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Has Verizon Forfeited Common Carrier Status?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the single-point-of-failure dept.

721

An anonymous reader writes, "Freedom of speech, the future of the Net, you name it. In October, a U.S. vigilante group asked Verizon to cut off Net access to Epifora, a Canadian ISP that hosts a number of (entirely legal) web sites offering support to minor-attracted adults. Shortly thereafter, Verizon gave 30 days notice to Epifora, ending a 5 year relationship. Telecos have traditionally refrained from censoring legal content, arguing that as 'common carriers' it is outside of their scope to make such decisions. Furthermore, they have refrained because if they did so in some cases, they might be legally liable for other cases where they did not exercise censorship. The questions are: has Verizon forfeited their claim to common-carrier status by selectively censoring legal speech that they do not like? And can the net effectively route around censorship if the trunk carriers are allowed to pick and choose whom they allow to connect?"

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721 comments

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The correct answer: (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741701)

Verizon is just protecting the children, you pedophile freak.

Seriously though, Common Carriers should really not be censoring ANY content if they want to be common carriers. Here in the real world, though, Verizon and all of the other big telcos have the FCC in their pockets, so I wouldn't hold my breath on anything happening to them because of this.

Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (3, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741843)

Censorship is an ethical cancer. There can be no legitimate justification for it. This will not stop either the corporations or the legislators from implementing as much of it as they can get away with.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (5, Insightful)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742133)

>Censorship is an ethical cancer. There can be no legitimate justification for it.

Yes, because you still have the unlimited right to yell, "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire. Or incite a riot.

Face it, there is NO such thing as unlimited freedoms, and for good reason.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (3, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742409)

"Fire" is just a word. It's not my fault people are so jumpy. Inciting a riot takes some underlying issue 99% of the time, so trying to ban "inciting a riot" is kind of like blaming red buttons for nuclear attacks.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742503)

I'm going to rape you, then kill you while your family watches. Then I will kill them.

Just words. Doesn't mean a thing. Not a crime, right?

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742605)

Nope, and besides, I have had a lot worse said to me seriously that didn't bother me at all. The 1% chance anyone is ever really planning to do such is easly fixed with this big stick and my cross-bow.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742643)

Wrong words. The correct words are [parent] is going to rape YOU, then kill you while your family watches. Then HE will kill you.

And then when [parent] ends up dead, it's of course not MY fault or YOUR fault. Just because we incite violence doesn't mean we have ANY culpability. Right?

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (5, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742433)

That's not censorship.

Censorship would be the gov't throwing you in prison for warning people about the danger of fire. Your example is the gov't throwing you in prison for knowningly and willfully endangering people's lives by shouting something you a) know to be untrue, and b) know will most likely cause a panic-stricken stampede for the exits.

Quite honestly, saying that not being able to yell 'fire' in a croweded theater is like saying that your right to bear arms is infringed by not being able to shoot people at will.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742451)

You can say anything you want. If it can be substantially proven that you inflicted quantifiable harm on another, you can be held accountable for that.

For instance, if I published a full-page ad in your local paper calling you a pedophile, I would have the full legal right to do so. If you could demonstrate that I caused you financial losses from such a thing, and damages, then I could be sued for libel.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742487)

Yes, because you still have the unlimited right to yell, "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire. Or incite a riot.

Yes you do have that right. Only thing is that you will likely be charged for inciting violence/panic. Censorship is never the answer.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (0)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742513)

Yes, because you still have the unlimited right to yell, "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire. Or incite a riot.
Face it, there is NO such thing as unlimited freedoms, and for good reason.

If I yell "fire", and you panic, that's your fault — not mine. I didn't cause a problem; you did. And consequently, you are the one who is out of line. You definitely should have paid more attention during fire drills. We're all taught that panic is wrong and must not be entered into. But if you didn't learn, and if your behavior is antisocial to such a degree that you would physically abuse your fellow citizens, you commit a crime. Assault, for instance. I didn't do that. If you file out quietly (or simply observe there is no fire and keep your seat), then no harm done. See? It's what you do that determines if there is a problem. Not the fellow yelling "fire."

An excellent argument could be made that if person A yells "fire" where there is none, and person B panics, then person B should be punished and person A should get a citizenship award, because he helped the public determine that person B is not safe to have around should a real emergency develop. No one wants some idiot panicking in the case of a real fire, after all.

Anyway, the simple fact is, all speech should be protected in the USA, because the first amendment stipulates this at the federal level, and the 14th ensures that the same applies to the states.

Note that I am fully aware that the government has long ago abandoned the pretense of complying with the constitution. However, this does not in any way change what the legitimate set of actions with regard to speech are. It just makes the government illegitimate, lacking any legitimate constituting authority.

Should we ever meet a theatre, and you decide, for whatever reason, to yell "fire", I can assure you that I will not panic. Even if there really is a fire. Panic is antisocial and unhelpful in the extreme, not to mention stupid, and generally the mark of a pathologically selfish mindset. Like most criminal behavior. Fire (and other emergency) drills, on the other hand, are good practice.

Every time you depend on the government to be your mommy, and protect you from reading (or hearing, or viewing) something that might OMG offend you, you are crapping on the constitution, and on your fellow citizens, many of whom do not agree that either you, or the government, should have any say whatsoever in what they see, read, hear or think.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742529)

First of all, preventing someone from yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire is completely different. That is a situation where someone is knowingly (presumably, anyway) providing false information to people that did not ask for it and can reasonably be assumed to be there for the movie/play/whatever. In this case, the only people seeing the information are (presumably) people intending to see it by clicking on links from other pages, search engines, etc.

And as for inciting a riot, I think people should be allowed to do so. Unless you think "But he told me to" should be a valid legal defense.

Aside from that, nobody here said that there should be UNLIMITED freedoms. People were merely suggesting that Verizon should not be the censor, and furthermore that by playing censor here it may open itself up to legal issues for not playing censor with other such sites. Some, myself included, would go farther and say that even this speech should not be censored at all, by anyone. But even that is far less strong of a claim than the straw man of "unlimited freedoms" that you have set up.

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742589)

Yes, because you still have the unlimited right to yell, "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire. Or incite a riot.

The word you need to study is "liability."

KFG

Re:Legislation, Corporations, and Censorship (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742621)

The difference is, no one is censoring your ability to speak about fire, discuss your feelings about fire, or make political arguments about the dangers of fire. It's a very fine line, but shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theater amounts to more than speech. The anticipated result to yelling fire in a crowded theater is not comparable to any result you could gain from a normal discussion, but is more comparable to actually firing a gun near a herd of cattle while children play nearby or chasing people with machetes.

They should split the business (2, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741883)

They should really split their business into two companies to be able to keep their common carrier status:

Business 1 is their common carrier business which does not do any censoring etc, but just provides common carrier services.

Business 2: Value added services (hosting etc). This business then does all the censoring etc.

Re:They should split the business (1)

palmpunk (324912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742413)

Well, They have split their business. Which Verizon is this taking about? Core? Business? Wireless?

Re:They should split the business (1)

Elm Tree (17570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742465)

I haven't read the article, but from the description the site in question is hosted in Canada, and it's the connection to the hosting company that's being cut. Which would be entirely in "Business 1" in your system.

Re:They should split the business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742595)

From RTFA, the issue is:

Epifora is a company that bought an ISP-scale connection to their backbone. They did not "buy hosting" from Verizon.

Verizon pulled the plug on the ISP entirely, because of their content.

this is very very clearly forefitting common carrier status and Verizon is now liable for ALLLLLLLLL traffic that crosses their network. This, is, of course, assuming there were not specific cases of illegal content which were referred to Epifora, which they refused to remove.

That doesn't seem to be the case as Epifora's website states that they proactively monitor their content and respond immediately to all requests of the sort.

Conclusion? IANAL. I don't know.

Stew

Political Maneuvering (2, Interesting)

JordanL (886154) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742301)

I agree with the summary mostly, however, I found the connotation of the entire thing rather... dubious.

I cannot check the article, (slashdotted), and since no link to the sites in question was provided, I am left to trust that the sites were good-natured content, and entirely legal, instead of deciding for myself.

I also wasn't able to find out the name of the vigilante group, as it wasn't included in the summary. For all I know it could be the ACLU.

The discussion should be about the principal of content filtering, not what content was filtered or who requested it. Everyone has websites that they feel only tarnish the internet. Demogaugery like this:

"...minor-attracted adults..." "...a U.S. vigilante group..." "...a number of (entirely legal) web sites..."

Does not help your position. They are pedophiles, interest/lobbying groups and entirely legal in Canada. Your choice of words turned me off to a subject which I completely agree with the summary on, because it shows the same double standard you are crying about.

phone net neutrality..? (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741731)

seems like a similar debate to net neutrality.

A Team of Lawyers (4, Funny)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741737)

Done. Every carrier will need a team of lawyers to review all content and deem it's legality.

Next

Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741751)

"Minor-attracted adults"? Is that a euphemism for paedophiles?

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (3, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741859)

I suppose that depends on the definition of "support".

If by "support" they mean support groups like AA where "minor-attracted adults" seek help in not acting on impulses and addictions, then not really; it bears distinguishing between pedophiles and people who recognize that their attractions aren't healthy, even if they feel natural.

If "support" is more like a NAMBLA textbook for seduction, then a euphemism it is.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741865)

Actually, it's a typo. The submitter meant "miner-attracted adults." It's a group of people irresistibly drawn to hard hats and black lung disease. Just goes to show you can find a website for anything on the Internet.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741953)

That's hot.

Obligatory: Galaxy Quest (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742253)

The submitter meant "miner-attracted adults."

  • Sir Alexander Dane: Could they be the miners?
  • Fred Kwan: Sure, they're like three years old.
  • Sir Alexander Dane: MINERS, not MINORS.
  • Fred Kwan: You lost me.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742319)

Just goes to show you can find a website for anything on the Internet.

Not if you're on Verizon.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741991)

"Minor-attracted adults" sounds a lot better than "perverts," in which case the argument seems to lose much of its strength.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (2, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742469)

"Minor-attracted adults" sounds a lot better than "perverts,"

That it does. Why not rename the whole spectrum?

Creepy flasher guy in the park - Genital Display Engineer
Pedophile priest - Faith-based Genital Manipulation Facilitator
Gary Glitter - Overly-Child-Friendly Entertainment Provider

Any others?

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742497)

Depends on what you mean by "minor". If you mean children, then yeah it's a bit perverted*. If you just mean under 18, that's not quite right. Think 16 and 17 year olds. Though it still depends on the age of the "adult". If their in their 20s, I don't see anything wrong/creepy about them being with a 16-17 year old. I just think its creepy when you're dating someone that's young enough to be your daughter/son.

* Though that depends on the culture/time. Mohammad [wikipedia.org] married a 6-year-old (the age of her varies, some things claim as old as 12).

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742081)

"Minor-attracted adults"? Is that a euphemism for paedophiles?

Depends on the age, and the law now doesn't it?

If the age of consent is lower than that of the age of majority (ie, a minor) you could be referring to a 17 year old potentially.

Here in Canada, the age of consent is 14 as long as you're not in a position of authority over the minor in question, with people making noises about raising it to the age of 16.

If I look at a 17 year old girl, am I a pedophile? I think not. I could legally have sex with her, but since she's half my age, I probably don't stand much chance/wouldn't have much in common with her anyway, so I'm not gonna go out and try. But, it hardly makes one a pedophile to stare at her b00b13z, she's merely a minor, but one who is legally allowed to have sex -- including with a dirty old man like me if she so chooses.

I don't know anything about the sites in question (and TFA seems to be slashdotted already), but there is not an immediate transition from "minor" (not old enough to vote or sign contracts) and "child" which is implied by pedophile. Depending on where you live, there are a few years of late adolescence which is a gray area.

Of course, now that I've tried to point out the distinction between being attracted to a minor and what it means to be a pedophile, I'm sure I'll be accused of being one, or at the very least supporting them. Which I don't. I'm merely trying to point out that "minor-attracted" might, in fact, NOT mean pedophile.

Cheers

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742437)

Canada- Here I come!!

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (3, Informative)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742613)

I would add that the pages Mark Foley pursued were 17 years old and he has incorrectly been labeled a pedophile.

You are exactly right of course. "Minor-attracted adults" aren't uncommon at all since "minor" is an arbitrary age that is typically older than the age of sexual maturity.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742163)

euphemism for pedophiles, ephebophiles and nepiophiles

It's a convenient PC term

Blessed be
JB

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742175)

Age of consent and age of majority are different legal issues.

Whether or not you consider them different moral issues is your issue.

KFG

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742183)

The sites in question had nothing to do with children or "Minor-attracted adults". It is a homosexual men's site.

These homophobes just pulled out the good old "won't someone think of the children" line to get their way.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742283)

Being attracted to minors and having sexual contact with them are two different things entirely. "Paedophilia", while meaning the former, is often used to refer to the latter, so I'd say "minor-attracted adult" is less likely to cause confusion.

Re:Has Slashdot been duped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742567)

"Minor-attracted adults"? Is that a euphemism for pedophiles?
Yes, and they should all be fucking flayed. Faggots and carpet munchers were bad enough..now pedophiles? And don't give me any of that "freedom of speech" crap either. These people are sick, perverted, and disgusting scum that should be swiftly removed from this earth.

Common Carrier? (4, Insightful)

Conception (212279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741755)

So, since they did this, isn't the obvious thing to do to sue Verizon for transmitting something bad that "hurts" you? They are no longer protected now, yes?

Hey, Windows/Linux Refugees! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742011)

The only thing more pathetic than a PC user is a PC user trying to be a Mac user. We have a name for you people: switcheurs.

There's a good reason for your vexation at the Mac's user interface: You don't speak its language. Remember that the Mac was designed by artists [atspace.com] , for artists [atspace.com] , be they poets [atspace.com] , musicians [atspace.com] , or avant-garde mathematicians [atspace.com] . A shiny new Mac can introduce your frathouse hovel to a modicum of good taste, but it can't make Mac users out of dweebs [atspace.com] and squares [atspace.com] like you.

So don't force what doesn't come naturally. You'll be much happier if you stick to an OS that matches your personality. And you'll be doing the rest of us a favor, too; you leave Macs to Mac users, and we'll leave beige to you.

Re:Hey, Windows/Linux Refugees! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742205)

Shit that's funny.

Re:Common Carrier? (2, Insightful)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742119)

Yes, from a legal standpoint they have just 'opened' up the flood waters. If you sensor even one message/data/item/etc passing through a system under your control, you loose common carrier/neutral party status and are held liable for everything that now occurs. Why do you think /. editors do not edit comments posted here? As soon as they did, they would be held liable for all the comments /. users make and would be open to lawsuits. Right now, Verizon can be held legally responsible for every piece of warez, pr0n, child pr0n, illegal music & movies, offshore gambling traffic, etc that is traveling through even a single machine under their direct control. Quick, someone call a lawyer at the RIAA!

yes, no, maybe. (2, Insightful)

FacePlant (19134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741769)

In theory, yes, but no corporation with that much money will ever be held accountable to the laws of our country unless they kill the citizenry, and even then, only after many, many years, and especially not when they're Thinking of the Children

The net will route around censorship (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741773)

But it's not going to be a quick process. If the backbones censor content, then encryption and onion routing will make sure that the backbones can no longer see what they carry. That however requires a change of protocol and will take time.

"minor-attracted adults" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741789)

The phrase "minor-attracted adults" makes baby Orwell cry.

Possibly NSFW? (2, Funny)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741821)

Can the editors please mention that a site might possibly not be safe for work?

As eager as I am to rally behind censorship, I'm not too keen on gay shirtless men popping up on my monitor as I eat my lunch. My Christian coworker might think odd things of me.

Re:Possibly NSFW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741929)

the site does have some gay pics and semi-nude men

Re:Possibly NSFW? (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742085)

I'm not too keen on gay shirtless men popping up on my monitor as I eat my lunch. My Christian coworker might think odd things of me.

Or, he may not :-)

Re:Possibly NSFW? (1)

slimey_limey (655670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742543)

Am I the only Christian who is peeved at people assuming that being Christian means being really uptight?

Re:Possibly NSFW? (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742627)

Silly Christians, always peeved at everything. Relax, man. Don't be so uptight.

Re:Possibly NSFW? (0, Troll)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742155)

My Christian coworker might think odd things of me.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your Christian coworker probably already thinks odd things of (with, about, for) you. Things involving superstition, magic bread and wine, reincarnation, turning your wife to a pillar of salt, snake handling, babbling in tongues, angels, demons, water-walking, sea-parting, numerology, geological absurdities, favor begging from deities, incest, life after death, eating Christ's body and drinking his blood, hanging replicas of some carpenter dude nailed to a cross around their neck, and yours too, if they can convince you to buy in...

You really want to watch out for those Christians. They can be pretty wacky.

Re:Possibly NSFW? (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742197)

"Can the editors please mention that a site might possibly not be safe for work?"

So, you need to be protected from the evils out there on the big wide web? I'll make it real simple for you: quit reading slashdot at work.

PJ group "vigilantes"? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741825)

They certainly aren't arresting people or hanging them or even imprisoning them. The article says they "destroy lives", when in fact the guys they "sting" destroy their own lives.

Re:PJ group "vigilantes"? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741951)

Absolutely. These "vigilantes" are working to prevent criminal acts. For some reason, I have a hard time having sympathy for the people caught engaged in those acts.

Re:PJ group "vigilantes"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741979)

Just like blacks and whites who dated fifty years ago "destroyed their own lives", eh? And like gays getting caught up in stings before the gay rights movement "destroyed their own lives".

-Ella, 16

Re:PJ group "vigilantes"? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742157)

Exactly. I should be allowed to fuck whatever I want. It doesn't harm anyone. Except maybe the child I just fucked, but who cares? It's my right.

Re:PJ group "vigilantes"? (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742479)

Ah, krell, you're never gonna learn what a vigilante is, are you? If it doesn't involve beating with a baseball bat it isn't vigilantism, right krell?

"...when in fact the guys they "sting" destroy their own lives."

How so? By seeking support at legal sites? Is getting Verizon to censor legal content an example of that "sting"? Nice leaping to conclusions, krell. Good thing you aren't in "law enforcement". Just a member of the mob.

"We're gonna have a first class trial followed by a first class hangin'." - krell

Fantastic - it's about time! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741841)

Now these pedophiles can go underground where, um, there, um, harder to find.

Shit.

Mod parent insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742067)

Mod parent insightful THEN mod this offtopic. In that order.

Sometimes ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741851)

Common sense triumphs the "rights" of a minorty.

Sorry, you NAMBLA sickos.

Re:Sometimes ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742395)

NAMBLA has nothing to do with this.

Common sense? PJ attacks Epifora just because they host sites PJ doesn't like... that's pure idiocy

Blessed be
JB

Re:Sometimes ... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742569)

Common sense would be going to the authorities that have legal ground to stand on. You know, like, the police.

Not an ISP who's job is to provide access to content. THAT is vigilantism.

It's called due process, and it used to be a pillar of democratic-type nations.

Okay... (0, Flamebait)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741913)

"Epifora, a Canadian ISP that hosts a number of (entirely legal) web sites offering support to minor-attracted adults."
You have got to love the way they say, "Minor-attracted adults".
The way we put that is pedophile.
Not even the person posting the story was willing to put their name on it.
Without knowing the websites it is hard to tell if they where legal in the US or not.
Notice no links to the sites, no titles of the sites, no nothing.

Kind of hard to judge with absolutely no real information, but that has never stopped anybody on Slashdot before.

Re:Okay... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742069)

"Epifora, a Canadian ISP that hosts a number of (entirely legal) web sites offering support to minor-attracted adults." You have got to love the way they say, "Minor-attracted adults". The way we put that is pedophile. Not even the person posting the story was willing to put their name on it. Without knowing the websites it is hard to tell if they where legal in the US or not. Notice no links to the sites, no titles of the sites, no nothing.

Yeah, no kidding. I spent about 5 seconds trying to parse "minor-attracted adult" before I realized they meant regular old perverts.

This may be the first ever recorded instance of an astroturf campaign by perverts. I'd say next time, if they want a nice story, find a better "aggrieved" party. This is one nobody's going to stand up for.

Re:Okay... (1)

Grelli (98061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742361)

I'd say next time, if they want a nice story, find a better "aggrieved" party. This is one nobody's going to stand up for.

Exactly the problem. This time, nobody will stand up because it's a bunch of sites for perverts. Set the precedent with something like this, then move on to other targets.

I'd rather the perverts continue to talk about whatever the hell they talk about, and they get held accountable IF they break any real laws.

Re:Okay... (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742099)

Kind of hard to judge with absolutely no real information, but that has never stopped anybody on Slashdot before.

If the ISP shut anyone down without a court order, regardless of what content they're hosting, then they've forfeited their common carrier status in my mind. If they found the site and thought it was illegal, they should have contacted the authorities. Otherwise, they should have done nothing. With the facts we have, we can answer the question asked in the summary.

RE: Okay... (4, Interesting)

Roger Wilcox (776904) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742339)

First of all, if you read the article, 2 sites were named as being found objectionable by Verizon:

"The company's clients host a number of websites and chatboards-- such as Boychat.org and Freespirits.org-- with a pederastic slant."


The article also seems to indicate that they would be legal in the US:

"With its transgressive content, Epifora had faced scrutiny before. After a July, 2001 report in Canada's National Post, MCI-Canada approached the Ontario Provincial Police for an opinion, and inspector Bob Matthews, of the OPP's "Project P" declared the material on Epifora's servers in compliance with the Criminal Code. That says a lot, as Canadian law sets a higher bar than the US and most other countries, making no distinction between, say, photographs of minors having sex, textual descriptions thereof, or even speech "advocating" such acts."


Furthermore, I believe you are missing the point:

Weather or not you agree with what is being said, free speech is protected by law in Canada and in the US. The issue here is weather or not Telcos should be able to censor content by refusing to provide access to their backbone. Verizon is refusing a Canadian ISP access to the backbone because they host a few websites that Verizon doesn't like.

The websites are legal in Canada for sure. Should Verizon be allowed to do this? I don't think so. This is a slippery slope that nobody wants to end up at the bottom of.

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742579)

Two of the websites in question that Im aware of being hosted by Epifora are http://www.boywiki.org/ [boywiki.org] and http://www.boychat.org/ [boychat.org] . There are more site links listed on the BoyChat website, I'll leave it up to you to follow them.

None of the sites have obscene graphic material, it's mostly text.

The sites is more along the lines of a place for "Pedophiles" to focus there sexuality into something that is at least somewhat positive.

They speak of things such as fishing with kids and getting a high from making the kid happy. Or seeing their 'boy' succeed.

The boychat website is a very /positive/ site for so called pedophiles that would otherwise have no where to output their feelings. If boychat didn't exist, the members would be bottling up their feelings until they did molest a child.

Definitely NSFW (1)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 7 years ago | (#16741959)

While the irony of suggesting this be censored is pretty crushing, the fact is we've got gay ads and artistic but none-the-less exposed drawn breasts.

The parent post really should be updated advising of that.

$100 says the canuckian site ran on Macs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16741971)

you know it was so.

Just because.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742035)

Just because canada has f'cked up laws that permit 50yr old men and women to sleep with 14yr old children doesn't make it morally right..

Besides.. it's ILLEGAL in the US, despite the fact that pedophiles all want a nice vacation with jr. in canada..

Thankfully the following bills are in the governments agenda..

C-214 - An Act to prevent the use of the Internet to distribute pornographic material involving children (Internet Child Pornography Prevention Act) - P. Stoffer

C-277 - An Act to amend the Criminal Code (luring a child) - E. Fast - Passed 2nd Reading

C-337 - An Act to amend the Criminal Code (child sexual predators) - A. Hanger

C-347 - An Act to amend the Criminal Code (keeping child pornography in a manner that is not reasonably secure from access by others) - N. Grewal

unfortunately our tourism up here is comprised of "north american man boy love association" (NAMBLA) pedophile freaks..

the sad part is, because it's not "illegal" for a 50yr old pervert to be with a 14yr old child, they assume it's their "right" and they are "morally and ethically in the clear"

i say.. nail their scrotums to an old barn beam, set the barn on fire.. and if the freak escapes.. shoot them on the spot.

Re:Just because.. (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742559)

permit 50yr old men and women to sleep with 14yr old children

Yeah, 'cause here in America it's the law that's repelling 14-year-old children from 50-year-old men and women...

Probably not (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742051)

Minor attracted adults? AKA pedophiles? You're going to have a hard time drumming up sympathy for that particular group, no matter how legitimate the sites are.

Let me predict the tags (3, Interesting)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742105)

fud notfud yes no maybe

Maybe itsatrap as well.

Why do we have tags if the same braindead ones are displayed for most of them?

No (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742109)

A business can be in two businesses. Verizon is both a webhost, which pretty much never qualify for 'common carrier' consideration, and it's in the internet tubing business, where its tubes transport god-knows-what. If the very same websites are hosted somewhere else tomorrow, Verizon will still carry their internets through their tubes (though the internets may arrive late, because of all the movies).

Likewise, theoretically "Pall Mall" and "Camel Club" clothing isn't advertising for cigarettes. And Microsoft's hardware division doesn't have to worry about being a monopolist.

Not that Verizons WANTS to be a Common Carrier. That would imply some sort of network neutrality. They would love to use inferior internet tubing for 'non monitored content', which might contain kiddy porn, as opposed to 'Verizon approved content', which they'd push to much wider tubes with higher pressure and less leaks.

Re:No (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742435)

Not that Verizons WANTS to be a Common Carrier. That would imply some sort of network neutrality.
To the contrary, I'm sure Verizon would like to redefine Common Carrier status the same way the RIAA has tried to redefine fair use - they want to get all the perks of common carrier status (not being liable for what they transmit) while still getting to choose what they transmit (network neutrality).

Right to Refuse (3, Insightful)

iiioxx (610652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742151)

The right to refuse business is a long-standing tradition, at least in this part of the world. Verizon can generally choose not to do business with whomever they wish, with certain provisions relating to discrimination.

It is not censorship, it is Verizon's right to say "you can believe and say whatever you like, but please take your business elsewhere." Last time I checked, pedophiles were not a protected class under the U.S. Federal Civil Rights Act, or the Americans With Disabilities Act.

So no, I do not believe Verizon's status as a "common carrier" would be in question with regards to this matter. But thanks for asking!

Re:Right to Refuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742201)

Ha

http://www.youbanking.com/ [youbanking.com]

Re:Right to Refuse (2, Interesting)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742327)

Uh... the poster wasn't talking about the pedos suing Verizon over this. It was talking about people suing because of OTHER offensive pages being hosted by Verizon.

Verizon is (in theory) not responsible for anything put onto their networks because they're a "common carrier." They take all comers who can pay without worrying about the content. Therefore, if kiddie porn is being transmitted through Verizon's lines, it's not Verizon's fault because they have taken absolutely ZERO responsibility for the content.

*Except they just did.*

By taking that step to block someone from their network based solely on the content they were providing, they have opened themselves up for lawsuit. Whether you agree this is "fair" or not, it is a longstanding legal principle. Generally speaking, NOT taking responsibility for something will get you in less trouble than taking some. In a completely random other example, I lived at at apartment complex that refused to salt their walkways in the winter. Why? Because if someone slipped, and they DID salt the sidewalks, then they would be at fault for not salting them well enough. If they did nothing whatsoever, if you slip and fall, blame God, 'cause he's the one who did it.

Same principle. See?

By taking responsibility for SOME content being broadcast through their lines, Verizon may have just made themselves responsible for ALL of it.

And that is the question here.

Re:Right to Refuse (1)

shawngarringer (906569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742515)

That's not true. If you don't salt the walkways and you have reason to believe they might be slippery, then you can be sued for negligence.

Especially if any of the renters ever complained that it was slippery. Then there would be proof that the landlord knew of the condition and actively neglected to do anything about it.

Common carrier is a total departure from the legal norm of being responsible for things even if you aren't aware of them.

Re:Right to Refuse (4, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742403)

Common carriers do not have the "right to refuse business". If the Gay Nazis for Nuking Whales and Buggering Baby Seals wants telephone service, Verizon is obligated to provide it. They can only terminate service for non-discriminatory reasons like not paying the bill. It's inherent in the definition of a common carrier that the service be offered to the public in a non-discriminatory manner.

Common carriers must carry everyone and everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742631)

Common carriers have to carry all traffic from all bill-paying customers. That's what common carrier means.

About the only exceptions are illegal stuff or customers causing network harm like spam or DOS attacks.

The article [Google Cache [72.14.203.104] ] said Verizon carried this traffic for 5 years so I hightly doubt it's illegal or causing network harm.

I'm with the guy who said Verizon should put up or shut up: Call the cops on these guys or sit back and do nothing. Those are the options of a common carrier.

Search the web for neo-nazi, pro-drug-use, 18-year-old-porn, and other barely-legal web sites that a family-minded telco CEO might rather not carry. I bet a lot of that traffic flows from the likes of Verizon, ATT, and the other big players.

You may not like it. I may not like it. But as long as the sites are legal, they have as much right to demand service from a common carrier as the American Nazi Party, the American Hemp Society, or all the legal XXX sites out there. These are the rights American soldiers have died for since 1776.

Free Speech - it's in the constitution dammit.

PS: Hosting companies are not common carriers. I RTFA and it looks like Verizon owns the pipe not the webserver.

Why risk it? (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742185)

It seems an odd thing for Verizon to do. I'm sure it's not the first time they've been asked by somebody to censor something they didn't like, but the fact is that if they actually did they'd be inundated with requests.

I don't think that Verizon actually wants to be an internet censor. It's more work for them, and it doesn't serve any of Verizon's corporate goals.

Even odder, and unmentioned in the summary, is that the group is apparently part of a reality TV series funded by NBC. They supposedly complained about the stalker behavior. It Epifora any worse than Myspace for that?

I think that somebody got punk'd here. It might be Verizon, but I suspect that it's Guidemag.com.

"minor-attracted adults"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742207)

They'er fucking pedophiles, for crap sake!! Will Political Correctness ever cease?

minor-attracted adult? (3, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742227)

What the hell is a "minor attracted adult", if not a pedophile?

Notwithstanding the common carrier issue and the legality of the material, it bothers me to see the mainstreaming of pedophilia with terms like this. Years ago I worked at a Montreal ISP. Someone notified us of one of our user's 'secret' webpages--a page not linked from his home page, requiring you to know the exact URL. The page was a collection of links to NAMBLA and like organizations and websites, including a message board for "child lovers".

On the message board, pedophiles alternately discussed sitting in parks watching children play, and discussing how they "came out" to themselves and each other, and accepted themselves for who they are. What was most subtly grotesque was the manner in which they'd adopted the rhetorical stance of the queer community. They talked about 'coming out', and about accepting themselves, and reclaiming terms like 'boy lover'. They were mentally and emotionally setting the stage for the same sort of battle for public acceptance that the gay community has fought and mostly won over the last few decades.

I don't want them to 'come out', I don't want them to have supportive underground communities, and it was saddening to see the entirely appropriate discourse of public acceptance of homosexuality and queer identity perverted like this. This is exactly the slippery slope that the right uses to justify non-acceptance of gays, and we need to bring a big heavy boot down on crap like 'minor attracted adult' to demonstrate that we can make moral choices about who we will accept and who we won't.

The world's a better place because homosexuality has been mainstreamed. It'll be a better place still when pedophilia is absolutely and explicitly denied the same path and the same acceptance. It starts by calling bullshit on terms like 'minor attracted adult'.

Re:minor-attracted adult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742507)

Paedophiles are ill. They have a mental illness. Because of this illness, some of them do terrible things. They are also demonized. When you demonize someone, they hide away, they dont' admit they have a problem and so the problem festers and grows. If paedophiles could be honest and open about their problem without getting demonized, perhaps they could get help - real help that would help them control their behaviour.

Unfortunately, your attitude, to demoize them further, will not and cannot help them get the help they need.

Be honest, they are pedophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742273)

Lets not try to blur the issue, call a spade a spade, they are peodphiles.

"minor-attracted adults" What? (1)

Johnny Mozzarella (655181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742285)

Why don't you just say pedophile?
I can't believe political correctness has filtered down to the point where we don't want to offend the pedophiles!
God forbid we make anyone uncomfortable about their perversion.

Re:"minor-attracted adults" What? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742555)

I dunno, maybe they go for teenage boys - creepy, but not pedophilia.

Peados are not legal in these here parts, redneck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742295)



Peados are not legal in these here parts, redneck. It is verizon's duty to put a halt to you and your paedophelic ways.

'minor-attracted adults' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742315)

'minor-attracted adults' would have to be the biggest euphemism of the century.

In the real world, we call such people paedofiles.

They tend to go to jail if they're caught, because what they do is ILLEGAL.

censorship will always be around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742341)

it all boils down to who has the control. Even if you were to get everyone in the same room, as a group, you would never be able to make everyone happy, unless you stopped using the medium (ie the internet).

Take the picture below as an example (It's safe for work)

http://www.thunderbirdnest.com/pictures/bristolbir ds.jpg [thunderbirdnest.com]

to most people, its a harmless picture. but I can bet you there are some people that would want to censor it completely off of the net. Competitors, might try to censor it so that their product would be more available for sale.

i guess what I'm trying to get to is everyone has a motive behind censorship. I think in some cases, its totally legitimate. But it seems like a lot of the time, its more political than anything else.

Support? (1)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742347)

What does support mean? Does that mean support in finding children to abuse? That's not the way we typically use the word. Support usually means helping people who admit they have a problem and want to make things better. Alcoholics, drug users, rape survivors, widows, etc all have support groups and resources.

While I do agree that sexually abusing children is terrible, I also can see that it is probably related to a mental illness. I have read that such individuals are not necessarily in control of their actions. Isn't a good thing if these people are seeking help? If my child is abused, can I now sue Verizon for denying access for the abuser to a resource that might have gotten him to control his problems?

Text of article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742371)

The Big Chill

Verizon's decision last month to shut off a Montreal ISP for hosting edgy gay chatboards points to a colder, grayer internet ahead
By Bill Andriette

The chilling of free expression-- sexual and otherwise-- on the internet is like global warming: almost everyone agrees it's happening, but the process is too big, too abstract, too long-term to readily notice. Only through the distorting window of dramatic events-- the collapse of an Alpine glacier or a Hurricane Katrina--do we see something's amiss.

When it comes to freedom on the net, lately a lot's been storming and crashing

  On November 3rd, US telecom giant Verizon says it will disconnect a Montreal-based internet service provider (ISP) Epifora whose clients host sexually edgy chat sites. Civil-liberties experts say it's an unprecedented assertion of corporate control over legal expression.

The US government (see box) has also lately been turning down the thermometer on internet speech.

  Based on SM stories she had written and posted to her web site, Karen Fletcher was indicted in September for obscenity by US federal prosecutors on charges that carry up to 30 years in prison.

  US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urged Congress in September to pass legislation requiring that ISPs log all users' internet activity

  In August, the US Senate ratified the International Convention on Cybercrimes-- which requires signatories to investigate and arrest people for suspected crimes-- including crimes of expression-- that may not be even be illegal in the place where they were committed.

The internet was supposed to "route around censorship" and herald a global shift to "open societies." As repression hots up, is that dream heading into deep freeze?

Unplugged in Montreal

Certainly a chill has descended on a small Montreal ISP, Epifora, whose home page promises "respect for client privacy" and tolerance of "controversial speech." The company's clients host a number of websites and chatboards-- such as Boychat.org and Freespirits.org-- with a pederastic slant. On October 4th Epifora was notified by MCI-Canada that their connection to the internet backbone would be cut off in 30 days for violating the "acceptable use policy" of Verizon-- the giant US telecom that swallowed MCI in 2005. Epifora had paid for a high-speed link to the internet's "backbone" through MCI-Canada for five years, without incident. Neither Verizon, nor MCI-Canada, nor any law-enforcement agency had ever served Epifora with a "take-down notice"-- the established procedure in Canada to get an ISP to remove, pending a court hearing, a client's possibly offending material. So what was the alleged violation?

"I don't have any specifics for you," Verizon spokesman Peter Lucht tells The Guide. Nor did Verizon or MCI-Canada answer Epifora's queries. But Verizon, which maybe takes lessons in customer service at Guantanamo Bay, said their determination was final and unappealable.

In their particular corner of cyberspace, the chatboards on the Epifora network have proven vital. Some have been online for more than a decade, and have gained a loyal following, as they are among the few places on the net where people can talk relatively safely and anonymously about how to live with their feelings for youths.

"Every time I find a message from a newbie saying 'Thank God I found this place,' it's further validation for what I'd been doing for ten years," says a former Boychat webmaster. For many users, he says, the chatboards are key to participants' feelings of personal integrity. "We're a decent, civilized community of reasonable people," he goes on. "Ultimately our record is the chatboard itself and its archives."

Within a few days of news of the impending cut-off, Freespirits.org raised $30,000 in pledges for a legal defense fund-- and not because its users' are especially numerous or wealthy; its demographics are slanted to tech-savvy young people just coming out. "Boychat changed my life," says one participant, who notes that he met the man who has been his lover of five years on the board.

Right side of the law

Do consciousness-raising and mutual support cross red lines? Verizon's concise "Acceptable Use Policy" boils down to "don't do anything illegal," and Epifora insists it hasn't. For the five years MCI-Canada provided Epifora's backbone link, the company evidently agreed.

That Epifora's clients were not breaking the rules appears to be the view of one particularly informed group of people-- Canadian law enforcement.

With its transgressive content, Epifora had faced scrutiny before. After a July, 2001 report in Canada's National Post, MCI-Canada approached the Ontario Provincial Police for an opinion, and inspector Bob Matthews, of the OPP's "Project P" declared the material on Epifora's servers in compliance with the Criminal Code.

That says a lot, as Canadian law sets a higher bar than the US and most other countries, making no distinction between, say, photographs of minors having sex, textual descriptions thereof, or even speech "advocating" such acts.

There's no reason to think anything had changed: Epifora is a brick-and-mortar business, and authorities would've known where to knock. And if Verizon had reason to believe any of the sites on Epifora's network violated the law, Verizon could have served the ISP with a take-down notice.

"Boychat goes back 11 years, and there's a record of decisions by the moderators and the logs," says the former webmaster. "If we ever had to prove we were keeping an eye on our resource and self-policing, we can."

Breaking the backbone

Verizon's cutoff of Epifora didn't come out of the blue; it was the result of a campaign started in September by a Portland, Oregon-based outfit called Perverted Justice (PJ). Funded by NBC, the group runs private internet sex sting-ops as fodder for the TV network's eponymous "reality" cop show. Staffers and volunteers pose as underage teens on the net, steer conversation into sex-chat, and then lure men to meeting places, where police are waiting to bust them on-camera. Some critics condemn the show as an unholy marriage of cops and media. Certainly it turns destroying people's lives into entertainment. With the public's limitless appetite for kiddie sexposé, it's brought NBC stellar ratings and loads of money.

In mid-September, PJ launched a campaign to shut down Epifora, contending that its clients' chatboards contained speech promoting "rape," "stalking" and illegal porn. With Epifora evidently unfazed by controversial content, PJ targeted backbone provider Verizon, labelling it a "corporate sex offender."

Verizon's prompt cave-in to the pressure might seem expectable. But according to free-speech advocates, it opens a new chapter in constricting online speech.

"I'm not aware of cases where backbone providers have exercised this degree of censorship," says Lee Tien, staff attorney in San Francisco with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "I think this is very, very dangerous to speech on the internet, and why you need some kind of legal framework to govern [backbone access]."

The companies and organizations that run the net's major "trunk lines" usually present themselves-- and in turn are treated-- as "common carriers." Certainly, no one holds the phone company responsible if, say, Arnie rings up Moe to plan a bank heist. In the internet era, common-carrier status has become especially vital, even while it has grown legally murkier. Interlocking networks open to each others' traffic is what define the internet-- literally, a network of networks. With data on the net travelling at near light-speed, distance matters little compared to bandwidth. If you're a photon, the quickest path across Manhattan at rush hour might be by way of Singapore. A single e-mail or request for a web page gets broken into a powder of data packets, each travelling the most efficient path they can find, to be reassembled at the recipient-end on-the-fly. A network doesn't know whether a bit passing over its cables is a love letter or diagram on bomb-making.

Indeed, companies such as Verizon have been quick to assert their role as serving all comers without prejudice. Otherwise, every time a teen gets busted downloading bootleg Kurt Cobain, or a broker trades insider stock tips, or a hacker spews viruses, telecom executives could face charges as co-conspirators. Indeed, telecoms have resisted filtering content, arguing that the mere attempt would wrongly imply they control what passes over their wires.

Driving around jams

But why should one company's decision to censor an ISP matter? Kin to the US interstate system, today's internet is a bastard child of a 1960s-era US military project to create a communications mesh that could survive nuclear war. Even if Washington and Chicago were offline, the thinking went, data can always find a route that bypassed them.

But the highway metaphor shows the limits of the net as well as its robustness. From a bird's-eye view, the interstate system is interlocking web allowing infinite routings and destinations. But if you are stuck in traffic on Route 95 at the end of Labor Day weekend, the highway itself becomes an insurmountable obstacle.

"If there's only one bridge between two points then you can't route around it, because it's been architected that way," notes the EFF's Tien. "If that area of Montreal is only serviced by that provider, then you can't route around it."

And in fact, on a local level-- and even a global one from some standpoints-- internet infrastructure can be surprisingly centralized when judged by its narrowest expanses-- in a sense, its weakest links. Countless Nigerian ex-oil ministers have no trouble finding your inbox with their urgent inquiries about Swiss bank accounts that they need you to unlock. But in fact few cables link Africa to the internet beyond.

"If I can't do something with this ISP maybe I can with that one-- there can be some competition among providers at the ISP level," notes Tien. "But when it comes to a backbone provider, there may not be any alternative, so their power becomes determinative of what can or cannot be said. Perverted Justice, or whatever organizations that may be involved, has discovered the sensitivity of that bottleneck."

One solution is to build more redundancy in the network. "'Routing around censorship' always assumed there would be alternative ways to get around a blockage," Tien notes. "When it's actually somebody who controls a large amount of fiber, then you have the problem that you'll never be able to route around them."

Polluting neutrality

Sensing their indispensability and feeling they've missed the internet boom-train that's riding over their rails, US telecoms right now are angling to parlay their control over the net's physical wiring into power over its content. That's the ongoing battle in Washington over "network neutrality"-- with Congress, palms greased with telecom cash, a hair's breadth away, under pending legislation, to give the likes of Verizon the keys to the content caboose.

Network neutrality is so central to the internet that users notice the principle as frequently as fish wonder about water.

Right now if you want Google.com, your ISP-- whoever it is-- will take you there, with the help of whatever big telecom ultimately links them to the backbone. But if they had the legal green light, that telecom could take you-- instead of to Google-- to whatever search engine paid them the fattest kickbacks.

It's a replay-- on a grander and more sinister scale-- of what Microsoft pulled off against Netscape in the 90s when it tried-- and for a time succeeded-- in parlaying its domination in operating systems into control over web browsing.

"Usually the network-neutrality debate is couched in business terms," notes the EFF's Ren Bucholz. "But the elephant in the living room is that if you can discriminate based on price, why can't you discriminate based on anything else?"

Gloves come off

Verizon's cut-off of Epifora is an early warning that global telecoms are prepared to use their choke-hold on the net's infrastructure to filter out chunky political expression. What will be the limits of such censorship? If chatting about the Boy Beautiful besmirches Verizon's corporate name, what does the firm gain by allowing access to sites celebrating barebacking or ball torture? The list of Americans registered as "sexual predators" for blow-jobs at highway rest stops is a few mouse-clicks away. Isn't Verizon a "corporate sponsor of perversion and disease" for selling such people internet access in the first place?

How far would Verizon go to eliminate edgy gay content-- and edgy gays-- from use of its networks? "We're not speculating about what the company might do," Verizon spokesman Lucht tells The Guide.

Epifora has a warchest big enough to start a legal battle, but probably not to carry it through to completion without outside help, with the controversial content in question possibly discouraging the usual cyber-freedom angels.

The case raises important questions. Can internet companies allege violations of "acceptable use" without saying what they are? Can they about-face and declare that legal content they willingly carried yesterday is forbidden today? Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone "freedom of the press and other media of communication." Does that mean anything when a tiny handful of backbone providers refuse access? Is it for a US company to decide that speech legal in Canada can be forced off the internet?

The Epifora case could establish important new legal principles. More likely, it will be one more step in the transition of the internet from messy democratic forum into a frigid private shopping mall, ringed with surveillance cameras, with many doors marked "no entry," free expression be damned.

you inSensitive 3lod! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16742439)

confirming the This post brought corpse turned over plainly states that to survive at aal having lost 93%

Severing a business relationship is censorship? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742485)

This is an action that a company deemed to be in its best interests. They decided to disconnect from a paying customer. The same customer is welcome to seek connectivity services elsewhere. They are not being "blocked."

Is it censorship? It might be censorship if, after they connected through another provider, were subsequently blocked. It might be censorship if the order for disconnection was at the demand of a government entity. From what I have read, it's a vigilante group and not a government entity making the damands. (Is this group connected to government or other controlling entities? Are they themselves controlling or overly powerful and influential?) At what level would it be considered censorship?

I think that by cutting off the entire relationship, they may have preserved their common carrier status, but then again...? Well, I think it's an interesting case to file into the back of my mind until anything similar comes about. But for right now, they just decided to sever a business relationship due to moral or ethical concerns. I would think that if they cut off, say, Iran, China or North Korea, would we be suggesting that it should be called censorship or would it be a "boycott" of those countries because of their crimes against humanity?

FCC ended Common Carrier status already (2, Informative)

datatrash (522537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742489)

I would have to go back and look this up, but after the Cable Companies won (overall) in the Brand X case and the SCOTUS said they did not have to be classified as common carriers, the DSL companies petitioned the FCC, and two months later the fcc reclassified DSL carriers as well, so they were no longer beholden to common carrier rules. there was a one-year carry over, where they would continue under the old rules, which, i think, just passed.

This news.com [com.com] story pretty much sums it up from summer of 05

Re:FCC ended Common Carrier status already (1)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742585)

Epifora is an ISP and not a common carrier. They hook up to Verizon which I presume is a common carrier to transport data from and to them. Verizon may or may not want to be classified as a common carrier since ISP's didn't want to be common carriers believing that would subject them to FCC regulations. See the following website:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier [wikipedia.org]

Slashdot Newspeak (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742591)

"Freedom of speech, the future of the Net, you name it. In October, a U.S. vigilante group asked Verizon to cut off Net access to Epifora, a Canadian ISP that hosts a number of (entirely legal) web sites offering support to minor-attracted adults.
Minor-attracted? It's paedophilia. Look it up.

That being said, it's not the ISP or carrier's duty to shut anyone down except for abuse or by subpoena. That's why Verizon did the wrong thing and there's no reason to use doublespeak like "minor-attracted" to sugarcoat it.

Censorship and Legality (1)

gyranthir (995837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16742603)

These sites, although gross to 99.99999% are legal, sadly. Censoring legal contact because they feel it is bad content is in general a bad idea.

I don't want to see where this ends up.... Because if censoring legal content due to moral inhibition is a steep and dangerous slope, and once it starts it could possibly landslide.
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