Controlling Child Pornography on the Usenet:
It all started when a network was designed with the initial purpose of exchanging text messages between connected university computers. When the ability to exchange non-textual files became possible, this network began to flourish. Today it is known as the Usenet. The dark side of the immensely popular Usenet is the advantage that enables the users to boldly distribute illegal images. The problem: distributing these sorts of files can make contributions to child pornography easy and anonymous. So it is easily understandable that anonymity serves as the key for such criminals, which they feasibly use as a protective shell. The catch-22 is that the complete censorship of child pornography on Usenet cannot be implemented easily since it is somewhat impossible without banning Usenet completely. Why just strike out a war against Usenet when the percentage of child pornography is basically small. The cutting truth is, child pornography can never be simply rooted out and finished forever.
Amidst darkness, the scintillating hope is that lately many Usenet communities have been reported to be curbed after important measures observed at the Government level. Internet Service Providers have been forced to shut down Usenet access at many places in order to cut down the incessant demand of child porn. Cuomo crackdown is a well known open war happening against the erotic newsgroups of Usenet. “NY State attorney Andrew Cuomo has managed to get two more ISPs to join his ‘Crusade’ against Usenet child porn.” (Roettgers, 2008). America Online is among the ISPs who have agreed to do something about blocking child pornography and once it denies access to certain newsgroups, the Usenet is sure to become a less attractive magnet for cyber criminals. Another fact supporting the rampage against Usenet is that the Recording Industry Association of America sued Usenet for millions of dollars, criticizing it as the network for illicit file sharing. Still saying that cyber censorship alone can play a vital role in stemming down child pornography is not actually true, since a large number of new Usenet groups are created daily.
In comparison to all the opponents who suggest the ban of Usenet, some facts still suggest this mayhem to be a part of hyped criticism against this network. After all Usenet is not out and out about only child pornography. Sure enough, Usenet hugely became a favored passage for the ones exchanging illicit material after it was superseded by the popularity of World Wide Web. Still very few out of the thousands of newsgroups supports child pornography. The complete banning of a huge network because of some black sheep is just not fair. There are thousands of useful discussion groups on Usenet, banning of which would mean a big loss for everyone. Nothing significant can be done about the criminals posting illegal images. We have to do our part to strictly avoid promoting child pornography. In the long run, the development of self-morality is what is needed to discourage the ones trading in child pornography.
Censorship its self must to be initiated at the provider level. Millions of files are downloaded to the Usenet daily. Without over burdening the Usenet providers, what can be done to deter child pornography?
1. Only support newsgroups that are on the up and up. Many providers have lists of hundreds of thousands of newsgroups. What does it hurt to only have 95,000?
2. Employ filters that can scan the posts file name and message for keywords that pertain to child pornography.
3. Support anti child pornography groups and let your members and the world know you are part of these groups.
4. Pre view data before it is made available on your server.
For Usenet to survive in the future, uncensored Usenet will have to become a thing of the past.
Gregg Fikes runs a web based usenet browser designed for PC and mobile access opening in August 2010.