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Block on child porn is sought

June 21, 2008|Jim Puzzanghera | Times Staff Writer

On the heels of last week's announcement that Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable and Sprint would block access to child pornography traveling through their online networks, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown want the state's other Internet service providers to do the same.

They sent a letter Friday to the California Internet Service Providers Assn., which has 100 member companies, asking for its help in "cracking down on those who exploit children."

Verizon, Time Warner and Sprint committed to block websites and newsgroups that contain child pornography as part of an agreement with New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo. They vowed to extend the blocking nationwide, and AT&T said Friday that it too had started blocking newsgroups with child pornography.

The California Internet provider group is ready to help and has offered to meet with staff for the governor and attorney general to work out the details, said W. Mark Esser, the group's chairman. But he's concerned about replicating the deal that the three larger Internet service providers struck with Cuomo.

"The New York model is a brute-force model. It ends up punishing the non-guilty," said Esser, chief executive of Markon Computer Science in Lomita.

He suggested that the ISPs help the state develop a continually updated list of child pornography sites and just block those.

Camille Anderson, a spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger, says the governor has an open mind.

"We are more than willing to review different proposals," she said. "But anything that falls short of guaranteeing the protection of innocent children from exploitation will be unacceptable."

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