Thursday, October 16, 2014

Novelist John Grisham stirs controversy by arguing that "old men" who watch c.p. are not a danger to others

Legal thriller fiction author (and Mississippi attorney) John Grisham has a controversial piece ion The Telegraph, “Men who watch child porn are not all pedophiles”, link here. Indeed, consumers are probably easier to apprehend and prosecute than producers (although many are both), and this could get even easier if the government starts going after cloud storage.  Wikipedia claims that the government plants links to c.p. to catch people who will click on them;  there is a danger that someone could get it on a computer from a virus or malware (an idea covered here heavily in July 2013).  True, most men over 60 who look at this probably don’t touch minors themselves, and probably look for fantasy to cover their own physical decay (or “tissue death” as Dr. Phil calls it) that makes them feel ugly and ashamed – the obesity, the loss of muscle, the balding legs, the loss of libido.  Call it the Oscar Wilde syndrome. 
Think Progress responded with an angry reply here (propagated on Facebook).  I get the argument of “demand pull” although I’m not convinced it really works that way.  Oliver North used to say the same thing about cocaine on his radio show in the 1990s.  You could say even that adult porn victimizes women (and some men) and busts marriages – because of demand pull, although adults should defend themselves.  You can take this argument further and object to the idea that some people undermine the ability of others to share common responsibilities (like marriage).  Later Thursday, CNN reported an apology by Grisham (over the "uproar") here

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Could Snapchat produce a hidden c.p. risk?

The very existence of third-party apps to save “Snapchat” images. Live SaveSnap, napBpx and SanySpy, undermines the whole concept of Snapchat, security experts say in a story on CNN money today, link here.   And according to the story, “misftis” connected to “4chan” hacked into one of these services and stole 100,000 photos, some of which could contain child pornography or teen porn, the story also reports.   It would be an interesting legal question whether the existence of such an image on snapchat would constitute “possession” if it is supposed to disappear, or for that matter, production and distribution. 
I see little reason to have Snapchat myself.  If I want an interaction with someone, then I usually want it in person, or possibly Skype, even though I realize conceivably they could be recorded or wiretapped (like the movie “The Conversation”).  So can Snapchat.  I can imagine a situation where someone wants to do a negotiation only in a service like this, but it’s unlikely I would ever be interested.  Okay, what if I had no choice?  Play the “what if …” game.  

Friday, October 03, 2014

Could hyperlinks and comments present bloggers with a child pornography risk?

Do webmasters or bloggers have to become concerned about legal liability for incidental distribution of child pornography?
It would seem that it is possible.  If a blogger or web author gave a direct link to a site that he knew contained images or videos of child pornography (or at least to a specific URL) that would sound like it could be “distribution”.  (Not for indirect links from the site though, which the blogger would have no control over.)   If a blogger moderates comments and approves a comment containing child pornography, that would sound like legal distribution.
The latter sounds pretty unlikely in practice.  Most bloggers use services to eliminate spam comments, which would probably catch these.  And relatively few comments actually have embedded images or videos, although this is possible.   The main risk might come from a very long comment that slipped through the filters and that the blog owner didn’t read, and that actually contained an illegal image.
Where a more serious practical problem can occur would be with anti-social or destructive comments, like though encountering joining terror groups or even instructing into how to make crude weapons.  Although none of this would have fallen within the scope of COPA as originally defined, it certainly sounds “harmful to minors” in a practical sense.
All of this sounds like it could be of concern to forum moderators, though.