In the modern Web world of discussion forums, blogs, and social networking sites, a lot of you young whippersnappers have never heard of, much less used, USENET newsgroups. USENET newsgroups cover almost any topic under the sun, from the mundane to the esoteric to the completely bizarre. And even though they've sort of been pushed into the background by more recent developments, they still have a lot of traffic and useful info.
Which is why the decision by Verizon to shut down access to USENET for its subscribers is pretty stupid. So why are they doing it? For the kids, of course:
Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe said only a select few newsgroups/discussion groups would be offered to customers going into the future. It appears the decision is in response to political 'strong-arming' from New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo who wants strong restrictions on all newsgroups.So, because 0.098% of the groups had some kiddy porn on them, Verizon will block access to all (or most - it's not completely clear) of them. Makes perfect sense. If they were going to restrict access, couldn't it just be, you know, to the ones that actually have illegal content in them?!? Makes perfect sense to me. Since there's kiddy porn on the Web in general, why not just shut down the whole damn thing?
Cuomo added that his office had found child porn on at least 88 newsgroups, although that percentage is tiny compared to the over 90,000 newsgroups that exist. 'We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers...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,' read a press statement from Cuomo's office.