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Three ISPs Agree To Block Child Porn 572

Posted by kdawson
from the camel's-head-and-neck dept.
Goobergunch and other readers sent in word that Sprint, Time Warner, and Verizon have agreed to block websites and newsgroups containing child pornography. The deal, brokered by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, occurred after Cuomo's office threatened the ISPs with fraud charges. It's of some concern that the blacklist of sites and newsgroups is to be maintained by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an NGO with no legal requirement for transparency. Here are two further cautions, the first from Lauren Weinstein: "Of broader interest perhaps is how much time will pass before 'other entities' demand that ISPs (attempt to) block access to other materials that one group or another feels subscribers should not be permitted to see or hear." And from Techdirt: "[T]he state of Pennsylvania tried to do pretty much the same thing, back in 2002, but focused on actually passing a law ... And, of course, a federal court tossed out the law as unconstitutional. The goal is certainly noble. Getting rid of child porn would be great — but having ISPs block access to an assigned list isn't going to do a damn thing towards that goal."
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Three ISPs Agree To Block Child Porn

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  • Block for all? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:07PM (#23732279) Homepage Journal
    What about providing *optional* proxies that does that filtering to their users?
  • slippery slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:07PM (#23732281) Journal
    While I can't stand the kiddie pr0n,this simply won't work. it has been tried in the past in other countries and it always ends up getting legit websites along with the bad ones.But that is my 02c,YMMV
  • Are you sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HappySmileMan (1088123) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:10PM (#23732347)
    "Yes, truecrypt.org DOES contain child porn, so does wikileaks.org"
    "Do you have proof?"
    "We don't need it, it's on the list, now move along, nothing to see here."
  • Re:Block for all? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gavagai80 (1275204) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:11PM (#23732363) Homepage
    And then arresting everyone who chooses not to use the filter, on charges of seeking child pornography?
  • Mixed feelings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:12PM (#23732429)
    While on the one hand I see no reason whatsoever for child porn-related sites to even exist let alone have anyone visit them, censorship by ISPs is a very obvious slippery slope. Unfair and damaging compromises without number have already been made "for the sake of the children"; it's as obvious a ploy as "..or the terrorists win", and I for one feel my intelligence is insulted whenever those cards are played. In the final analysis, I think this will be found to be a bad idea. Providers of bandwidth should not be allowed to decide what content will traverse their network any more than they should be allowed to interfere with P2P traffic. Determining the appropriateness should be the domain of hosting services, and the legality should be determined by the courts and by law enforcement; ISPs are neither -- which is as it should be.
  • Re:Block for all? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spidrw (868429) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:14PM (#23732459)
    I think it's more about "How can we actively stop our sick bastard pedophile users from doing this?" rather than "Oh how can we keep Timmy from stumbling across some kiddie porn when all he wants is Go, Diego, Go?" The latter goal would just require an *optional* proxy as you put it, but it would be pointless towards the actual goal, which I belive is the first one.
  • Won't Work! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neowolf (173735) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:14PM (#23732467)
    I have to agree with what has already been said- it won't work. Legit sites will get caught in the net and the lawsuits will ensue.

    Anyone who has had to deal with Internet filtering systems like Websense knows they are problematic at-best. I can't imagine using an ISP that runs something like that.

    It seems to me that if they know enough about the kiddie pr0n sites to block them- they should have enough information to provide authorities to get them shut down.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:16PM (#23732493) Homepage Journal
    What if they make a mistake? Is this the first step of many? Will other pressure groups make them block access to material that is legal in the source or destination jurisdiction but not in the other? Of course any ISPs that block material on their own who dared to claim common-carrier status can kiss that claim goodbye.

    I would much prefer them not to block it themselves but rather cooperate with law enforcement. If the cops want it shut down, they can get a warrant to shut it down. On the other hand, the cops may want to keep it up for an hour or two so they can see the logs in real-time and knock on the customers' doors as they are up- or down-loading it.

    As for newsgroups, if the KP-suppliers can't post in alt.kiddie-porn-group-de-jour, they may start invading alt.fractals.mandelbrot or some other group that has no tolerance for such material. That would be quite disruptive.

    Besides, unless they are just plain stupid, people won't upload or host illegal material without encryption, with the passwords traded through other channels. Good luck to the ISPs telling encrypted kiddie porn from encrypted photographs of CowboyNeal's mother.
  • by JMZero (449047) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:17PM (#23732537) Homepage
    I use newsgroups quite a bit. Once alt.underage.porn (or whatever) is shut down, that material is just going to be posted somewhere else - and probably end up being seen by more people. If they ban keywords, they'll move onto new euphemisms. No automatic filter will do this job - and the results of the attempt will be worse in every way than if no filter was used.

    All it is is scoring political points, and providing the illusion of action while really making the situation worse.
  • by Rinisari (521266) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:18PM (#23732577) Homepage Journal
    What happens when Mom sends via email or an online album pictures of Baby's first bath to Grandma, and Grandma's ISP's software classifies the email or album as child porn? Does Grandma get a visit from the FBI/CIA/DEA/NSA/IRS/TSA/DHS in the form of a raid looking for more child porn? News gets out that Grandma was investigated for child porn and her reputation is demolished, even if some people know that it was a case of mistaken intent/identity.

    Child porn is a terrible thing, but it's virtually impossible to classify something as child porn unless someone has manually classified an known image and corresponding hash as child porn.

    There's also the issue of determining ages of the children in the picture if they're not obviously too young. Who took the pictures? Was it taken by a 15-year-old girl's 17-year-old boyfriend, or did she herself take it for him? This is legal in some states/countries, but a felony in others.

    I don't want to get into an argument about these specific cases, but the possible cases are simply too wide and a single government authority cannot effectively press its morals onto its people. Romeo and Juliet will deviate from the norm.

    The Chris Hansen approach works much better because it shows provable evidence of intent/motive and catches them in the act, perhaps even literally with their pants down.
  • by Verteiron (224042) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:23PM (#23732717) Homepage
    According to TFA, they have about 11,000 images that they generate hashes for. Then they scan the web for images with the same hash.

    So the easiest way around this is to create a program that automatically changes the value of a random single pixel in a graphic. Problem solved, crisis averted.

    What I want to know is will the list of sites being blocked be publicly available for review? I bet not...
  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@NosPAm.praecantator.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:23PM (#23732727) Homepage
    So they're consenting by request rather than by law to remove material (however loathsome)specified by a third party? How can they possibly preserve their status as Common Carriers [lectlaw.com] under this regime? Without that shield in place they'll be held liable for every possibly objectionable (copyright, libel, obscenity) piece of data they move. How can they possibly agree to this?
  • by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:24PM (#23732775) Homepage Journal
    The last paragraph of the NYT story reads:

    "This literally threatens our children, and there can be no higher priority than keeping our children safe."
    Summarized in one word: thinkofthechildren.

    Summarized in a phrase: Accept the mantra, just don't think.

    Seriously, I can think of lots of priorities higher than keeping our children safe. Keeping our children safe means never letting them outside, never letting them take risks, never exposing them to the dangerous rays of ultraviolet light, never letting them go swimming, never letting them surf the net.

    The proper thing to do is to take reasonable measurements to keep everyone, including vulnerable populations such as kids and the elderly, relatively safe without incurring high costs in terms of money, civil liberties, etc. Words like "no higher priority" indicate the speaker is either intentionally lying, or worse, not thinking straight.
  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:25PM (#23732787)
    Most image hashing programs are robust enough to handle random noise in a picture. The issue will be how 'close' a picture will have to be to be caught and how many false positives will result in the necessarily fuzzy logic.
  • by llamalad (12917) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:25PM (#23732797)
    If they can create a list of sites that contain this vile shit, wouldn't it make sense to, oh, I don't know, maybe shut them down, prosecute the scumbags that are running the sites, and then use their client records to find and prosecute the people who were paying for it?
  • by Odder (1288958) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:29PM (#23732903)

    AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo have already blocked email based on political content [truthout.org]. We can be sure that ISPs will abuse "porn lists" too.

    The right thing to do about kiddie porn is to catch the people who make it.

    The right thing to do to censors is to show them out of office.

  • by Floritard (1058660) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:30PM (#23732957)
    Maybe this is just step one. Step two being, "They're too clever, our only choice is to shut all of USENET down." After all, it's just the seedy "back-alley" of the internet according to TFA.
  • by CreatureComfort (741652) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:30PM (#23732961)
    Oh, so in other words, all this does is create a huge market for constantly original child porn instead of all the same old 70's nudist images floating around? The idea...it's brilliant!
  • DPI Ahead!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zenmaster666 (1285342) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:33PM (#23733043) Journal
    Doesn't this imply deep packet inspection will be legitimized. I see a pattern here first the British Telecom now ISP's in the US.

    By all means bring down the sites with child porn, but this should be a excuse to control "all" traffic.

    This problem has to be nipped in the bud, if not there will be no end to what the ISP's will dictate.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jacem (665870) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:33PM (#23733049)
    Blocking either spam or phishing sites could be considered censorship by the way. You can talk about protected speech but as soon as you classify some speech as protected and other as not you start down a slippery slope.
    As far as ISP doing the blocking, it's a matter of practicality as much as we try we haven't really put a dent in phishing sites or spam. Someone who wants kiddi p()rn is going to find it. the danger is that other speech may get knocked out as collateral damage, intentionally or not.

    JACEM
  • by Odder (1288958) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:37PM (#23733143)

    You already see it's start with metered internet. Once they have that, they can offer you "free" sites. Everyone loves free, aren't they nice? Then they hike the price of visiting other sites to something stupid like $5/GB so that it's cheaper to buy physical media and presto - no more internet. They are already blaming "pirates", kiddie porn and terrorists. That's essentially a smear for their competition and anyone who disagrees with them.

    If they get their way, things will really get ugly. All rights fall after free press does.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:37PM (#23733147) Homepage Journal
    1) He's not a trained law-enforcement officer.
    2) The presence of the camera for other than evidence purposes compromises the investigation.

    A much better approach would be to leave the stings to the cops, then, after the trials are over, use the evidence presented to the court to make a TV show.

    Plus, it's cheaper.
  • by Forge (2456) <kevinforge@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:38PM (#23733163) Homepage Journal
    The problem is the production of child porn which of course involves abuse of children.

    The demand comes from perverts who like to watch the abuse of children. So what happens if you simply block their access to child porn produced by other people?

    They go off and produce their own. Which means more children abused.

    Far better to use the ISPs to track those who produce or regularly seek out child porn and then prosecute them or treat their mental issues as is necessary. Several jurisdictions in Europe have broken up "Child porn rings", arresting as many as 50 people at once.

    finally: There is a new category of child porn that has started to pop up lately. Child produced pornography. This means 3 or 4 children, all the same age who take turns operating a cameraphone and performing for it. Then they send out the video to other children via MMS, Bluetooth and Email. The 1st such "work" that came to public attention locally was on the cellphones or computers of thousands of children before the 1st adult saw it.

    How do we deal with that? Who do we prosecute? I honestly don't know, suggestions from the Slashdot crowd would be welcome.
  • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:49PM (#23733457) Journal
    If you can cut off the buyer from the seller, you can make a dent in the problem. It is something, at least, to try. Though, I do worry to what extent other things will be added that are not illegal, but might be argued as 'inappropriate' for our eyes and ears. I don't need big brother to filter my internet for me
  • by UttBuggly (871776) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:50PM (#23733495)
    Doing ANYTHING harmful to children is pretty much at the top of my list of things that could earn me a jail sentence someday. Porn involving kids...I'm sorry, your ticket needs to be punched.

    But, since we can't to seem to advance mental health care beyond "here, take the red pill...it might help" and public floggings are no longer in style, we do fruitless crap like TFA describes.

    I see child porn folks as either mentally ill or just sick, selfish slime looking to make a buck off of the truly ill. The first group needs help and isolation from society until they are well. The second group needs to be publicly horsewhipped.

    Censoring and controlling the Internet does little to no good.

  • Standard Form.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maz2331 (1104901) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:51PM (#23733531)
    Your post advocates a

    (X) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based (X) vigilante

    approach to fighting illegal porn. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

    ( ) Perverts can easily use it to harvest email addresses
    (X) Other legitimate Internet uses would be affected
    ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
    (X) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
    (X) It will stop porn for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    ( ) Users of email will not put up with it
    ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
    ( ) The police will not put up with it
    (X) Requires too much cooperation from pornographers
    ( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
    ( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
    ( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
    (X) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    ( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
    ( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for the web
    (X) Open proxies in foreign countries
    ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
    (X) Asshats
    ( ) Jurisdictional problems
    ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
    ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
    ( ) Huge existing software investment in HTTP
    (X) Use of protocols other than HTTP to distribute
    (X) P2P Applications
    ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
    (X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
    (X) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
    ( ) Extreme profitability of spam
    ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
    ( ) Technically illiterate politicians
    ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
    (X) Dishonesty on the part of pornographers themselves
    ( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
    ( ) Outlook
    (X) Getting sued for damages due to false positives
    (X) Getting sued for damages due to false negatives

    and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

    (X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
    been shown practical
    ( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
    ( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
    (X) Blacklists suck
    (X) Whitelists suck
    (X) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
    ( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
    (X) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
    ( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
    ( ) Sending email should be free
    (X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
    ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
    (X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
    ( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
    ( ) I don't want the government reading my email
    (X) I don't want ISPs reading my traffic
    (X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    ( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
    (X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
    house down!
  • Re:slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:51PM (#23733533)

    While I can't stand the kiddie pr0n,this simply won't work. it has been tried in the past in other countries and it always ends up getting legit websites along with the bad ones.But that is my 02c,YMMV
    You've got probably three major problems with any kind of list like this...

    1) Accidentally listed innocent sites. Some place like Whore Presents [whorepresents.com] getting listed as pornography when it isn't.

    2) Intentionally mis-listed sites. Somebody will claim that The Pirate Bay [thepiratebay.com] has child pornography on it (which it may) just to keep people from downloading cracked copies of Spore.

    3) They're easy enough to bypass. There are plenty of free proxies out there that'll happily slap some advertising on your screen and then serve up whatever page your ISP doesn't want you to see. Or you could tunnel your traffic elsewhere to avoid the filter lists

    These blocklists will be enough to stop some people from accidentally stumbling upon child porn... Maybe stop some very casual attempts to intentionally view child porn... But nothing more. They won't actually put a dent in folks who are genuinely trafficking in real, illegal child pornography. They're already well aware of what they're doing, and that it's illegal, and they're already going to some effort to find the material. Making them use an additional proxy or VPN isn't going to accomplish a whole lot.

  • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:56PM (#23733675) Homepage
    The answers is you don't prosecute, unless there was abuse. Here's a suggestion of mine: look at the age of consent in the area being considered. For example, in Canada, 16. If you're 14/15, you can consent to sex with someone no more than 5 years older than you, and if you're 12/13, the rule is 3 years. So work the child pornography laws around that.

    For example, if the person in possession of the photos is legally allowed to have sex with a person of the age of the person in the photo (i.e. you're 19 and have a photo of a 15 year old girl), then the data should be destroyed, but no one should be prosecuted. Otherwise, go right ahead with prosecution. The problem being there's no way to tell how old they were at the time, so obviously someone will eventually have to make a judgment on the photo in question.

    So my suggestion would lead to the following.
    • A (pornographic) photo of an 18 year old would be legal.
    • A photo of a 16/17 year old would be taken from you, but not result in prosecution.
    • A photo of a 15 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 20. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    • A photo of a 14 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 19. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    • A photo of a 13 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 16. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    • A photo of a 12 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 13. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    Granted, this is not a perfect situation, but it does reduce the risk of an idiot 15 year old having his life ruined for a photo of his naked girlfriend.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:56PM (#23733689)

    "Yes, truecrypt.org DOES contain child porn, so does wikileaks.org"
    "Do you have proof?"
    "Why are you asking? You must be looking for child porn! STONE HIM!"
    There, fixed it for you.
    Even better:
    "Yes, truecrypt.org DOES contain child porn, so does wikileaks.org"
    "Do you have proof?"
    "Of course! Why don't you visit the sites and check yourself? Oh, sorry. Guess you can't. But for trying to access a blacklisted site you'll now be on permanent watch as a potential pedophile."
  • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:57PM (#23733705)

    How do we deal with [child produced pornography]?
    At the risk of being called a pedophile myself:
    We don't.

    To me at least, the fact that the tools to produce pornography are falling into the hands of children and it's being used as such is evidence that we need to completely rethink childhood, adolesence, sexuality, and age of consent. I know parents will be horrified at the thought of their precious little fuzzy-lumpkins actually being as curious as they were when they were that age, but it's true.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:02PM (#23733867) Homepage Journal

    But come on, anyone arguing that blocking child porn is a slippery slope is like saying we shouldnt have a court system because some people may be found innocent.

    ITYM because some guilty people may be found innocent. HTH, HAND.

    Regardless, here's why you're wrong: Blocking child porn will be ineffective, and Blocking child porn is treating the symptom, not the disease. Thus this is handwaving bullshit designed to convince people that something is being done about child porn when in fact it is not.

    The base problem is that the way to stop child pornography, and rape, and all the other sex crime in the world (or at least, the percentage which can be prevented) is to create a healthy society, and that is not in the interests of the powers that be - it's an incompatible goal to that of milking every man, woman, and child for every available dollar. It's not just indifferent to the idea of a healthy society, but actually hostile to it; well-balanced people do not buy massive volumes of possessions which they don't need and will never use again, they don't willingly buy food which is non-nutritious, unhealthy or even downright toxic; they don't intentionally decide to purchase and burn fuels which pollute the environment in which they live. They do these things because they feel nervous, trapped, and helpless in spite of the fact that there clearly are alternatives to being a rat in the maze.

    Call me a hippie if you like (I was born and raised, if you can call it that, in Santa Cruz) but happiness isn't derived from getting what you want, but from knowing what you want - especially when you already have it (often the case) or when it's available without buying into the crapfest that we take for granted and refer to as "daily life".

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@nosPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:07PM (#23734013)

    How do we deal with that? Who do we prosecute? I honestly don't know, suggestions from the Slashdot crowd would be welcome.

    Given the parties involved are clearly doing so voluntarily, *no-one* should be "prosecuted for it".

    And you shouldn't refer to such individuals as "children" - even though they might be from a legal perspective - in the context of "child abuse". It detracts from those who have suffered genuine abuse, rather than voluntarily engaged in completely normal "coming of age" activities.

  • Re:slippery slope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:09PM (#23734061)
    Ah, but don't you get it? They don't care about nixing legitimate websites. They really don't.



    This speaks to a larger issue in this country with regards to the rights of the Innocent. The US simply does not care so much about stomping on innocent people/operations/whatnot because it feels it's "justified" "necessary" collateral damage to catch the "guilty".



    But what do crooks do? Harm Innocents. What does the government do? Harm Innocents to capture crooks. In both cases, Innocents are harmed. What is wrong with this picture?

  • The Chris Hansen approach rubs me the wrong way as well--too commercial, too manipulative, but a much better idea than what is proposed here.

    Also men are biologically inclined to find girls who have gone through puberty attractive.

    When I was 15 I wanted to have sex with older men...including as old as 21-22 (and even much older on on occasion). They wanted to have sex with me. So what? I hardly think they are pedophiles.

    Someone needs to stop lumping all "child porn" into one category. A 20 year old man having sex with a consenting 15 year old is not nearly the same as a 40 year old having sex with an 8 year old.

    This reminds me what they do with the war on drugs. Lump all drugs into one category, whether it be marijuana or crack cocaine.

  • Re:slippery slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:16PM (#23734283) Homepage
    You forgot problem 4. It's a blacklist. By the nature of the beast, a blacklist is incomplete and difficult to maintain. For the same reason that DRM is cracked, blacklists will be avoided.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly (964219) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:28PM (#23734641) Homepage
    And how long until either the Republican or Democratic party websites get hacked and someone uploads some kidde porn pics to them? BAM instant blacklist. Or Burger King will hire hackers to do the same to the McDonald's website. The potential for abuse of the proposed system is virtually limitless.
  • by Deadplant (212273) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:30PM (#23734669)

    If you can cut off the buyer from the seller, you can make a dent in the problem.
    maybe.
    This assumes that the profit motive is a significant driver and that the non-commercial supply is limited or non-existent.

    I have heard stories of people paying for porn on the Internet and I would assume that the same thing might happen with child porn.
    The fact remains that the vast majority of Internet porn (of all sorts) is exchanged free of charge.
  • Why?

    1) It's a blacklist vs. whitelist problem (like the one i mentioned about blocking pirated videos uploaded in youtube). It has no solution unless the actual content is monitored.

    2) If the actual content is monitored, we're dealing with indiscriminate wiretapping - invation of privacy and constitutional rights.

    3) It opens the door to outright censorship of subversive content. Good morning, 1984!

    4) It still won't work. The bad guys (i'm talking about the pedophiles here, not the OTHER bad guys - the draconian govt and isps) only need to open a new unmonitored (i.e. encrypted) channel to do their filthy stuff.

    5) If the govt. outlaws privacy, read item # 2.

    In other words, this is, in the best case, just a publicity stunt to look good to the general public while not really doing anything to prevent and fight the actual crimes. In the worst case, it's just a lame excuse to monitor the citizens in favor of Dubya and the *AA.

    This is JUST like the "war on terror". No terrorists are caught, but the whole public suffers from the decision.
  • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:37PM (#23734907) Homepage
    The point isn't to make it illegal for people to see it, the point is to make it incredibly difficult for Joe Taxpayer to see those photos. And if you go and read the article (fairly coherent, actually), you'll see that there's a list of websites that the Center keeps. So if there's not a proper procedure, someone can simply add a new site to that list. And of course, make it very difficult for said site to be taken off that list. So the end result is that Joe Taxpayer can't visit those sites, even though there's no child pr0ns.

    My point is it's not the current state of affairs you have to worry about, it's what could and will happen. Murphy's Law, people. If it can be screwed up, someone will screw it up sooner or later. Better to worry about it now than when the whole process is FUBARed and unaccountable.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jor-Al (1298017) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:37PM (#23734915)

    You mean like the legal system? Or anything else?
    Those public officials are accountable to the public. Last time I checked the Center for Missing and Exploited Children doesn't have any such public accountability.

    Of course not but then the question becomes how can you stop the abuse. Can people the use the internet to commit crimes? Yes it can. So do you eliminate the internet or do you try and prevent the abuse by passing laws about spamming and phishing?
    Yes, you pass laws that create a system of transparency and accountability. You don't allow a private organization, who has no such obligations, full control of the policy. If you can't see the difference, then I don't know what to say.

    You said that someone attempted to put Pirates Bay on kiddie porn list.... They didn't so it would seem that in that case the system worked.
    Only because there was intense pressure brought to bear because the Swedish police were publicly accountable. The group maintaining the list that we talk of here has no such analog. They can add anyone they want and the public really can't do a thing.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:39PM (#23734967)
    Oh, you're trying to use a proxy service--must be trying to access child porn. So we'll block those too.

    Oh, you're accessing adult porn sites. Well, some of them might contain child porn. So we'll block those too.

    Accessing a site that's anti-Center for Missing and Exploited Children? Must be trying to get around our system. Well, guess what buddy, we blocked that too.

    Oh, Mr. ISP, now you're claiming you can't block sites after you just proved you could? Well, guess who's getting sued for not blocking the Pirate Bay!

  • by demi (17616) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:41PM (#23735043) Homepage Journal

    Getting paid to deceive child predators and see them arrested doesn't seem sick at all to me.

    It's not. That's what the police officers, and (maybe) the PJ decoys do. Chris Hansen creates a public spectacle out of it to titillate prurient interests, that's what's sick.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:46PM (#23735189)
    <I>If you can cut off the buyer from the seller, you can make a dent in the problem.</I>

    Same broken logic that fuels the anti-drug war. Same broken logic that fuels police to arrest johns and prostitutes. It does not curb it; rather it only makes it move and change tactics while wasting huge amounts of money and man power.

    Find me one sane person that can justify the war on drugs and I'll agree you have a leg to stand on.
  • by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:46PM (#23735191)

    I completely agree with you in principle. If children want to do porn, they should be able to. You need to protect them from manipulative adults, but this clearly isn't the case -- the children are producing and distributing the porn themselves.

    However, legally, you're wrong. Every child who in possession of an indecent picture of an underage child (that isn't themselves) is guilty of possession of child porn. Really, that sort of makes sense. The idea is that the child isn't old enough to decide to act as a porn star. Whether he was convinced to do this by an adult or another naive child is irrelevant.

  • by VeNoM0619 (1058216) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:48PM (#23735257)
    Only one problem, say the 15 year old has pictures of his 15 year old girlfriend, and decides to keep them for 10-20 years (nostalgia?). Timestamps on files alone don't help. There is just no absolute way to prove how these pictures were created, by who, and when unless the person in the picture "gives their word" about when/how.

    In which case, we could simply break THAT system by taking a picture of an 18 year old, making it popular, then prosecute everyone who possesses it... Forget the 1. 2.? 3. PROFIT! method, my friends we can now take down entire countries with this. A new revolution indeed.
  • I think it's more about "How can we get this Godless Hippie Crap off the InterTubes. Oh yeah, I know! Let's use a Wedge Strategy!". Then they look for the widest crack in libertarian's armour (which happens to be visible from space), namely their utter unwillingness to stand up for the legal rights of pedophiles.

    If people won't defend the rights of the most wretched and most wicked, then they deserve no rights themselves. And that's what they're getting; at civil protests, at TSA checkpoints and now online.
  • by Poltras (680608) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:59PM (#23735537) Homepage
    Or you just have to change the hash result of the files, meaning you could cross-encode, compress and then modify a single pixel. There. No need for creepy passwords.
  • by ashfields (1174609) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#23736041)
    Define adult as 13 years old.

    Then don't waste the time while the child is growing up, before it reaches the adult limit at 13. Instead, during that time, spend the effort to teach the child the proper adult behaviors, and all the knowledge he needs to become a self sufficient adult. Then he won't have problems with "abuse", he will be able to decide for himself, just like you can now, because he was prepared. This should be the job of the parents. Most of this should be obvious.

    It's kind of retarded to call them children after 13, when they can have their own children. Child-parents? Makes no sense.

    What are we regulating then?

  • Pot, meet kettle. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by znerk (1162519) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:27PM (#23736137)
    A hint of irony:

    This snippit from the article (emphasis mine) shows that this is a slippery slope already...

    The agreements resulted from an eight-month investigation and sting operation in which undercover agents from Mr. Cuomo's office, posing as subscribers, complained to Internet providers that they were allowing child pornography to proliferate online, despite customer service agreements that discouraged such activity. Verizon, for example, warns its users that they risk losing their service if they transmit or disseminate sexually exploitative images of children.

    After the companies ignored the investigators' complaints, the attorney general's office surfaced, threatening charges of fraud and deceptive business practices. The companies agreed to cooperate and began weeks of negotiations.
    Sorry, folks, but you can't have it both ways. Either no one is allowed to deceive, or everyone is. Don't lie to someone and then be pissed when they lie to you. In addition, has anyone thought about whether the "agents" in this situation were actually "under cover"? Perhaps the ISP was merely ignoring a constant stream of abuse from obvious (or known) fake subscribers...
  • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:37PM (#23736323) Homepage
    So there's little drug use there. Big deal. Unless there was a huge amount before the laws were passes, and then it dropped to very little, the law is not the cause of "very little drug use." And I think you should amend it to say "very little public acknowledgment of drug use" - it would be more accurate. Believe me lots of people use drugs in Singapore - they are just very careful about with whom and where they do them. For the millionth time, passing draconian laws is not a miracle cure for addiction.
  • by popeye44 (929152) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:02PM (#23736865)
    I searched the thread. No where in TFA or in this thread do I see mention of other Providers. Especially the ones who advertise ACCESS TO GROUPS UNCENSORED USENET JUST 14.95 A MONTH. Or any of the others.. giganews/newshosting/ and 100 others I'm not remembering. I can upload/download anything I want to a subscription based provider and Verizon isn't going to filter a damn thing."without some DPI going on" I'm only using their pipe. Not their newsgroups. So nice idea guys.. but unless you block the PROTOCOL you haven't done a damn thing. Shall we shut down WWW/FTP/NNTP ? The problem is we have pedo's.. help them, cure them if it's possible. "Change the LAW to allow them to get help without being reported for asking for help!" Quit grandstanding and chest beating just to look like a hero.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:47PM (#23737607)

    For example, if the person in possession of the photos is legally allowed to have sex with a person of the age of the person in the photo (i.e. you're 19 and have a photo of a 15 year old girl), then the data should be destroyed, but no one should be prosecuted. Otherwise, go right ahead with prosecution.

    A photo of a 15 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 20. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.

    Did you really think this through? Look at the above, if you have a photo of your girlfriend nude back when she was 15 and you were no more than 5 years older than her, and you forget about it and forget to delete it the day before you turn 21, you're going to be prosecuted for child porn. That's fucking stupid, you need to look at the circumstances involved when the photo was created before you start prosecuting people who forget to delete photos of their old high school girlfriends.

    I can also see this catching parents of teens. Your teen leaves some nude photos he took of his girlfriend on the family computer and you get accused of taking them instead. Sure you might eventually clear your name but the mere accusation will ruin your life so that's a small comfort.

    The problem being there's no way to tell how old they were at the time, so obviously someone will eventually have to make a judgment on the photo in question.

    And this is even worse, if you start allowing law enforcement to make a "judgment call" on the age of the person in a photo most of us will suddenly be guilty of having child porn. Why? Well they just have to say they believed the girl/boy was X years of age (where X is one year under the age of consent) at the time the photo was taken and they'll be forgiven for the mistake but your life is still ruined. This type of power given to law enforcement always ends up abused. Especially since it's quite common for law enforcement to make up their minds whether you're guilty or not before they can prove it. If they decide you're guilty and they have laws like this around they'll damn well make you guilty of something.

    Your solution makes the problem worse. The problem is the laws are doing a great job of making people who've never abused a child, and never will, equated with having done so but aren't doing much to stop the actual abuse of children. If you really want to protect the children how about addressing the real problems, namely that children are far more likely to be abused by a parent/relative/close friend of the family than any random pervert off the Internet. Doing something about that would really protect the children, but it's too hard to fix so we never do anything about it. I guess we really don't care that much about our children since we won't address the real issue. Ironic isn't it?

  • by DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:53PM (#23737743)
    Let's face it, if the law is laid out in such a ridiculous manner, we are all pedophiles.

    I, for example, am the proud owner of Nirvana's "nevermind" album. And so are 26 million other people [wikipedia.org]. (Don't click that link, it contains child pornography!)

    I also own pictures of myself in the nude, when I was about one and a half years old. Some of those pictures have other nude babies in them, alongside myself.

    I don't understand what has happened to this society. At which point did we all just stop thinking and handed in our brains to the mainstream media? It's not hard to avoid this whole bullshit. Just don't call it "child pornography" if no child was harmed in its creation! Oh, yes, there will be some people who get off on pictures of naked babies at the beach. You know what, I don't care! Just as I don't care if people get off on watching a 25 year-old woman walk down main street in a short skirt from 50 yards away. Do what you want, as long as you don't infringe on other people's rights. If someone is so keen on watching a picture of my naked self from a time I can't remember any more, maybe, just maybe, he's not actually causing any harm to me, or anyone else.
  • by blacknblu (988181) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:00PM (#23737839) Homepage
    OK, I must have missed this as I was reading through all the comments, so I'm going to risk it and ask the obvious. If we know who is serving up this illegal material (you have to know who you are blocking), why are they not brought up on charges? If it's not against the law, why are the ISPs blocking the content?
  • by Maestro4k (707634) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:05PM (#23737895) Journal

    Actually, it's far worse than anyone thought. They aren't filtering a few minor websites, they are actually blocking major portions of USENET:

    In a way I want to say good, since this was not forced on these companies via a law, they're going to be violating their agreements with their subscribers! Time Warner might get away with it since they're just dropping Usenet entirely, but since that's part of the service their users paid for and they're doing it so suddenly I could see some lawsuits about deceptive business practices. Sprint blocking all of alt.* is asking for trouble since there are lots of groups that have very legitimate uses, non-binary groups even, so I foresee some lawsuits about that. And Verizon may or may not be in trouble depending on what they block.

    I have hope that lawsuits against the companies in this case will work because they can focus on the removal of access to non-pornographic materials. That way they can completely avoid being labeled as pedophiles/supporting child pornography. And since Cuomo's office themselves say they only found 88 newsgroups with child porn in them the companies are going to have trouble justifying this. It is possible to not carry specific groups, all three companies could easily block the 88 groups only and have not risked any legal troubles.

  • by kesuki (321456) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:09PM (#23737943) Journal
    "If you can cut off the buyer from the seller, you can make a dent in the problem."

    the fundamental flaw with that argument is that laws can change human behavior.

    let's step away from the pedophilia rates, because there just aren't good statistics globally for this problem, and switch to something i can quickly draw statistics for.

    Let's switch to homicide. Right up there with the world's oldest profession, homicide is so important, it's the first thing humans do, after they get kicked out of paradise (cain and abel)

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

    now, let's see, murder has been illegal for as long as i can remember, i think that cain and abel reference is a good cornerstone for about when murder became illegal, in the stone age.

    so with all out modern technology, surly such an old, such a fundamental problem has gotten BETTER hasn't it? well, the number jumps around A LOT the important thing is that per capita, homicide rates have not ever really made much of a downward run, they've been higher than they are now, but they really don't want to drop below 5 per 100,000 people, in the past 100 years of record keeping...

    so now magically laws are 'supposed' to protect our kids from pedophiles when they can't stop 5 people per every 100,000 from dying every single year?

    but it never ceases to amaze me, the people who think 'they're making a dent in crime' they think we as humans will stop killing each other, stop raping women or children, just because of a few words on a piece of paper.

    if you want to protect your kids from pedophiles you damn well better have a better strategy than 'the government will protect us with their vorpal law + 12 against pedophiles!' that's all i'm saying.
  • Fear Has Won (Score:3, Insightful)

    Impressive how a lot of posters opposing this measure start off saying they abolish child porn.
    Absolutely. Nothing so successful neuters an argument as seeing the proponent falling prostrate and begging forgiveness before he even begins his speech. The audience sees where the true power lies, and sides accordingly. No one is going to follow someone marching on their knees.

    People are afraid. That's why they feel the need to profess their innocence. The child porn shriekers have succeeded in fostering a climate of fear that has silenced their opponents. They've changed society, in the anglosphere at least. People know that to be accused of being in any way associated with pedophilia is to lose ones future forever. No one takes risks in such a situation.

    I will profess one thing though. I'm afraid. I'm afraid of the power that we've given to the accusers and their supports. I would never do something as stupid as look after someone's child for any period of time. Working with children, including teenagers, is also completely out of the question. I'm not the only one. People in general become very nervous if a child walks into the room. No one gets friendly or playful unless they're fairly gregarious, and female. People will let a child die rather than stop to help them [telegraph.co.uk], and I can't say I blame them. I can personally say that if a child was drowning or dying right in front of me, then I most likely wouldn't move one step towards them, let alone help them. I'm not a monster, I just live in these times.

    Child pornography scandals are put on the front page by editors to titillate readers and sell newspapers. No one stands up to this hysteria fueled by profit mongering and voyeurism. It's eroding our media, our legal system, our social system and ultimately our entire way of life. By itself it won't bring the whole structure crashing down, but it will rot a few more timbers.

    I'm afraid. But every poster who includes the ritual "I abhor child pornography..." disclaimer in their messages is a far greater coward than I.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by no1home (1271260) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:40PM (#23739397)
    Right now the question is there anything wrong with blocking sites that are known sources of kiddie porn?

    Yes. It spends money, time, and other valuable resources on a 'solution' that doesn't work. I use Open DNS and block certain types of sites. It works because I control the household network. However, should a member of the house want to get around it, it isn't difficult at all. I'm sure the teenage girl could figure it out (not so sure about about the other roommates, actually). If one of them gets around it and their computer gets hacked or infected, that's their problem. If they get around it and do something illegal, get caught, and thrown in jail, that's their problem as well. If somebody in the house wants a change, we can discuss it and make the change if we agree to it. And that's the point: it is not the government's job to protect our computers or to protect us from ourselves. Should the government protect the children? Absolutely! Does this do that? Absolutely not! So, it is a waste.

    My ISP is paid (way too much for way to poor a service) to transport the requested packets. If I want a filtering service from them, I'll ask for it (I'd rather select my own, you notice).

    Do you really want to protect the children? Good. So do I. Then why don't we focus on (a) catching the perverts and (b) shutting down the servers. Think about this: If you know what to block, then you know where the server is. Go get it. Prosecute the baddies. This works without filtering and causes no heated debates about rights or costs because we can all agree the perverts need to be put away (or put down).
  • I recommend all newsgroup denizens with TW, Sprint, and Verizon sign up for news.individual.net [individual.net]. It's 10 euros per year (about $15) and there are no binary groups, but they do a better job of spam and sporge filtering than any ISP I've seen.

    Who would've thought the day would come when you'd have to use a German news server to ensure freedom of speech.
    Er, you pay for access to nonbinary newsgroups? That's ... let's say as smart as paying for web browsers. Google Groups [google.com] has been providing access (and full archive!) to nonbinary newsgroups for years now. And you can even post through Google Groups!

    On the other hand, if you want access to binary newsgroups, I'd highly advise against any kind of usenet provider that charges any kind of periodic fees (I use usenet-news.net when I need to, and the $10 I put in years ago still gives me enough transfers to play around with).
  • by wlbutler (1193341) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:05AM (#23742153)

    So my suggestion would lead to the following.
    • A (pornographic) photo of an 18 year old would be legal.
    • A photo of a 16/17 year old would be taken from you, but not result in prosecution.
    • A photo of a 15 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 20. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    • A photo of a 14 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 19. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    • A photo of a 13 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 16. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    • A photo of a 12 year old would result in a prosecution for anyone over the age of 13. Otherwise the photo is taken from you.
    Granted, this is not a perfect situation, but it does reduce the risk of an idiot 15 year old having his life ruined for a photo of his naked girlfriend.
    While I agree that it shouldn't be illegal for someone to take a photo of someone else that they are leagally allowed to have sex with, the suggestion given has a HUGE problem. Say that little Jack takes a photo of little Jill, both age 15, while they are doing the deed. Six years later, Jack's computer is found to still have that photo of Jill at age 15 on it. While both he and she are now 21 years old, because the photo is of a person that was 15 at the time, Jack goes to jail. But wait, there is more... What if Jill has a copy. She gets sent to jail for having a porno photo of a 15 year old, even if it is of herself at age 15.

    I don't see a obvious solution to this situation. So we are left with a strange situation where is is sometimes legal to have sex with a person but not to take a photo of them.

  • by vuffi_raa (1089583) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @01:50AM (#23743105)

    Actually, it's far worse than anyone thought. They aren't filtering a few minor websites, they are actually blocking major portions of USENET:
    I think this is a good start actually. If we block usenet we can get a substantial amount of child pornography offline, and then we can concentrate next on blocking all http: and ftp: protocols since they contain child pornography too. I mean, honestly, do you think anyone uses http: protocols for anything but child exploitation and terrorism?
    (sarcasm in case you didn't notice)
  • Re:slippery slope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by znerk (1162519) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @03:21PM (#23753037)
    I'll reply here to another portion of your post that I find disagreeable.

    You said:

    Just because something only has a 99% success rate, that doesn't automatically mean we're on a slippery slope to a 1% success rate, or even an 80% success rate.

    As others have pointed out, this doesn't (and won't) have anything near a 90% success rate. To be completely honest, I would be surprised if it has anything approaching even a 30% success rate. This is like saying "because drugs are sold on this street, we're going to remove access to this street." This does nothing for the crack houses on the next block, the college student growing marijuana in his dorm room, or the bar on the corner; it sure as hell doesn't stop the addict from craving his fix. In addition, the hair salon that happens to be on the same street is shut down, simply for being in the wrong location (This is my reference to the sites that get shut down because someone got them on 'The List', regardless of their actual content).

    If it's not going to be effective, and it's going to have dire consequences, why should we accept it in the first place?

    This is a "do nothing about the actual 'issue' while setting a precedent for removing access to 'objectionable' material" response. "Think of the children!" is not an acceptable reason in my mind for anything, especially not when it removes my freedom of choice.

    No, that doesn't mean I want to visit kiddie porn sites. It means I'm afraid of setting a precedent that makes it acceptable to remove my access to anything that someone else thinks is objectionable, regardless of its legality. How long after we restrict/remove access to kiddie porn do you think it will be before our right to access legal content is interfered with? How would you feel if someone removed WebMD from the DNS registers, because "it's bad for the doctors if people diagnose themselves"? What if you couldn't visit wal-mart.com (or any online retailer, for that matter) because the local township felt it was "a threat to the local businesses" for you to shop online? Where does the censorship stop? At what point do you get upset that information is being restrained? When it affects *you*, it's too late. ("First they came..." [wikipedia.org])

    Allow me to climb up on this soapbox, for a moment. This would set a precedent for censoring all forms of media. If they can control what we're allowed to view on the internet, why not control what books we're allowed to read? Which games we're allowed to play? What movies we can watch? Where does it stop?

    I'll tell you where it stops: It doesn't. That's what the "slippery slope" argument is all about. Look at what the United States has done in the name of "The War on Terror"; They've become international (and domestic!) terrorists, and are now hated and feared by every other nation in the world. Shall we emulate this behavior, and see how divided we can force our world to be?

    Censorship is evil. I'm sorry, I can't soften that blow at all. Truth be told, I can't shout it strongly enough. Censorship has banned great literary works for a number of reasons, many of them economical, all of them ludicrous. Legendary works have been banned in the past, such as Dr Seuss's "The Lorax" (it 'criminalized the forest industry'); "Farenheit 451" (ironically, a book on censorship, book-burning, and Big Brother); The Christian Bible (burned a guy at the stake for translating it to English!); "The Call of the Wild", by Jack London (who hasn't read this in high school? It was required reading where I grew up. Damn fine read, too.) Both "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, "Gone with the Wind" (and i *do* give damn), "Gulliver's Travels" (little people are offensive? It was denounced as wicked and obscene), "Hamlet", "King Lear", "Twelfth Night" (for crying out loud, even Shakespeare?!?), "Little house on the Prairie" was on TV for years, "The Lion, the Wit

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