Nostalgic Rumblings
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7/2/2008


Verizon: How to cut services and pretend to be doing something good

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 4:56 pm

A while back, a bunch of ISPs (Verizon, RoadRunner, Sprint, others) made a big deal out of an agreement they came to with the Attorney General of New York to “limit access to child pornography.” Now understand, I assumed that child pornography was illegal, and the ISPs should report any sites to the appropriate authorities for prosecution, but apparently that isn’t self-serving enough for the ISPs. After a little research today, I discovered exactly what that really means - “we’re going to cut services, screw our customers, make more bottom-line profit, and not affect access to anything at all.

Let me explain; what Verizon and the other ISPs have done is dropped access on its news servers to the entire alt.* hierarchy, or in some cases eliminating USENET access completely. This way, they don’t have to pay for the bandwidth for folks downloading binaries, and can take away yet another service they can’t monetize (most people who don’t know how to set up broadband access simply load the software they so kindly provide, forcing the user to use their website as a portal without realizing they don’t have to put up with that nonsense).

But it gets better; Verizon specifically says, “This change will not affect our customers’ ability to use the Internet or other commercial newsgroup services. Verizon has been a strong proponent of free access for all users to the Internet, and we remain so today.” The English translation here is, “If there’s kiddy porn on USENET, you’re welcomed to pay someone else to download it, we won’t stop you - we just don’t want to provide a service we can’t make any additional money on.”

So for me, access to the newsgroups I keep half an eye on, the Old Radio groups like alt.binaries.sounds.radio.oldtime.highspeed and the like, is completely blocked unless I pay for an extra account from someone like Ngroups, just because apparently 80 or so USENET groups had material objectionable enough to the NY Attorney General that he could allow the ISPs to get what they wanted while buffaloing everyone into believing he’s actually doing something. Lemme guess…he’s up for re-election this year?

Yes, of course, if this were really about child porn, the ISPs would help law enforcement track down the scum that upload/download from those 80-some groups, and leave their paws off the OTR newsgroups. But again, they couldn’t care less about pornography…they care about eliminating a service they can’t monetize.

And yet again, the customer loses out, and the corporations send out self-serving press releases. I really hate corporate America. And I need to spend yet another $10-30 every month just to have the service I’ve used since before the Internet was available to the masses, a service we believed back in those days was an indispensable and indivisible part of the Internet. (*sigh*)

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