In another story of consumers getting screwed, which seems to be a theme on this blog, Verizon has decided to block access to the entire alt.* USENET directory because they are too lazy to enforce their own service agreements. Reading that link will get you up to speed with all the details, but the short version is that Verizon has decided to block the entire alt.* USENET directory after the Attorney General in New York threatened charges for not enforcing their own policies to take down child porn. Instead of blocking the 88 out of over 100,000 offending groups, they decided to just block access to all of them despite whether their contents are legitimate or not.
While I support the efforts to eliminate child pornography, which will never happen by the way, I am surprised at Verizon’s actions to shut down thousands of legitimate USENET discussion groups. This is essentially the kind of overreaction that the recording industry has been lobbying for to get ISPs to shut down Peer-2-Peer networks to squash it’s piracy problems. With such an overboard reaction that Verizon has taken, what will they do when somebody points out to them that child porn circulates on bittorrent and every other P2P service on the internet? Will they kill all P2P access?
Customers need to stand up to Verizon and fight for the legitimate purposes of services such as USENET. This is just another part of the Net Neutrality issue. Verizon needs to learn from the mistakes of others and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Taking extreme measures to handle a small problem is never a productive solution.
Despite having considered using it in the past, I have never used USENET before, but I will be reconsidering my desire to switch from Comcast to Verizon Fios now that I know they lack the common sense of a good ISP.
It is time that consumers stand up for their beliefs in how the internet should be used and fight back against such reckless actions taken by ISPs such as Verizon.