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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: Anti-porn group's take on ISP Usenet prosecution in

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Sat, 17 Feb 2001 14:56:11 -0500
To:             	politech@politechbot.com
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: Anti-porn group's take on ISP Usenet prosecution in New York
Copies to:      	NLC@NationalLawCenter.org
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com

Bruce Taylor is a former federal prosecutor and president of the
National Law Center for Children and Families. He helped to draft the
Communications Decency Act and has spent most of his life trying to
put people in jail who publish "obscenity" or child pornography.

His note is below; more on the case is here:



From: "nlc.org"
Subject: FW: New York Child Porn Prosecution recent case
decision-Reply Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 18:23:31 -0500 Message-ID:
1.0 Content-Type: multipart/mixed;
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal

Here is the press release from the New York Attorney General's office
about the guilty plea taken from an ISP that was subscribing to and
giving access to a notorious child porn newsgroup on the Usenet.  This
criminal indictment by the State of New York was for child porn on one
of the alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.preteen groups.  This is one of
many well-known and often complained-of sites where pedophiles and the
public have been posting and retrieving child porn pictures for
several years. Many ISPs still carry this one and several others of
these and almost all ISPs carried them for some time (since most ISPs
subscribe to all the available newsgroups, including the entire alt.
hierarchy) and the Usenet continues to host and distribute hundreds of
hard-core porn and child sex newsgroups.  This case shows that not all
of cyberspace is above all the laws, despite what some advocates,
reporters, and even judges may think. Interesting, isn't it?

Bruce A. Taylor, President & Chief Counsel
National Law Center for Children and Families (NLC)
3819 Plaza Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030-2512
(703) 691-4626, Fax: -4669

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul McCarthy
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2001 11:01 AM
To: NLC@NationalLawCenter.org
Subject: FW: New York Child Porn Prosecution recent case

the press release

News from         	Department of Law          Department of Law
[PARA]120 Broadway                  The State Capitol           
[PARA]New York, NY 10271      Albany, NY 12224

Attorney General

Eliot Spitzer
Contact: Paul Larrabee				For release:
    518- 473-5525				February 16, 2001

Internet Service Provider Forced to Acknowledge Obligation to
Terminate Illegal Activities

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has secured a guilty plea in a
groundbreaking case against an internet service provider (ISP) that
knowingly provided its subscribers with access to illegal child
pornography.  The plea is the latest result of a two-year
investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General and the
New York State Police.

"This case establishes a common sense standard for the Internet,"
Spitzer said. "When an ISP becomes aware of illegal child pornography
available in its system, the ISP cannot put its head in the sand."

"Clearly the failure of the Internet Service Provider to identify and
terminate the access to child pornographic sites is gravely
unfortunate. Because the Internet knows no geographic boundaries, it
is incumbent upon the ISPs, legally and morally, to be ever vigilant
in protecting the public from this criminal activity," said State
Police Superintendent James W. McMahon.  "The State Police is
committed to coordinating our investigations with Attorney General
Spitzer and other law enforcement agencies across the nation to end
the contemptible conduct of such criminal acts."

Buffnet, a large regional ISP based in West Seneca, New York outside
of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to the crime of Criminal Facilitation in
the Fourth Degree, a Class A misdemeanor.  The company admitted that
it failed to take action when it was notified by a customer as well as
by law enforcement that one of the newsgroups it carried was being
used to distribute graphic child pornography.

Beginning in 1998, the Attorney General's Office and the State Police
began an investigation of a group that called itself "Pedo
University," whose members used the newsgroup to possess and exchange
child pornography.  After a series of successful prosecutions that
helped to dismantle "Pedo U," the investigation turned its focus from
the users of the newsgroup to the ISPs that provided access to the
newsgroup.  One of these was Buffnet.  When Buffnet was made aware of
the content of the newsgroup, it took no action.

"When BuffNet, or any ISP, is informed of this kind of heinous
criminal activity, it has a duty to act.  Here, Buffnet chose to look
the other way," Spitzer said. "This response is not defensible by any
standard of law or conscience."

Until now,  prosecutions in this area focused primarily on individuals
who subscribed to an ISP like BuffNET, and who logged on to a
newsgroup and downloaded and traded in child pornography.  The
Attorney General's investigation widened its focus to include the ISP
that knowingly provided the means and the opportunity for this
criminal conduct to occur.

Spitzer said that this plea in no way touches on the rights of
artistic and first amendment expression, whether communicated over the
internet or by any other means.  Spitzer emphasized, "this case
involved graphic images of young children engaged in sexual conduct
with adults.  These images went far beyond the pale of protected

BuffNet pled guilty in State Supreme Court before the Honorable
Vincent E. Doyle.  Sentencing was adjourned to February 22, 2001.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Paul McCarthy of
the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Bureau assisted by
Investigators James Domres and Michael McCartney, Internet specialists
of the Attorney General's  Investigations Bureau, and by New York
State Police Investigator Joseph Thornton of the Buffalo Special
Investigations Unit.


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