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NCTA Members Take Stand Against Child Porn

7/17/2008 8:45 AM Eastern

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association Thursday announced that 18 of the nation’s largest cable and broadband Internet service providers have agreed to block access to any Web sites known to host or distribute illegal child pornography files.

By signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), these cable operators serving 87%, or more than 112 million homes, of Internet service subscribers will work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

In addition, the member companies will also report any instances of child pornography they unearth to the NCMEC CyberTipline and, where appropriate, revise their policies around other potential sources of child pornography such as newsgroups and other online bulletin boards.

“Building on our strong commitment to online safety, the cable industry wants to help combat child pornography and exploitation,” Kyle McSlarrow (pictured), president and CEO of the NCTA, said in a statement. “By signing the NCMEC [memorandum of understanding], cable Internet service providers are reaffirming their strong commitment to online safety and Internet literacy for all American families.”

The cable operators that have agreed to execute the memorandum of understanding within 30 days include: Comcast Corporation; Cox Communications; Charter Communications; Cablevision Systems Corporation; Bright House Networks; Suddenlink Communications; Mediacom Communications; Insight Communications; Bresnan Communications; Midcontinent Communications; Broadstripe; GCI; Harron Communications; US Cable Corporation; BendBroadband; Eagle Communications; and Sjoberg's, Inc.  Time Warner Cable has already signed the MOU.

On behalf of NAAG and the 45 Attorneys General who have signed a letter in support of the NCTA-NCMEC MOU, Rhode Island Attorney General and NAAG President Patrick C. Lynch commended NCMEC and NCTA on the agreement.

“Although NCMEC has recently signed similar agreements with individual companies, this agreement is notable as the first such agreement NCMEC has reached with an entire sector of the nation's communications industry,” Lynch said in a statement. “The NCTA agreement with NCMEC will limit the ability of predators to store and exchange images of exploitation of those who are, by definition, among the more vulnerable in society.  We congratulate the cable industry for taking a strong stand in support of child safety.”

All 18 cable companies have agreed to use NCMEC's list of active Web sites identified as containing child pornography, to ensure that no such site is hosted on servers owned or controlled by those companies.

NCTA officials said the agreement with NCMEC will provide cable broadband service providers with “an invaluable source of information to help them enforce their terms of service, all of which forbid the hosting of such illegal materials on their servers.” The information provided by NCMEC to cable service providers will also help them identify instances of child pornography, facilitating their reporting of such material to NCMEC as required by federal law. This, in turn, enables NCMEC to refer these cases to law enforcement for investigation and prosecution.

In June 2007, NCTA launched its PointSmartClickSafe online safety initiative under which cable ISPs pledged in a code of conduct to support law enforcement in its efforts to ensure online safety for American families. 

 

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