Saturday, July 04, 2020

What is the "TVPRA"?

I’ll be reviewing Jeff Koseff’s “The Twenty Six Words that Created the Internet” very soon (on Wordpress), but I wanted to note here his mention of the Federal Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) on p. 256 and 270 (also named after William Wilberforce), text.   

There are special ways it applies to the children of immigrants on the border (link).

It appears to have been passed first in 2005 and revised in 2008 and 2018.  The video embedded above comes from 2014.

Section 230 always allowed federal prosecutions against platforms that broke federal laws or which knowingly allowed users to do so (mainly with regard to child pornography and mandatory reporting to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, VA), it had blocked civil lawsuits from victims, but FOSTA now explicitly allows these lawsuits.  Furthermore, the language of FOSTA was enlarged to include all commercial prostitution, with attendant exposure to civil liability (which can also include exposure under state laws).

That’s one reason why Craigslist and various other sites stopped various personals services, because it seemed so subjective what “knowing” means (like in the 2009 sci-fi movie about a coming apocalypse).

Decorative Picture: Along US 301 in MD, no specific significance 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Web hosts and tech companies still have COPA language in their AUP's

I just noticed something, probably innocuous, in some hosting companies’ AUP’s (acceptable use policies). The policies explicitly use the term providing content that is “harmful to minors” (sometimes meant to apply to a commercial context).

That language is a holdover from the old COPA law (Child Online Protection Act), as distinguished from the more recently (but pre-COVID) controversial COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). Both passed in 1998. But COPA was finally struck down in March 2007 in a Philadelphia federal court, after two previous visits to the Supreme Court.  However, many tech companies are probably unaware of this history in this kind of detail.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Can convicted SO's ever use the Internet again? Yes

I don’t recall that I have talked about it here, but it had been the practice in the past that convicted sex offenders, when released conditionally (sometimes into restricted neighborhoods or halfway arrangements) were not allowed to possess computers, electronic devices, or access the Internet, for example the US Courts link on the issue.

In June 2017 (after Trump was in office) the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot unreasonably stop released sex offenders (at least after serving sentences) from using social media (USA Today story), like by restricting any site that allows minors to access it.

The ruling seems to make the whole scandal of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Anthony Weiner right before the 2016 election (Comey’s Friday afternoon letter) seem a bit ironic. It is, for me, retrospectively relevant to an incident in 2005 when a fictitious screenplay I had posted online (about a substitute teacher who gets into trouble with a student, and the circumstances are intentionally ambiguous) surfaced and caused an enormous controversy at one school, as apparently people thought another permanent teacher there had followed the script.

The case was Packingham v. North Carolina, and had to do with getting onto Facebook to talk about a parking ticket. 

Note in the video ("We Are the Internet TV") how the "News Gathering privilege" on the Internet is combined with the idea that anyone can be a news gatherer (an ideas that seems to be expressed toward the end of the 2007 COPA opinion.) 

Picture: UNC campus, April 2015

Friday, May 08, 2020

Don't forget about the "Protect Kids" bill in Congress, that would raise the age floor to 16

Alyson Klein had written, back in January 2020 (just before we got overwhelmed by “public health”) that the age floor for COPPA could be increased from 13 to 16 by a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress.

This would have been the Protect Kids Act, PDF here. The long title is "Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today". 

Sophos, also known as a web security platform (Webroot), notes that kids under 16 would enjoy a European style “right to be forgotten”.

Generally in my own blogs I haven’t mentioned minors in a negative light; the main mention are for minors that do accomplish things (music, science, etc) while still minors.

The current Wikipedia article on COPPA does not mention any progress in Congress.  There are some videos about the issue as late as early March (when COVID was really getting menacing.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

It's not just FOSTA, now coronavirus targets sex workers and they are not eligible for anything

The Federal Disaster Loans for Business, Private non-Profits, and Homeowners and Renters  has wording to eliminate sex workers. 

“Applicant does not present live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derive directly or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature.
Anybody remember FOSTA? Remember it is the intersectional minorities who get targeted the most. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Earn It" proposed law would require pro-activity by platforms to protect children to keep Section 230 protections

In a recent video, Richard Hoeg (“Hoeg Law” or “Virtual Legality”) read and analyzed the entire text of the “Earn It” bill written in part by Senator Lindsey Graham, which implies that to maintain the downstream liability protections of Section 230, platforms would have to “earn it” by following “best practices” of a commission whose prescriptions would be unknown in advance logically.

The bill is essentially like a recursive function in mathematics.
One of the main points of the bill is to require platforms to attempt to prevent child exploitation or endangerment (including the pornography) on their platforms.   This reminds me of the expectations of COPA back in 1998. 
At 35:00 in the video Hoeg discusses U.S.C. 2252 and 2252A and at 45:00 2258, as particularly relevant to downstream liability exposure in the environment that could be created by this proposed law.

Monday, March 09, 2020

COPA decision back in 2007 had expressed a view that many people think websites should sell and act rather than just talk

I wanted to take a moment to revisit the COPA Court Decision from Philadelphia in March 2007, in the March 22 post.  I had visited the trial for one day as a sub-plaintiff on Oct. 30, 2006. 
On pages 51-52 of the Opinion (linked in the earlier post), Reed discusses the idea that websites, as a matter of course, should be expected to be able to process credit cards as a manner of age verification (which was at one time a proposed requirement of COPA – don’t confuse it with COPPA). 
That does presume a mentality that I discussed on a Wordpress blog Sunday, that in the future sites might be expected to have a legitimate commercial (or non-profit) purpose to be hosted.  It seems as this concept had been thought about back in the middle 2000’s even if not discussed much.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Teachers and school employees are indeed vulnerable to false or made-up allegations

I don’t think I’ve talked about false accusations against teachers and school employees before, but it not surprising that in practice it seems like it is “guilty until proven innocent”.

Here is a National Education Association page on the problem (2008) called “Defend Yourself”. 
Here is a more recent piece, by Neal Davis Law Firm, from 2018.  

Monday, January 13, 2020

Expulsion of Saudi trainees from Pensacola air station connected to c.p. possession

David Shortell and Evan Perez of CNN report on the expulsion of more than a dozen Saudi-immigrant sailors at the Pensacola Naval Station.

Social media examination has shown association with jihadist organizations overseas, but also child porn was found on some of their computers.  This seems to have been a particularly disturbing find. It is also inconsistent with our understanding of the usual interpretations of religious law under Sunni Islam.

Apple has not been willing to provide decryption for the FBI to look at remains of cell phones, as Tim Cook says this would be a form of “cancer” for civil liberties and privacy.
The examination followed a shooting by one sailor in December 2019.  This tracks to the usual idea that violent crime or terror often includes an interest in c.p.
 I visited Pensacola in November 1998, and actually went to the Brownsville Assembly of God and witnessed "slaying in the spirit".

Thursday, January 02, 2020

What if someone sends you a marginally (il)legal photo "privately" on social media? Maybe this really gets legally tricky

Recently an older article from Forbes, from 2014, about John Grisham, crime thriller novelist (“The Firm”), was recirculated on Twitter. The article indicated that many older men convicted of possession of child pornography, apparently with honey pot stings online (likely P2P), have never personally disturbed children and would not, and are often 60 years old or more (and usually white).  So this is a crime of bad karma, where the sin is said to be the demand (like with drugs).

It’s true that most cases that make the local media involve people found to have large “collections” after police get warrants.

New Years morning, I received a private Facebook message with a photo from “Happy Nude Year”, probably as a joke.  The photo showed young men, in full frontal nudity, which would have been illegal (under federal law in the US) if any nudity occurred on anyone under eighteen at the time of photography.  I saved it offline on a USB thumb drive but not on the computer.  Trend Micro did not object to the JPG file.  Theoretically, a hidden impression could still exist on the solid state drive.
It is generally considered “safe” to view adult porn sites if from lawfully operated content providers who are required to verify ages of all actors (as at least 18) if in the US, Canada, or most other western countries.  Likewise, bars and discos, with age admission restriction policy related to alcohol consumption anyway, can normally show nude videos safety as long as the films come from reputable providers who obey these laws.

I would be less sure about a random photo provider, when a Google search did not identify any particular source.

A possibly noteworthy oddity about the photo was that none of the men (all white) showed chest hair, which statistically implies that some of them were likely under 18 unless all had been waxed or otherwise depilated.  It that the hidden and ironic point of a photo like this?  This gets quickly to sensitive stuff about race and identity and the law.

I would suspect that eventually cloud providers will check for watermarked images, whose NCMEC count has increased because of recent international busts (some connected to trafficking).  But the risk could be that some Internet users could get “infected” without realizing it.  A coming problem?  
This deserves further checking.

Facebook ordinarily does not permit even adult nudity on public posts (except for special purposes like medical or breast-feeding). 
For this post, I picked a picture with no people.