Agreement Will Help Reduce the Proliferation of Child Pornography OnlineWashington, DC – Cable operators that bring Internet service to 87 percent of homes in the United States will take additional voluntary measures to limit the distribution of child pornography on the Internet under an agreement announced today among the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).
Under the unprecedented industry-wide agreement, all cable operators represented on NCTA’s Board of Directors have agreed to help reduce the proliferation of child pornography by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NCMEC. This commitment represents the largest number of broadband subscribers protected by the terms of the MOU as these operators offer broadband Internet service to more than 112 million homes.
"Building on our strong commitment to online safety, the cable industry wants to help combat child pornography and exploitation," said Kyle McSlarrow, President & CEO, NCTA. “By signing the NCMEC MOU, cable Internet service providers are reaffirming their strong commitment to online safety and Internet literacy for all American families."
"We are deeply grateful for this industry-wide attack on child pornography," said Ernie Allen, President & CEO, NCMEC. "It is not possible to arrest and prosecute every offender. We must be creative and build new public-private partnerships to address this insidious problem more effectively. Today's announcement represents a bold step forward."
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 wrote. “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.”
Specifically, the cable companies have agreed to use NCMEC's list of active websites identified as containing child pornography, to ensure that no such site is hosted on servers owned or controlled by those companies. The companies will also report these instances to NCMEC's CyberTipline and where appropriate revise their policies around other potential sources of child pornography, such as, for example, newsgroups.
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.
The cable operators that have agreed to execute the MOU 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.
NCTA’s agreement with NCMEC is the latest milestone in cable’s efforts to ensure online safety and promote Internet literacy for all families and Internet users. When NCTA launched its PointSmartClickSafe online safety initiative (www.PointSmartClickSafe.org) in June 2007, cable ISPs pledged in a code of conduct to support law enforcement in its efforts to ensure online safety for American families.
# # #NCTA is the principal trade association for the U.S. cable industry, representing cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks. The cable industry is the nation’s largest broadband provider of high-speed Internet access after investing more than $130 billion over ten years to build a two-way interactive network with fiber optic technology. Cable companies also provide state-of-the-art digital telephone service to millions of American consumers.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 2.2 million calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 126,000 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 594,000 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification program has analyzed 14,437,865 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions. NAAG’s mission is: "To facilitate interaction among Attorneys General as peers. To facilitate the enhanced performance of Attorneys General and their staffs." NAAG fosters an environment of "cooperative leadership," helping Attorneys General respond effectively - individually and collectively - to emerging state and federal issues
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