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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?
    • 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?
      • by PRMan (959735) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:17PM (#23735943)

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

        http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-9964895-38.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5

        Time Warner will now block all of USENET

        Sprint will now block all alt.* newsgroups

        Verizon will now block large, unnamed sections of USENET.

        So, whoever said "USENET will be shut down in the name of 'protect the children'" on the poll last week, you win!

        • 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-b

        • by STrinity (723872) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:28PM (#23740151) Homepage
          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.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by novakyu (636495)

            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

        • I was hoping to see more about this - It's not clear from the article if they are blocking access to usenet, or if the ISP is turning off their usenet servers.
          If the latter, it's honestly no great loss. ISP hosted usenet has been effectively dead for at least a year, as retention and article completion has gone to shit in recent penny pinching.
          I'm sure the ISPs are thrilled to have a excuse to finally kill it.
          That said, welcome to the magical world of internet censorship in America. I wonder what's next on
    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by davester666 (731373)
        "How can we actively stop our sick bastard pedophile users from doing this?"

        This would be precisely the wrong reason for implementing a block on these newsgroups. From my extensive watching of television, my understanding is that people who enjoy child pornography will go to great lengths to view it [and/or participate in creating it]. Just disabling access to a couple of newsgroups moves the posts to other newsgroups, mixing it in with the adult porn that I like.

        To put it in Slashdot terms, it would be l
      • Re:Block for all? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak.eircom@net> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:58PM (#23735501) Homepage Journal
        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.
  • slippery slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> 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
    • 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.
      • Re:slippery slope (Score:5, Informative)

        by Wavebreak (1256876) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:56PM (#23733681)
        Also in Finland. Caused somewhat of a stir when a site listing banned addresses got banned itself, for linking to kiddie porn. Exactly how can a list like that be held to any standard of accountability rather than sliding into full-blown censorship if you can't even keep a list of *what* gets banned?
    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by digitrev (989335)
        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:slippery slope (Score:4, Informative)

        by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:24PM (#23736063) Journal
        Agreed. In the UK, we have Cleanfeed [wikipedia.org]. One problem is that blocked sites silently return "page not found" [bbc.co.uk].

        On that note, things may become worse now that the UK Government has decided to start criminalising adult porn [slashdot.org](!). The scope of material that could be banned is far greater, especially due to the vagueness of the law (since the IWF will likely err on the side of caution, whether or not the material has been declared to be "extreme" in a court of law). There is also the point that unlike child porn, there is no divide between "extreme" adult porn and non-extreme porn (there is no legal or ethical consensus - it's only the UK Government that imagines this), so plenty of more mainstream sites risk getting banned because of a single naughty image that is too "extreme". The Register speculates on this issue [theregister.co.uk].
  • Child porn (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:10PM (#23732339)
    Right on the heals of a Boy scouts of America article.

    Hmmm
  • 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."
    • by Captain Spam (66120) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:14PM (#23732461) Homepage

      "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.
      • 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."
    • 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!

  • How will they do it? How can they detect kiddie porn? Because if they can do that at the packet level with 100% accuracy and 0% false positive, I wouldn't mind having this in my router at the hardware level.

    So, how?

    • Easy.. (Score:2, Funny)

      They hire a pedophile!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Chyeld (713439)
      Hashes, according to the article I read which may or may not be the same as the linked one.

      The AG got the companies because they had in their TOS a clause that specificly prohibited child pornography. Therefore when the sting operation's user complained about it and the ISP's did their standard "nothing" it became fraud.

      The ISP's will use a hash database provided by the Center of pictures they've collected, blocking anything tha matches the hash.
    • 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 Chyeld (713439) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dleyhc.> 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.
    • How will they do it? How can they detect kiddie porn? Because if they can do that at the packet level with 100% accuracy and 0% false positive, I wouldn't mind having this in my router at the hardware level.

      Are you kidding? I want this technology in my fucking camera phone. Then I can point it at a chick and find out if she's over 18 or not.

      • by kalirion (728907) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:41PM (#23735009)
        Are you kidding? I want this technology in my fucking camera phone. Then I can point it at a chick and find out if she's over 18 or not.

        18? That's way too inflexible.

        The phone should have a internationalization feature so that using GPS and an online database it will figure out the age of consent wherever you are, where you're from, and all the relevant laws.
  • by Odder (1288958) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:12PM (#23732415)

    Let's see:

    If all of these things come about, the internet will be like cable TV and there will be no free press.

    • Plans to charge per site access, as if they were cable channels.

      Nice try, and let them try.

      • 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.

  • 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.
    • 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 draco
  • Time for a new poll, perhaps? What's going to be the first false positive?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ISPs are not common carriers. Thank you for your time.
  • 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.
  • When it comes to tech some people are born stupid and some work at it, politicians are a blend of both. The longer they are in office the dumber they get.
  • 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 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      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.
      I used to regularly go look up pics on alt.sci-fi, one week there was a whole lotta child porn.

      I think they coordinate their drop-off points and move them around, instead of having one group where they could go and get their fix.
  • This is stupid. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So does this mean I won't be able to read 4chan anymore?
  • 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 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.
    • 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.

  • People are confusing the Web with Usenet. To prevent people from reading child porn on Usenet is easy - you simply don't allow external news servers (which the big boys probably are already blocking), and then you make the choice to NOT subscribe your internal news servers to the porn channels.

    People confuse where responsibility lies.
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:20PM (#23732637)
    If some innocent website is blacklisted in this system, can they claim libel or slander by the black-lister?

    Also, if ISPs become censors, don't they lose their Common Carrier status under the DMCA, and put themselves on the hook for any bad stuff that comes over their wires?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Penguinisto (415985)
      ISP's don;t have common-carrier. They do have things like DMCA safe-harbor, and other pseudo-protections, but not actual common-carrier. If they had common-carrier, they'd be required to actually check themselves as to how they behave with their own customers to avoid revocation of that status.

      IOW, if your innocent website gets on such a blacklist, you certainly can sue them AND the blacklist-keeping organization for libel, provided the ISP(s) doesn't take steps (or takes way too long) to remove you from it

  • 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 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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Say it with me now - ISPs are not currently common carriers, have never been common carriers, and do not want to be common carriers.

      Insightful my ass.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RyoShin (610051)
      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
  • 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.
  • 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 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 y86 (111726) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:27PM (#23732851)
    Great Idea in theory, "lets block all this bad stuff", OK now please define the rules...

    Government: It has to block child porn.
    Me: OK, how do we define child porn?
    Government: An adult and a child in sexual acts.
    Me: Right, how do we flag that to block it?
    Government: *frusterated* You block it!
    Me: We need to define a process or this won't work.
    Government: We'll make a list then.
    Me: So your going to scour the internets for child Porn and add it to this list. Nothing automatic?
    Government: Yes
    Me: So what venues will you block, HTTP, SSH, FTP, Torrent, MQ, Skype?
    Government: All of those things.
    Me: You can't decrypt HTTPS or SSH traffic, how do you know it's child porn?
    Government: Because we know those servers have porn since some guy flagged it.
    Me: You've heard of dynamic IP's right?
    Government: *MAD* DO WHAT WE SAY OR WE KILL THE BUNNY.
    Me: Um.... do it.

  • 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.

  • 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!

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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