Comcast Officially Boots Usenet Newgroups

Comcast has finally joined the list of ISPs who are denying access to Usenet newsgroups in a voluntary agreement to fight child porn online.

Comcast released a statement back in July saying officials planned to sign on after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened legal action.

Cuomo employed the same hard-nosed legal threats in order to obtain signatures from AOL, AT&T, Verizon and 13 other cable providers, supporting his campaign.

Comcast posted a notice on its website over the weekend informing users that its newsgroup services had been terminated.

The vast reaching, voluntary pact between the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Association of Attorneys General was created as part of an "industry-wide attack on child pornography."

Theoretically the agreement requests ISPs take measures to eliminate child porn websites and Usenet newsgroups containing child pornography from their servers. Unfortunately the ISPs seem to be removing a large amount of genuine content as well.

According to various news outlets, AT&T and Time Warner employed Cuomo's directive to eradicate vast areas of Usenet where New York hasn't found "sexually lewd photos featuring prepubescent children." Additionally, Verizon Communications deleted such unlawful discussion groups as us.military, ny.politics, alt.society.labor-unions, and alt.politics.democrats.

Nevertheless, Cuomo has said that the pact falls "well short of the full range of measures set out in our code of conduct."

Comcast was actually instrumental in organizing an industry-wide agreement with more than 40 state attorney generals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which Cuomo withheld his signature from. Despite the absence of signatures from Cuomo and a few other attorney generals, the agreement was approved by the National Association of Attorneys General.

The cable companies involved in the agreement encompasses more than 87 percent of U.S. homes.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also requested members of the California Internet Service Provider Association consider blocking newsgroups that contain child porn.