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backpage.com seized

FBI shut it down

     
1:04 am on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I noticed Creiglist has removed their adult classified ads I assume because the same was coming their way. Glad he made the right decision and cut the sex money from his website.

Backpage waited to long and now it is down.
7:47 am on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think Craigslist removed the adult ads a year or so ago. Some were pretty blatant.

I had never heard of Backpage until reading the news yesterday.

I think it's when the ages are questionable that they get into trouble.
10:10 am on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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what craigslist removed about 2 weeks ago was the Personals category:
[craigslist.org...]

this is why craigslist did it:
The bill amends the federal criminal code to add a new section that imposes penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 10 years, or both—on a person who, using a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (or attempts or conspires to do so) to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.

source: [congress.gov...]
10:12 am on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This was a FOSTA move even though it has yet to go into effect. Good thing they tagged on the (unconstitutional) retroactive bit into the law. Hopefully BP still has the resources to fight this as they've done in the past.

I know, it's easy to not care about this with the headlines trying to spin the perception of the website. This has huge implications. The outcome of this will set a precedent for FOSTA. Any site that has User Generated Content should be taking a very close look at this.
10:20 am on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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what craigslist removed about 2 weeks ago was the Personals category:

also, Reddit and probably some other sites. That's the "chilling effect" of the soon to be new law, now they are trying to get some teeth for it.
1:39 pm on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't understand the sense of entitlement that online/app businesses have. Many seem to believe that innovating is synonymous with ignoring laws in favor of writing their own rules.
2:24 pm on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't understand the sense of entitlement that online/app businesses have. Many seem to believe that innovating is synonymous with ignoring laws in favor of writing their own rules.
I believe it comes down to anonymity, or the belief "you can't find me." That is why proxy server websites are proliferating.
3:16 pm on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't understand the sense of entitlement

Maybe that was meant for somewhere else, unless a classifieds ad website is now considered innovative?

The government went after BP previously, BP defended itself successfully so the government changed the law and made it retroactive. This would be like getting a speeding ticket for going 54 in a 55, fighting it and winning in court (cause you weren't speeding) and then having the government change the speed limit, make the change retroactive and then confiscate your car because of what you did previously.
6:19 pm on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person
<fe>
So prostitution, in and of itself, is now a federal crime? Gee. Musta missed that one.
</fe>
6:36 pm on Apr 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Doubleplusgood idea to stand by idle while the gov seizes a classified ad website because a user might post content that may lead to a criminal act being performed.

How about hotels? Prostitutes use hotels.
How about AT&T? Prostitutes use cell phones.
How about Ford? Prostitutes drive from city to city.

At what point do you get concerned about the gov changing the rules and seizing private property/business?

On a lighter note, George Carlin said it best regarding the legality of prostitution: "why is it illegal to sell something that is perfectly legal to give away?"
12:34 am on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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why is it illegal to sell something that is perfectly legal to give away?
That's a bit disingenuous, since one category of licensing is precisely concerned with charging money. (As opposed to, say, a medical license or driving license, where you're not allowed to do it at all.) You can look after your own kids, but most jurisdictions expect day-care providers to be licensed. You can have friends over for dinner, but if money changes hands, look for the health inspector. It is perfectly OK to cut a friend's hair, but if you ask them to pay for it, you need a cosmetology license.

Interesting line of thought, there...
1:30 am on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Outside of a few counties in Nevada there is no licensing or process available for legally providing services of this nature for financial gain.
6:13 am on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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And, more to the point, there is no federal legislation barring “services of this nature”. But it's really just an expansion of the Mann Act, isn't it?
11:32 am on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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really just an expansion of the Mann Act, isn't it?

As with most things federal, the Mann act deals with interstate transport for the purposes of [a bunch of words that should not be in laws, e.g., immoral, obscene, and offensive] activities. So as long as one kept their paramour within state lines they would be fairly safe from prosecution under the Mann act.

So, while the act of prostitution is not a federal offense, FOSTA makes it possible for website owners/operators to be held liable (civilly and criminally) under state or local law for the actions of their visitors/users.

Here's a real world example, let's say 6 prostitutes in Cook County Illinois find a site called Webmaster World and decide to post a topic and subsequent comments in the Foo section discretely offering their services. Webmaster world is no longer protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Sheriff Dart in Cook county can enlist the FBI to seize Webmaster World, and Jim Boykin is at risk of spending the next 25 years in prison.
2:40 pm on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just noticed a review website that has blocked all U.S. visitors, more chilling effect.

Notice from site:
The U.S. Congress has passed the Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act (SESTA, also known as The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act or FOSTA). SESTA amends Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a federal law which has served as the bedrock of protection for online publishers from being held liable for user’s posts on their sites. Under SESTA / FOSTA, the U.S. government can prosecute websites and those that operate them criminally for posts made by users.

As a result of this new law, <website> has made the difficult decision to block access to the website from the United States until such time as the courts have enjoined enforcement of the law, the law has been repealed or amended, or <website> has found a way to sufficiently address any legal concerns created by the new law. <website> is not alone in responding to this threat to your First Amendment Rights. Other websites have taken or are expected to take similar actions.
3:39 pm on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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this threat to your First Amendment Rights
And what right would that be in this context?
4:16 pm on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can't speak to what that website was specifically referencing, don't have that intimate knowledge.

That said, removing, whether directly or by fear and intimidation, platforms for speech is as dangerous as directly restricting free speech.
4:50 pm on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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platforms for speech is as dangerous as directly restricting free speech
Granted. However, while the First Amendment states
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
free speech is limited depending on the context. For example, it is against the law to yell fire in a movie theater. That said, free speech can, and the courts have upheld, be limited/restricted if the consequence of that speech endangers lives or promotes illegal activity. Yes, it is a fine line, but you have to start someplace. And given the Evangelical hold on the current administration, it does not surprise me this is happening now. Eventually, though, it will be challenged in the courts and the rules will change. Personally, I think they should legalize it, regulate it, and tax it. It would be safer for all concerned and save taxpayers money chasing something that is not going to go away.
7:16 pm on Apr 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The consequences of falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater are not defensible with free speech protections. What FOSTA does it makes it so the theater owner is criminally and civilly liable if a patron of the theater incites panic by falsely shouting fire. This is leading the theater owners to restrict all speech and that is where the problem starts to grow.
1:18 pm on Apr 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Craigslist just dropped a few more categories for fear that they might be held liable for the actions of posters. Chilling effect...
4:31 pm on Apr 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It all sounds so hopelessly retro.

See, as we speak, I'm working on a book by “R. Andom” (haha), whose real name was Alfred Barrett. When I first looked him up, I read that he died in 1920. He didn’t. At the time, he was running a matchmaking publication called Link (really). Turns out some readers were using the magazine for purposes other than the pursuit of holy matrimony, and eventually it caught up to him. He ended up serving a five-year prison sentence, after which polite society apparently decided to pretend he had died (retroactively) the year he was arrested.

Five years. For publishing a magazine. And that was 100 years ago in a country with nothing to say about freedom of speech.

Will we shortly be seeing a notice that Tinder has gone out of business?
5:16 pm on Apr 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Don't know anymore about Tinder than what I saw of it on an episode of Family Guy, based on that I would say yes, they are in danger. And what of Farmers Only?

I was also thinking, especially with the current vindictive climate we have here in the U.S., how a law like this could be used to exact revenge against someone. Take a site that has a ton of UGC, like an Amazon, throw some (RU)bots at it creating questionable content maybe even products, and have a nice photo op as the owner/ceo is hauled off in handcuffs.
4:40 pm on Apr 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Watching the facebook hearings, lawmakers are very proud of the new fosta/sesta tools they have for going after website owners. Look for expansion of the power soon, they are already eyeballing facebook liability for any drug related postings by it's users.

From the EFF: BREAKING: President has signed SESTA/FOSTA into law. As we've already seen, this bill silences online speech by forcing Internet platforms to censor their users.
5:26 pm on Apr 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So, some are blocking US visitors because of your SESTA/FOSTA, I hope this is not the same who are also planning on blocking EU visitors because of the GDPR, otherwise they won't have much traffic remaining ...
5:52 pm on Apr 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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That would certainly show a commitment to one's beliefs, taking a stance against two completely different things like FOSTA and GDPR.
6:50 pm on Apr 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Facebook also going to be held responsible for the ivory trade and the extinction of Elephants.
8:02 pm on Apr 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So, some are blocking US visitors because of your SESTA/FOSTA, I hope this is not the same who are also planning on blocking EU visitors because of the GDPR, otherwise they won't have much traffic remaining ...
Why, sure, they can still get lots of visitors from Ch... Oh. Right.
8:33 pm on Apr 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think people blocking EU visitors because of GDPR do so in part because they don't agree with the policy.

I think people blocking visitors because of FOSTA are doing so because they don't want to go to jail for something a visitor on their site says.