Time Warner Cable, Other ISPs Agree To Block Child Porn

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In an agreement with New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo, Time Warner Cable, Verizon Communications and Sprint have agreed to block access to child porn from Internet newsgroups and also will shut down child-porn Web servers hosted on their networks.

“The pervasiveness of child pornography on the Internet is horrific and it needs to be stopped,” Cuomo (pcitured) said, in a prepared statement Tuesday. “We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers to ensure they do not play host to this immoral business. I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry.”

Time Warner Cable senior vice president and chief ethics officer Jeff Zimmerman, in the joint announcement with the New York attorney general’s office, said: “Online child pornography represents one of the worst abuses of the Internet. We stand with Attorney General Cuomo and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in our commitment to helping curb the spread of this abusive content.”

Newsgroups are public bulletin boards where users can upload and download files. As part of the agreements, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint will for the first time completely block access to all child-porn newsgroups.

In addition to eliminating access to those newsgroups, the ISPs have also agreed to shut down child-pornography Web sites—as identified by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)—that are hosted on networks under their control. 

An investigation by Cuomo’s office found 88 newsgroups with a total of 11,390 sexually lewd photos featuring prepubescent children, and in some cases photos of children being raped and sexual activity involving animals. According to the attorney general, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Sprint had previously provided their subscribers with access to many of those newsgroups.

Also as part of the agreements with Cuomo, the three ISPs will implement a new system to rapidly respond to user complaints about child pornography. The three companies will collectively pay $1.125 million to fund additional efforts by the attorney general’s office and NCMEC to remove child pornography from the Internet.

Time Warner Cable has 7.9 million high-speed Internet subscribers, and Verizon has 8.2 million Internet customers.

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