AfterDawn: Tech news

New York Attorney General threatens Comcast for ignoring him

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 22 Jul 2008 15:29 User comments (6)

New York Attorney General threatens Comcast for ignoring him After bullying most of the major ISPs operating in New York into blocking a list of websites and newsgroups alleged to provide access to child porn, and seeing the other involved in a similar agreement with the Attorneys General in 45 different states, you'd think New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would be satisified that his censorship work is done. Based on a letter sent from his office to that other ISP he's not only unhappy but willing to wage a public battle against them if they don't sign on to his plan.
The target of Cuomo's wrath is Comcast, the largest cable provider in the US. Through the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) they've already made a pledge to do basically the same thing he's demanding. Instead of being satisified with that he's decided to threaten Comcast with unspecified legal action instead.

According to a letter sent from Cuomo's office to Douglas Gaston, Comcast's General Counsel, "within five days the Office of the New York Attorney General intends to commence legal action against Comcast." The letter contains no mention of what law Comcast could possibly have broken in ignoring Cuomo's demands.

The letter also includes a thinly veiled threat that Cuomo would be perfectly willing to turn the whole thing into a PR battle, saying the company's refusal to sign the Attorney General's Code of Conduct "would likely be surprising to Comcast's millions of customers across the country."

It seems there's a good reason for not mentioning what law Comcast has allegedly broken. Put simply they haven't broken any law at all.

There's also a good explanation why the Attorney General wouldn't push for his Code of Conduct to be written into law. In 2002 a federal judge struck down a Pennsylvania law with similar requirements on the grounds it was unconstitutional.

In that case the judge noted "there is little evidence that the Act has reduced the production of child pornography or the child sexual abuse associated with its creation. On the other hand, there is an abundance of evidence that implementation of the Act has resulted in massive suppression of speech protected by the First Amendment."

Before he decides to actually take his fight to the public he might want to look at Comcast's recent history. They were willing to take on the FCC until it became clear they would probably lose the legal battle. It seems unlikely the Attorney General of one state who clearly doesn't have a legal leg to stand on is going to scare them.

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6 user comments

122.7.2008 15:55

Um..most of the hardcore cp on USenet has been busted up and dismantled, and not by anyone in NY. It was the FBI and Aussies that busted the major international ring that was using PGP by an informant. 22 out of 50 were caught. Highly doubtful they will ever use Usenet again to trade that smut. They'll probably go deeper underground.Now that they busted those guys, seems they are going after Limewire downloaders:

222.7.2008 20:42

Good for comcast sticking to their guns. I don't like bullies. And this New York Attorney General seems like one. If it was a law comcast was breaking,..different story, but it isn't.

I guess I spoke to fast. The following is reported on a different news site:

US ISP Comcast said it will agree to block child porn to subscribers in New York State after coming under pressure from state bureaucrats.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had threatened to take the Philadelphia-based company to court after rival ISPs agreed to go along with his porn purge.

Cuomo is backing a "code of conduct" that requires ISPs to block web sites and newsgroups thought to be fiddling about with child pornography.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast said it had "joined with nearly the entire cable industry and 48 State Attorneys General and the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to sign an unprecedented, and highly praised, industry-wide agreement to fight child pornography. Comcast has been working with the New York Attorney General and we expect to become a signatory to his agreement as well."

Comcast delivers Internet connections to a tiny proportion of New York State residents.

Of course, now that child porn sites are blocked in these American States, next up will be the Turrurists. Then the subversives. Then the INQ, no doubt.

Not that Comcast seems to have been holding out for this reason from what we can tell.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Jul 2008 @ 21:52

323.7.2008 4:14

This is just a work around. They can't get to certain sites, or block our traffic for fear of violating our privacy/rights.

I expect a lot of unfavourable (with mpaa, ect.) to have alot of suspect material being uploaded from anonomous users. All of the most popular site, etc. will be added to this block list.

Anyone remember the piratebay being framed for child pornography, despite not having any on there servers?

423.7.2008 5:21

We are slowly being transformed into a socialist society, if we are not there already. What happened to democracy? Its people like this acting autonomously, that are stripping away our rights and freedoms. They use the stupid masses own fears as leverage. Our government, and political process has become so corrupt, they don't even try to hide it anymore. Comcast will probably have to give this idiot a nice healthy backdoor envelope stuffed with cash and it will all go away. This is just another tool to strip away a little privacy from everyone, because of a minute percentage of sick people who like to view this stuff. It won't make a dent on it actually happening.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Jul 2008 @ 5:26

523.7.2008 13:53

I absolutely despise Comcast and their business practices and business mentality and would love to see them go down but NOT FOR THIS. This is a blatant violation of civil rights and displays bullying. This is how I see the future................just not yet.
Good for much as I hate them with a passion.

624.7.2008 14:45

The only thing needed for evil to win, is for good to do nothing.

We sit back and allow idiotic, powermongering spotlighters to take our rights in the name of fear.

Fear of child porn POSSIBLY happening...

Fear of terror POSSIBLY happening...

Fear of cancer POSSIBLY happening...

Once those rights are gone... they will never be regained. And once the "reasons" for removing those rights are accepted as valid, they will be abused to remove other rights.

The government needs to be scrapped and we need to start over again.

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