Former Child Prostitute Sues Village Voice For 'Aiding & Abetting' Via Sex Ads

from the section-230-challenge dept

With so much attention being paid to Craigslist over its "adult services" section, one thing that Craigslist often pointed out was that many other classifieds services allowed much worse -- with the Village Voice's Backpages.com often being used as a prime example. And while we haven't heard of state attorneys general getting ready to go after Backpages, apparently a former child who was sold as a prostitute is going to try. The girl, still a minor, going by the name M.A. is suing the Village Voice and specifically claiming that Section 230 of the CDA doesn't apply:
The "pimp" who sold her via ads on Backpages has already plead guilty to a variety of charges involving prostitution and child pornography (for taking pornographic pictures of M.A. to put on Backpages).

As for getting around Section 230, the lawsuit points out that Section 230 includes an "exemption" for the exploitation of children. Perhaps I'm wrong (Section 230 experts, feel free to chime in), but I'm not sure this is quite true. Section 230 does state that nothing in Section 230 should be construed to "impair the enforcement" of laws related to sexual exploitation of children, but that doesn't mean that it makes service providers automatically liable if their services are used in that nature. And I don't see how what Backpages did "impaired the enforcement" of the law so it's not clear how that exemption really applies here.

Either way, this makes for an interesting test of Section 230 -- on a highly emotional issue. No one denies that what happened to M.A. sounds horrific and those involved should be punished to the fullest extent of the law (and, it's certainly good to hear that the main person involved has plead guilty and hopefully won't be able to do this to others). That it happened at all is horrifying and sickening. But does it make sense to blame a service provider who served as the bulletin board? That may be a bit extreme and risks adding significant liability to anyone who allows any sort of user-generated system.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    fruzo.com, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    this is getting out of control

    I can imagine how this is tolerated selling people on the net, specially minors. I gave up on these sites a while ago and use kijiji or fruzo.com instead

     

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    Bapzzy (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    Yellow pages next!

    All the legit massage parlors need to come up with a new handle:

    "Real Rubber"?

     

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    ShutUpEmoKid, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    isn't this the Pirate Bay argument?

    For the Voice to claim that they aren't responsible for what their advertisers do in the Backpage is the same as the Pirate Bay claiming that they aren't responsible for people sharing software or music files. Either we ensure that people providing a service pay attention to what people are "sharing" or selling on those services or we say buyer beware. Service providers can't have it both ways.

     

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      Mike C. (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 4:41pm

      Re: isn't this the Pirate Bay argument?

      So you're going to tell AT&T that they have to monitor their phone lines to make sure they pay attention to what people are using their "service" for? How about Internet connections? FedEx, UPS and the US Mail?

      It's easy to say they need to pay attention, a lot more difficult to do in practice until you have all the facts. How many ads per day are submitted? How long would it take a human being to scan each and every ad for approval? How many ads would have to get approved per day to stay ahead of expenses? How quickly would the Voice go under if it didn't have automated ad submission in place?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 5:17pm

      Re: isn't this the Pirate Bay argument?

      You have an enforcement problem here.

      Suppose the pirate bay only contained torrents for legal materials (stay with me here), thousands of them.

      Now, suppose I create a script that uploads 100 torrents each hour. 99 are legal, 1 is illegal.

      How do you identify which ones point to legal material and which ones point to illegal material? Notice that you want that done today (preferably), not in 2 weeks. And this was just one of me.

      Same concept applies to blogs and craiglist/ebay types (to name a few examples).

      Of course, if anyone identifies illegal they have every right to ask (demand?) the site to pull it down.

       

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    Mike C. (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 4:36pm

    Prepare to be disappointed...

    I suspect this, like so many civil cases these days, will be settled with a back room deal and undisclosed terms such that the true issue never gets tested in court.

    My gut says the court system should be changed such that all cases filed must be carried through to a decision. Additionally, the "loser" must the lawyers fees for both sides, but not to exceed the least amount spent. In other words, if Joe Citizen spends $10K and loses to mega-corporation who spends $200K, Joe Citizen only has to pay $10K of mega-corps fees. Settlements could still be reached, but only by one side accepting a judgement against them and paying legal fees.

    While it would certainly cut down on lawsuits as a negotiation ploy, I'm also certain there are unintended consequences I'm not considering.

     

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      Montezuma (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 5:58am

      Re: Prepare to be disappointed...

      I know that having the party that loses in civil case pay for the other side's legal bills(which does happen now, in some cases), but just ask the guy that sued those idiots that protest military funerals(among others)(http://www.godhatesfags.com/). The Westboro Baptist(not) "Church"(I use that term loosely) is a horrible(and good) example of how your idea is pretty bad.

      The father had to pay Westboro Baptist "Church's" legal bills(http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-30/justice/westboro.baptist.snyder_1_military-funerals-albert- snyder-westboro-baptist-church?_s=PM:CRIME), which is an extreme travesty and totally legal. Perhaps the father can get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this and overturn his loss(though that is questionable), but he is going to have to pay the freaks that were violating the privacy and dignity of this father(and the Marine's other family), who was trying to grieve the lose of his loved one.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 6:43am

        Re: Re: Prepare to be disappointed...

        The Westboro Baptist is trash and horrible but they are not violent and are exercising their constitutional right to speak about things they believe in I can respect that, although I can get annoyed at times.

        And in the specific case you brought up I don't really see a problem the guy lost, he got emotional and thought he could bully others into silence and got owned, it is tragic, I find it in bad taste what the Westboro Baptist church does and they be not the best example of what free speech protects but it is free speech none the less.

        Also other controversial things that I don't like but I will defend the right of those people to talk about are, white supremacy and groups that advocate that underage sex should not be a crime when it involves a legal adult, those are just to loaded areas where free speech applies and yet have little social support for it at the moment.

        Is up to every citizen to decide if they should agree or not and discriminate accordingly, but to try and shut other up because you don't like what they say is not only wrong is dangerous one day you will be the one saying something others don't like.

         

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    Markus (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    How was the pimp found?

    I'd like to know if the ad on backpages led directly to the pimps arrest. If so, I'd think this suit would have very little merit, and in fact would be the very reason that craigslist should not have shut down its own similar section. Even if it is not policed by the site owners it can still serve as a honey pot.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 8:46pm

      Re: How was the pimp found?

      Her mother found the pictures on the internet after searching for her daughter for months.

       

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    Paul Alan Levy (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 7:12pm

    Section 230 construction

    The question is not whether Backpages.com impaired the enforcement of the statutes in question. Subsection 230(e)(1) exempts the criminal statutes in Title 18 Chapter 110 from the protections of section 230 (that is, section 230 shall not impair the enforcement of enumerated "criminal statutes"). The question will be whether this includes the private remedy that section 2255 (part of chapter 110) creates for violations of the various criminal law provisions in Chapter 110 and 117.

     

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    Lili Balfour, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 8:20pm

    research

    Mike - do you ever research stories you write about? Just a thought. I have a personal policy to investigate before I open my mouth (or type) about an issue. I wonder what your professional policy is. I take it Techdirt is your professional gig. I could be wrong.

    I've been on Backpage with other people who are trying to solve this problem. The stuff we found was unreal. I won't link to it here. I will simply ask you to please research before you state your opinion.

    Yes, there are kids. There are pregnant women high on drugs. Plus, a bunch of other stuff I won't get into. Just like Craigslist, BP has an obligation to monitor their site.

     

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      vivaelamor (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:07am

      Re: research

      Mike - do you ever research stories you write about? Just a thought. I have a personal policy to investigate before I open my mouth (or type) about an issue."

      I guess you already know that Mike isn't a journalist then. Whoops.

      "I've been on Backpage with other people who are trying to solve this problem. The stuff we found was unreal. I won't link to it here. I will simply ask you to please research before you state your opinion. "

      I can't seem to find anything like what you say on backpage.com myself. Apparently even the FBI haven't found much and I'm sure they spent longer than 5 minutes googling:

      "In the last two years, Backpage.com has had 58 million posts, of which 6 million were adult. In this vast exchange of information, law enforcement agencies have asked for our testimony in precisely five underage cases."


      "Yes, there are kids. There are pregnant women high on drugs. Plus, a bunch of other stuff I won't get into. Just like Craigslist, BP has an obligation to monitor their site."

      No, they have political pressure. If they had an obligation then everyone would have to check everything that was posted on a web site. I trust that you report everything you find to the authorities anyway (although I do wonder why they need things reporting when the whole site is indexable by Google).

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 1:02am

      Re: research

      Mike - do you ever research stories you write about? Just a thought. I have a personal policy to investigate before I open my mouth (or type) about an issue. I wonder what your professional policy is. I take it Techdirt is your professional gig. I could be wrong.

      I love the irony in you claiming that you research before typing... and then admitting you have no idea if this is what I do for a living.

      I've been on Backpage with other people who are trying to solve this problem. The stuff we found was unreal. I won't link to it here. I will simply ask you to please research before you state your opinion.

      My opinion has nothing to do with what's on Backpage, but with a fundamental understanding of who is liable for what *is* on there.

      Yes, there are kids. There are pregnant women high on drugs. Plus, a bunch of other stuff I won't get into. Just like Craigslist, BP has an obligation to monitor their site.

      That's legally untrue -- and it makes no sense. As we've explained before, if there's bad content on there, that makes it easier for the police to actually stop those who are *actually* responsible.

      Why do you wish to shut down such a useful tool?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 4:38am

        Re: Re: research

        Why do you wish to shut down such a useful tool?

        Because according to many Americans, sex is bad. Unless of course it's done by the catholic church with minors against their will, then it's okay.

         

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    FreemonSandlewould, Sep 20th, 2010 @ 11:35pm

    Lili Balfour - bone head

    Lili ... you are the one that needs to do a little more research. How old are you ? 12? Because only some one immature would think that this sort of suit if sucessful will not shut down web 2.0 communities.

    And as for backpage content....you are obviously a frumpish prude. Get used to it. Prostitution should be legal. And the subject of this case is a rare event there. I have looked and there are no children there except in the rarest of circumstances.

    ....and yes I am sure Mike knows all that I have said. He's one of the most intelligent writers I have read on the net.

     

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    Lili Balfour, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 5:34am

    Re: Research

    Someone who I respect a lot mentioned to me that I should not hold you to such a high standard because this is actually your hobby...not your real job. So, yes I did research the topic. And based on what I could find you are not a trained Journalist. I was leaving it up to you to define your role.

    Again, you just focus on what is law. What about what is right? Do people have the obligation to do the right thing?

    Ive never said Backpage should close their site. I, along with other interested parties, have been asking for Backpage to address the issue. Addressing the issue means creating greater controls around who can post on their site. A pregnant woman who is on drugs is harming her unborn child. Any rational human being would agree that something like that should be reported to child protective services. Instead, Backpage continued to run her ads, over and over again. Maybe that is legal, but its still wrong.

    I think it's interesting that the majority of your audience is anonymous. One of your anonymous readers even disclosed that they were a pedophile and people should go easy on him because he was in treatment. That's like an alcoholic who has killed innocent people in a drunk driving accident asking a judge for forgiveness because he is in treatment. People should be accountable for their actions. End of story.

     

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      Montezuma (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 5:52am

      Re: Re: Research

      Just who the hell are you, Lili, to decide what is "right or wrong"? I consider myself to be a law-abiding, highly moral/ethical person, yet I dislike people attempting to tell me what they believe is right or wrong. If I listened to idiots like you(and consequently did what I was told by idiots like yourself), then I would not be able to carry my firearm, consume alcohol from time to time, or a few other legal and responsible activities I engage in.

      I know that you feel like something needs to be done "for the children", but it is not ethical to expect one group to be harmed for the benefit of another group. If you figure out how group A(that is being harmed) can be assisted without group B(your target, and the group that would be harmed if group A is helped, without thought for group B) being damaged, then I am ready to hear it. The fact is that YOU have no damned clue what you are talking about.

      You can take it from ex-law enforcement(me), you really have no clue .

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 6:54am

      Re: Re: Research

      "Again, you just focus on what is law. What about what is right? Do people have the obligation to do the right thing?"

      Here is what is right.

      Life is difficult already without trying to create more liabilities for other people, should we punish witness who refuse to testify? should we go after everyone who run away from a bar fight and didn't try to stop it? should we punish and hold people accountable for witnessing robbery? Should we hold every manufacture to be responsible for what others do with their products?, which reminds me about your misleading BP comment, BP is being held accountable not for third party actions but for their own actions that lead to a disaster.

      I hope your work is never ever used by and outlaw because by your own standards you have should known better and do something about it, which I know it is impossible.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 7:01am

      Re: Re: Research

      "I’ve never said Backpage should close their site. I, along with other interested parties, have been asking for Backpage to address the issue. Addressing the issue means creating greater controls around who can post on their site. A pregnant woman who is on drugs is harming her unborn child. Any rational human being would agree that something like that should be reported to child protective services. Instead, Backpage continued to run her ads, over and over again. Maybe that is legal, but it’s still wrong."

      What you are doing is bugging a service provider to do what you want, what they do is not wrong, but you keep trying to say they are somehow responsible when they are not and couldn't possibly be even if they wanted too.

      Ultimately people like you feed unscrupulous AG's that want something from it and will exploit that to gain something, which will lead to a closure of those things and serve no purposes, what you are doing is in fact alerting bad people that they are being watched and should try harder and harder they will try and get better until people like you can't do anything about it, you in fact are their best friends, you are teaching them how to evade the system and making it very clear on how to do so, you don't want controls you want those things to end and don't care what it takes to do it, you are the real menace to society.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 8:42am

      Re: Re: Research

      In a perfect world, we would have a machine that would be able to filter everything anyone does on the internet in search for illegal activities. This machine would also be absolutely just and incorruptible.

      However, in the real world, filtering through thousands (millions in case of google) of requests/uploads/posts and decide what is legal and what is not is just impossible. Impossible because of the volume and because, sometimes, it is not absolutely clear when something is legal or not. Just scroll up and try to solve the 100 torrents problem if you disagree.

      This is why websites cannot be liable for the activities of their users. HOWEVER, websites and their users must assist law enforcement entities when requested. They also have the duty to report illegal activities. If they do not, I agree that they should be slapped around HARD.

      One final thing: most of us are anonymous because the site gives us that freedom. Are you questioning our RIGHT to remain anonymous?

       

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      DH's Love Child (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 8:48am

      Re: Re: Research

      People should be accountable for their actions

      You say people should be held accountable for their actions, and yet you think the the service provider should be the judge? Seriously?!?

      PEOPLE, the ones who are actually producing and providing the illegal content should be held accountable, but not the service provider. If Backpage had been made aware of the material and then did nothing, that would be a different story, but you cannot realistically expect a service provider to audit everything that comes across their pipes. If you do, then you also believe that all phone conversations, emails, txts, SMS, snail mail, UPS, smoke signals, etc...should be monitored for "wrong" (your word) conversations.

      You say people should do the right thing, and I don't disagree with that notion, but it's not realistic. Your opinion of right/wrong and mine are probably different. We may agree on some things, but certainly not all. That's precisely why we have a legal system in this country, to define the community standards for what activities are allowed.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:38am

      Re: Re: Research

      Someone who I respect a lot mentioned to me that I should not hold you to such a high standard because this is actually your hobby...not your real job. So, yes I did research the topic. And based on what I could find you are not a trained Journalist. I was leaving it up to you to define your role.

      You should do some more research.

      Again, you just focus on what is law. What about what is right? Do people have the obligation to do the right thing?


      I *am* focusing on what is right.

      I�ve never said Backpage should close their site. I, along with other interested parties, have been asking for Backpage to address the issue. Addressing the issue means creating greater controls around who can post on their site. A pregnant woman who is on drugs is harming her unborn child. Any rational human being would agree that something like that should be reported to child protective services. Instead, Backpage continued to run her ads, over and over again. Maybe that is legal, but it�s still wrong.

      You are still missing the point, as nearly everyone else here is trying to explain to you:

      HOW can Backpage reasonably know that it's a pregnant woman who is on drugs? Answer that simple question and we can move forward. You keep assuming that Backpage has some magical way of knowing who's posting and what they're posting -- and being able to make a snap judgment on what's right and what's not right.

      I think it's interesting that the majority of your audience is anonymous. One of your anonymous readers even disclosed that they were a pedophile and people should go easy on him because he was in treatment.

      I'm sorry, but I must have missed that. Where was that comment made?

      The fact that people are anonymous on the site is meaningless. They are free to post that way if they would like. Most of the responses have pointed out the problems in your reasoning, and you have not chosen to respond to any of them, but instead resort to calls to emotion.

      Again: no one is saying that what is happening is "right" on these sites. What we're saying is that you're BLAMING THE WRONG PARTY and in doing so, making it HARDER to actually reach the people who are ACTUALLY responsible.

      I'm having a hard time figuring out why you can't separate these issues and continue to blame the wrong party.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 12:48pm

      Re: Re: Research

      "I�ve never said Backpage should close their site."

      Sorry, but that's exactly what you are advocating by trying to make service providers liable for every single thing every single user does with their service.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 6:03am

    Service providers should NOT be liable for the content posted on their sites. You want this to happen then move to Australia where all internet is monitored to verify that nothing bad about children happens. That penalizes the normal citizen and promotes slow service.
    Case in point: AT&T constantly has complaints about their network. Slow was my word for it. But after realizing that the entire 7th floor of the At&T building in New York has been given over to a Homeland Security listening post. All AT&T traffic gets monitored. Think that slows it down? I guarantee it.

     

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    known coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    the problem with backpage and DCMA

    is backpage knowingly accept ads from prostitutes. They even have a section for escorts, and they are all paid ads. Yes i know, your local phone book has paid ads for esccorts, but in backpage the service providers pictures make fairly clear the service being provided. (and if i were in charge it would all be legal, but alas i am not)

    At least prior to the AG's making Craigslist take cash for the ads, Craigslist had no no prior involvement with the add prior to posting. With backpage that has never been true.

     

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    Lili Balfour, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 5:59pm

    re: Research

    No, Mike. I'd rather not waste my time researching how serious you take this site.

    "State AGs Now Targeting Backpage After Forcing Craigslist To Stop Helping Them Pursue Lawbreakers" pretty much confirms what I was originally told. You are more interested in getting people riled up than having a serious discussion about human trafficking.

    The woman who was 7 months pregnant and frantically posting ads could barely keep her eyes open. So, she was either really sleepy or high on drugs.

    Why don't I respond to the anonymous comments here? Because I think they are all pretty silly. I'm a bonehead who is trying to destroy "web 2.0 communities." I'm 12...yet I'm a frumpish prude. Homeland security efforts are bad because they interfere with AT&T. The KKK has a right to free speech. Yeah, I guess when you remain anonymous it gives you the power to say some pretty silly stuff and mouth off to someone who you wouldn't mouth off to in person.

    I'll respond to "In a perfect world, we would have a machine that would be able to filter everything anyone does on the internet in search for illegal activities."

    Well I guess we live in a perfect world because Microsoft has created software that scans for child porn. But who cares about actually solving the problem. It's so much more fun to create headlines that get people riled up.

    I can go on and on about sites like Eros Guide that take pride in controlling the content on their site to ensure that people are not being exploited. Oh, but again, how boring.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 6:24pm

      Re: re: Research

      No, Mike. I'd rather not waste my time researching how serious you take this site.

      Fair enough, but if you are not willing to do the research, it does seem rather unfortunate that you demanded the same of me before "opening my mouth," doesn't it?

      I'm just pointing out that your attack on me was uncalled for.

      "State AGs Now Targeting Backpage After Forcing Craigslist To Stop Helping Them Pursue Lawbreakers" pretty much confirms what I was originally told. You are more interested in getting people riled up than having a serious discussion about human trafficking.

      Lili, I have no interest in "getting people riled up." If I wanted to do that, I'd post about Hollywood celebrities or whatever actually gets traffic. Trust me, tech policy questions about state attorneys general decision is not exactly scintillating traffic-generating content.

      My posts are very much about points that I think re important -- including the fact that I find human trafficking a horrible, horrible thing, for which something needs to be done. As I wrote (I thought clearly, so I don't understand your protests) is that what the AGs are doing is MAKING THE PROBLEM WORSE. Why is it so difficult for you to understand this? You still can't separate the fact that shutting down the tools that are HELPING LAW ENFORCEMENT makes it that much more difficult for law enforcement to stop these sickening activities. What you are supporting will MAKE HUMAN TRAFFICKING WORSE.

      Why don't I respond to the anonymous comments here? Because I think they are all pretty silly.

      Some anonymous comments some are silly. Condemning them all for being anonymous is like condemning websites for the actions of a few of their users... oh wait. I see a pattern.

      The woman who was 7 months pregnant and frantically posting ads could barely keep her eyes open. So, she was either really sleepy or high on drugs.

      ?? I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. You say this as if it's relevant to the discussion. It's not. The point is that Backpage does not review each post and has no reasonable way of determining the legality of each and every post unless someone calls attention to them. So if you see a post with a pregnant woman, alert Backpage, but stop complaining that Backpage didn't magically find it.

      Well I guess we live in a perfect world because Microsoft has created software that scans for child porn. But who cares about actually solving the problem. It's so much more fun to create headlines that get people riled up.

      That's not what the commenter said. For someone who keeps insisting you want a "serious discussion" on the topic, it's about time for you to actually LEARN something about these issues.

      There are some filters out there, but they don't work well. That's the point. You can't figure all of this out with an algorithm. You can't have people making a legal determination on every post. The way to deal with it is to have law enforcement work with these sites to identify those who are breaking the law. Not send them elsewhere.

      I can go on and on about sites like Eros Guide that take pride in controlling the content on their site to ensure that people are not being exploited. Oh, but again, how boring.

      You're still not responding to the actual issue.

      This has been extremely frustrating. You have not responded to any of the legitimate points people raised. You instead just make emotional pleas that are blatantly wrong. Seriously. Stop and LEARN. You are making the problem worse with your misunderstanding of the issues. It's a serious issue and I *beg* you to stop making it worse.

      Seriously. Respond to a simple question:

      How does blocking these sites, rather than going after the actual people responsible make anything better?

      Simple question. Please provide a simple answer.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 9:58pm

        Re: Re: re: Research

        I am amused with your reasoning, so for a bit more humor please explain to me how since we have progressed so far with the use of the internet that there are thousand if not hundreds of thousands of pediphiles that get away with abusing children everyday by way of the internet from the comfort of their own homes?(research that)Also don't you think we have enough money going to the government without giving them a new job as internet police searching sites that should be policed by their owners who are getting paid for a service of advertising sex? Just maybe they can free up some of those police and taxpayer money to fight crimes on the streets or maybe to better the schools or better yet, to build homes and provide services to the countless child victims who need resources. Our economy is screwed, why not make companies responsible for what content they choose to advertise? You can't call yourself a "family friendly" site and sell sex from women, men, and children, Period. A simple solution could be as easy as isolating the sex ads to a site of their own where no kids selling video games can access the adult section by clicking the infamous "enter only if you are 18 and older" link, what a joke. If they cared at all for the children of our future, which clearly they don't, they would simply try a little harder to keep the pervs at bay. Ps. backpage did'nt help the fbi find the perpurtraitor in the case mentioned. The kid told her parents and the police and the fbi and countless counslers and doctors. Pss. All the answers you find from "reseaching", are not the truth.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Lili Balfour, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 10:48am

    re: Research

    I have never attacked you. In fact, Ive asked you nicely to really understand the key issues here.

    Aug 8th, 2010 @ 10:23pm
    Political Campaign Against Craigslist Ratchets Up
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100806/11433810530.shtml#c378

    Aug 10th, 2010 @ 12:11pm
    Media Campaign Against Craigslist Continues, As WaPo Writes Article About Its Own Anti-Craigslist Advertiser
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100809/00092510542.shtml#c346

    You never responded to either of these comments. I was told by someone that I was wasting my time trying to get you to do homework on the human rights aspect. They said that this is your hobby and youre not trying to be an investigative journalist. I gave you the opportunity to state your role. And really even if you dont call yourself a journalist, I would think you would try to understand such a sensitive issue like youth sex trafficking. This led to my question to you

    Sep 20th, 2010 @ 8:20pm
    Former Child Prostitute Sues Village Voice For 'Aiding & Abetting' Via Sex Ads
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100919/02104911071/former-child-prostitute-sues-village-voic e-for-aiding-abetting-via-sex-ads.shtml#c107

    Now you ask me How can Backpage reasonably know that it's a pregnant woman who is on drugs?

    I respond with:

    The woman who was 7 months pregnant and frantically posting ads could barely keep her eyes open. So, she was either really sleepy or high on drugs.

    You respond with:

    ?? I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. You say this as if it's relevant to the discussion. It's not.

    You ask: How does blocking these sites, rather than going after the actual people responsible make anything better?

    I have never advocated blocking these sites. I applaud sites like Eros that are taking proactive actions to ensure people are not being exploited. I dont think adult entertainment ads should be posted on community websites like Backpage or Craigslist, unless they are going to monitor them. If they dont want to monitor them (like Eros does) then take them down.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 11:12am

      Re: re: Research

      I have never attacked you. In fact, Ive asked you nicely to really understand the key issues here.

      It appeared that you were asking rhetorical questions in both of those links, and neither asked me to understand an issue I wasn't already quite familiar with.

      I was told by someone that I was wasting my time trying to get you to do homework on the human rights aspect. They said that this is your hobby and youre not trying to be an investigative journalist. I gave you the opportunity to state your role. And really even if you dont call yourself a journalist, I would think you would try to understand such a sensitive issue like youth sex trafficking.


      This is not my hobby, but I am not an investigative journalist. But I have no problem researching something. I do it all the time, as should be evident from what I write. My problem was that I had researched the matter, and you falsely accused me of not having done so, without pointing out a single fact that I got wrong.

      As for the situation with the pregnant woman, you are (yet again) missing the point, which is why this discussion has become so incredibly frustrating. You point out that her picture gives her away, but you are assuming that someone is sitting there at Backpages reviewing every picture that goes up. That's the point that we keep making. No one is able to pre-review every bit of content that goes up on a tool like Craigslist or Backpages and it's wrong and silly to assume that they do.

      You still don't seem to get that simple point.

      I dont think adult entertainment ads should be posted on community websites like Backpage or Craigslist, unless they are going to monitor them. If they dont want to monitor them (like Eros does) then take them down.

      Again, you avoid the key point. Even if they are being monitored (which, at CL, they were), you can't get it right all of the time. And, either way, it'll just drive the content to other areas where it's not monitored.

      You're living in a fantasy world. In a perfect world, there would be some way to catch all of these types of ads automatically. But that doesn't exist. So what's the next best thing? Having the companies that have these ads work closely with law enforcement to actually catch those responsible *WHEN* the questionable ads are *brought to their attention*.

      What's the *worst* solution? Shutting down the companies that do work with law enforcement or setting them up on some ridiculously IMPOSSIBLE monitoring standard, that makes sure the content will go to other sites where law enforcement is not helped, and the only people who are helped are those involved in the trafficking.

      This is a really serious matter, and your position is making human trafficking WORSE. Please, for the sake of what you claim to believe in, stop doing what you're doing. You're making things worse. You're doing harm to the people you think you're helping. Please stop.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Lili Balfour, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    re: Research

    No, I addressed you directly by name.

    Yes, the solution is to monitor sites the way that Eros guide does. You can choose to disagree with me. But the facts speak for themselves. Eros has never had a problem with exploitation, but Craigslist has.

    I have way too much work to do to continue this conversation. Total waste of time. You continue to tell me I don't get it. Well, I think you don't get it. Let's leave it at that.

    Please go after Rackspace for violating Dove World Outreach Center's freedom of speech. I think you've spent enough time on Craigslist.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 3:43pm

      Re: re: Research

      No, I addressed you directly by name.

      Addressing me by name does not change the fact that the questions asked were clearly rhetorical.

      Yes, the solution is to monitor sites the way that Eros guide does. You can choose to disagree with me. But the facts speak for themselves. Eros has never had a problem with exploitation, but Craigslist has.

      Yes, the facts speak for themselves. It's not "Craigslist" that "has a problem." It's the PEOPLE EXPLOITING AND TRAFFICKING other humans. Why do you not see this? Why do you try to protect the human traffickers by making sure that it's HARDER for law enforcement to track and capture them?

      I have way too much work to do to continue this conversation. Total waste of time. You continue to tell me I don't get it. Well, I think you don't get it. Let's leave it at that.

      It's not that you don't get it. It's that you don't even seem to realize what's being discussed. Lili, this is *serious* and I really want you to rethink your position, because focusing on the service providers who are HELPING police only serves to make the problem worse.

      Please go after Rackspace for violating Dove World Outreach Center's freedom of speech. I think you've spent enough time on Craigslist.

      Huh? A company cannot violate someone's freedom of speech, but I'm unfamiliar with the situation you are discussing.

      And, I will decide when I've "spent enough time" on a topic. It seems to me that I have not, when folks like yourself are still fighting the wrong fight.

      Once again, I beg you to educate yourself on this issue, so that you do not help the side that is making the problem worse.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 10:12pm

      Re: re: Research

      Finally someone who gets it. Isolate the sex on a seperate site and monitor it. If they we'rnt so greedy, they would hire several research teams in every state they post in to police their site.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        vivaelamor (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 3:09am

        Re: Re: re: Research

        "Finally someone who gets it. Isolate the sex on a seperate site and monitor it. If they we'rnt so greedy, they would hire several research teams in every state they post in to police their site."

        If that's your principle, that anything related to sex should be segregated and monitored, then let's discuss its consequences and how it applies to other service providers.

        One consequence may be that by agreeing or stating that they are monitoring anything, they risk admitting liability for both anything they let through that they shouldn't (negligence) and anything they block that they shouldn't (discrimination).

        Your principle should surely apply equally across all providers offering services related to sex that may be used illicitly in some way:

        Dating services.
        Chat services.
        Anything facilitating the selling of 'sex accessories'.
        Common carriers (postal service, telephone service).
        Adult forums.

        I'm sure there are many more I haven't thought of. How will non commercial entities adhere to the principle? Your principle is pretty pointless if all people have to do is set up a non profit service that imitates Craiglist. Who will pay for monitoring non commercial services? If you only apply it to commercial services, then what is the point?

         

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


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