Cuomo Uses Craigslist To Bust Prostitution Ring… Still Blaming Craigslist

from the think-about-that-for-a-second... dept

Following Craigslist’s big announcement last week on the changes to how it handles “adult” ads, Andrew Cuomo angrily denounced the changes, claiming that several weeks before, “we informed Craigslist of an impending criminal case that implicated its website.” It seems the details of that case have now become clear, as a prostitution ring that solely worked via Craigslist was busted by Cuomo. Yet, rather than recognize that the information on Craigslist allowed them to track down and arrest this crew, Cuomo is still lashing out at the site:

“Unless craigslist gets serious about putting real protections in place, it will continued to be an environment where criminal operations thrive with impunity,”

Does Andrew Cuomo even realize what he’s saying? He’s saying that they’ll operate with impunity right after he showed that’s not true by arresting them. Given the fact that Craigslist cooperates with the police (and one assumes it did in this case as well, given that Cuomo approached them about it “weeks ago”), then Craigslist actually helped the police catch these criminals. Does Cuomo blame AT&T after AT&T helps him get a wireptap in a criminal investigation? After all, AT&T provided the phone system, which allowed the criminal operations to thrive with impunity.

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Companies: craigslist

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Comments on “Cuomo Uses Craigslist To Bust Prostitution Ring… Still Blaming Craigslist”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“Does Cuomo blame AT&T after AT&T helps him get a wireptap in a criminal investigation?”

oh geez. It must be hard to get up and be so self-righteous every day.

The difference between AT&T and CL is the difference between a street and a giant sign board. They are both places you can stand, but only one of them markets end products. The people putting up the sign boards better know what they are marketing. After all, the CL ads are often extremely explicit, it isn’t like you have to be intelligent to figure out they are hookers and pimps.

Heck, if your opinion of Cuomo is that low and HE can figure out they are hookers, don’t you think the very smart people at CL could figure it out too?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The people putting up the sign boards better know what they are marketing.”

The thing is, Craigslist aren’t putting up the ads, nor are they marketing anything. They’re simply providing the space for others to do so. Just like AT&T, they don’t get involved in what users do on their network, so in the same way they should not be held responsible for misuse.

Anyway, your little rant doesn’t address the point being made – that Cuomo’s complaining about the exact same mechanism that allowed him to catch these people. Surely it’s better for such illegal activity to be out in the open and easily stopped rather than being underground and hard to detect?

“Heck, if your opinion of Cuomo is that low and HE can figure out they are hookers, don’t you think the very smart people at CL could figure it out too?”

It’s not Craigslist’s job to act as police, and by doing so they would risk removing safe harbour protections and increasing liability for their customers’ actions. Let the police do their job, with Craigslist acting as a valuable tool to catch the less savvy criminals.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Heck, if your opinion of Cuomo is that low and HE can figure out they are hookers, don’t you think the very smart people at CL could figure it out too?

then why don’t the cops just contact the posters via their ads, arrange a meet, and go arrest them?

the MPAA goons use public torrent trackers to gather info on potential infringers, so why can’t the cops just use CL to collect info on potential criminals?

criminality of any kind is always about low hanging fruit. criminals flock to easy solutions. this is why credit carder stings work, and why you shouldn’t shut down craigslist ads but use them as a tool instead.

Evil Mike says:

Re: Re:

(I would start with “you’re a fucking idiot” but that’s just not the right way to begin…)

AT&T is perfectly capable of monitoring every phone call and disconnecting the illegal ones!! All they’d need to do is hire enough people to monitor every phone call that goes through their network at any given time. Also, they’ll need to raise the phone-call rates in order to be able to provide salaries for all these people.

Seriously, are you really so short-sighted as to believe AT&T cannot stop illegal things happening on their OWN network? (You fucking idiot.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s not the responsibility of Craiglist to monitor what it’s users do with their system. Just as it’s not Google’s responsibility to police every web page they cache in their repositories. Plain and simple.

And if you are talking about smarts, which you are, shouldn’t the Police should be smart enough to realize Craigslist is literally handing them criminal to bust. Completely ridding CL of these “criminals” is just to push them deeper down into society, where the people who want to find them can, and Law Enforcement is still in the dark – as always.

I say screw it. Let Craigslist (in its own capacity) take down/remove/alter all forms of Eroticism on its site, and let the police hunt down the invisible. Then they can sit back and reminisce about the days when they simply had to log onto a website (CL), and literally search (and find!) criminals to bust. I mean come on, get your head out of your ass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are missing the point. The ads in question aren’t “for a good time call” sorts of things, they were more like:

“f/u/c/k m/y p/u/s/s/y $100.”

This isn’t a question of perhaps or maybe – the ads were blantant (and illegal) solicitations for prostitution. In the same manner that there would be no tolerance for a website selling murder for hire (“k/i/l/l y/o/u/r h/u/s/b/a/n/d”), there is no tolerance for this stuff either.

I am shocked that CL didn’t just get charged, without notice. The AGs were very nice with them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“f/u/c/k m/y p/u/s/s/y $100.”

I’ve seen similar things written on public bathroom walls. By your reasoning the bathroom owner should be charged with prostitution.

In the same manner that there would be no tolerance for a website selling murder for hire (“k/i/l/l y/o/u/r h/u/s/b/a/n/d”), there is no tolerance for this stuff either.

Except for one very big difference: Craigslist isn’t the one offering the illegal services. But why bother telling the truth, eh?

Tgeigs says:


“Unless craigslist gets serious about putting real protections in place, it will continued to be an environment where criminal operations thrive with impunity,”

Well….yeah, if decide to not go out there and collect the bad guys, then yeah, I guess you’re right Andy.

Here’s the real point that this fucktwat is missing: the fact that all of these “criminals” are congregating on this one site ought to be a GOOD thing for law enforcement. You’ve essentially virtually collected the criminals on one site. How can that not be an advantage to law enforcement. If they really wanted to catch these guys, they would RELAX the restrictions on CL, get them to all get on there together, USE technology and police work to physically locate them, and bust them all in one ginormous sting operation.

I’m invisioning something along the lines of, where all the terrorists in the world can come together and sell their terrory services, terror camp real estate, and tickets to the local goat kicking contests.

Gluefreak says:

Personally I'm thrilled about this

I hope Cuomo really cleans up these online services so smut can go back where it belongs — on the street and in the community. After all, how are folks on the wrong side of the “digital divide” supposed to find hookers nowadays? You can’t go looking in the Adult section of CL at the public library!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Personally I'm thrilled about this

Andrew Cuomo is nothing but a Mafia stooge!
Without La Cosa Nostra money he never would have gotten into politics.

The way he’s acting about Craigslist, I could just about believe that. I imagine organized crime really doesn’t like for prostitutes to work on their own, cutting out the middle men. They probably see CL as a threat and Cuomo appears to riding to their rescue.

Nelson Cruz (profile) says:

Mike, you stole my idea!

Hey Mike, good to see you went with the phone company argument I mentioned on my comment to the previous news about Craiglist. Fortunately that’s not covered by copyright, or I would sue you for every penny! 😀

It really is a double standard when phone companies and newspapers don’t get persecuted for doing the same as online services. And why? Because they are old, and people are used to them! It’s the new stuff people fear (H1N1 flu, anyone? biggest overreaction I ever saw!) and blame for everything.

Brooks (profile) says:

The logic here

These people believe, or at least profess to believe, that an open information market encourages or enables crime, and that if only we get rid of all information about these activities, the activities will stop.

It’s idiotic on the face of it, but the problem is that it’s a strong circular argument: from their point of view, discussion of crime creates crime. So discussion of discussion of crime is bad, and so on.

They can’t win on rationality, but they can grandstand on claims that anyone who wants to fix the problem is part of the problem.

Freedom says:

If he really cared...

If Cuomo really cared about the abuse that takes place with prostitution he’d work to legalize and regulate it. It is a win win for government – more revenue, decreased crime, and a better society overall (less abuse of the woman/girls in this industry).

I guess when you were religious glasses it is hard to see the obvious.


VRP says:

Re: If he really cared...

What could Cuomo be doing instead? Prosecuting violent criminals to the nth degree of the law?

Crime elimination projects aren’t on their agendas; crime “control” is.
Crime in America is must be allowed to continue unabated, if not promoted further.

Without it, we’d have lawyers out of work, as well as jailers, administrators, judges, bailiffs, probation officers, parole boards, policemen, victims service workers, doctors, etc., etc… You think unemployment is high now?
Just imagine what it would be w/o crime!


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If he really cared...

Prostitution is mostly just organized crime with a “sexy” face. It isn’t any different to most organizations than selling crack or protection rackets. In fact, it is all three, often victimizing the girls by feeding their drug habits and taking all their money.

That money doesn’t just go to buy 26 inch spinner rims for the pimp’s caddy either.

In the end, it’s all crime, and it’s all worth fighting. CL is far in the wrong. They aren’t a common carrier like the phone company or the mail. Comparing them is useless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: If he really cared...

CL is far in the wrong.

How so? Just because you say so? You sound a lot like Cuomo.

They aren’t a common carrier like the phone company or the mail.

Actually, they are quite similar in many ways. All three are ways people communicate with each other and none of them should be responsible for what other people are saying.

Comparing them is useless.

Comparisons are useful to highlight inconsistencies, illogical thought and hypocrisy. Perhaps that’s why you don’t like them.

Dave says:


Cuomo, whatever merits he may have, is really stupid when it comes to technology. Unfortunately, he’s popular, so he may be around for awhile. Obviously it’s not possible to be smart on everything, so the answer would be to get someone working for you that has tech savvy to research this beforehand. But no.

He’s like Spitzer 2.0 – running around trying to look like a crusader, and getting a lot of kills to pile up political points.

HWALL says:


All politicians are useless to an extent that is hard to put into words.

Technology is not responsible for prostitution. No sex is had over any communication device. It happens in a city (New York City – for example), and/or where Cuomo resides.

If he were serious and not just a latest fad bandwagon groupie he would stop all crime that occurs in real life, not in cyberspace.

Besides, hookers are necessary whereas politicians are not.

Ban the bureaucrats, save the hookers.

HWALL says:

That’s right, shame on Americans for having penises and vaginas and knowing how to use them and wanting to use them and believing in the free market and the laws of supply and demand and wanting only to improve their personal situation while pumping much needed cash into our economy.

Bad Americans, Bad penises, Bad vaginas, Bad capitalists and last but not least, shame on us all for even thinking about having a little fun without giving the government more of our hard earned money to waste.

Francis Burdett says:

Governor Cuomo

At this point there seems little likelihood that Attorney General Cuomo will not not defeat Governor Paterson in the Democratic primary for governor.

In fact I could see Paterson not running in 2010.

And of course, Cuomo’s favorables have only grown over the last few months.

It would appear that he is only two elections away from the governor’s mansion.

Thus from a _purely practical_ matter it does little good for anyone in the tech community to raise serious objections of the NY AG. It seems best to try to seek an accommodation with him.

I am sure that within his first term many of the same people that object to him now will be extolling his praises as a “true visionary”

Hephaestus (profile) says:

the point.....being.....

People commit crimes using the phone ….

People commit crimes using the US mail…..

People commit crimes using newspapers ….

People commit crime using Craigs list….


the execs at ATT dont get arrested ….

the local postal inspector doesnt get arrested….

the editor of the news paper doesnt get arrested….

……… Hey its a new thing (method of communication) lets arrest someone it doesnt matter that its being done else where…

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