According to the New York Times, Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable have all agreed to block access to "Internet bulletin boards and Web sites nationwide that disseminate child pornography." The move--part of an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo--will affect customers across the country. Sounds good, right? But the devil, as always, is in the details, and so is the confusion.
When initially reported, many on the internet assumed that the ISPs were blocking all of usenet. Not so. While Time Warner Cable will cease to offer Usenet at all, Sprint and Verizon seem to be cutting off the alt.* hierarchy only, home to most of usenet's porn, both child and adult, as well as a broad array of conversations on any topic imaginable, from pet care to bomb making to illegal downloading.
Customers of these ISPs will be able to access Usenet via other servers on the internet, just not the ones owned by Sprint, Verizon and Warner.
“You can’t help but look at this material and not be disturbed,” said. Cuomo. “These are 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, assault victims, there are animals in the pictures. To say ‘graphic’ and ‘egregious’ doesn’t capture it.”
Look for more of this ISP-level blocking in the future, and look for more sacrifices of legit internet information in order to stop child porn, too.
New York Times: Net Providers to Block Sites With Child Sex