The country's largest Internet service providers have made a deal with New York state officials to block access to child pornography created and disseminated through their services.
The deal, announced Tuesday by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, also has the companies paying $1.125 million to help fund efforts to remove child porn from the Internet. Among the companies involved are Verizon, Time Warner and Sprint.
According to data from the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, more than 90 percent of child pornography on the Internet is produced and disseminated by organized crime groups in Russia.
The local agreements follow an undercover investigation of child-porn newsgroups and will affect customers nationwide.
In a prepared statement, Cuomo said his investigation of other service providers is continuing. He has used similar probes and the possibility of civil or criminal charges to extract concessions on Internet safety in the past.
"We are doing our part to deter the accessibility of such harmful content through the Internet, and we are providing monetary resources that will go toward the identification and removal of online child pornography," Matthew Sullivan, Sprint's senior public affairs manager, told the Associated Press. "We embrace this opportunity to build upon our own long-standing commitment to online child safety."
Verizon and Time Warner Cable are two of the five largest Internet service providers in the world. Verizon has 8.2 million subscribers, and Time Warner Cable's Road Runner service has 7.9 million subcribers. Sprint is one of the three largest wireless companies in the United States.
French officials came to a similar agreement with ISPs on Tuesday, but that deal also included blocking content linked to terrorism and racial hatred.