90 Miles From Tyranny : How A Law That Will Allegedly Help Stop Online Sex Trafficking May Undermine The Internet

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

How A Law That Will Allegedly Help Stop Online Sex Trafficking May Undermine The Internet

Craigslist, one of the world’s favorite virtual flea markets, announced Friday it is taking down its oft-appreciated personals page in direct response to a new law recently passed by both chambers of Congress.

With the prospective swipe of a pen from President Donald Trump — the imminence of which is not clear — websites could soon be held liable to any activity or content that is found on the platforms. Law enforcement could even make sites retroactively responsible for failing to comply with the law before its possible passage.

“Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline,” Craigslist wrote in a simple blog post. “Hopefully we can bring them back some day. To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”

The Senate passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) on Wednesday in a landslide 97-2 vote. The only two to vote against the bill were Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.

“History shows that politicians have been remarkably bad at solving technological problems,” Wyden wrote in February. “I take a backseat to no one when it comes to fighting sex trafficking and locking up the monsters who prey on the defenseless. However, the bill … will make it harder to catch bad actors and protect victims by driving this vile crime to shadowy corners of society that are harder for law enforcement to reach.”

The House passed the pending bill in late February in similar fashion, with 388 representatives for, and only 25 against.

“Online trafficking is flourishing because there are no serious, legal consequences for the websites that profit from the exploitation of our most vulnerable,” Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner of Missouri, who introduced the first version of the legislation, said before it was set to hit the floor for debate.

Not all federal institutions were originally enthusiastic about the legislation. The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in late February arguing that a provision, Section 2421A of title 18, in FOSTA is counterproductive “because it would extend to situations where there is a minimal federal interest, such as to instances in which an individual person uses a cell phone to manage local commercial sex transactions involving consenting adults.”

That language was altered to only include operators of an “interactive computer service” — in all likelihood to appease the larger law enforcement community.

Still overall supportive of the legislative effort, the DOJ also stated that while “well intentioned,” Section 4 includes “new language” that creates “additional elements that prosecutors must prove at trial,” therefore making it more difficult to hold perpetrators accountable. That language, which defines “participation in a venture,” is unnecessary, according to...

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Doom said...

To be honest, both sides have points. I have absolutely no doubt Craigslist has allowed what it suspected was prostitution ads. It didn't check legality by location, whether it was foreign (sex slaves), or underage. It took the money and that was that.

As for the state? They are increasing the risks for hookers... who are mostly working illegally, so. Really?

I'd rather hookers lose safety than sex slaves, and worse children, be bartered openly online. It isn't even a close call, not for me.

Kye said...

That whole thing is bull. They start bringing out the "sex slave" crap every time they want to shut down prostitution. There are so few real sex slave incidents in America you could count them on one hand and the ones that do occur are brought in by our government's lax borders. Hell, MS-13 brings in more drugs, prostitutes and guns than have ever been in the US. As far as child porn is concerned it does not appear on and normal wed site including CL. One has to go very deep into the dark web to find that crap and quite frankly the only people it seem that know where it is are the friggin' cops! This is all nothing but bull to expand the police power, the courts and make more money for the already cash rich legal profession. Don't fall for this crap.

Rick said...

“Any tool or service can be misused" I really doubt they believe this as their well known position firearms is the complete opposite. Can you say hypocrite I know you can