Politicians love child porn. It is the ultimate grandstanding issue. It is an issue with effectively no opposing side, after all, if you come out “against” child porn you’ve implicitly cast any opposition into the role of pedophiles and child molesters. There’s no downside.
Enter New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. He loves the children. And he’s discovered that there’s this thing called the internet and, on it is, GASP, child porn. So, like any good crimefighter, he launches a campaign to “encourage” broadband providers to “volunteer” to take actions “surgically directed” only at child pornography and “not at any protected content.” Of course, this works really well, causing Time-Warner to pull 10,000 Usenet newsgroups to curb the corrupting influence of the 88 groups that the AG’s office found to contain evidence of child porn.
Even better than using this as political red meat to make him look “tough” when he’s “protecting the children,” Mr. Cuomo has indulged in a grand New York tradition, the protection racket. Apparently the threat of painting a corporation as facilitating the distribution of child porn is a great way to generate an income stream (from C-net):
But over time, it may encourage more attorneys general to play Net censor, especially if they come to view broadband providers as compliant, off-the-books sources of revenue. This seems to be Cuomo’s opinion; his press release said Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint will pay “$1.125 million to fund additional efforts by the attorney general’s office and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to remove child pornography from the Internet.” [my emphasis]
So Mr. Cuomo earns a trifecta; pandering to pedophile alarmists, bulldozing the free speech rights of law abiding citizens by nuking an entire internet protocol that was about 0.009% child porn, and lastly using his sleazy posturing to blackmail litigation-shy corporations to fund his own department.