Andrew Cuomo Threatens To Sue Comcast If It Doesn't Sign Up For His Plan To Pretend To Fight Child Porn

from the grandstanding dept

Last month, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo made some news by pressuring a bunch of ISPs to agree to block certain sites in a totally misguided effort to fight child porn. It will actually do the opposite, because it merely hides the issue, driving it further underground, rather than attacking at the source. At the same time, it opens up a very questionable door: having ISPs blocking any content that they feel is "objectionable" in some manner. It's not hard to predict where this goes, in terms of ISPs blocking other types of content as well.

Comcast was one of the companies that agreed last week to a similar proposal with a bunch of state attorneys general, but apparently that's not enough for Andrew Cuomo. He's now threatening to sue Comcast within five days if it doesn't sign the more stringent "code of conduct" that Cuomo wrote up. Apparently Cuomo doesn't think last week's agreement goes far enough.

Of course, what's odd is that nowhere does Cuomo explain how Comcast's actions violate the law. He just threatens to sue over it -- and even makes a veiled threat that the lawsuit alone will be damaging to Comcast, because Cuomo will position it as Comcast protecting child porn:
Comcast's unwillingness to sign the code of conduct and purge its system of child pornography puts Comcast at the back of the pack in the race to fight this scourge, and would likely be surprising to Comcast's millions of customers across the country.
The reason Cuomo doesn't explain what the legal rationale for any lawsuit, is because there isn't one. Comcast as a connectivity provider is not responsible for what content goes across its network. Cuomo (one would hope) knows this -- and is bullying Comcast into signing his "Code of Conduct" by threatening to paint the company as protecting child porn. That's a rather sickening abuse of power -- and the end result will only be to make it more difficult to stop child pornography, while opening the door to widespread content blocking by ISPs.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    tim stevens, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:15am

    Who does this remind you of?

    Hmmm, government official threatening a company over a legal activity. Maybe Spitzer comes to mind.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:21am

    Liability

    Doesn't the act of trying to filter child porn make the ISP even more liable when it [the technology] fails, than it would if they filtered nothing at all?

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Thomas, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:22am

    On what grounds?

    What would be the grounds for the lawsuit? How is Comcast legally required to do this blocking?

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Danny, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:34am

    Cuomo steps over the line

    I've followed Andrew Cuomo's career since college (we shared some friends, so I knew of him back then), thus have been pre-disposed to favor him as his career has progressed. Clearly he has aspirations past AG to Governor or beyond.

    And clearly this anti-child porn crusade, while most everyone agrees child porn is very bad stuff, is political positioning to move his career forward.

    But, for me, he is crossing the line (OK, he long ago crossed it, but it didn't get my attention) by going after Comcast.

    As Mike keeps writing, this crusade does little to actually impact child porn. But I use Comcast; and now that his crusade threatens to either [a] make my cable/internet service more expensive, [b] limit some of my (non-child porn) options, or [c] both, his silly (silly because it doesn't impact actual child porn) crusade is impacting my life in the negative.

    And as career positioning move, Cuomo is about to see some push back.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Bullet To the Head, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:36am

    Government Abuses

    Looks like he's pulling a Bush on them.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    International Student, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:41am

    Only in America

    Why does this thing only seem to happen in America?
    Why must we always retard our technology giving away
    every inch of hardwon technical research through stupid
    policies like this....

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Eric, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:51am

    Er... not Comcast

    IIRC, Comcast actually 'outsources' its news service to Giganews(?) so I am not sure suing them makes much difference.

    Eric

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Known Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:52am

    Cuomo's Crusade

    Introduce Andrew Cuomo to someone like Kristen.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Re: Only in America

    This doesn't only happen in America. It is just that lately American leaders seem to love to embrace them, despite them being contradictory to the spirit of the nation.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:00am

    Stupid

    This is so stupid, by blocking these sites they only inhibit the the trafficking of child porn, and only for a short time until another medium is worked out. IF they actually want to stop child porn leave the site up and start tracing IPs of who is uploading and downloading the content and arrest them, or would that be too much like actual work and an actual effort to do something worthwhile?

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Thom, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:00am

    Pepper cable with anti-cuomo ads

    Let Cuomo push too far and watch Comcast fill up with anti-Cuomo ads touting his inadequacies, his failures, and his flawed reasoning... oh and notice of a coming 10% cost increase to implement the filtering that prevents nothing. Cuomo will quickly be begging Comcast not to implement any filtering, or he'll watch his political career go down the tubes.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Liquid, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:13am

    It should be the job of the ISP in the first place to tell you where you can, and cannot go... The full responsibility should be solely directed towards the end users... If they look at child porn then they should be the ones to get into trouble... Not the ISP's because they failed to block that content from the end user...

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    liquid, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    @Self

    That first line should read"

    It Shouldn't be the job of the ISP's.

    just wanted to clarify that.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Greg, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:20am

    Re: Only in America

    Because power hungry liberals like Cuomo (kinda like his old man, Mario, and fellow libs Bill & Hilary) want the government to run it, and they'll take it over any way they can.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:36am

    Re: Liability

    I think you're correct here

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Shohat, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:46am

    Ahem

    IANAL, but I have a few...
    And any contract signed under a threat, is void. You can't threat people into signing things.
    Moreover, it's illegal to use litigation as a threat, and then not go through with it. So if he DOESN'T sue in 5 days, they can actually open quite a can upon this douche...

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Skwigger, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:57am

    Comcast Cast As the Victim?

    Comcast is undoubtedly disliked by this community, and similar communities, for many of it's actions. Cuomo has done the impossible and actually driven us to defend Comcast here. Cuomo should take that into consideration and realize he is wrong.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 7:59am

    the big problem is that there is already a haven for that kind of stuff. it is called Freenet, you can use wikipedia or other tools to look it up. it, put simply, is the internet shared like bit torrent. every viewer also stores a part of a copy of freenet on their system, all information is encrypted in a way that is extremely difficult to determine not only what it is, but where it came from.

    and because of the way it works, it is practically impossible to kill it. it can use HTTP, so the encrypted traffic looks like a secure website visit and since the nodes are decentralized you can only kill them off one-by-one.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:01am

    want to stop child porn?

    Kill The internet
    close all city parks
    abolish the catholic religion
    abolish the scouts
    establish the death penalty for child molesters and rapists

    ... Or SHUT THE F@&$ UP!

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Manipulation Through Insult

    A few years ago you could ruin a career or denounce a person by accusing them of not being patriotic and that censure was applied liberally to silence or discredit critics. For example, this technique was used on the Dixie Chicks because they didn't agree with the actions of their President and it took their employment from them for daring to speak out.

    Now that the patriotism tactic has lost its effect, a new method has showed up. Today we can vilify by accusing the target of supporting child porn just because they see our freedoms being eroded.

    Censorship didn't make the actions of the government any more worthy by suppressing the opposing views, and censorship likewise won't make the InterWeb any safer by suppressing overt child porn and forcing the purveyors to encrypt it.

    Accusing Comcast of supporting child porn, however, is much more blatantly ridiculous than accusing the Dixie Chicks of failing to be sufficiently patriotic, so we can hope their customers will see through this bogosity and thereby, Cuomo will have shot his career in the foot with it.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:08am

    anyone else thing this Cuomo guy has a mutant strain of Gay Republican Syndrome

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:18am

    Re: Comcast Cast As the Victim?

    If only Cuomo actually read forums like this. I have the feeling that, like most who attack the Internet or new technology, he has no idea how it works.

    I think Danny above's right, unfortunately - he doesn't care about the issue, it's just a hot button to press to appear to be doing something. He can ignore criticism and paint opponents as being "for" child porn, while having a nice soundbite or two to put on his political resume. In his world, who cares if anything he's doing makes things any better or worse as long as he looks good?

    Sadly, that's the level of American politics.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:24am

    Re:

    None of the above will work.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:34am

    That's a rather sickening abuse of power -- and the end result will only be to make it more difficult to stop child pornography, while opening the door to widespread content blocking by ISPs.

    That's because politics is all about power and not about stopping illegal activity or protecting anyone.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:51am

    It's obvious that Cuomo has no idea what he is talking about and does not understand technology. How is this going to thwart childhood pornography. Cuomo has obviously never heard of a proxy.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 8:59am

    Show my support

    Any one know an E-Mail address or phone number (no snail mail, it takes to long) that I can call to let Comcast know that they don't want the liability of blocking content and they do have supporters out there (on this issue).

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    bobbknght, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 9:09am

    A liberal With Delusions of Grandeur

    Mario' little boy Andrew is very similar to the big what hit FLA back in Aug. of 1992. A big bad a wind that only leaves ruin in it's wake.
    The trouble is that ol' Andy boy wants to be President some day and he thinks this will help him. You see he has an inferiority complex when it comes to daddy.
    Plus he's a leftest liberal that wants to tell you and me what we can do, say and see. He wants control.
    I say go on and watch my new hair cut and rick roll on youtube and don't do a damn thing to complain to your elected idiots.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    EVIL_BASTARD, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Re: Only in America (keep studying insipid poster!)

    and Australia, the UK, China, etc.

    (shakes head at the lame only in America comment).

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    John Chase, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 9:57am

    Andrew Cumo

    Like Spitzer before him. He is running for higher office. It is pure political grandstanding.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    i_hate_ny, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Is this only about child porn

    or does the **AA have a hand in this also? RoadRunner didn't want to deal with the headache and just went and stopped their Usenet services.

    Which makes me wonder if the **AA isn't involved in this somehow. Coumo's yelling child porn is like bush yelling terror, it is just a keyword they know will get people behind them for their own cause.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Thomas, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 9:59am

    What if it fails?

    So suppose Comcast agrees and does what the government want and then someone surfing achieves the now almost totally impossible (ha!) and manages to reach a porn site - can they sue Comcast for not blocking it? Can they arrest the president of Comcast.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    SpecialCase, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 10:15am

    Comcast Corporate HQ

    Call Comcast's executive headquarters in Philadelphia at +1 215-665-1700 and voice your concerns there.

    Not to use a slippery slope, but if we give in on kiddie pr0n today we will have little ground to stand on when the politicians want us to block the New York Times for an "objectionable" piece that paints said politician in an unfavorable light.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    SpecialCase, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 10:18am

    Re: Comcast Corporate HQ

    Here is a little more info to contact the company CEO, if you are interested.

    Brian Roberts, CEO
    Comcast Corporate Office
    1500 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    +1 215-981-8497

    brian_roberts@comcast.com

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    JS Beckerist (profile), Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 10:18am

    Re: Who does this remind you of?

    ...AND ex gov Mario Cuomo... I f---ing hate this state...

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    Like most ACs you are a fuckwad

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Abdul, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re:

    The only thing that will work is to zone the internet as reccomended by this article: Zoning the Internet to Protect Children(http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=621&doc_id=151294&F_src=flft wo)

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    SpecialCase, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    1: And how exactly does this "walled garden" approach keep kids safe? We already tried (and failed) to get all adult material moved to the .xxx TLD. As I understand the article, this approach just moves the parental controls to the server (ISP) side instead of the current client-side filtering software approach through creating port filtering.

    2: Who decides what material is "appropriate" for children? Is there some "content advisory board" like ESRB or MPAA that will rate sites accordingly? Serious First Amendment issues exist here.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    clint, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 2:40pm

    really really stop it at the source

    obviously, to protect each and every child...
    we must outlaw children.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    S S, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    verizon

    Verizon sure is making it hard to file any complaints with them that I'm being held to New York's censorship and laws while neither the company nor (more importantly) myself are residents of NY.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    John, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 4:19pm

    Push back

    Seriously, when politicians push companies, the companies should push back. If Cuomo is threatening Comcast, Comcast should threaten to stop doing business in the entire state of New York.
    Guess what happens to all the Comcast customers who get their cable service from a monopoly? Yep, they're all ****-ed.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Jul 22nd, 2008 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re: Only in America

    Cuomo is no more a Liberal than W is a conservative.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    w00zzy, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Government Abuses

    You are weak minded. As I haven't agreed with everything Bush has done, at least he's trying to protect your right to make stupid comments like that. Why don't you post proof of the claims you make. Oh yea, there isn't any. You are a mental midget.

    As to Cuomo, he is an elitest like most people in his position. Like was said above, look at Spitzer's ordeal.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    FapFap, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 8:39am

    I think comcast should block every website that even mentions
    Andrew Cuomo.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Pete in New York, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    I agree. Andrew Cuomo is a worthless piece of crap that gives his dad a bad name. He should get the hell out of politics now!

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Jan in Manhattan, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 8:43am

    Re:

    impeach Andrew Cuomo now!

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Mario, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Son, you are an embarrassment to me.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    دردشه, Jul 5th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    tankyo

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

    Big Government never learns that without small businesses making jobs for people, the country cannot survive as a democracy...A family opens up a small business and can't afford to keep paying legal bills to fight "city hall."
    So what has to happen? The business fails or goes bankcrupt
    all the employees go on welfare, and the State is billed now
    for their weekly pay in order to live! It's supposed to
    be a "free enterprise system." ?????

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    decuomo, Feb 23rd, 2011 @ 11:29am

    hughie, she is messing up my drug and prostitution rings , say andrew and she want give me a new president

     

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


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