KidShield Survey Shows ALL Major Internet Service Providers Carry Child Pornography on Their Servers

KidShield's third survey of Internet Service Providers shows only one major Internet Service Provider, AOL, significantly attempts to block child pornography.

Sonora, California, November 26, 1997:'s third survey of Internet Service Providers' (ISPs) found newsgroups devoted to child pornography on the newsgroup servers for ALL major Internet Service Providers. This illegal pornography is categorized for easy reference (, for example) and is easy to find. Furthermore, most ISPs do not make even a token effort to block this material.

On a positive note, since our last survey Prodigy has adopted a new policy prohibiting child pornography newsgroups. This policy has not been implemented in a meaningful fashion, as can be seen in the section at the end of this report detailing individual ISP policies, but it is a step in the right direction.

There is a solution to this scourge -- deputize an organization to provide a clean newsgroup feed for all ISPs. This would reduce costs, be more efficient and improve quality. KidShield proposes using the Internet Online Summit: Focus on Children to create this new service. Before the Internet industry can even pretend to make headway against the myriad problems plaguing children on the Internet, they MUST clean up their act in this abhorrent arena.

Why Look Exclusively at Newsgroups

KidShield surveyed newsgroups because ISPs store this material on their own computers rather than the Web where material can be stored anywhere. Unlike many aspects of the Internet, finding and removing illegal newsgroups is simple. Furthermore, ISPs carrying child pornography newsgroups on their computers clearly break the law.

The Solution

It is inefficient at best to have each ISP clean up its news server -- at worst it never gets done. A simple solution is to have one organization provide a clean, legal news feed for all ISPs. Illegal newsgroups would be blocked, questionable ones noted and individual postings could be monitored in the same fashion employed by Internet Watch in the United Kingdom where individuals can report illegal postings and have them removed. This operation would be simple to setup and maintain.

On an individual level, everyone can help ISPs follow the law by only purchasing Internet access from ISPs that do not carry illegal newsgroups. If ISPs saw that they were losing money by carrying these newsgroups, rather than losing money by blocking them, they would have fiscal, as well as moral, incentive to act appropriately.

Individual ISP Findings (as of November, 1997)

The following ISP rankings are shown from worse (no attempt to block child pornography,) to best (somewhat successful at blocking child pornography). ISP policies regarding bestiality, also illegal, are included as well. Note that CompuServe and MCI were excluded from this survey because both have been recently acquired and may go through rapid policy changes.

No Attempt Made to Follow Law

AT&T's news server,, carries child pornography with no apparent attempt to cull out illegal newsgroups.

For example, it carries:

MSN's news server,, carries all newsgroups with no apparent effort to cull out illegal groups.

For example, it carries:

Netcom carries all newsgroups with no apparent effort to cull out illegal groups.

For example, it carries:

Verbal Attempt to Follow Law

Prodigy has changed its policy since our last review in June. Their official policy is to no longer carry child pornography. The reality, unfortunately, is quite different. Their news server haphazardly carries some illegal newsgroups while dropping others.

For example, it carries:

Somewhat Effective Attempt to Follow Law

AOL continues to maintain the strongest policy regarding illegal newsgroups. They do not carry the vast majority of illegal groups, although they still do carry several. Our research shows that they do not carry any newsgroups devoted to bestiality, but do carry several devoted to child pornography. This does not include random pornographic postings to other groups, such as

For example, it carries:

For More Information Contact:

Zachary Britton
Tel: (209) 536-6444
FAX: (209) 533-5460