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7/22/2008
02:54 PM
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N.Y. Leans On Comcast To Fight Child Porn

The state agreement includes a mandate that ISPs contribute funds to prevent the distribution of child pornography online.

Comcast has signed a national agreement promising to limit the distribution of child pornography, but that's not enough for New York state.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he'll give the company five days to sign an agreement with the state before he pursues legal action, according to a report from Reuters.

Last month, several Internet service providers signed an agreement with New York to block newsgroups and Web sites where child pornography is distributed. Users complained that several companies blocked all newsgroups instead of narrowly targeting those that distribute child pornography.

Comcast, along with 16 other companies, signed a memorandum of agreement Monday with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Association of Attorneys General. It said the ISPs would prevent their servers from hosting sites on an NCMEC list of those containing child pornography. They agreed to report instances of child pornography as required by federal law and to update policies to keep up with emerging sources of child pornography.

The agreement takes effect within 30 days. Other companies that signed are BendBroadband, Bresnan Communications, Bright House Networks, Broadstripe, Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Eagle Communications, GCI, Harron Communications, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications, Sjoberg's, Suddenlink Communications, and U.S. Cable. Time Warner Cable previously signed the memorandum of understanding.

In a response to Cuomo's threat, Comcast pointed out that it has signed a national agreement. The state agreement contains more requirements, including a mandate that ISPs contribute funds to prevent the distribution of child pornography online.

As of December, the NCMEC's Child Victim Identification Program had information on more than 1,233 child victims from around the world seen in sexually abusive images. The bureau also has helped seize child pornography collections from more than 11,650 investigations across the country.

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The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

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