Child-porn blockers' real purpose: getting politicans reelected

Joining Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint in press-releasing their concerns about child porn online, AOL and and AT&T announced today that they, too, will block their Internet service customers' access to Usenet newsgroups and websites suspected of hosting such illegal content. New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo engineered this arrangement, and California attorney general Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured here saving the children) are hot for a similar deal in-state.

Any California customer of the five ISPs already signed on in New York is included in the restrictions. For customers, the initiative's inability to target porn-serving newsgroups means the loss of access to many innocent newsgroups. But there are countless workarounds for Usenet users, a demographic dominated by technical types, to get access. For Cuomo et al., the initiative sounds so good on paper that they don't have to even bother making it work.