Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thune's amendment to SESTA seen as unworkable by EFF


Senator John Thune (R-SD) has floated an amendment t SESTA (S 1693) that would criminalize online platforms that “assist, support, of facilitate” sex trafficking, and reinforce “state of mind” provisions.  The “manager’s amendment” is explained in an EFF article Nov. 3 by Sophia Cope.
  
    

Thune seems to believe his amendment will make the law less of a problem for “legitimate” hosts and forums, as they purport to implement what Thune calls a “knowing” standard. 

(See correlated post today on my main "BillBoushka" blog.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Anthony Weiner begins sentence for criminal behavior that really had indirect unintended consequences for all "the people"


Former Congressman Anthony Weiner was  sentenced to 21 months in prison for a few instances of receiving or transmitting obscene images with a minor under 16, in early 2016.  Some of the images had been transmitted with apps that normally delete images after viewing.

He will also have three years of supervised release and have to register as a sex offender. CNN
CNN ran the story Sept. 25 here

The Huffington Post reported on Nov. 6 that he had reported to start his sentence at a federal “treatment center” in Massachusetts.

Weiner’s activities wound up leading to complications during the last two weeks of the 2016 regarding the discovery of emails from Hillary Clinton to his ex wife.  Had this not happened. Hillary might have won the election.

  

So Weiner’s conduct had accidental consequences that affected many people. This is a true example of where criminal justice is for “the people” and not just one “victim”. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Washington DC not tracking teachers with criminal records


Scott McFarland of NBC Washington reports on Washington DC’s lack of a system to keep known sex offenders from resuming teaching in Washington DC.  Apparently the City is unreliable in using the MASDTEC database, and other states might not find out why a teacher was dismissed. e story aired on Wednesday Oct. 11, here.

There seem to be many problems with teacher background checks.  Stories about teachers started to increase around 2006, after NBC aired its series “To Catch a Predator” with Chris Hansen.  Most offenders were heterosexual. 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Sex trafficking laws can catch unknowing bystanders


While Backpage and Section 230 continue to provide legal controversy, zealous prosecution of those who incidentally, and perhaps inadvertently, assist sex trafficking of minors becomes a problem.
  
Truthout, in a long piece by Lauren Walker, describes a federal conviction of a young woman who allowed an underage minor sex worker in her mother’s apartment to change clothes and apparently have a sex act, as guilty of trafficking and is on a sex offender registry for life (link).   The young woman says she was told that the other girl was an adult.  All of this is fallout from the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. 

One wonders if allow one's Internet connection to be used without one's knowledge for trafficking could qualify as an offense. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hollywood lobbies hard to hold service providers responsible for downstream liability in the Backpage-Section 230 controversy


Today, the Cato Institute held a day-long symposium in Washington DC, “The Future of the First Amendment”.

Most of the remarks about Section 230  and the recent Backpage controversy are on the “BillBoushka” blog entry.


But in a private conversation after the event, and executive from Cloudflare said that the law regarding sex trafficking already worked the same was as the law does for child pornography. That is (as Volokh suggested at lunch), intermediaries need report violations only when they know about them; they don’t have to go looking for them in advance.
  
He also suggested that Hollywood had been lobbying the Backpage issue deliberately to weaken Section 230, even though in the copyright world Hollywood has the benefit of a similarly structured DMCA Safe Harbor,,  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

S.O. registry even has to be made available to real estate purchases in some states



There is an interesting quirk in the way sex offender registries are handled, with Megan’s Law.    In Virginia, there is a tricky rule that realtors must disclose Megan’s law information to certain home purchasers, and it leads to a lot of convoluted advice to realtors. 

The law is designed to assist purchases with any concern about already stigmatized sex offenders in an area;  it does no pertain to the purchasers. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Some fear the "Backpage" bill could lead to almost universal requirement for age verification by most websites


Today, I posted a brief summary of an Ars Technica article by Tim Lee on my main “BillBoushka” blog about the possible effects of the bills in Congress to weaken Section 230 with regard to downsteam liability for sex trafficking ads.on some commercial websites, with less clarity of exposure for shared hosting services.

SiteLock had expressed concern about this in a private phone conversation with me last spring.

One speculative concern is the idea that websites that allow user logon to sell anything could be forced by future state laws to offer adult-id validation.  This was a fight we already had with COPA, with the decision finally reached in Philadelphia in 2007 to strike it down (I attended some of the testimony in October 2006 when I heard the judge make an interesting comment about “implicit content”).  

However VidAngel, itself controversial in terms of copyright issues, may have helped introduce technology to make adult screening more practical.