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  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carl Ferrer,   

    What is Backpage hiding now? 

    What is Backpage hiding now?

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

    Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected an appeal by legally embattled classifieds site Backpage. Backpage had asked the court that the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee should either return, destroy, or refrain from publishing documents the subcommittee received in its investigation into Backpage. Previously a Senate subcommittee had stated that Backpage allegedly had moderators edit ads for prostitution to make them appear more legitimate by having them remove certain keywords that would indicate the person in the ad may be under 18.

    Backpage’s behavior has been more than suspicious since the Senate investigation into alleged criminal acts had started. At first Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer completely ignored a Congressional subpoena stating that business he had overseas was more important. Then when Ferrer finally did appear before the Senate subcommittee there was a lot of fifth amendment pleading. This isn’t even taking into account that Ferrer and Backpage founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are all facing criminal charges in the state of California on pimping and money laundering charges.

    So now, the question has to be asked, what is in Backpage’s seized records that they are so afraid of being made public? Is it the proverbial smoking gun that will definitively show that Backpage was knowingly complicit in the sexual slavery of countless women and girls or will it show they were involved in other criminal activity, such as money laundering, because of their involvement in nationwide human trafficking? Lastly, if any type of information like this is revealed, will it finally get the public to wake up to the atrocities Backpage has allegedly been involved in just so they could make a few hundred million dollars?

     
  • Geebo 10:56 am on January 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carl Ferrer, ,   

    Backpage sued by underage trafficking victims and why these suits are different 

    Backpage sued by underage trafficking victims and why these suits are different

    Yesterday, multiple lawsuits were filed against Backpage in four different states by victims who were trafficked on Backpage for sex while they were underage. At the times these victims were being trafficked they ranged in ages from 14 to 17. The suits, filed in California, Alabama, Texas, and Washington, claim that Backpage knowingly profited from the trade of underage girls on its website.

    Lawsuits like these are nothing new for Backpage. Two of the more newsworthy lawsuits were filed in Massachusetts and Washington, but unfortunately those lawsuits were defeated in the courts. These new lawsuits are different that their predecessors for two reasons. The first is the fact that Backpage heads Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey and James Larkin are being named in the suit. The second reason is that these are the first suits being filed after the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that Backpage allegedly edits their ads to make the victims appear of age. Previously the Communications Decency Act of 1996 protected Backpage in these suits because the CDA states that a website’s owner is not criminally responsible for the content that their users post. However, if Backpage is editing the ads that their users post, that could render their CDA defense null and void.

    Much has been made in the news about how Backpage shut down their adult section only to have it turn out that the trafficking ads have migrated to the personals section where Backpage is still making money from them. Since Backpage only cares about the money they make, maybe these lawsuits will finally strike a blow against them that will finally make them reconsider their business model of slavery.

     
  • Geebo 11:18 am on October 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carl Ferrer,   

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer arrested on sex trafficking charges 

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer arrested on sex trafficking charges

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

    Yesterday, Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested on prostitution and child prostitution charges after departing a flight from Amsterdam at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The warrant, out of the state of California, issued by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, alleges that 99% of Backpage’s revenue comes from the money it makes off of prostitution ads. Along with Ferrer’s arrest, the offices of Backpage in Dallas were also raided and arrest warrants have been issued for Backpage shareholders Michael Lacey and James Larkin. They’re being charged with conspiracy to commit pimping. Lacey and Larkin were Backpage’s founders and at one time its owners.

    While this may appear to be a victory for the victims of sex trafficking, One has to wonder how this will affect the Senate investigation into Backpage? To date, Backpage has caught just about every legal lucky break in their controversial history. However, those were either for legislative or civil lawsuit issues. Will these criminal charges stick? Many hope they do but it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the charges were somehow to be dismissed.

     
  • Geebo 9:56 am on September 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carl Ferrer,   

    Supreme Court rules Backpage must turn over sex trafficking records 

    Supreme Court rules Backpage must turn over sex trafficking records

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to block a Senate subpoena that had requested Backpage turn over its internal records regarding its alleged role in online prostitution and sex trafficking. In case you haven’t been following the story, back in August, a federal judge gave Backpage ten days to turn over its records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The subcommittee has been investigating Backpage for some time and has been attempting to get these records for almost a year. Backpage was given a stay after that ruling, but soon afterwards the stay was lifted. This prompted Backpage to appeal to the Supreme Court, which as was just mentioned refused to block the subpoena. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes Backpage’s deadline to turn over records effective immediately.

    Backpage claims that they are being cooperative withe the Senate’s request but would like to receive more time to gather all the records requested.

    Backpage lawyers said Tuesday night they were turning over more than 38,000 pages immediately, but they also filed a request with the judge asking for a delay in the deadline.

    The lawyers said complying with Congress’ request that personally identifying data be deleted will take longer. They said they’ve already spent nearly 3,000 hours of work, involving 34 lawyers, to try to process information.

    “The volume of documents and data required to be processed, reviewed, redacted and logged renders production of every last responsive document and complete privilege logs by September 13, 2016 impossible regardless of best efforts,” the company’s lawyers said, adding that they hoped the tens of thousands of pages they were producing would be evidence of good faith.

    Congressional lawyers have said they would oppose any such request.

    Whether this will be an eventual legal victory for the victims of Backapage’s alleged role in US sex trafficking remains to be seen as Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer has already shown to be sort of a slippery eel by previously fleeing the country when subpoenaed to appear before the Senate. However, it does appear, for now, that the victims are one step closer to finally receiving the justice they deserve.

     
  • Geebo 6:31 pm on September 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carl Ferrer,   

    Backpage loses free speech argument in bid to keep alleged sex trafficking records private 

    Backpage loses free speech argument in bid to keep alleged sex trafficking records private

    In case you haven’t been following the story of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, it’s been a long and sordid one. Late last year, Mr. Ferrer was subpoenaed to appear before the US Senate in order to testify about Backpage’s alleged role in online sex trafficking. Virtually thumbing his nose at Congress, Mr. Ferrer failed to appear, claiming that business in Amsterdam was more pressing. This led to the senate not only holding Backpage and Ferrer in contempt, but they were the first entities to be sued by the Senate in over 20 years in an attempt to gain access to Backpage’s internal records. Since the controversy surrounding Backpage started, they’ve always claimed that they are immune from prosecution under the First Amendment.

    Last month a federal judge rejected Backpage’s argument and ordered them to turn over their internal records. These records may contain evidence that Backapge edited prostitution ads so they would appear legal. Backpage was given a stay to make a case for themselves, but today the apopeals court found Backpage’s argument lacking and reinstated the judge’s order. This means that Backpage has 10 days to turn over all of their records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The judge who initially ruled had previously stated that if this meant every email that Backpage had than so be it.

    This could be the beginning of the end for the controversial classifieds site. It’s been claimed that not only does Backpage make the majority of its money from prostitution ads, but that they’re also responsible for 82% of all online prostitution in the US. Today’s ruling was not a blow against free speech, this was a victory for the freedom of all the woman and children who have been, and currently still are, sold into sexual slavery on Backpage.

     
  • Geebo 10:03 am on July 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Artem Vaulin, , Carl Ferrer, , KAT, Kickass Torrents,   

    US seizure of top piracy site shows government’s misguided priorities 

    US seizure of top piracy site shows government's misguided priorities

    Yesterday, in a joint effort between Homeland Security, Facebook, Apple and the Polish Government, among others, 30-year-old Ukrainian citizen Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland and is awaiting extradition to the United States. With that kind of concerted effort behind it you would think that he must be some kind of terrorist, or drug lord, or some huge figurehead in international organized crime. He’s none of those actually, but what he is believed to be is the owner of a website that allows its users to obtain pirated works such as movies, music and TV shows. Vaulin is believed to be, by US authorities, the owner of a site called Kickass Torrents (KAT). KAT doesn’t actually host any of the pirated works. What they do host are what’s known as torrent files. These are files that allow the users of KAT to collectively share the pirated works between each other. I realize that’s largely arguing semantics, but it dispels a myth that these pirate sites host the actual pirated works.

    So why does any of this matter? Even though no statement has been made to the effect, one could easily surmise that this massive operation on the part of the US Government came from pressure from the entertainment industry, which Homeland Security estimates that they’re losing $1 billion a year because of KAT. In a sense, it seems like the government is bowing to pressure from people who make things like trashy reality shows.

    Now I know the ‘Why don’t you go after the real criminals’ argument is a specious one, because you would want your law enforcement to pursue all criminals, but couldn’t the government’s resources and manpower be better used? For example, take Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer. Mr. Ferrer was called to testify before Congress about Backpage’s role in the sex trafficking of women and children in our country. Instead, Mr, Ferrer left for the Netherlands ‘on business’. Since that time not only has Congress held him in contempt but he and Backpage are being sued by Congress. Why is there no contingent of government and corporate forces uniting to bring Mr. Ferrer before Congress? It’s simple really. The victims of sex trafficking have no lobbying group behind them. There’s no money to be made by politicians for trying to stop the flood of human trafficking that Backpage allegedly facilitates. On the other hand the entertainment industry has very deep pockets for our friends in Washington.

    So sorry to all the victims of Backpage, it seems you can’t afford justice.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on June 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carl Ferrer,   

    Guest Post: 36 Hours For Removal: Why does Backpage get a pass when Facebook doesn’t? 

    Guest Post: 36 Hours For Removal: Why does Backpage get a pass when Facebook doesn’t?

    (Guest post from crime blogger Trench Reynolds)

    43-year-old Jennifer Streit-Spears was recently stabbed to death. Her boyfriend and alleged killer, 45-year-old Kenneth Alan Amyx, posted a picture of her dead body on her own Facebook account. Members of Streit-Spears’ family tried to get Facebook to remove the photo off of her profile but the photo remained on her profile for 36 hours. Facebook offered the following explanation….

    “Facebook has long been a place where people share their experiences and raise awareness about important issues,” a rep told the newspaper. “Sometimes, those experiences and issues involve violence and graphic images of public interest or concern.”

    While Jennifer Streit-Spears’ murder is indeed tragic and the length of time it took to remove her photo unfortunate, Facebook was at least able to provide a somewhat reasonable explanation as to why it took them so long to remove the photo.

    Recently ABC News’ Nightline did an expose on Backpage and their CEO Carl Ferrer. In case you haven’t heard, Ferrer was called to appear before the US Congress to explains his website’s role in online prostitution and human trafficking but Ferrer refused to appear. Not only has Congress held Ferrer in contempt but they’re currently suing Backpage in order to compel them to turn over records that may show Backpage’s complicity in the sex trade.

    During their investigation of Ferrer, Nightline placed an ad on Backpage, with police assistance, that was blatantly advertising a prostitute who was underage. Here’s how it was reported by Nightline…

    Det. Lincoln posted an ad for an 18-year-old escort, adding in a line that said she had “a younger friend” who was available as well. Minutes after he posted the ad, calls and texts started streaming in. The ad was up and running.

    The ad remained up for about 36 hours, leading to dozens of phone calls, texts and even an arrest captured on “Nightline’s” cameras. The ad was only taken down after “Nightline” sent an anonymous email to Backpage’s dedicated email address for suspected child trafficking. It took eight hours to receive a response, which said to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC. The ad was taken down shortly after Backpage’s email response was sent.

    Backpage later told “Nightline” in a statement that even though they thought that the ad did not clearly advertise that a girl under 18 was involved, their moderators did take it down and they say they banned the account. They also reported the ad to NCMEC.

    So according to Backpage an 18-year-old prostitute who says that she has a younger friend isn’t advertising a girl who was under 18. Either they have no concept of the term ‘younger’ or they have abysmal math skills.

    Facebook provides a reasonable explanation as to why a murder victim’s picture stayed up for 36 hours and the media is all over it. Backpage gives what can be best described as a half-hearted excuse as to why an ad for child prostitution stays up on their website for 36 hours and barely anyone bats an eyelash.

    Granted that the child prostitute in this case was fictitious, but how many girls have been peddled on Backpage without them even taking a second look at the ad once they have their money?

    These two stories are equally egregious yet only one of them got the media attention that they both deserved. How many women and children have to be sold into sexual slavery in not just our country but most of our cities and towns before we finally decide to speak out about it? There’s been too many victims of Backpage already.


    Thanks Trench. Please also watch the following report from Nightline about Backpage’s involvement in the sex trade and the victims it has left behind.

     
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