Monday, November 09, 2015

States grapple with extreme legal consequences in sexting cases, with laws written before smart phones

A recent "scandal" in Canon City CO is refocusing attention on how child pornography laws are interpreted, according to a story on the Wall Street Journal by Scott Calvert, link here. .Although a local district attorney is trying to avoid major prosecutions and the possibility of sex offender registration, the law, taken literally and written before smart phones, make the issue legally very dangerous, he says. Such extreme consequences have occurred recently in North Carolina and Tennessee.  Others say serious charges are warranted if coercion is involved, or images are circulated behind a (usually female) subject's back, constituting bullying.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Many sites require Facebook or other signon to view individual files with adult content; does this raise the issue of user validation again?

I’ve noticed recently that a few sites require the visitor to log in with a Facebook or Google account to view marginally “adult” articles or videos.  YouTube will require this for some adult videos, and expects publishers of adult videos to so mark their content.  And apparently Blogger wants its publishers to avoid embedding content that would require sign-in on public blogs (although it dropped its threatened ban on explicit images last March).  Sometimes YouTube videos get marked as “adult” after being up for some time. 
The capacity for sites to do this does raise the question about the idea of voluntary screening of content, whether by voluntary content labeling (the ICRA idea which has disappeared) or new discussions of user sign-on protocols, which were seen as inadequate in the 2006 COPA trial.  But technology is changing. Could biometric identification protocols come into play?