California To Copy NY's Bad Plan Forcing ISPs To Block Sites

from the the-great-firewall-of-america dept

The next time US officials complain about other countries blocking websites and censoring the internet, just point them to the actions of various publicity-seeking US states' Attorneys General. We've already mentioned NY AG Andrew Cuomo's incredibly misguided plan to force ISPs to block certain websites and newsgroups. While officially in the name of stopping child porn (an excellent goal), the plan is open to widespread abuse. First, it targets the ISPs, rather than the actual perpetrators of child porn. Second, it involves a secret list that won't be available for review to make sure it doesn't include perfectly legitimate content. Third, ISPs are already "over-blocking" additional content to avoid getting in trouble -- meaning that plenty of legitimate content is also being blocked. Fourth, those who really want child porn will simply use other methods to find it -- and it will be harder for authorities to track those new sources down.

With all that going against the plan, wouldn't you know that California's AG is claiming that the NY agreement doesn't go far enough. While the NY agreement only covers Verizon, Time Warner and Sprint -- California Attorney General Jerry Brown is saying all ISPs should have to do the same, as well. Unfortunately, it seems like this type of "non-solution" is appealing to politicians who don't understand the actual issues. It makes them look like they're sweeping child porn off the internet, when all they're really doing is blocking legitimate content while making it more difficult to find those actually engaged in child pornography.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ron (profile), Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 1:52pm

    FN

    F*ckin' Nazis. Next it'll be book burning (watch out Mark Twain), propaganda as a required curriculum, thought police (oopps, sorry, wrong book), etc. We already have a hefty start at censorship. All these publicity seekers can think of is the thought of a quick fix instead of actually doing any work. I know, real work requires, well, work.

     

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  2.  
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    Caleb, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 2:33pm

    Is everyone in office totally stupid?

    Do they even understand what a proxy is? There are many ways to avoid blocks - I circumvent them all the time at my school, (admittedly, for the less dramatic purpose of playing games)and I'm 15! I think they should have ISPs report the logs of who visits those websites, and then send those people to psychologists. I really think looking at an image shouldn't be sending people to jail for years, regardless of what is on the photo.

    People go to jail for longer for looking at child porn then burning someone's house down! We need Priorities!

     

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  3.  
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    Grem135, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Unfortunately most are

    at this rate it will be russia and china looking at the US wondering how we became a communist country with no human rights.

     

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  4.  
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    chris (profile), Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 2:51pm

    circumvention for fun and profit

    when governments and corporations try to stop something, they create these markets for circumvention services so that not only do the activities continue unabated, but help providers of circumvention services to profit.

    the more risk involved in the activity, the greater the opportunity for profit. there probably isn't much money to be made in facilitating file sharing, but i am sure there is plenty of money to be made facilitating crime:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowcrew

    prohibition helped put organized crime on the map in the US by creating a market for bootleggers and speakeasies. internet prohibition will also help to put the internet equivalent of organized crime on the map as well. more services will pop up to facilitate activities that careless governments summarily declare illegal.

    you can see it in services like windizupdate, peer guardian, the pirate bay, giganews, leafdrink, tor, you name it. as governments and corporations do more to restrict the internet, the community will respond with more circumvention. it's hard to say if many are profiting, but it's easy to see that they are at least being subsidized by ad revenue or donations, or are being promoted for free by providing these circumvention services.

     

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  5.  
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    Kevin, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Is everyone in office totally stupid?

    You might understand the threat a little better if you had a child of your own. Those that use child porn for their own entertainment are sick and need to be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Now I am not saying that some penalties are a little skewed (such as your arson analogy), but a house is a thing with stuff in it nothing more. It can be rebuilt and things can be replaced. Now had someone perished in the fire then they are charged with arson and murder (25-life minimum)

    Its a matter of escalation. First it is just some pictures they downloaded. Next its videos, then finally they may have the guts to go after little Caleb three houses down.

    Point being that the net should be left open. The targets should be those that produce the filth, those that purvey the filth, and finally those that consume the filth. That is not a job for the ISP.

     

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  6.  
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    Evil Mike, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Is everyone in office totally stupid?

    There are still a few reasoning Americans living within in United States. Sadly, as a minority without special rights or advocate groups; they'll likely all be gone soon.

    Then one group of lazy stupid people can give the shaft to other groups of lazy ignorant people and all will be right with the world.

     

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  7.  
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    Reader, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 3:19pm

    Just a few questions.

    1) Who controls the list of what newsgroups are blocked.
    2) How do I get newsgroups that I don't like onto that list. After all I think that some religions are bad for children, and we're doing this to protect the children right ?
    3) How do we block websites that are bad for the children, and get them off the Global Internet, ignoring that what we may not like is legal in other parts of the world. (remember it's for the children)

     

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  8.  
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    Simple Mind, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Is everyone in office totally stupid?

    It's a picture. I fail to see how a picture threatens your child, Kevin? No one should ever go to jail for looking at a picture. A system that locks up people for thought crimes or for what they might do is a broken system.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Is everyone in office totally stupid?

    Someone do an IP Trace, sounds like we have another one.

     

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  10.  
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    Dean Collins, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 3:52pm

    Editorial decisions

    this is why editorial decisions are a bad idea, everyone tries to outdo each other.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=22212833295

    When is the EFF going to get involved?
    Banning a group that has done no wrong surely must be illegal.


    Dean

     

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  11.  
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    Gabe, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Is everyone in office totally stupid?

    If I had a child of my own I would understand the threat a little better? I have TWO children and I say your dead-headed knee jerk reasoning is flawed to the core and demonstrates EXACTLY what's wrong with this country, more so than the people in the presidential office!

    Examining your analogy:

    "Its a matter of escalation. First it is just some pictures they downloaded. Next its videos, then finally they may have the guts to go after little Caleb three houses down."

    What you are proposing is that we should give up our rights, purchased and protected by the blood of men who went to war, for the good of all in the name of decency on the chance that all wrongs lead to greater wrongs. I'm surprised you haven't suggested that all pubescent boys be sent to an island off the coast to be fire bombed...or at the very least be neutered so as to "protect our children". After all, eliminate the threat, sleep better in bed, right? How much sense does that make? Nevermind, I'll tell you, about as much sense as YOUR comment!

    Free thinking people need to get a fire lit under 'em and speak up against this kind of short sighted policy! If 'we the people' don't start holding our government responsible TO the people then WE will have no one but ourselves to blame for the loss of those freedoms and rights.

     

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  12.  
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    Ralf, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Is everyone in office totally stupid?

    @Kevin:

    >Its a matter of escalation. First it is just some pictures they downloaded. Next its videos, then finally they may have the guts to go after little Caleb three houses down.

    1. This is a hypothesis that has never been proven.

    2. The same argument was used against the relaxation or pr0n censorship in the 60s and 70s and has been proven wrong. It has been shown several times that availability of pr0n *reduced* the incidence of rape and similar sex crimes.
    In plain words, if you have material to jack off to, you don't have to go out and do something physical.

     

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  13.  
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    Matt (profile), Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 6:34pm

    for the children is not an excuse

    what the heck? Are you implying that child porn pictures is a gateway to rape?

    People that are psychologically set to child abuse will arrive at that destination with or without child porn. Otherwise it's like implying that we never had child porn before we never had the internet.

    Your analogy is not even close to accurate here.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 6:45pm

    So everyone here is a psychologist? How is the desire created by regular porn manifested? How is the desire by child porn going to be manifested? Honestly, how can anyone justify child porn? That is what you are doing. Your ignorance to protect your "privacy" is pathetic. Mike, you sicken me.

     

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  15.  
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    Angry Candy, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 6:53pm

    I still want to know what this list is. Wikileaks, I'm looking at you. Go get 'em...

     

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  16.  
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    Ralf, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 7:07pm

    Re:

    >How is the desire by child porn going to be manifested?

    What desire is created? Please tell us.
    Do you become gay from watching gay porn?
    Do you become a pedo by watching child porn?
    Do you need to go out and rape a woman after watching violent "regular" porn?
    Do you have to go out and murder somebody after watching a crime flick?

    This is just like the standpoint that being gay is a choice. Only uttered by morons.

     

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  17.  
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    Rekrul, Jun 23rd, 2008 @ 9:07pm

    Its a matter of escalation. First it is just some pictures they downloaded. Next its videos, then finally they may have the guts to go after little Caleb three houses down.


    Britney Spears made her video for Baby One More Time when she was seventeen. In other words, she was underage at the time. I was 31 when I saw the video. I thought she looked hot and fantasized about her. How is it that I never went out and molested any kids?

     

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  18.  
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    John Duncan Yoyo, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 12:46am

    Re: Just a few questions.

    I wonder if this is the source of Verizon limiting newsgroups to the big 8 (comp.*, humanities.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.* and talk.*). It wouldn't bother me much but a few of my favorites are alt* groups not on the list.

     

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  19.  
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    mike allen, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 2:21am

    what happens

    what happens in the USA today is forced on the restof the world tomorrow. for example Copyright law in the UK was fine until the RIAA stuke their nose in to our affairs.( see article above) what gave the USA the right to rule the world. NOTHING so BUTT out.

     

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  20.  
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    Jonah, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 3:28am

    Great Newsgroups Alternative

    No reason to worry about newsgroups. Just sign up for a service like http://www.newsdemon.com. They have encrypted access which can not currently be blocked through the ISPs (if they do, nobody can pay for anything via credit card). Newsdemon even gives a discount for customers who have been kicked off their ISP's usenet farm.

     

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  21.  
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    Chris, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 4:02am

    Are you defending child porn?

    I can't believe what I just read. You can't possibley say that child porn should be in any way legal. Perhaps it doesn't harm society for people to look at such things(Although it my mind, such social degeneracy can only do harm, but as I cannot prove this, I can't hold you accountable for it)but it certainly has some harmful effect on those that "pose". Child labor laws exist to protect children that would otherwise be exploited. Unless you think kids should be sweating their youth a way in a factory somewhere risking life and limb everyday for nothing, you cannot honestly say you want child porn to be legal.

     

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  22.  
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    BTR1701, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 10:41am

    Re: Insanity

    > How can anyone justify child porn? That is what
    > you are doing.

    Not even close. This argument isn't about privacy. It's about being free from government bullying by grandstanding politicians who are using a sledgehammer to kill an ant.

    Even the NY attorney general's staff could only find a few images posted repeatedly to a couple dozen out of 100,000+ Usenet groups. The problem could easily be addressed by eliminating just the binary groups (the ones with pictures) and leaving the vast majority of text-only newsgroups alone. Yet Time Warner banned all 100,000+ newsgroups from its servers. And Verizon and Sprint banned the entire alt. hierarchy.

    Many of those newsgroups are not only legitimate, they're a source of information for people with life-threatning illnesses (alt.diabetes, alt.cancer for example) or how to cope with caring for an elderly parent or tips on raising a handicapped child, etc. All those people (and millions of others) who depended on those newsgroups for valuable information were unceremoniously cut off because some politician wanted to get reelected and knows that invoking "The Children" and the unfounded hysteria it creates is a great way to do it.

    Incidentally, I wonder if-- since these ISPs are blocking access to an entire section of the internet, which was previously included with their monthly fee-- if the customers' monthly bills will be sililarly reduced to make up for that lost functionality?

    I'm betting on no.

    > Your ignorance to protect your "privacy" is
    > pathetic. Mike, you sicken me.

    What sickens me is how people like you line up behind anything a politician proposes, no matter how intrusive or even outright unconstitutional, so long as he or she utters the magic phrase "protect the children".

    All the NY and CA attorneys general care about is looking like they're tough on crime to the terrified soccer moms and other sheep like you out there who have all been conditioned to think there's a pervert behind every bush and who will blindly support absolutely any encroachment on civil liberties so long as someone tells them it will "protect the cheeeldrunn".

    Anytime a politician says those words, I either reach for my wallet or my gun because all it means is they're about to take away more of my money or more of my freedom (or both).

     

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  23.  
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    Rekrul, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 11:38am

    Even the NY attorney general's staff could only find a few images posted repeatedly to a couple dozen out of 100,000+ Usenet groups. The problem could easily be addressed by eliminating just the binary groups (the ones with pictures) and leaving the vast majority of text-only newsgroups alone.


    That's still using a sledgehammer. The majority of the binary pictures groups don't contain child porn. They may contain spam that shows young looking girls, or at most, nude images of possibly underage girls. However if any real child porn is posted (showing actual sex with underage girls), the newgroup regulars usually report the poster (or more likely a spam-bot) to their ISP.

    Killing all the binary groups is just doing the work of the MPAA/RIAA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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