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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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  • Re:slippery slope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skrolle2 (844387) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:17PM (#23732523)
    There is such a list in Sweden, and some of the big ISPs use it. There was quite an uproar when someone tried to put The Pirate Bay on it, claiming they had torrents of child porn, and it never got on the list. Almost everyone agrees that the list is useless, but it's still there. :-/

    So it's not a question of whether or not someone will try to use such a list for their own goals, but how soon that will happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:20PM (#23732607)
    They actually have sex with children.
  • by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:21PM (#23732655)
    Yea, that would be great and all, but Chris Hansen is doing it to make money. That seems a bit sick too.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:21PM (#23732673)

    The companies have agreed to shut down access to newsgroups that traffic in pornographic images of children on one of the oldest outposts of the Internet, known as Usenet.
    Do you really suppose that Verizon, Sprint and Time-Warner are carrying the full list of alt.binaries.*?? Yah, I thought not.
  • by Mark Cicero (734120) <mikeNO@SPAMmanintweed.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:24PM (#23732755) Homepage
    Seriously, what happens if a group of people (generally young men found living electronically on one of those lovely chan boards) decide to stage a cp raid? Is the attacked site blocked forever or only as long as the cp stays on the servers? Who decides if it is intentional or accidental? Who even gets to decide what constitutes cp? Is there a job where someone has to sort through all the porn on the internet to see what is legal? Are they accepting resumes? Not that I'm applying.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Das Modell (969371) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:31PM (#23732973)
    Many Finnish ISPs voluntarily enforce a blacklist maintained by the police. The list is full of legitimate sites that supposedly contain "child porn." While browsing for garden variety porn I got blocked so many times I had to start using OpenDNS (yes, it's really tough to circumvent the blacklist).

    This will probably go down exactly like the GP thinks it will. Just in like here.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MilesAttacca (1016569) <(milesattacca) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:36PM (#23733127)
    I know it's breaking rules 1 and 2, but I wouldn't be surprised if 4chan was on the list. While it's a forum for everything from anime screenshots to computer troubleshooting, it does get flooded with child porn every once in awhile. No matter how responsive the moderators are in removing it (and they usually are), I can see a lot of groups choosing to focus on the fact that child porn *can* be posted to it in the first place.
  • by RyoShin (610051) <.tukaro. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:43PM (#23733273) Homepage Journal
    I was wondering this, too. It may be that they have a loophole. My understanding of Safe Harbor is that they cannot be penalized for anything that they contain or that traverses their network so long as they treat all information equally and do not monitor the information for pieces of interest.

    Because this list of websites is being provided by a third group (CMEC) and the ISPs just accept it unconditionally, they aren't actually policing content. It seems like the same idea of spam white/blacklists-- "We don't make the lists, we just take them from Company X and apply them."

    It's still a horrible idea, but it might still give them Safe Harbor provisions. It also means that they won't check the veracity of any submitted site; of course, I wouldn't expect that anyway, as it would require interest, caring, and good customer service.
  • by damburger (981828) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:48PM (#23733439)

    The idea is that we prevent the trading of child porn images over the Internet in order to protect children from abuse.

    But this doesn't make sense. The laws making it illegal to produce child porn are completely disconnected from the laws that make it illegal to distribute child porn over the internet. If someone publishes indecent images of children over the Internet they are incriminating themselves for the former crime, making the latter one superfluous.

    The real purpose is clearly not the stated one. It probably isn't just a naked power grab, rather a callous bit of populism ("Won't someone PLEASE think of the children!?")

    When such laws fail, as the nature of the Internet makes them bound to, the same motives that caused them to be created causes the laws to be 'toughened'. If you had stuff like the DMCA that would make it illegal to provide any service that might conceivable allow a person to trade child porn over the internet, then you would have a law usable against any proxy server, encryption, and a host of other technologies that can protect your privacy.

    I am not saying that this is a deliberate attempt to crush peoples freedom - more like a hamfisted populist attempt to crush peoples freedom.

  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shikaku (1129753) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:57PM (#23733717)

    I would be willing to bet that Google already has a black list of sites that it doesn't cache just so they don't have to worry about having very illegal data sitting on their servers.
    Google 4chan. Read the bottom.
  • Re:Are you sure? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:03PM (#23733893)
    Does this count? The cover of Virgin Killer [wikipedia.org]?
  • by Forge (2456) <kevinforge AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:41PM (#23735031) Homepage Journal
    Thank you. Your post deserves a +6 Damned Brilliant.

    We have the same provision in the Jamaican law. Both the 16 Year old age of consent and the deliberate leniency on persons close to the age of the "victim". Not like in America where a 14 Year old boy faces jail for having sex with his 15 Year old girlfriend.

    Perhaps we both (Canada and Jamaica) inherited it from English common law.

    Migrating the porn laws to match is pure genius.

    As for telling the age of the person in the picture. Often you can't do this ontil you find the person. I remember meeting a 24 year old stripper who looks like 13 (despite the tattoos). After having the club raided a couple times to "rescue" her, the management blew up a copy of her voters ID and hung it near the door (With the name obscured).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:14PM (#23735875)
    Amen to that.

    How many of you ever played "Doctor" as a kid? How many of you ever "mooned" someone when you were under 18?

    Now imagine today, a pair of kids today doing the exact same actions as you, but over a webcam instead of in person.

    Presto, instant "child porn".

    We are already seeing this. Youths have been arrested and charged with child pornography for sending pictures of themselves to their similar age boyfriends/girlfriends.

    We need to stop making photographs of legal acts illegal. For instance, in many states, two 17 year olds can legally have sex. But if they take a photo of themselves having sex, they can be sent to jail and be forced to register as "sex offenders".

    Photographs of murder, robbery, etc. aren't illegal: they are *evidence* of a crime. Photos of someone abusing a child should be used the same: as evidence to arrest and prosecute the abuser.

    I am fine with forbidding commercial sale or revenue generation. Removing financial incentive of child abuse is a good thing. But criminalizing a picture of legal activities makes no sense to me.
  • Re:scratches head (Score:4, Interesting)

    by demi (17616) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:22PM (#23736025) Homepage Journal

    Well, to play Devil's Advocate, the police and Perverted Justice are entirely capable of catching "pedophiles" without Chris Hansen's involvement. He is someone who takes advantage of underage sex for his own self-aggrandizement--do you see the difference?

    To be honest, I'm a little squeamish about theses sting operations... essentially you're arresting people prospectively for a crime they have not committed. In some cases the decoy is over the age of consent, anyway, no matter what she may have said online--if she wasn't a decoy and the act had been carried out, no crime would have been committed. And you never know if the crime "would have" been committed, anyway--if the perp would have chickened out; if he was internally judging this to be a game of age play between people capable of consent, and so forth. To make an analogy, driving angrily to your ex-husband's house with a gun in the car is not a crime.

    I suspect what ends up happening is that these people are so scared they accept some kind of plea bargain or diversionary treatment and the real punishment is the disruption in their lives by revealing their scumbag-ness to their friends and relatives. So in that sense maybe the Chris Hansen show really is the point and the law enforcement so much window-dressing. I don't know.

  • Sounds like legal semantics to me. I wasn't forcibly coerced. In fact, I daresay it's easy easier for a 15 year old girl to lure in a 20 year old man for sex than the other way around. The straight guys wouldn't stand much of a chance against a precocious girl. Who raped who?

    Besides, my point kinda was that the laws ARE messed up to begin with. For thousands of generations marrying off daughters under age 15 was the norm--did the men wait until their new brides were 18 to have sex? Hardly.

    So basically men HAVE the urge to look at child pornography. All men must--it's hardwired in to find a 16 year old nubile girl attractive. Are all you guys crying "Child porn is so awful!" really saying that if a hot young, busty and curvaceous 15 year old was standing naked in front of you, you wouldn't be aroused? So what makes it awful is searching for it on the internet? Or are we just talking about prepubescent child pornography? No body seems to want to make this clear, which bolsters my argument that all this is just another witch hunt used to control the masses.

  • by Schadrach (1042952) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:04PM (#23736889)
    Rethink the "that isn't themselves" part of that.

    There was a case (in Florida, I think? Heard about it second hand) where a 15 yo girl takes an indecent photo of herself and sends it to her boyfriend. Numb-nuts shows it off to his friends, and the next result is that he gets busted for possessing the image, she gets busted for both possessing it and for production.

    Let's also consider that in some areas, any unclothed photo of a child is automatically child pornography, including the sort that many normal parents might have of their children and never consider them in that fashion (kids in bath, that kind of thing).

    Actually, according to his bio, Marilyn Manson tried to use such a photo from his parents photo album in the liner notes for his first album, and the label refused because they might get into legal troubles over the possibility of child pornography (which was precisely his point -- this was a fairly common, normal sort of photo with no pornographic intent, so what does it say about a VIEWER who declres it to be CP?)
  • by kesuki (321456) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:40PM (#23738361) Journal
    the coca leaf is .8% cocaine, sucrose is about 3% of the sugar cane plant, so you need about 3x the acreage to produce coca. the coca plant itself can live for up to 40 years, whereas sugarcane is planted from clippings, a costly expensive process, the wiki isn't conclusive on how often cane can be 'harvested' but the maximum is 10 harvests.

    cocaine is traditionally grown in tropic mountain regions with long growing seasons... but the 'preferred' cocaine grows in slightly dryer regions, this means potentially that coca can grow in regions where sugar cane cannot because cane is a very water hungry plant.

    with all the variables, if coca was legal it might just well be priced around the cost of sugar. but most likely it would be much higher, although if prohibition forces had never made it illegal I'm sure coca-cola would have done their best to make it as cheap as sugar. at least for themselves.
  • by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:20PM (#23739043)
    Porn industry is very profitable - one of few things that stayed highly profitable during doctom bubble burst. It is the only profitable business on the internet save for google. But then again - people google for porn :)
  • by Protoslo (752870) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @11:52PM (#23742009)
    A healthy society? I have to agree with my sibling poster, your post sounds like hippy bullshit to me. Pedophilia is a psychological condition. I even hesitate to say disorder, since by that definition, you could say that homosexuality was a psychological disorder--a deviation from the norm in sexual desire, which is not particularly useful for reproduction. Really, the only thing 'psychological disorder' means is that someone has an uncommon psyche, which in some cases makes functioning in our society more difficult, and in those cases people are often treated. In that sense, pedophilia is a psychological disorder, since it is a condition that makes it very hard for sufferers to be content in our society. Now, there is of course a big difference between pedophilia and more mundane differences of psychology, since people can be homosexual without violating anyone's rights, or agoraphobic, or autistic, or even ponyplay fetishists or furries without violating the rights of other people! To physically act on true pedophilia, however, almost certainly involves violating the rights of a prepubescent child who probably does not even have the capacity to consent. It is a condition that can make a criminal behavior seem very desirable, and is a serious problem.

    I did a little cautious googling about child abuse statistics, without much success. I admit that I am a little reluctant to send words like 'child sex' or 'pedophile' in a query. I sometimes wonder if I should do all of my googling though proxies, since some day Andrew Cuomo might come knocking on my door, for all I know.

    Nevertheless, in the absence of good data, I will posit that there are a lot more pedophiles out there than there are people actually sexually abusing children. Perhaps even many of the people sexually abusing (post-pubescent) children are not really pedophiles, to draw a distinction between general 'sexual abuse,' most often perpetrated by family members, and 'kidnapping and raping'. I think that there is reason to believe, that there are lots of pedophiles 'out there' who do not sexually abuse children, and lot of non-pedophiles who do commit sexual crimes. I really doubt that all of the ardent consumers of lolicon hentai pornography, for example, are raping children. That would be a tough conspiracy to hide. Nevertheless, despite the fact that lolicon hentai is legal (in the Japan and the U.S., for now), I don't think there is much of a commercial market for it, even in Japan. People draw it because they want to. It seems very likely that there are a lot of people out there who find children sexually attractive, but don't act on their desires with real children, no doubt either because they think that it is ethically or morally wrong to have sex with unconsenting children, or because they are deterred by the threat of legal punishment and societal ostracism. It is no secret that all sorts of sexual desires of other kinds can be and are repressed.

    This brings me to a "startling" line of reasoning. I think that there are only two possible arguments for the criminalization of the possession of child pornography. The first has been made in this thread, and it is that criminalizing child pornography reduces the demand for it. The second is that such pornography will encourage pedophiles to escalate to violating real children.

    I'm afraid that I think that the demand argument has been, at best, extended to cover situations to which it has little application. There is no way in hell that pedophiles who are sexually abusing children in the United States are doing so out of a profit motive. Actual child rape carries, without a doubt, the worst punishment of any crime. Assuming that a real child rapist avoids a life sentence, they are likely to die in prison at the hands of other prisoners, and if not, upon their release, they can kiss goodbye things like "jobs," "friends," and say hello to the scarlet letter of our day: sex offender registries. If s

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