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Illinois Sheriff Sues Craigslist For Prostitution; Apparently Unaware Of The Law

from the lookup-section-230-please... dept

If you're the sheriff, aren't you supposed to understand at least the basics of the law? Apparently not in Cook County, Illinois. Sheriff Thomas Dart is now suing Craigslist because it's "the single largest source of prostitution in the nation." Of course, we've been through some of this before. Atlanta's mayor mistakenly blamed Craigslist for prostitution a while back, but didn't do anything about it. Some Attorneys General were threatening to do stuff, so Craigslist finally changed its policies last year. Of course, as expected, all that did was make prostitutes disperse to other sites. In other words: same amount of prostitution, just a lot more difficult to catch.

There have been some officials who recognize this. Some police officers have realized that Craigslist certainly isn't to blame, and is, in fact, a great tool for tracking and catching prostitutes. Hell, even Dart's own staff has regularly used Craigslist as a tool to crack down on prostitution. His own office says it's used Craigslist to bust at least 75 prostitutes in the last 18 months. Rather than suing Craigslist, he should be thanking Craigslist for making it so easy to catch these prostitutes. It seems unlikely that this lawsuit will go very far. Craigslist is almost certainly protected by Section 230 safe harbors as the service provider. You would think that a sheriff that used the tool successfully for so long could recognize this... but apparently Dart would rather it be more difficult to find and arrest prostitutes.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Remind me again why prostitution is still illegal? Oh right, because this country is run by uptight prudes who think we should still be living in the 1800s.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    What else do you expect from Illinois?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Noah Body, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    RE: What else do you expect from Illinois?

    Hope and Change right?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Man from Atlanta, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:07pm

    I stand corrected

    And here I thought the "single largest source of prostitution" was, well, prostitutes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    JB, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Conflict of interest?

    Maybe he is upset with Craigslist for increasing competition in his off-duty pimping?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    The logical endpoint, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    The truly culpable

    I would say the largest source of prostitution would be the mothers from whose wombs these pimps and hoes sprung. Of course, you would think there would be some culpabilty with the father as well, but thankfully America is still wonderfully misogynist.

    Boycott Mothers Day as a way to strike at the heart of prostitution!!!

    Or maybe just lock up the hookers. I don't know anymore.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:18pm

    Re:

    Stupid Puritanical culture.

    Sex and nudity = bad
    Guns and violence = good

    What the hell, America.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    "If you're the sheriff, aren't you supposed to understand at least the basics of the law?"

    Since when did Tech Dirt turn into a satire site like the Onion? That was fricken hilarious!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Remind me again

    It is illegal so that women can be exploited and abused by their pimps and customers and not received protection under the law.
    It keeps the prices high and the profits flowing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    Or as the great Prophet George Carlin was known to say:

    Selling is legal.
    Fucking is legal.
    Why isn't selling fucking legal?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    charlie potatoes, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

    Follow the money

    Who profits when a politician grand stands? ... and this is certainly the case of a politician grand standing. Remember that all the slimy bastards wrap themselves in the American flag and motherhood, and circle the wagons to protect the children each election year. I wager the high sheriff has a challenger somewhere in the offing ... Or else he is planning a Senatorial run sometime in the near future.

     

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  12.  
    icon
    Desco (profile), Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Illinois!

    Ha, this is Illinois! None of our public officials are aware of the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    JRTomlinson, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Follow the money

    "... Or else he is planning a Senatorial run sometime in the near future"

    Speaking of prostitution...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Paul Brinker, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Your not selling sex...

    your selling your time, like any other job or contract worker. How your boss uses your time is up to him.

    The one good thing coming from the finance melt down is people have to figure out what there real standards are. Do we devote money to stop people from having sex or doing drugs, or do we put that money to keeping potholes out of our roads?

    Time to tell those who make our policys that you have to choose bettween one or the other, there just wont be enough money for both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re:

    Uh, I don't know anyone who thinks violence=good. And, if you were snidely referring to media, this article refers to real life, not movies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    Re:

    If they do legalize it, it needs to be as thoroughly regulated as it is in Nevada. The last thing we need is a huge outbreak of STDs, as seen in many other countries with unregulated prostitution or unenforced prostitution laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    wanman, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re:

    Because most women involved in the industry are under 21 and therefore (scientifically proven) that full decision and discernment faculties are fully developed until early twenties. And since this is the case, trading sex for money turns out in the vast majority of cases to be regrettable. Not to mention the STD issue. Sex trade in a regulated, controlled environment, perhaps. Sex trade on CL, off the street – not particularly wise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Danny (profile), Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    Fox News Interview

    I am being interviewed by Fox News Chicago in about an hour for 'expert' comment on this story. Beyond Mike's initial remarks above, any advice?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    I think the Sheriff is looking in the wrong place. It is the maker of roads and sidewalks that should be sued. That is where most prostitution solicitation takes place. If we did not have roads and sidewalks, the prostitution figures would go way down. I say we install spikes on every road and sidewalk to make it impossible for harlots to loiter and for cars to drive by and pick them up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Joe, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    Good luck with interview. Craig's list is nothing more than a classified ad. Are classified ads responsible for prostitution? No. The girls walk the streets or do whatever they need to do to perform their job. It makes much more sense from a public policy perspective that prostitution be regulated and contained to designated red light districts. Government just needs to pull its head out and deal with the real world as it exists (as opposed to the Land of Oz where jailing a few prostitutes and johns makes the problem go away).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Remind me again

    I've never heard a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a hooker. Women are exploited worldwide and this is the oldest exploitation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    nate, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re: I stand corrected

    Man from Atl - gold. Number one cause of forest fires? Trees! Damn trees! Cut 'em down. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    ProstitutesAreFun, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 3:52pm

    Prostitution used to be legal

    Re returning us to the 1800s. That would be a good thing. Prostitution was legal in most of the US until the early 1900s. You can thank the Christian Women's Temperance League (yes, the same fun-loving group that to worked to get alcohol banned) for making it illegal. That and several STD epidemics that were blamed on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    ed smith, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Yup, that's what we need... arrest people trying to put food on the table in hard economic times. Your body does NOT belong to the government, so who the HELL are they to step in and say "no, you can't sell that." Government has gotten so damn run-amok, that the only solution is the immediate bloody violent overthrow, just like the Constitution gives us the right to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    Re:

    well, why don't you go live where it's legal asshole?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Daniel B, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    Of all people to point a finger, Cook County, Chicago, IL. We have more corruption than Blago's cabinet. Seriously, yes CraigsList is used for illegal purposes, but, its only a medium. CraigsList is not promoting prostitution, people are misusing the site. I think Cook County is just angry the Internet finally caught up with them.....Come on, people have been doing this online since Yahoo came out. Now, Cook County has a point, people should not be pimping on the net, however, its their (Police) responsibility to catch the criminals, not CraigsList. If anything, CL is a mecca for Cook County to make busts, and conduct undercover sting operations, this is a chance to attack the problem, not just send it to a new site to advertise on, next they will want another site and then another shut down. GO DO YOUR JOB CHICAGO POLICE AND COOK COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPT. Use CraigsList as a way to catch these people. Don't just send them to another dark corner of the net. Don't be lazy, you'r COPS, go arrest these people, they have their contact info in the ads.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Danny (profile), Mar 5th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Thanks. I think the interview went well. I made heavy use of Mike's logic - especially the part about predators scattering from Craigslist and being harder to track, brushed up on Section 230 - and pointed out it was very unlikely the sheriff will get a conviction, and was able to discuss the fact that Craigslist has an 18 point plan for dealing with illicit activity in their Erotic ad section.

    FoxNews Chicago tonight - perhaps picked up by other Fox stations. They report, you decide blah blah blah.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    spaceman spiff, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 5:46pm

    This is Chicago!

    Cook County (Chicago) Illinois. Given that, it's just very likely that Dart was bribed by the city's pimps just to make it harder to catch their "product". It is certainly obvious he has no interest in controlling the practice, IMO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 7:51pm

    yes, because that's the best use of LE's time, busting women and men who make decisions as adults online and behind closed doors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Man from Atlanta, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 10:18pm

    Cook County

    Could it be that Craigslist was siphoning off what would be someone else' ill-gotten gains? Down here the story goes, when a high level cop bought into a parking lot company, the department sent out officers to ticket everyone parking on the street near one their lots in one of the nightclub districts. Don't see why the police in Cook County wouldn't protect the profits of someone they work for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Remind me again

    I've never heard a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a hooker. Women are exploited worldwide and this is the oldest exploitation.

    That is precisely why it should be legalised. By legalising prostitution you setup laws to license and govern it, you afford the adult workers rights and privileges they do not currently get and by in large make it much safer for them to work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:15am

    Surely the easiest way to find prostitutes is google?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re:

    "Because most women involved in the industry are under 21 and therefore (scientifically proven) that full decision and discernment faculties are fully developed until early twenties. And since this is the case, trading sex for money turns out in the vast majority of cases to be regrettable. Not to mention the STD issue. Sex trade in a regulated, controlled environment, perhaps. Sex trade on CL, off the street – not particularly wise."

    First of all, the legal age to engage in sex or a sex-related activity is 18 in the US. 21 is the drinking age.

    Second, you're right, sex trade should be regulated like any other industry. While it won't stop 100% of the street corner hookers, legalizing it into a regulated industry would go a long way towards counteracting all the negative effects it currently has. Besides sutting down on STDs, it would be a new source of income for the government and police departments could save money by cutting back on their vice squads. The courts could save money by not having to prosecute men whose only crime was that they were horny.

    The only ones who lose are the prudes who think that sex should be kept in the bedroom, between a husband and wife, in the dark, under the covers, with the door locked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Droslovinia, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 6:10am

    Re: Re: Re: your boat (sorry)

    There is no scientific proof of the age at which everyone develops "decision and discernment facilities," so that's off the table. Also, the age of consent varies from state to state. For instance, "enlightened" states like Kentucky let you have sex at 16, so long as no one films it.

    That said, regulation sounds like a good idea for all the reasons the lurker gave, but you forgot to mention that if prostitution can be regulated, it can be taxed. I think that government probably takes a little less than pimps do, so it might be better for everyone.

    Your average adult prostitute, while a problem under the current system, is not near the problem that we have with underage girls who are sold into slavery for this purpose. While it might seem inconsistent to decry this while seeking to legalize the profession, this is the kind of thing that occurs when you criminalize something and keep it unregulated.

     

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  35.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 6th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    Alternate theory

    Or this guy is just upset he found his wife selling on CraigsList.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    zookr, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    IL. sheriff sues cl.org

    What does he know?
    The biggest source of prostitutes is @

    bitchesofcraigslist.com

    sshhhhhh !!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re:

    that's bullshit. By the age of thirteen the brain is fully developed and functions exactly like any other adult brain. that fact that parents and teachers don't take advantage of that fact and exercise it is something that should be corrected.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    officer mike, Mar 9th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    There's no stopping it...

    craigslist is the biggest because up until a few months ago it was free and the most well known. but experienced "hobbiests" don't go there often.

    if you're really looking to pay for sex you need to go to the escort review sites like:

    independentgirls.com
    hobbygirlz.com
    theeroticreview.com
    theproviderreport.com

    these sites have hooker ads, and testimonials by real johns who partake in their services.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:27pm

    Blaming Craigslist For Prostitution and Murder

    These Politicians make me sick: Let's get real here.

    Even in a normal economy their Corporate Junky Capitalist Friends are the cause of all of Americas money problems.

    Do you really think that women would choose to prostitute themselves if the could take care of themselves and their families if the had a good paying normal job with a good employer that paid them fairly and didn't pocket all of the money?

    Most of the time: These corporate morons offer 10$ an hour and fire you if you don't have sex with them.

    Let's all look a little deeper.

    Now: Do you think that all of the Banks CEO's that destroyed our economy thought about anyone other than themselves ?

    Anyone whom doesn't care about other human beings are monsters. Sociopathic Monsters. Welcome to the world that our earliest presidents warned us about.

    The Banks run the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:29pm

    Re: There's no stopping it...

    Advertising for free I see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Remind me again

    That's right, and men love to treat women badly.
    Law Enforcement are some of the biggest abusers and the legal system makes the most money from the convictions or it would have been legalized a long time ago in the states.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Because our government makes so much money from the convictions and jailing people.

    Starting with jobs for cops, judges, public pretenders, and city and county jails.

    We live in a very sick society that claims to be living by the laws of the bible, but doesn't take care of their own people. It doesn't have to be this way.

    That's why.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re:

    Pros are the ones that use condoms religiously. It's the morons that get picked up in bars that spread diseases.

    Talk to anyone at a Planned Parenthood.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:41pm

    Re:

    I spent 3 months in Springfield Il.

    They are so backward and redneck that I guarantee that Lincoln is rolling over in his grave.

    And the have the nerve to call themselves The Land Of Lincoln.

    What an insult to an amazing man and his legacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:44pm

    Re: The truly culpable

    You are such a complete moron.
    Someone should slap the shit out of your mother for Not holding her knee together tightly enough.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Prostitution used to be legal

    Actually: It was Rockefeller that paid the Woman's League 4 Million dollars to insure that prohibition was in place. It wasn't to keep people from drinking it though: it was to keep them from burning it in their cars. By the time it was lifted 15 years later, Rockefeller had his company Standard Oil in Place. You get it now.
    He is also one responsible for the Federal Reserve that screwed us in the last 8 years : )

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Susan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Alternate theory

    She couldn't help it: he lost his job and could feed his family or pay the rent anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Mark, May 6th, 2009 @ 11:57am

    prostition

    Seems the Sheriff's department has also forgotten that prostitution is the oldest profession and attempts for hundreds of years to stop it haven't. Cook county must not be going through the tough times that the rest of us are. They have money to waste on things like this rather than catching killers, rapists etc. Thanks for reinforcing the image that you guys really are clueless

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Elmo, Jul 31st, 2009 @ 8:33pm

    Prostitution

    Guess what? Prostitution is legal........................... in TURKEY where almost everyone is Muslim. Ironic?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    TelepathicMonk (profile), Sep 26th, 2010 @ 10:03pm

    Tom Dart may have reasons to be a frustrated cop

    Rumor, and hearsay has it that Tom Dart indeed has untreatable erectile dysfunction. Those who know him say he is apparently a very sexually uptight man, and co-workers snicker at him behind his back. Somehow the info got out, and now many people are figuring out why he is so hell bent on busting people for having and wanting sex. His sexual anger is affecting his ability to use good judgement, (story above). He has alligned himself with political organizations that are run by sexually backward and dysfunctional people. So here's to Tom. If he can't get it, no one can. Next, let's make breathing illegal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    whiskeyHell, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Make it Legal

    Make it Legal and you wont have all the problems. They get a card Make em get checked for VD and Keep on screwing or take the card away if they fail the test.
    Inform the public if they dont have a card they are not safe and so goes away the problem they could even pay taxes and help the economy out ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    J Dawg, Sep 24th, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Craigslist Hoes

    I was looking at the jobs openings at craigslist: Craigslist is now hiring for the following postitions: Graphic Designer, Business Analyst, Regional Director of Marketing and Hoes, lots of Hoes.

    Theres no medical benefits, or 401k but at least you get to make your own hours.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    cati fernandez, Aug 4th, 2013 @ 7:14pm

    Illinois Sheriff Sues Craigslist For Prostitution; Apparently Unaware Of The Law

    If the Sheriff is looking for prostitutes, then he should go to: www.where-to-find-prostitutes.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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