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Posted by Declan McCullagh
Time Warner Cable said it will cease to offer customers access to any Usenet newsgroups, a decision that will affect customers nationwide. Sprint said it would no longer offer any of the tens of thousands of alt.* Usenet newsgroups. Verizon's plan is to eliminate some "fairly broad newsgroup areas."
Yet Usenet's sprawling alt.* hierarchy contains tens of thousands of discussion groups--one count says there are 18,408 of them--including alt.adoption, alt.atheism, alt.gothic, and alt.tv.simpsons. Ditching all of those means eliminating perfectly legitimate conversations.
"The Internet service providers should not be blocking whole sections of the Internet, all Usenet groups, because there may be some illegal material buried somewhere," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's technology and liberty program. "That's taking a sledgehammer to an ant."