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.