Backpage Tells Attorneys General That They Won't Give In To Censorship Demand
from the good-for-them dept
On Tuesday, we wrote about how a group of grandstanding state attorneys general had moved on from blaming Craigslist for the actions of its users, now that they had successfully censored that site, and began demanding similar censorship for Backpage.com, the online classifieds from Village Voice Media. As a few people have sent in, Backpage does not seem interested in backing down, posting a public response and pointing out that they are operating perfectly in accordance with the law, that even the AGs admit that Backpage cooperates with law enforcement, and that the AGs would be better served going after those actually involved in the activities, rather than blaming third parties:
While no system is perfect, even the AGs acknowledge Backpage.com’s good-faith cooperation with law enforcement.
In the last two years, Backpage.com users have posted 58 million ads and only 6 million in the adult services section. Federal and state authorities have called on Backpage.com to testify in just five cases involving alleged abuse of underage persons. Backpage.com continues to respond to valid subpoenas from law enforcement officials whose job it is to investigate, apprehend and prosecute criminals who wrongfully post illegal ads and victimize others.
Backpage.com is disappointed that the AGs have determined to shift blame from criminal predators to a legal business operator in an apparent attempt to capitalize on political opportunity during the election season.
They also note: “Censorship will not create public safety nor will it rid the world of exploitation.”
Of course, rather than recognizing any of this and maybe backing down, Connecticut Attorney General (and Senate candidate) Richard Blumenthal responded in typically misleading fashion:
“I am deeply disappointed by this unfortunate and unfounded resistance to taking common-sense steps toward protecting women and children. I am hopeful that the company will reconsider its resistance and do the right thing. I will consult with my fellow attorneys general and consider possible next steps.”
Notice that he does not respond to any of the actual points raised. He does not respond to the fact that shutting down these services won’t do anything to help protect women and children and will almost certainly make the problem worse. He just pretends that the world is the exact opposite of what it is. It’s as if Richard Blumenthal thinks that everyone out there is incredibly dumb and believes the world works as he says it does, rather than how it actually works.