• United States

Slippery Slope

Jun 07, 20041 min
Data Center

Child pornography is illegal to make, obviously, becuase of the damage to children. Unlike most pornography, however, just owning images of child pornography is illegal. Other pornography may be illegal in some areas to sell, but not to possess (at least in most Western democracies).

Phone companies established laws exempting common carriers from prosecution for enabling criminal acts. After all, if one criminal calls another and says, “let’s rob a bank today” can we blame the phone company? No, since they’re a common carrier.

ISPs have benefitted from this law, but the war on terror and anguish about child pornography is eating away their common carrier protections. This story here talks about British Telecom’s efforts to find a way to block access to child pornography.

Their plan won’t work, because it doesn’t address peer to peer networks and FTP servers and the like. However, their attempt may mean mounting legal troubles for big ISPs such AOL, Earthlink, Comcast, SBC, and all the rest of the industry if this trend continues.