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Less Internet, for the Sake of Children?

Visalia Direct: Virtual Valley
November 2008 Issue
October 8, 2008

Less Internet, for the Sake of Children?

You can always tell it is an election year when politicians get tough on crime and take action in the name of children. For the sake of “protecting our children” the Internet is getting slightly less useful. A seemingly minor change could have major repercussions.

Long before the World Wide Web, there were newsgroup servers. The most famous network of these text-based message forums was the USENET. To this day many hardcore computer programmers, hackers, and other “uber geeks” prefer the forums known as the Usenet newsgroups to exchange ideas and debate technical concepts.

In a July 21, 2008, letter to Internet Service Providers, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accuses the ISPs of trafficking in child pornography by carrying the Usenet newsgroups. The two-page letter reflects a complete misunderstanding of the Usenet and of Internet technologies in general. Unfortunatel…