More ISPs are jumping on the bandwagon, banning Usenet access to all alt. Usenet newsgroups, in an effort to keep users from Usenet access to Usenet groups which are known to traffic in illegal content, such as Usenet binaries depicting children in illegal acts. So far the ISP-banned newsgroups list includes Verizon newsgroups, AOL newsgroups, and Sprint newsgroups (and some have said Comcast newsgroups, although we can’t confirm that) with more on the way. (If you are asking yourself “What is a newsgroup?” or “What is Usenet?”, Usenet newsgroups (sometimes mistakenly called “Usenet usegroups”) were the precursor to today’s web-based forums; many people now know them as “Google groups”, but they can also be accessed through any number of other servers and programs.)
The banning of the newsgroups came at the urging of, first, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and has since been repeated by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown.
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This move is unfortunate, as the same could easily be done by just banning any Usenet binaries newsgroup, rather than all Usenet groups in the alt.* hierarchy.
As a result, the banned newsgroups list includes alt. groups which have helped countless people to stop smoking, to deal with depression, and to lose weight.
This particularly saddens me, as I personally started the alt.support hierarchy, back in the late ’90s. We started with alt.support, alt.support.parent-teen, and alt.support.weight-loss, and with months dozens, and then hundreds, of other alt.support.* groups had blossomed.
I dare say that many of our readers have participated in and benefitted from one or more alt.support groups (and we’d love to hear from you if so!)
Please also let us know if your ISP has banned Usenet access to the alt. newsgroups and, if so, how it is affecting you.
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