Pro-family groups were encouraged this week with the news that AT&T and AOL would join a growing number of Internet service providers that are working to curb the proliferation of child pornography on the Internet.
The two companies, along with Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable which made similar announcements last month, said that they would help eliminate access to Internet newsgroups where pornography is posted and purge servers of child porn Web sites.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, child pornography on the Internet is a rampant problem, making the efforts and cooperation of Internet service providers all the more crucial.
"[S]ince 1997 the number of child pornography images available on the Internet [has] increased by 1500%," the group wrote in a report.
Pat Truman, special counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said that the recent move by AT&T and AOL was a major milestone, and would help to spur other providers to join the bandwagon in combating child pornography.
"They should have been blocking child pornography from the beginning," he said.
"It is their responsibility. And now that some have decided to block child pornography sites, the pressure's on the others because no one wants to be known as the ISP that supports child pornography," Truman added.
Rich Schatz, president of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, traced the recent development to the moral responsibility that institutions and people in society have.
"There's a responsibility for government and for law enforcement, a responsibility for parents, grandparents, and there is a responsibility for industry," he said.