Anti-Porn Group Chides Cox Communications Over Usenet Groups
The Alliance for a Safer Internet, based in Oklahoma, is calling for Cox to halt its distribution of Usenet newsgroups through its high-speed Internet service, which the group alleges contributes to the spread of child pornography and other “obscene” images like bestiality.
"It's been going on for years and it's time Cox put an end to it," Paul Cardin, president of the alliance stated. "The material carried in some of these newsgroups is absolutely horrific. We don't think Cox should be in the pornography business at all and we're asking them to discontinue offering all newsgroups, just like AOL did a few months ago.”
The Alliance also made the point that newsgroup material usually resides on a computer system owned and operated by the ISP and that material is distributed exclusively to their subscribers. Additionally, the ISP has control over whether or not these newsgroups are made available to their subscribers, the Alliance claims.
A notification was sent to Cox on Aug. 5 accusing them of distributing illegal materials, and then on Aug. 8, various law enforcement agencies were notified.
While the Alliance claims to be hounding Cox specifically over images thought to be child pornography, the group fails to make a separation between alleged child porn images found on Usenet groups and adult pornography that depicts consensual adults engaged in explicit activities.
The Alliance’s website lists hundreds of newsgroups currently being offered by Cox to its Internet service subscribers, however the sites listed are a blend of both adult sites and sites suggesting that they contain underage content.
Competing only with cable behemoths Time Warner and Comcast, Cox is estimated to have more than 6.3 million customers as of December 2004 and offers mostly mainstream content. However, Cox also pulls in significant profits from adult content, including profits from the Hot Network, which features ongoing adult programming.
Cox's high-speed Internet service has about 3 million subscribers, according to recent estimates.
The Alliance claims it is merely trying to hold Cox to the same standards as other cable and high-speed Internet providers. In January, AOL stopped supporting access to Usenet groups under similar pressure to distance itself from any association with child pornography.
The Alliance has created a section on its website where users can sign the Cox petition.