature, I can report it to the relevant authorities and they can deal with it properly. Not by sticking their fingers in their ears, or up their ass, whichever term you prefer, and ignoring it; hoping that if no one can find the difficult-to-prosecute crime they won't have to spend their time finding the criminals. Hiding it ain't solving it. And I really want child porn, however prevalent it may, or may not, be, ended. But even with that mindset I think censorship is wrong, especially so with no way to review the list of content to be blocked.

Definition of ISP (4, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247617)

This is why we need a clear definition of "ISP" and government agency to enforce it.

If we define ISP as:

-> Access to the internet which is unfiltered* and unfettered
-> Hosting of DNS, NNTP, SMTP**, HTTP (hosted page for users), POP3 and IMAP

Anything that does not meet this criteria can not be called an "ISP" and can not offer for sale "Internet Access". Selling service that is less than the above yet calling themselves an "ISP" or selling "Internet Access" is "false advertising". FTC is probably the proper agency to enforce, or perhaps state agencies.

*or the ability to turn the filter off on your own. I have this with my ISP, they block 25/tcp by default, but I run my own mail server so I disable it. Blocking 25/tcp is good for the internet as a whole, but for certain users, it should be turned off.

**mail forwarding for those who do not run their own server.

Re:Definition of ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247785)

Telus blocks port 25. To unblock it you have to pay more and upgrade to a business account. They refuse to unblock it for residential customers.

I switched to Shaw.

Why they can't be against child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247619)

If they really were against child porn, they would make it a point to only filter out child porn.

When they block something, anything that isn't, they are doing what microsoft did when they used the same security against piracy off of the x-box to keep linux off of the xbox.

When they do that, they get the efforts off all the parties involved working against them. They tell the people that had nothing to do with child porn but got blocked anyway, to work with the people who got blocked for child pornography.

objectionable without any review. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247659)

Well, they are a company and not a government so really arent bound by the rules of 'free speech' or 'censorship'. "review" consists of their customers looking elsewhere for service.

Too bad many have a virtual lock in their market area.

Telco removes "E" section from Yellow Pages (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247661)

And in further news, responding to charges that some escort services provide illegal services, the announced that effective today will carry only the "big 25" Yellow Pages sections: A through D and F through Z.

More money for Supernews, et al. (5, Insightful)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247689)

My ISP already doesn't offer Usenet, so I have the cheapest account Supernews offers. If ISPs turn off Usenet, they'll just drive more business to Supernews and other NNTP services. As a former ISP sysadmin, I suspect that's actually their real plan. Running a decent news server takes quite a bit of bandwidth and disk space (at least if you carry binary newsgroups).

So, what's an ISP to do? Hmmm. Drop NNTP service. Saves you money and disk space. Claim it's to fight CP. Makes you look good to some people who don't know the real story. Customers who want Usenet then sign up with an NNTP service. They go over their bandwidth caps and you either then throttle them down or charge them extra bandwidth charges. They may pay, they may go elswhere. Either way, you've solved a few business problems for yourself, all the while being able to claim it's because you're thinking of the children.

Don't get me wrong about CP - I'm a dad, and I not only think child pornographers should be taken out and shot, I'd be happy to shoot them myself - but this just isn't going to do anything to control, contain, or prevent CP>

Taking a Stand (1)

ticklemeozmo (595926) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247699)

>> "Unfortunately, the 'stand against child porn' isn't actually a stand at all, it seems more like ignoring the issue while trying to snag some headlines and good will"

Isn't this EVERY headline and corporate stance?  Isn't this every company that "celebrates Black History Month!"?

Usenet Isn't Gone (1)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247719)

Most ISPs only ever provided a watered down version of Usenet anyway. In which retention was limited in many cases to less then a week and in which bandwidth on file downloads was much less then your line speed. I know first hand that this was the case with Comcast and Verizion FIOS. The reality is that Usenet was ever only good from pay Usenet services before this and it will continue to be the case after this.

newsdemon.com, too (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247817)

Apparently not just the ISPs' version of Usenet is watered down. I just signed up with newsdemon.com, and there is absolutely NO alt.erotica.* newsgroups. Is this normal for third-party NNTP providers?

Re:newsdemon.com, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247885)

dude... it's not alt.erotica, it is alt.binaries.erotica.... er... I heard that from a friend of mine.

Generally I'm against censorship, but.. (1, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247739)

I think hate speech is protected and all other kinds of censorship is wrong, but I have to agree here. There can be no artistic, social or any other benefit from this industry. I've known sexual assault victims (from when they were children), and it really messes with their heads. It completely screws them over in terms of how they see themselves, their place and reality in general.

I'm not worried about people getting frustrated and searching out real victims. I think there is a line between fantasy and reality that is a barrier. For instance, I've always wanted sex with multiple women. Despite having been in Nevada, I have yet to 1) expereicne a prostitute and 2) experience multiple women.

Then there is the issue of hentai (sp?). I often see this as ironic, because you have to draw these images 12 frames a second, provide story board and script. A of more work goes into that production! Does this turn artists into pedophiles? I don't know. But still, this medium can serve as fantasy release. The one thing I got from watching the Matrix in HD is that it doesn't change the experience. Concepts are the same. But at the same time no one is getting hurt. So maybe it is a good thing and can serve as a vent. I don't know.

But I don't think child porn is like a gateway drug. I think regardless of what images you are presented, you have the choice in and responsibility for your actions.

I do have to ask though -- I have social worker friends, and they are telling me that sex between 12-year olds is increasingly common. If people are voluntarily engaging in behavior at that age, are we really protecting them? I guess the idea is that we protect them from adults, and that is all fine by me, but wouldn't that be just as bad as any other sexual assault? I've also seen instances where teenagers send pictures of their own naked bits via cell phones to other teenagers. Should they be charged as well?

Today too many kids race towards adulthood. I think part of the intent is to protect that childhood. But kids these days are ding everything they can to deny childhood. I have to question the effectiveness, where the "victim" is a willing participant.

I think though, it is a noble goal and for whatever it is worth, should be pursued. I think everyone would agree that no one wants an industry of child exploitation.

neutral or not? (4, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247749)

ISP's should not be able to have it both ways. Either they are providing a service and not responsible for what is sent across their networks or they are responsible and everyone should be able to sue them. I would pick option 1, but what do I know. And if they are going to do stuff like this in the name of child pornography, why are the freeways still open? They obviously facilitate actual child abuse so why not just nip it in the bud and close the freeways? Think of the children!

Ban Wal*Mart (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247799)

ISPs banning Usenet to get rid of child porn is like cities banning Wal*Mart to get rid of lead paint from China. Or more like banning Wal*Mart, Target and Pizza Hut to get rid of Barney-themed products from China that have lead paint.

It is quite ironic... (1)

JBG667 (690404) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247805)

That in the same country that won't outlaw guns, which definitely and directly harm people, folks are finding it necessary to ban newsgroups, which do not harm anyone directly or indirectly. Get your f***n priorities straight.

Yeah right ... (2, Insightful)

jon3k (691256) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247815)

And it's even more about reducing their bandwidth costs than grabbing headlines. alt.* probably accounts for 99% of nntp traffic which these providers will now reduce to zero.

USENET least of my worries. (3, Informative)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247859)

Have you had a chance to read the new article about Child porn and Cable companies letting a private organization dictate their content?

Check this out

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13739_3-9994159-46.html [cnet.com]

This scares me a hell of a lot more than usenet. Usenet is basically used by the more "in" technical crowd.

Standard websites and family photos of bathing children etc have in the past been called Child Porn when parents try to develop harmless photos. This went away for a long time because of the digital age... Now these buggers will be able to repeat the same crap with more innocent photo's against parents who are not doing anything wrong.

There is real child porn out there.. I get that.. and kids should be protected... protect the children ... yata yata...

But giving an unsupervised private organization complete control over the vast majority of US web space content is pretty scary stuff.

Since I'm sure it's possible to use P2P sites... (2, Insightful)

spagthorpe (111133) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247865)

to get CP, then I'm sure it will become reasonable to block all P2P sites. The more I hear about this, the more I think it has nothing to do with CP, but was dreamed up in RIAA/MPAA backrooms.

What great way to get bully everyone over to your side. Exploit a topic that caries such a stigma with it, that nobody will dare fight it, since they are obviously encouraging CP.

uh...review? (2, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247889)

this sets an awful precedent in that the ISPs can point out that it's ok for them to block "objectionable" content where they get to define what's objectionable without any review.

Why would they need review? These are private entities. As long as they don't violate whatever contracts they have with their customers, they're free to block whatever they want. If you don't appreciate that a particular ISP blocks particular content, then don't become a customer of that ISP.

Re:uh...review? (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248085)

Its not all that easy to just switch ISPs in some parts of the world, I know there is lots of places in the us that only have comcast

Juts get it over with... (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 5 years ago | (#24247917)

Can we please just outlaw the internet? The **AA will eventually say every thing on the internet is for child porn.

What makes usenet different than any other internet technology when it comes to child porn? Wow, its a different way to shift bits around. Until they can stop all forms of bit transmission, there will be porn....

Angry redactor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247921)

It seems to me that the redactor of that article is just trying to justify his anger against his ISP for blocking him access to the pr0n.

Simple as that.

red herring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247961)

Even the most perverted, sociopathic people who don't actually give a fuck about anything, who are either ambivalent about tasteless material, or even those who seek it out as sport... seem to never come across anything that qualifies as "kiddie porn."
Yes, it can be easy to find juvenile photos in the "nudism" context, but that's not really "porn", and yes, there was a time that say, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic published a certain amount of hard core porn with 15 and 16 year old models. So those kinds of things are out there, at least you will come across them without really trying. But "kiddie porn." The stuff that people seem to be so terrified of. Seven and Eight year olds in hardcore sex acts on film. Ever seen it in 15 years on the internet? 15 years as say, an admin for a big webhosting company or something like that? One that specializes in "mature content?" Seen it? At all? While you're at it, ever seen a snuff film? This stuff out there in such extreme quantity that we need to rewrite all laws in response?

Just wondering, because it seems like a red herring to me.

The only that's needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24247969)

... to bring an end to this silliness is for someone to sue an ISP for failure to properly "protect" them from child porn and/or its effects and the ISP will disavow any responsibility for content go back to being what they used to be; distributors and not publishers. I don't know, maybe I missed it.

The ISP's are very stupidly creating some expectation of "safety" in the minds of their customers which will only come back to bite them in the ass.

Kuma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24248073)

Kuma does not approve of blocking usenet.

Meh, just capitalism (5, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248093)

1. Sell 'unlimited broadband at super speeds'
2. Throttle downloads
3. Block usnet
4. ???
5. Increased Profit!!

Oooh, I thought of a beer analogy.

1. Sell 'as much beer as you can drink'
2. Limit to 3 pints per hour
3. Water down beer
4. ???
5. Increased Profit!!

They are happy to have an excuse (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248107)

Either they rent it from others or they are maintaining their own servers. Both cost them money. They now have a great excuse to dropt this, keep the money and need nothing to for the customers, because "it's the law".

Each and every CEO will get a hardon if they can stop providing a service that costs them money and not held responsible for it.

The ISPs aren't blocking anything here... (1)

I.M.O.G. (811163) | more than 5 years ago | (#24248245)

...they are just not providing the access themselves.

The argument that this sets a bad precedent is BS. If you wanted to say that, then you should talk about packet filtering and bandwidth throttling, but dropping usenet access is meaningless in this regard.

All said and done, this whole usenet thing is a lot of noise about nothing. Likely because a lot of people misunderstand what Usenet is, how its accessed, and what the ISPs decision really means much like this article misses the boat.
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