Comcast to Sign Child-Porn-Blocking Agreement with N.Y.

Cable operator tells N.Y. state attorney general it will voluntarily block child-pornography sites and newsgroups
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Comcast told New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo it will sign an agreement with the state to voluntarily block child-pornography newsgroups and Web sites.

That came after Cuomo sent a letter threatening Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, with legal action related to an ongoing investigation of child porn on the Internet.

“We appreciate the hard work by Attorney General Cuomo -- and his Attorney General colleagues -- on the pressing issue of child pornography on the Internet," Comcast said in a statement. “Comcast has been working with the New York Attorney General and we expect to become a signatory to his agreement, as well.”

Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon Communications and other Internet-service providers already signed similar agreements with the state. Comcast reportedly wanted structural changes in the agreement.

As a member of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Comcast already signed on to a similar agreement with 48 of 50 attorneys general (New York was not one of them, according to a source) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to block Web sites identified by the group.

But Cuomo downplayed the value of that agreement, saying in the letter that "while cable-industry trade groups have recently signaled some interest in combating child pornography, we believe those efforts fall well short of the full range of measures set out in our code of conduct," which Comcast will sign on to.

Although Comcast is the nation's largest cable operator, it has fewer than one-half of one percent of online subscribers in New York, according to the company.

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