3 Top ISPs Join N.Y. Attorney General in Pact to Block CP

Bob Preston
NEW YORK — Three of the largest Internet service providers have agreed to block newsgroups that traffic in child pornography.

No impact on the adult industry is expected.

Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner all agreed to prohibit the online dissemination of child pornography in a deal that they struck with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The three telecom giants will shut down access to all newsgroups that traffic in the illegal content, which is traded most prolifically on Usenet, a precursor to the current incarnation of the Internet.

Online guru Brandon Shalton told XBIZ that the only possible way for this ban to have any impact of the adult industry would be if the ISPs in question cast too wide a net and wound up disabling newsgroups for legitimate adult entertainment, but even then the impact would be negligible.

Shalton said that in the past, some paysite owners scavenged for content among newsgroups.

"Some website owners, not wanting to pay for content and wanted to have thousands and thousands of images for their members, would go to the newsgroups to get their images," said Shalton, who founded the traffic analysis service T3Report.com. "This of course is clearly copyright infringement. I haven't heard of anyone doing that these days."

The pact between the three big ISPs and the New York attorney general's office came about from an investigation where police officers posed as consumers and complained to the ISPs about the ease of finding child pornography online. When their complaints resulted in no action, Cuomo's staff got involved.

Online reports indicate that other ISPs will join the initiative.

New York Attorney General Cuomo brokered a similar deal with Facebook to implement safeguards against sexual predators on the social networking giant.