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Craigs List Censors Adult Ads
Brett_Tabke




msg:4196567
 5:38 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Craigslist, the Internet's iconic ad bazaar, has stopped allowing U.S. users to access its "adult services" ads.

On Saturday morning, the link to those ads - which had been criticized by prosecutors and human-trafficking groups as a tool for pimps and prostitutes - were replaced by a black box with the word "censored" in white letters. News reports indicated that the ads were still visible to users in other countries.

It's unclear, for now, whether the change is a temporary statement or a signal that Craigslist will stop allowing the ads.

In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) - who was among 17 attorneys general who last month asked Craigslist to shut down its "adult" section - said he welcomed "Craigslist's apparent decision to close" the section.
[washingtonpost.com...]

 

kaz




msg:4196591
 6:23 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

= $36 million per year. interesting.

Webwork




msg:4196622
 8:06 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I always assumed that adult service advertisements made it easier for law enforcement to identify/locate/track/sting illicit s/e/x operations, making adult ads an investigatory and/or prosecutorial tool or "asset", like snitches or undercover informants.

If drug dealers posted ads to set up drug buys would the attorneys general join to suppress the ads or would the AGs use/view the ads as a tool or weapon, one that brings otherwise underground activities and actors out into the open - thereby providing an opportunity to make arrests?

The AGs' action has an air of political expediency. Rather than demanding or devoting the funds and police assets needed to reduce "the trade" what the AGs have accomplished is to make it less obvious how underfunded and uncommitted law enforcement is when it comes to dealing with the Xtrade. In other words, "the ads were the proof" of how big the issue/problem IS and, at the same time, the ads served as proof of either how feckless, underfunded or uninterested law enforcement IS in addressing the problem.

CL's ads should have been used to identify, track down, arrest, and aid victims or incarcerate traffickers, every single one that the ads brought to light. How much easier will it be now - with all that identifying information removed from plain sight - to identify and locate victims of the Xtrade now?

I would like to believe that pulling down the CL ads will result in fewer victims, but before I fall victim to a ill-founded belief - perhaps one that will simply fuel further victimization - I'd really like to know: IS THERE compelling proof that suppressing the CL ads . . will reduce, not increase, victimization? Without the investigatory leads provided by the ads what next? More police assigned to uncover/discover Xtrade victims? More police needed to be assigned? Is that going to happen?

If not, then what, now that you've killed the informant, the snitch, the tipster?

woop01




msg:4196661
 10:39 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's always been quite amusing that they claimed they couldn't control that section of the site while listings for things such as "free puppies to good homes" were deleted within minutes.

MrHard




msg:4196667
 10:58 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

If not, then what, now that you've killed the informant, the snitch, the tipster?


I think they are trying to kill the enabler in this case. This was very clearly a prostitution category. If you sample 50 listings, investigate, and they all come up prostitution I think there is a strong legal case against shutting the service down even if there were a couple legit massage ads in there. I think Craig's new this and could not hide any longer behind disclaimers.

So they take it down voluntarily, cry censorship and play victim, rather then risk a lawsuit.

Webwork




msg:4196712
 3:05 am on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you sample 50 listings, investigate, and they all come up prostitution . .


How, now, will the police develop those 50 leads, possibly leading to the rescue of trafficking victims and arrest of their victimizers?

Will those heretofore participating in prostitution, especially trafficking, now cease doing business . . because they can no longer list their their < :( >"services" < :( > on CL? I wish that would be the outcome, but does anyone doubt that that is no more than wishful thinking?

We all know that the real solution is to raise taxes to hire more cops to investigate such crimes and make arrests, and to identify victims and provide them with housing/food assistance, job training and meaningful self-sustaining employment.

martinibuster




msg:4196714
 3:33 am on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think they are trying to kill the enabler in this case.


When a nightclub generates too many crimes (assaults, knifings, drugs, etc.) the city closes it down as a public nuisance.

incrediBILL




msg:4196729
 4:25 am on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just because you close down a public nuisance doesn't mean you've solved the problem, you just swept it under the carpet, out of sight, out of mind.

The AG's would be better served to keep it open and track the criminals instead of making them find alternative harder to find underground places to do their dirty deeds.

Not to mention that people offering legitimate adult services have had their rights trampled all over, but it's OK to put them out of business, they're sleazy anyway, right?

Webwork




msg:4196731
 4:35 am on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I just ran a search for adult personals San . . .. With CraigsList gone I'll take the search results as indicating 1 down . . and 4,800,000 likely/potential public nuisances to go. In one city. Today.

And if 1,000 of these public nuisances are "boarded up" each day then in 10 years there won't be any left, right?

Nonsense. The analogy of nuisance ends at the reality of the Web, where a 1000 new "Xtrade nightclubs" can be spawned in a day. It's a pandemic, not a public nuisance. But with the Xtrade, because it involves personal services, there IS a solution at hand that might actually hold some promise.

Identify and locate the victims and intervene. How? By calling them. They've given out a contact number. Call it and make an appointment. Then stage an intervention . . or rescue. But for heaven's sake, law enforcement or any other welfare agency has a contact phone number, can place a call and can arrange a meeting location and time. Exploit that as the most direct path and means to ending sexploitation.

Or take down adult personal website #1,343,740 and declare another victory.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4196744
 8:52 am on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

The lawyers are probably crying, they didn't want craigslist to shut it down upon the first written request. They had to ask before suing, courts still want to see some effort to resolve disputes, but now who are they going to earn money from?

The poor lawyers!

Ohh, good on you craigslist, if just one young woman avoids exploitation as a result it's a good move.

It's a pandemic, not a public nuisance.

Correction, the people who pay for the actual "services" are to blame. no money = no exploitation.

Perhaps if the lawyers went after the buyers things would change more quickly. It's illegal, the penalty should be made brutal.

Prostitution is also illegal and it takes at least 2 parties so... why are there very few johns busted in comparison?

woop01




msg:4196764
 12:16 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not to mention that people offering legitimate adult services have had their rights trampled all over, but it's OK to put them out of business, they're sleazy anyway, right?


Craigslist has no fewer than a dozen legitimate items/services they strictly prohibit for sale on their website. You cannot sell puppies, kittens, alcohol, "safe and sane" fireworks, anything that might be remotely considered a weapon, and other legitimate products. The idea that category went on because they cared about protecting rights was pure hypocrisy.

Regarding allowing it because it would make it easier to catch; do you feel the same way about them setting up sections for child #*$!ography, methamphetamine manufacturing equipment, fake id cards, etc? If not, what’s the difference between setting up a honey pot for prostitution and those crimes?

wyweb




msg:4196782
 12:52 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just because you close down a public nuisance doesn't mean you've solved the problem, you just swept it under the carpet, out of sight, out of mind.
Thank you.
frontpage




msg:4196792
 2:13 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I do know that our local police monitor Craigs list for items offered for sale in order to compare them with recent things taken in robberies. The undercover police then meet with the seller and arrest them if the serial numbers/descriptions match.

And yes, I find it ironic that lawful items are banned from Craiglist as the others have mentioned.

Yet only when something illegal that appeals to the lower class individuals is banned it brings out calls of 'censorship'.

Hypocrisy at its best, selective outrage.

webastronaut




msg:4196805
 3:30 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't get it at all. Besides all the millions of other websites promoting prostitution, do the police investigate all the local papers that have been around forever promoting prostitution?

walkman




msg:4196810
 3:39 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm sick and tired of publicity w**re politicians going after Craigslist to score a few points, but what can you do. I think Craig is simply tired of dealing with this nonsense

Webwork




msg:4196853
 6:09 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

what’s the difference between setting up a honey pot for prostitution and those crimes?


The difference? Prostitution, unlike drug mfg equip, fake ids, childpron, etc can't be delivered by UPS or email.

No, I wouldn't want to see sections on CL offering "those items" for sale. However, I'm certain that the same flasks or condensors offered for sale to future scientists could also be used to cook meth. So what do we do? Outlaw selling chemistry sets?

And, yes, from what I could see some of the ads for "adult services" were no doubt soliciting. Some included pictures and phone numbers. How convenient, to law enforcement, to have such proof that a identifiable victim was about to be further victimized. The problem, however, was/is that law enforcement isn't adequately funded to address the scale of the XTrade supply/demand. Lacking the resources to confront the issue effectively - by intervening, arresting, incarcerating, aiding every "advertiser" - the solution/intervention was to simply mask/hide the scale of the problem by closing down one portal . . and scattering the listings to a dozen other sites?

To the best of my knowledge, honeypots are set up for all manner of online criminal activity.

woop01




msg:4196865
 7:10 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I’m not arguing against the idea of honey pots and you can still do a buyer side sting for all of those products that can be delivered by mail. I'm saying that the idea of the adult services existing as a honey pot is inconsistent with the policies of the rest of the site.

Your chemistry set example is off base. A fair comparison to the adult services section would be calling it a “home chemistry” section while it’s filled almost exclusively with no paperwork Sudafed, anhydrous ammonia, matches, and rental lab space underneath industrial clothes cleaners.

A few ads slipping through and contacting police when they do would be one thing. Charging $10/each for ads which anybody with half a brain knows are selling sex is a business model that includes profiting from prostitution.

koan




msg:4196904
 8:25 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

One central site that could cooperate with authorities (in the case of real exploitation, let's not waste police resources with consenting adults because it might offend puritans) will turn into a hundred underground and uncooperative sites hosted elsewhere on the planet.

cien




msg:4196932
 10:15 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Chiken. This is not going to stop prostitution one bit; it's just going deep undercover, difficult to detect and prosecute. Also now these attorneys think they can tag team on other companies not involved with prostitution to push their agenda.

graeme_p




msg:4196991
 4:09 am on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm certain that the same flasks or condensors offered for sale to future scientists could also be used to cook meth. So what do we do? Outlaw selling chemistry sets?


There have been a number of cases of people getting into trouble because an interest in chemistry as regarded as suspicious. One kid even had to promise (I am not sure if it was legally binding or not -cannot find the article) not to do any more chemistry experiments at home, even though he had been cleared of doing anything illegal.

I am surprised that it is illegal to advertise prostitution: lots of print magazines in the UK used to do so, and Google lists prostitution web sites (probably organic only - it must be against the Adwords T & C).

willybfriendly




msg:4196999
 4:51 am on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Police agencies do (did) use CL - and several other sites - for both investigation and prosecution of crimes. I have seen both the police reports and the convictions.

From my perspective the pressure to shut it down was purely political. In most jurisdictions the District Attorney is an elected position after all.

martinibuster




msg:4197217
 5:37 pm on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

It looks like the Attorneys may want to raise the bar on what is legally classified as free speech so that sites like Craigslist can be held accountable.

Even though courts have said that Craigslist is protected under federal law, Mr. Blumenthal said part of his mission was to rally public support to change federal law.

"Raising public awareness is extraordinarily important, because it increases support for changes in the law that will hold them accountable," he said. "Their view of the law, which is blanket immunity for every site on the Internet, never has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court, and I think there is some serious doubt."

weeks




msg:4197293
 8:50 pm on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Meanwhile, 412 people at Yahoo are, amazingly, having The. Exact. Same. Thought...
hmmmmm, 40+million? For a message board? And they are simply, like, just leaving this business? And, like, no one is ready for it? Hmmmmmmm...

Rugles




msg:4198010
 8:54 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think its a wild assumption that all the people involved in these ads were "victims".
This is a choice some people make because its easy money and good paying.
Clearly there are victims too.

I may amaze some (and a cliche) ... but this business has been around for a very long time. It won't be ending any time soon because this of this pragmatic move by CL.

tangor




msg:4198075
 11:31 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Echoes of "the world's oldest profession..."

timg




msg:4199590
 6:30 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

The reality check is that prostitutes are currently advertising in your local Yellow Pages in the escorts, massages, and strippers sections already, and same goes for your local newspaper classifieds.

There's literally no difference between those ads and Craigslist adult ads, and it's my understanding that Craigslist scrutinizes their ads more than many other local online classifieds, so...

potentialgeek




msg:4200432
 7:31 am on Sep 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I believe it was Amber Lyon's ambush of the craigslist owner which caused the change in policy.

[cnn.com...]

koan




msg:4200436
 7:48 am on Sep 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

It looks like the Attorneys may want to raise the bar on what is legally classified as free speech so that sites like Craigslist can be held accountable.


So... a crusade to restrict free speech. How honorable. This is just puritanism at its best.

Hugene




msg:4202338
 6:42 pm on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is a sad event for Craigslist and for the advancement of society in general.

Sex trafficking is a horrible crime that should be fought with all strength. It is not Craigslist that should be fought with all strength.

As for "regular" prostitution, just leave it be, doesn't hurt (much).

But sweeping the problem under the carpet (through censorship) is just a step in the wrong direction. A step in the right direction would be to de-criminalize prostitution and then start regulating it.

The best way to protect people from sex trafficking is to bring the sex workers under the protective umbrella of the law; casting them away into criminality only makes things worse.

I am disgusted at the actions of all these supposed AG, they care not for the people. I was impressed at the clairvoyance and strength of principles that Craigslist was showing by fighting these AGs. Sad day for Craigslist.

gpilling




msg:4202501
 1:34 am on Sep 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am disgusted at the actions of all these supposed AG, they care not for the people.
They care about re-election.

I think CL is making a point that what they were doing, charging for listings (paper trail), co-operating with law enforcement, and having only one place for the listings, was a good thing, But it became the very thing they were attacked for - so they deleted it. They have never seemed to be about money. So the revenue didn't matter. The public stance mattered.

The AGs can be very proud of themselves. They eliminated prositution listings on craigslist. Now everyone has to go to backpages.com

This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: 45 ( [1] 2 > >
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