Comcast threatened with legal action over child pornography availability

[JURIST] New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo [official profile] wrote in a letter [text, PDF] Monday that his office would bring legal action within five days against Comcast Cable Communications [corporate website] unless the company agrees to block child pornography websites and strengthen its reporting requirements. Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint agreed to block access to the sites in June, promising to eliminate any such sites hosted on their servers under Cuomos's so-called "Code of Conduct." Earlier this month, AT&T and AOL signed similar agreements [press releases]. Last week, Comcast agreed to different terms [press release] to limit the spread of online child pornography, but Cuomo said that they were too weak and criticized Comcast for its refusal to sign his agreement:

Because the possession or distribution of child pornography is both a federal and state felony, it is not protected by the first amendment. I have crafted the Code of Conduct each of these companies has signed as narrowly as possible to ensure that the actions they volunteer to take are surgically directed at only that felonious material and not at any protected content. Despite both the groundswell of corporate concern and action to reduce the supply of child pornography and the narrowly tailored provisions of the Code of Conduct, Comcast has remained on the sidelines.
Comcast officials have said they will likely sign an agreement with Cuomo on the issue. The Wall Street Journal has more. The Philadelphia Inquirer has additional coverage.

Earlier this month Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] chairman Kevin Martin said that Comcast should be sanctioned [AP report] for unfairly and unilaterally limiting its customers' Internet access, particularly by blocking file-sharing traffic. Martin has also pressured Comcast to adopt a la carte cable programming [report, PDF] to give consumers more choices, and he has pushed for more general legal and business transparency from the cable company.

 

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