Internet Censorship Bills Won't Help Catch Sex Traffickers

from the and-might-make-it-harder dept

In the most illuminating part of last week's House subcommittee hearing on the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865), Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent Russ Winkler explained how he uses online platforms—particularly Backpage—to fight online sex trafficking. Winkler painted a fascinating picture of agents on his team posing as johns, gaining trust with traffickers, and apprehending them. His testimony demonstrated how, with proper training and resources, law enforcement officers can navigate the online platforms where sex work takes place to find and stop traffickers, especially those trafficking children.

It was a rare moment of clarity in the debate over FOSTA and its sibling bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693). Since these bills were introduced, there's been little discussion of how law enforcement officers use the online platforms that the bills would threaten and how SESTA and FOSTA would make it more difficult for law enforcement to do its work. Winkler made it crystal clear how heavily his work relies on online platforms: "We've conducted operations and investigations involving numerous perpetrators and victims. The one constant we encounter in our investigations is use of online platforms like Backpage.com by buyers and sellers of underage sex."

There are some differences between SESTA and FOSTA, but their impact on the Internet would be the same. A website or other online platform could be liable under both civil and criminal law, at both the state and federal levels, for the sex trafficking activities of its users. Since it can be very difficult to determine whether a given posting online is in aid of sex trafficking, the bills would almost certainly force websites to become significantly more restrictive in what sorts of content they allow. Many victims of trafficking would likely be pushed off the Internet entirely, as well as sex workers who weren't being trafficked.

Winkler didn't show much interest in the idea of targeting online intermediaries—and neither did fellow witness Derri Smith of End Slavery Tennessee. Understandably, their focus isn't on holding Internet companies liable for user-generated content; it's on prosecuting the traffickers themselves and getting trafficking victims out of horrific situations.

When Rep. Marsha Blackburn asked both Tennessee panelists what they need to successfully fight trafficking, neither panelist mentioned proposals like SESTA and FOSTA at all. They discussed more important measures aimed at finding and stopping traffickers and supporting survivors. Winkler referenced changes in state law "to make it more punishable for both buyers and sellers of sex acts with juveniles."

Winkler isn't the only person who's tried to explain to Congress how law enforcement relies on online platforms to find and arrest sex traffickers. Numerous experts in trafficking have pointed out that the visibility of online platforms can both aid law enforcement in apprehending traffickers and provide safety to trafficking victims. Trafficking expert Alexandra Levy notes that the online platforms that FOSTA could undermine are the very platforms that law enforcement agencies rely on to fight trafficking:

While more visibility invites more business, it also increases the possibility that victims will be discovered by law enforcement, or anyone else looking for them. By extension, it also makes it more likely that the trafficker himself will be apprehended: exposure to customers necessarily means exposure to law enforcement.

Levy submitted a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, in advance of last week's hearing, urging the Subcommittee not to go forward with a bill (.pdf) that would make it harder to apprehend traffickers and expose trafficking victims to more danger.

Freedom Network USA—the nation's largest network of frontline organizations working to reduce trafficking—agrees (.pdf): "Internet sites provide a digital footprint that law enforcement can use to investigate trafficking into the sex trade, and to locate trafficking victims."

Four months after SESTA was introduced in Congress—and with SESTA and FOSTA's lists of cosponsors growing by the day—lawmakers continue to flock to these bills without questioning whether they provide a real solution to sex trafficking. These bills would do nothing to stop traffickers but would push marginalized voices off of the Internet, including those of trafficking victims themselves.

Reposted from EFF's Deeplinks blog


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 11:25am

    Politician: We must do something!
    Sane person: There is no need, the current legal framework already provide enough tools to deal with sex trafficking, both online and offline. And when they are online it's easier for law enforcement to find the criminals.
    Politician: But it doesn't bring me votes from ignorant people. WE MUST DO SOMETHING!

    Politicians, doing something since politics exist.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 11:57am

    Never let a crisis go to waste. Get that boot on that neck!

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 12:01pm

    Again: SO? Not intended to. It's to stop the advertising that causes MORE.

    Sheesh. When you Silicon Valley fiends think you've found an argument, you repeat it endlessly without variation.

    This is stupid. Like saying that locking up your car doesn't catch thieves. Sheesh.

    Tie this to prior piece: such evasion is why Silicon Valley is reviled.

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    • icon
      An Onymous Coward (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Again: SO? Not intended to. It's to stop the advertising that causes MORE.

      The advertising does not cause more. Consider that "you" repeat arguments in the very way to claim "Silicon Valley fiends" do. That's a symptom of sociopathy.

      Sex trafficking will occur no matter what laws are put in place, no matter what tangential products and services are made illegal in the fight against sex trafficking. It is already illegal. We do not need more laws that say "It's still illegal!" and drag down largely innocent services in an attempt to make sex trafficking more illegal than it already is.

      If you honestly cannot recognize the damage these bills would cause, both to the currently protected internet sites that allow us to post opinions such as this one and to the victims themselves then your world view is far too myopic to be involved in this issue.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re: Again: SO? Not intended to. It's to stop the advertising that causes MORE.

        "If you honestly cannot recognize the damage these bills would cause"

        Possibly their motives are elsewhere and this is simply the rational/justification/smokescreen of more nefarious activity.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 4:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Again: SO? Not intended to. It's to stop the advertising that causes MORE.

          Pretty much. It's already made clear that laws like SOPA, ACTA were completely unnecessary. out_of_the_blue's heroes lamented the death of SOPA by SWATting Megaupload, and did so via fudged warrants and illegal surveillance.

          At this point they're just fucking with the general populace. They don't need new laws added, they're just blurring the line to see what they can get away with and hope nobody notices.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 8:40pm

      Re: Again: SO? Not intended to. It's to stop the advertising that causes MORE.

      Thanks for admitting this law will do absolutely nothing to resolve the problem you claim it will to push it through the legal approval process.

      I don't know why you knuckle-draggers spend all this time, money and effort. It's not like you need extra laws. When things don't go your way you seize websites and SWAT people regardless. Ramming these laws in isn't going to make you seem any less of a douchebag, and it's certainly not cheap either.

      You can just admit to being an asshole without the shameless, threadbare attempt at PR and damage control. It's not like everyone would respect you any more.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 12:20pm

    "If I don't have to see it it doesn't exist."

    Bah, what do those 'experts' and 'law enforcement' know about the problem? I mean really, they spend all their time blundering about trying to find victims and the sex traffickers using that time-consuming and not-always successful 'investigation' crap, what kind of expertise does that provide when it comes to protecting victims of the sex trafficking trade?

    No, clearly the politicians, who are much more experienced in the field of solving problems, have the right idea. If you can't see a problem then it doesn't exist, and as such a bill that makes the victims/perpetrators much harder to find is one that will crack down on the problem, and once it's harder to find those involved I'm sure that they'll go out and get wholesome, legal jobs such that the problem will cease to be a bother once and for all.

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 4:45pm

      Re: "If I don't have to see it it doesn't exist."

      Exactly right. This is the out of sight, out of mind stupidity politicians are famous for. Seriously, any politician who suggests such a law should be tarred and feathered and tossed out of office right that same day. Their constituents can hold another election to attempt to find a smarter representative for the next term of Congress.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2017 @ 11:33pm

      Re: "If I don't have to see it it doesn't exist."

      If we are going that approach why not just prosecute people who report sex trafficking? After all the real harm is clearly hearing about this terrible crime and not it actually existing and happening. There we go problem solved!

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    icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 9 Dec 2017 @ 12:17am

    Classic

    The post is classic "not getting it".

    First, it's not net censorship. Nobody will be denied their legal right to speak. Rather, it removes extra protection that exists only for websites and not for any other type of publisher in the US.

    Second, and you have to pay attention here: There are not laws to catch sex traffickers. It's not the point.

    The point is a little more sublime, perhaps a little to nuanced for everyone to catch. It's called "making it more difficult to turn sex trafficking into money", by making it harder for clients and providers to meet up and exchange money for "service".

    Specifically, it's aimed at those who are not "in the know" having contacts to get this sort of thing without online help. Those people (mostly men, admittedly) who perhaps would never use a street hooker, but who might fall for an internet ad that makes it sound like a single girl offering her services for a few extra bucks, not realizing that it's just a sex slave controlled by a pimp who takes most or even all of the money.

    When you remove the financial benefits of pimping, when you lower the consumer pool for the service, then you maybe make it less likely that girls get caught up in this sort of problem.

    It doesn't catch any sex traffickers. It doesn't need to. We have laws for that already. We just need a small change to section 230 to stop allowing websites to promote the stuff (and profit indirectly from it) with impunity.

    It's nuanced, and from what I can tell, the silicon valley types aren't really good with nuance.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2017 @ 3:38am

      Re: Classic

      You keep on providing service provider with publisher. A publisher decides what they will make public from the content submitted to them, and therefore have some responsibility ensure that it is legal.

      A service provider on the other hand provides the service of allowing individuals to publish using their service, and are not required to check anything before publication. They are not being granted extra protection, bur are being granted explicit protection from the action of others.

      It is also worth considering the scale of things, a publisher publishes a tiny fraction of the material submitted to them,and most submissions are discarded without even being looked at. A service allow many people to publish many articles, without human intervention, (which these days includes accepting payment for service). Section 230 prevent services from being held liable for the actions of others. Policing should concentrate on catching the actual perpetrators of crime, and not try to make anybody who has a slight, and unknowing connection to a crime liable.

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        MyNameHere (profile), 9 Dec 2017 @ 7:27am

        Re: Re: Classic

        Let's take your point of view and give it a good real world looking over.

        Let's say you want to publish a news rag full of escort ads with photos and descriptions. You credit it, you edit it, and you give it to me, a printing company that also distributes newspapers to various point of sale locations, news boxes, and distributed them door to door.

        Can the person printing and distributing your work be held blameless for the content, even if it's clearly promoting an illegal activity?

        If notified by authorities that this material is illegal, should I, as the publisher, be able to say "some other guy gives it to me to print" and not disclose who that is? Should I be allowed to continue to print and distribute it, even knowing that the content it illegal, and that many of the ads are for paid sex with trafficked women, minors, or those who fall into both categories?

        Should a website have more protection that the printer and distributor? Do you honestly think they would be able to stand in court and say "we aren't liable, we don't know who writes it and purposely delete or phone records hourly to assure that we don't"?

        Think about it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2017 @ 8:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Classic

          Liability, which applies with section 230 in place, only starts if the site fails to respond to notification of the actual illegal content, and not the mere presence of that content on their site. Under the current law, the site owners are liable if they are part of an illegal operation, but not if an illegal operation happens to use their services. There is a difference, which this proposed law is trying to eliminate.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2017 @ 6:12am

      Re: Classic

      Considering you treat reporting things like "die in a fire, Masnick" as censorship, you're not really qualified to argue on this point.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2017 @ 8:06am

      Re: Classic

      "Nobody will be denied their legal right to speak"

      It happens all the time, what are you going on about?
      Ohhhh, you mean as a result of this "bill".

      Yeah, this bill will make censorship much easier to accomplish and that is its goal, come on now - admit it. You know it is true. Your rational looks old and tired, perhaps it needs a vacation.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2017 @ 10:15am

      Re: Classic

      "the silicon valley types aren't really good with nuance."

      It doesn't matter how YOU interpret the law. It matters what the full scope of its interpretation will be. Nuance is one of multiple narrow scopes of a broad doctrine. SESTA is a broad scope interpretation of a previously defined narrow doctrine.

      Essentially this is an endowment to the justices to assign conspiracy charges to people who are run technical services the court doesn't understand. If you run any kind of public service communications system you can get locked up. Usenet for example (which still exists) could easily be considered a criminal enterprise by this law. TOR could easily be covered by it as well. IRC too. MMORPG's admins could be looking at criminal charges. Not to mention torrents.

      So Ajit declares war against the digital exercise of the 1st amendment. Congress follows up with an act of war against any non-mainstream communications service on the Internet.

      At some point you have to realize, this isn't about the law or the network. What they have a problem with is the people. If you build infrastructure that upholds the 1st amendment, even when they don't like it, YOU are a criminal. Welcomed to the club.

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        icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 9 Dec 2017 @ 5:04pm

        Re: Re: Classic

        "f you run any kind of public service communications system you can get locked up. Usenet for example (which still exists) could easily be considered a criminal enterprise by this law. TOR could easily be covered by it as well. IRC too. MMORPG's admins could be looking at criminal charges. Not to mention torrents. "

        Not really true.

        Usenet? Most usenet lawsuits and legal action end up in a pile on the floor, the distributed nature of the whole thing makes it very difficult to figure out who is even the source service. However, with fewer players in the field, it might be more possible. At the same time, if you are the one propagating alt.sex.minors.for.hire don't you think you deserve just a little responsibility for it?

        TOR? Not really. Like a VPN, TOR is not a content service, only a transport. Nothing in SESTA or other offered changes would suddenly make "transport" companies liable in any way.

        MMORPG? Not really. See, part of the SESTA rules requires forms of knowledge and support. That someone happens to post a message on your service doesn't suddenly create either of those things.

        However, if an MMORPG site had a forum and created a "Pedophile chat here" area, then yes, they would have knowledge and would be offering support.

        "So Ajit declares war against the digital exercise of the 1st amendment. Congress follows up with an act of war against any non-mainstream communications service on the Internet."

        You just rattled the tin foil a little too hard, I can hear it from here.

        Seriously Ajit Pai isn't doing anything for or against the 1st amendment. You had free speech online before Title II, and you will have it after it's gone. Any ISP silly enough to start blocking broad swaths of legal speech will find themselves facing the FTC and consumer backlash. No local politician, no State office, and no congress critter would stand in the way of new competition to replace ISPs who fail to meet the minimum standards of free speech.

        There is no problem supporting the 1st amendment. However, free speech never means "any speech", there are plenty of types of speech that are not generally protected by the first. Quite simply, the 1st amendment isn't an absolute, even it has limits.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2017 @ 6:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Classic

          " if you are the one propagating alt.sex.minors.for.hire don't you think you deserve just a little responsibility for it?"

          If your wildcarding alt in your active file, (which is typical since groups come and go all the time) then the host relaying the message isn't necessarily the one that configured the group. Which is a exactly the kind of "nuance" that judges have historically found to be irrelevant by nothing more than decree.

          Which brings us to:

          "knowledge and support"

          Did you consider that bad things were possibly going to happen? Yep. (knowledge established)

          Did you do anything to stop it? Nope.
          (support established)

          Running a usenet server just landed you in jail.

          The more bytes you sling the more exposed you are. The only way to keep up is to hire a large full time moderation staff. Who BTW, will experience psychological trauma just doing their job.

          It isn't an accident that all the social media sites outsource that kind of work to countries that have shitty workers rights laws. Your compelling people who wouldn't be exposed to this content under normal circumstances, to be exposed to it. Compliance will cause trauma to those tasked with that compliance.

          "Like a VPN, TOR is not a content service,"

          I have yet to see a judicial decision where a judge competently articulated the difference.

          "You had free speech online before Title II, and you will have it after it's gone."

          Your not referring to a policy decision, but a policy that was compelled previously by technical limitations. Those limitations have been overcome. Lack of capability to perpetrating abuse previously, doesn't mean that capability to abuse hasn't improved.

          "no congress critter would stand in the way of new competition"

          What country are _you_ talking about? Just wondering.

          SESTA isn't about the speakers, it is about service providers. And while you presume that content providers are the only ones effected, I have seen no part of this law that is so constrained. And even if it is, it completely screws whosoever is able to use computational leverage to their advantage.

          One guy can run a site that processes hundreds of thousands of messages. Advertising revenue margins are extremely slim. What your talking about, is the regulatory obliteration of any new company that finds new ways to pass heavy traffic with less man-power. Because with SESTA the upper limit to traffic is defined by moderation capabilities. And that has a much higher demand on startup capital. This will drastically increase barrier to entry for many business models.

          So this law forces companies to recruit people and then traumatize them. Further it puts the responsibility for law enforcement in the hands of people who have no training in the execution of the law, AND makes them liable for that execution. Third it puts the responsibility for determining what is, and isn't a reasonable amount of due diligence on the part of system administrators, in the hands of justices who have no competence or training in the disposition of that duty.

          If they knew how to execute this law, they wouldn't have written it that way. Which is how you know that it is going to be executed in whatever way the local authority wants to execute it. Which means that it is going to be used for shake downs and vendettas, with almost no consideration for the problem it was written to address.

          But your right. I couldn't possibly have seen this kind of vain disregard for reality before. It will all be OK. Of course that's what they said to their kids when they were sewing stars of David on their coats in 1940. "It's all going to be OK."

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 1:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

            So this law forces companies to recruit people and then traumatize them. Further it puts the responsibility for law enforcement in the hands of people who have no training in the execution of the law, AND makes them liable for that execution.

            Which is why those "enforcing" the "law" have by and large outsourced their work to robots. The fact that a robot, machine or program is functioning as the middleman allows them free rein to scream "Good faith! Good faith! You can't touch me, lalalalalala!" when they hit a false flag.

            It's why the government seized Dajaz1.com, shut it down for five years under the guise of antipiracy enforcement, then quietly restored access to it after having no evidence proving they were facilitating piracy or court case to accuse them of such - because there would be no consequences in doing so.

            It's also why the RIAA called it a "victory" for antipiracy. A website was shut down, for the minimal effort of an alleged accusation, over an extended period of time. And after the website was found innocent, those who brought forth the accusation suffered absolutely no consequences (aside from rational people trusting them a little less). They learned that anything can be shut down and they can get away with it so long as they fellate the right people hard enough.

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          • icon
            MyNameHere (profile), 10 Dec 2017 @ 2:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

            I am trying not to chuckle, you worked so hard!

            If you run a Usenet server, you always run the risk of getting in trouble because you allow other people to choose what you publish and distribute. If you choose to accept all groups at all times, then you have made a fairly solid mistake. Even then, have you reached the level of actual knowledge? It's doubtful.

            However, if you are distributing the group I mentioned before, and using it in your marketing material to attract new users, then you clearly have knowledge.

            Read the two laws, and think about how it really applies. Take your own examples, and try running them down the list until you hit "guilty". The bar is a whole lot higher than you think.

            "SESTA isn't about the speakers, it is about service providers. "

            Actually, SESTA is about internet sites being able to profit from supporting sex trafficking and hiding behind section 230 to do it. It's about them having a protection that no other publisher or distributor has.

            "But your right. I couldn't possibly have seen this kind of vain disregard for reality before. It will all be OK. Of course that's what they said to their kids when they were sewing stars of David on their coats in 1940. "It's all going to be OK.""

            ... and you went there. Took you long enough! Yes, clearly, by trying to stop websites from running ads for women being sold for sex against their will, everyone is Hitler. Awesome. Right. That's not just a slippery slope argument, thats a sheer cliff. Can you find a way to say that section 230 stops global warming and gets rid of pollution too?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 3:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

              >If you run a Usenet server, you always run the risk of getting in trouble because you allow other people to choose what you publish and distribute.

              Which is no different from Twitter,Facebook, Blogger, YouTube etc. They are all platforms which allow people to choose what they want published and which those platforms distribute, and which is why the likes of SESTA are bad laws going after the wrong targets.

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              • icon
                MyNameHere (profile), 10 Dec 2017 @ 7:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                Incorrect.

                Part of the problem of Usenet is "grouping". alt.sex.meet.minors.for.sex is a problem. It's a group created by someone somewhere in the world and propagated to your usenet server, where you effectively publish it again. You cannot easily control it.

                Start a facebook group called "underaged hookers" and see how long it lasts.

                Open a new blog on blogger or wordpress called "how to meet 14 year old sex slaves for low price fun", and see how long it lasts.

                Open alt.sex.fuck.a.minor and it might still be there in 20 years.

                SESTA goes after a very narrow group of people. Read the law. It doesn't even kick in until someone violates sex trafficking laws. It's not random.

                It goes after those who, knowing or understanding that someone is violating the law, chooses to continue to maintain the posts and the posting area because it's good for their site, business, profit, whatever.

                They aren't after a site because a spammer posted something stupid that you removed 12 hours later.

                Read the law.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 7:57am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                  You keep on confusing moderated publication, where where submission thing like "alt.sex.meet.minors.for.sex" can be detected and blocked before publication, and operating a service, where the service owner provides capabilities without examining how they are used. Why should a site owner, who did not see such a group being created be held liable for its content. A better approach is for law enforcement to use the postings in such a group to catch the real criminals, rather than criminalizing someone who is only vaguely and incidentally associated with the actual crime.

                  In fact your proposals illustrate the problem with SESTA, using the existence of suggestive groupings as meaning the site owner supports those groups. By doing so, you force moderation of all content, and that destroys most of the Internet because volume of posting will overwhelm any strict moderation.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 10:58am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                    "rather than criminalizing someone who is only vaguely and incidentally associated with the actual crime."

                    Exactly. This thing is going to be used to force companies to become snitches under penalty of jail time, over content they were probably not even aware of. It's primary use is going to be for shaking down service providers that switch and host content that the DOJ doesn't like.

                    They'll show up and say "snitch for us, or your going to jail with SESTA". And if you comply, then the snitching becomes an automated feed over an overlay network, and you whole service is just one big speech snuffler for the FBI.

                    Thats how they do it in the big boy ISP world. SESTA is just a way to push, what used to be done with a handshake between the state and some oligarchs, down into the smaller market sectors.

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                  • icon
                    MyNameHere (profile), 10 Dec 2017 @ 3:10pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                    " A better approach is for law enforcement to use the postings in such a group to catch the real criminals, rather than criminalizing someone who is only vaguely and incidentally associated with the actual crime."

                    The lack of nuance is key here.

                    Ask yourself a question of greater harm: If it takes hours, days, weeks, to "solve" a single case of prostitution, and many of them end up at dead ends with only a single girl and not much else, is that the best way to take money out of the game and make it less desirable to put girls in this position to start with?

                    Understand that, in the US, even if the police "know" that there is underage or sex trafficking going on, they need to build a case ("due process"). That means they just can't take a list of names and bust down doors.

                    Oh, and that even assumes they have a list of names. What they likely have is burner phone numbers, mastercard gift cards, and so on.

                    So they have to actually get in contact, try to get them to say something incriminating, send someone in with a wire, get the girl to say something incriminating, and then they can arrest HER, and not the pimp. If they are lucky, she will turn in her pimp and admit her situation, most won't because the pimp holds leverage over them (drugs, threats, family threats, etc).

                    Most girls of age, charged with prostitution, get a fine or "time served" that they spent overnight in jail waiting for arraignment. Beyond arraignment, the case might not get to trial for months.

                    On the other hand, you can work to make it much harder for the public to get access to the girls. You can make it so that they pimps have to be much more open and overt about trying to attract customers, in a manner that may expose them more. Making it so that they cannot easily and anonymously promote their hookers is a good start, don't you think?

                    Making it harder for the public to get access changes the economics and makes it less profitable to pimp. It makes the them have to have a bigger plan, one that will fail more often.

                    There is no one solution - but letting them run an open marketplace and keeping law enforcement tied down with long legal processes isn't a good mix.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 4:14pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                      Pushing the problem out of sight does not solve it, and both the girls who are caught up in sex trafficking, and those who try to combat it are against SESTA.

                      Meanwhile you have not addressed the issue of offering a service making the service provider criminally liable for somebody else abusing their service. Your claim that the existence of "alt.sex.." making them liable assumes that they look for such groups and block them, rather than just connect to other Usenet servers and relay the content. That is forcing people to either curate all groups, or not offer the service.

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                      • icon
                        MyNameHere (profile), 10 Dec 2017 @ 10:06pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                        "Pushing the problem out of sight does not solve it, and both the girls who are caught up in sex trafficking, and those who try to combat it are against SESTA."

                        That's the point. It's not about solving the problem. It is exactly about removing the problem from the sight of people who are searching for the very service.

                        "Your claim that the existence of "alt.sex.." making them liable assumes that they look for such groups and block them, rather than just connect to other Usenet servers and relay the content. That is forcing people to either curate all groups, or not offer the service."

                        Let's put it in simple terms. Let's say you are a newsagent, you have a magazine and newspaper shop (old fashioned, I admit). You stock magazines that are created by, written by, published by, and distributed by others. You just toss them on the shelf and sell them on. You are just, to use your term, connecting people to the magazines they want.

                        Now, let's say someone sends you 100 copies of "paedo sex dating" magazine. If you sell it on, and someone twigs onto it, then you are very likely to get a visit from the cops. You are not the publisher, writer, creator, and you had absolutely no influence in the content - you aren't curating, you are just moving data, right?

                        Nobody wants to explain why a website operator should be less liable than a news agent.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 10:33pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                          Same reason why you don't think DMCA abuses or police forcing suspects to masturbate should be punishable.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2017 @ 3:10am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

                          Nobody wants to explain why a website operator should be less liable than a news agent.

                          Its been explained to you several times, it is the difference between providing a service, like most web sites do, and providing curated contents like newspapers do. Also, web sites are not news agents, deciding what things they will publish, and by the way they are not liable for adverts in the publications they carry. The first allows anybody to publish without them per-vetting what is published, the latter looks at everything that they publish, before it is published.

                          Car manufacturers make cars capable of speeding, and are not responsible for people speeding, and web site service providers give people the means of publishing and are not responsible for what those people publish. Neither are controlling what people do with what they offer. Also, the value of the web is that it allows people to publish without having to get someone to permit them to publish.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 6:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Classic

              It doesn't matter how YOU interpret it. It matters how it is going to be interpreted by opportunistic DOJ prosecutors, and corrupt federal judges operating at the behest of somebody like Trump, or HRC.

              "I am trying not to chuckle, you worked so hard!"

              I understand your trying to get a rise. But I also understand exactly what I'm looking at without any doubt or reservation. And I look forward to working with others to correct it through direct action.

              There seems to be this bizarre national sense that all tech workers are a bunch of pussies who are unwilling to get physical about civil rights. Perhaps the past decades worth of relentless propaganda pushing that message has something to do with it.

              The thing is, that your attitude directly coincides with a recent broad shift in advertising tone. So it leaves me wondering whether your chickenshit antagonism is your own, or whether you are just so lacking in self awareness that you socket puppet without getting paid for it. Sucker.

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

  • icon
    Silver Fang (profile), 9 Dec 2017 @ 6:59pm

    Just a blind to censor

    It's just an excuse to censor the Net. It's what they've always wanted to do. All they need to do is dress it up as a way to fight crime/terrorism or a way to protect "the children" and people will fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 6:48am

      Re: Just a blind to censor

      If these people were really concerned about fighting crime they would step down and admit their transgressions. They call themselves leaders and yet they do not lead.

      In a bizarre segment, Fox & Friends recently suggested that Alabama republican voters would elect Roy Moore "for the kids".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 11:03am

    Copyright,
    children,
    terrorism,
    any sort of "crime",
    these are the excuses to censor the Internet.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2018 @ 9:36am

    Virtually 100% of "sex trafficking" cases are prostitutes pointing fingers at a random man with police pointing guns at their heads.

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


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