Law enforcement officials and Internet Service Providers have reached agreements to ensure that they no longer will host child pornography websites-and will act to block access to such sites that may be operating elsewhere on the web.

On July 10, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that AT&T, the nation's largest ISP, and AOL, the second-largest, have agreed to eliminate access to child porn newsgroups. Child porn newsgroups are a major source of illegal child porn images, he said. An investigation by the Attorney General's office identified 88 newsgroups that displayed more than 11,000 sexually lewd images of children.

AT&T and AOL also agreed to purge their servers of child porn websites. The New York AG's office reached similar agreements in June with Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable. Cuomo's office still is negotiating with Comcast, and reportedly has warned the holdout that it will bring an enforcement action against the cable provider if the two sides fail to come to terms.

"Today's agreements with AT&T and AOL send a message to Internet Service Providers across the nation that they can no longer drag their feet when it comes to protecting our children and instead must quickly purge child porn from their servers," Cuomo stated.

New Jersey has followed suit; that state's Attorney General, Ann Milgram, has written a letter to 66 ISPs and web hosters, asking them to block access to child porn websites.

The industry also has taken action on its own. In mid-July, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) reached an agreement with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), under which NCTA members will use an NCMEC database of websites identified as containing child pornography to ensure that servers owned or controlled by NCTA companies do not host child porn websites.

The actions by the New York and New Jersey AGs were designed to push ISPs to go further to banish child porn from the Internet. "Now it's time to take the next step to deny access to child pornography websites that they do not host," explained Milgram.

Read the New York Attorney General's statement regarding the agreement reached with AT&T and AOL at oag.state.ny.us.

View the New York Attorney General's statement regarding an earlier agreement reached with Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable at oag.state.ny.us.

Read a statement on the issue by the New Jersey Attorney General at nj.gov.

Read media coverage regarding the issue at app.com.