NY Pressures ISPs Into Blocking Child Porn Websites, News Groups
from the good-goal,-bad-approach dept
In fact, the state of Pennsylvania tried to do pretty much the same thing, back in 2002, but focused on actually passing a law (unlike Cuomo, who just bullied the companies into "agreeing.") And, of course, a federal court tossed out the law as unconstitutional. The goal is certainly noble. Getting rid of child porn would be great -- but having ISPs block access to an assigned list isn't going to do a damn thing towards that goal. The blocked sites will reappear elsewhere. Those who want access, even to the blocked sites, will simply find encrypted tunnels to hide their paths. Basically, this won't do much of anything, other than increase costs for ISPs.
Even worse, it runs a huge risk of starting ISPs down a very slippery slope of being willing to ban access to online content. No one's against that when it's child porn, but who's reviewing the list to make sure it's really child porn? How hard is it to slip a site that someone just doesn't like into the list? Furthermore, once these ISPs have shown that they're willing to block certain sites, then politicians will quickly look to increase that list beyond just child porn to other types of sites that they find objectionable. It sets a dangerous precedent.
Putting the responsibility on the ISPs is the wrong solution (and, honestly, the folks who are pro-net neutrality should be seriously worried about this -- as it's a clear violation of what they say net neutrality is all about). If the content itself is illegal, go after those actually responsible for the content. Not the service providers. Sure they make for easy targets and big headlines (backed up with that hefty cash "settlement" right to Cuomo's office), but they're not the ones responsible.