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  • Geebo 9:00 am on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Communications Decency Act, ,   

    When it comes to ‘Don’t be evil’, Google gives Backpage a pass 

    When it comes to 'Don't be evil', Google gives Backpage a pass

    Nicholas Kristof, of the New York Times, is one of the few nationally known journalists who has continually reported on the transgressions of Backpage when it comes to Backpage’s part in the sex trade. In one of his recent columns, Kristoff goes after an even bigger fish in the polluted waters of internet sex trafficking, Google. The Mountain View, California, search king opposes the proposed amendments to the Communications Decency Act that would remove the protections from prosecution that sites like Backpage have been hiding behind, otherwise known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

    Kristoff claims that Google has an unfounded fear when it comes to their argument of a slippery slope with Google claiming the new amendment to the CDA could open them up to frivolous lawsuits. However, a spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited children points out the new legislation is crafted in such a way that it only applies to those sites which are directly receiving money from traffickers.

    “This bill only impacts bad-actor websites,” notes Yiota Souras, general counsel at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “You don’t inadvertently traffic a child.”

    Yet the majority of Silicon Valley is opposing the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act mostly out of fear that it will somehow affect their right to free speech, which couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no slippery slope here. There is no downside. I think what the mostly insular tech community forgets is there are actual people being trafficked and sold into sexual slavery on sites like Backpage and aren’t just faceless pixels.

    Instead of worrying about Backpage’s ‘freedom of speech’ these tech companies should be more worried about the fact that many of the women and girls being trafficked on Backpage have no freedom at all in a country that prides itself on liberty.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on August 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Communications Decency Act, , Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017   

    Senate submits amendment to CDA to go after human trafficking websites 

    Senate submits amendment to CDA to go after human trafficking websites

    Yesterday, the Senate submitted a bill that would add an amendment to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that would specifically remove the protection sites like Backpage have hidden behind so they could continue to facilitate the trafficking of women and children in their ads. The bill, sponsored by Ohio Senator Rob Portman, is called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 and would essentially leave the CDA intact as it is except for websites who knowingly engage in sex trafficking. In the Senate’s own investigations, they believe Backpage knowingly edited ads sent to them in order to avoid further scrutiny by law enforcement and the government.

    This couldn’t come soon enough as the victims of sex trafficking have been blocked multiple times from seeking justice against Backpage by the outdated CDA. The Communications Decency Act is 21 years old. The CDA was passed during a time when most of us weren’t even on the internet and the only way you could access it was over a dial-up connection on an expensive PC. Since that time, the internet has grown exponentially and the technology used to access it has vastly exceeded any expectations we had of it in 1996. Yet the CDA has largely remained the same, failing to advance along with the times.

    Those who think this new amendment may restrict free speech on the internet couldn’t be further from the truth. The new bill has language in it which specifically targets sex trafficking sites. According to the Washington Post

    The proposed law would clarify that Section 230 [of the CDA] does not preclude prosecution of state or federal criminal laws dealing with sex trafficking of children; does not prohibit civil suits related to sex trafficking; and ensures federal liability for publishing information designed to facilitate sex trafficking.

    So yes, we can have a free and open internet where the rights of trafficking victims are recognized and their facilitators are punished.

     
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