Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cuomo's Surprising Victory Against Child Porn

Today, the news broke that several major ISPs have reached an agreement with NT Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to block child porn sites from their networks.

The Attorney General didn't act directly against the ISPs, or try and break new legal ground in the State Legislature - instead, Cuomo and staffers dove into service level agreements provided by the ISPs to customers, and looked for clauses obligating the ISPs to act in instances where child porn was reported by customers.

And when the ISPs didn't act when consumers called in, in accordance with their SLAs ("service-level agreements"), the Attorney General took them to court, on behalf of the "wronged" consumers, and extracted a settlement.

In the settlement announced today, the ISPs, Sprint, Verizon and Time-Warner, agreed to pony up over a million bucks to help fund further efforts to stamp out child porn, which will fund a few salaries over at the excellent National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The ISPs are also obligated to "search and report". According to one news source:

The investigators identified a total of 88 newsgroups that were distributing child porn; the ISPs have agreed to block access to all of them. The AG's office has also created hashes for over 11,000 images they have identified, and the ISPs have pledged to scan the websites they host for items matching those hash signatures.

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