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US House Passes Bill To Penalize Websites For Sex Trafficking ( 190

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Thomson Reuters Foundation News: The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed legislation to make it easier to penalize operators of websites that facilitate online sex trafficking, chipping away at a bedrock legal shield for the technology industry. The bill's passage marks one of the most concrete actions in recent years from the U.S. Congress to tighten regulation of internet firms, which have drawn heavy scrutiny from lawmakers in both parties over the past year due to an array of concerns regarding the size and influence of their platforms. The House passed the measure 388-25. It still needs to pass the U.S. Senate, where similar legislation has already gained substantial support, and then be signed by President Donald Trump before it can become law.

Several major internet companies, including Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc, had been reluctant to support any congressional effort to dent what is known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a decades-old law that protects them from liability for the activities of their users. But facing political pressure, the internet industry slowly warmed to a proposal that gained traction in the Senate last year, and eventually endorsed it after it gained sizable bipartisan support. The legislation is a result of years of law-enforcement lobbying for a crackdown on the online classified site, which is used for sex advertising. It would make it easier for states and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that fail to keep exploitative material off their platforms.

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US House Passes Bill To Penalize Websites For Sex Trafficking

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  • Diaspora might finally get some users!

    How sex saved the social network!

  • It's funny... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @11:51PM (#56198347) Homepage Journal you can impose platform censorship under the name of preventing sex trafficking. Let's ignore all the rich and/or shitheads that get away with fucking kids and teens without consequence (politicians, the Catholic church, people in Hollywood, etc.) and look at what Craigslist and Backpage provide: prostitution. Is there illegal trafficking? Quite possibly, but there is also prostitution which is legal in the UK, Australia, NZ, much of Europe and a couple of counties in Nevada.

    How about just legalizing prostitution, taxing/regulating it, and then go after actual sex traffickers and pedos, without compromising freedom of speech or making it much more difficult for smaller players to enter the walled gardens of content hosting, media distribution and social networks.

    • Note this bill is NOT about trafficking. There *was* a bill that dealt with trafficking. Then there was an amendment which replaced *all* of the text of the original bill. It's now about prostitution, not trafficking. An example of the current wording of the bill:
      a defendant may be held liable, under
      this subsection, where promotion or facilitation of prostitution activity

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Z34107 ( 925136 )

      Even if you found its goals laudable, SESTA is not a particularly good piece of legislation. Techdirt [] hates it because it's intentionally vague--what, exactly, constitutes "knowing conduct by an individual or entity, by any means, that assists, supports, or facilitates a violation"? We know what violates current law, that is, what constitutes "general knowledge" versus "specific knowledge" versus "red flag knowledge" under the DMCA--but knowing what the law actually is means you can comply with it, and th

    • >How about just legalizing prostitution,

      Unless you legalize banging children, then you've still got the exact same problem. You've solved nothing.

      We either do, or don't, regulate people's activities. You can talk about moving the line, but simply removing it isn't an option. How is using a regulation to take down prostitution, any different than using the same kinds of regulations and enforcement... to take down child prostitution?

      The only difference is, you support one of those. But the actual enforceme

    • and look at what Craigslist and Backpage provide

      These are psyops against the printing press, metaphorically speaking. If most of us weren't so fucking ignorant of history - or not caught up in our own distractions - we'd see it for what it is.

    • Wow, way to spout off what you know nothing about.

      I work in criminal law in Canada and I encounter backpage on a weekly basis. It 100% is used for "illegal" trafficking. For example, girls who are abducted off the streets and forced into prostitution. They are forced onto amphetamines so they can work longer hours and end up completely messed up. Backpage is so convenient they even take payment in bitcoin so the pimps don't have to risk themselves.

      One of the most common things is the pimp finds a vu
    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) you can impose platform censorship under the name of preventing sex trafficking. Let's ignore all the rich and/or ...

      In some ways the rich were not ignored, i.e. recent sexual harrassment cases certain people in power were taken down (but some remain untouched). I also notice many websites have "escort services" so does this mean there will be a lot more work for law enforcement? I'm thinking the Trump policy for every one regulation, two have to be removed.

      Trafficking appears a new term (paradigm shift) so instead of traditionally going after prostitutes (a victimless crime where both agree exchange of money for some

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @12:04AM (#56198385)
    But is this going to change how anyone here votes? Either in a primary or general election? If not, there's zero reason for Congress not to support these kind of things. There are people who _will_ vote for Congresscritters who push this sort of legislation. This is part of the "tough on crime" theme that's dominated American politics for ages.

    So again, if this kind of overreach isn't going to change how anyone votes it's hardly worth discussion.
  • I for one think it's great that sex workers have a strong advocate and role model as First Lady.

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )
  • They want to crack down on hookers but in this day and age it'd look like they're wasting their time so they'll conflate prostitution with sex trafficking and crack down on it that way.
    • I'm having trouble resolving the hooker thing. I personally dislike prostitution; at the same time, I don't believe things are necessarily-wrong because somebody personally dislikes them. I dislike prostitution because of the visible impact it has on society, although those impacts are consequences of other, more-damaging societal problems, and generally only visible in areas facing widespread and extreme poverty.

      So here's the thing: there's a second, more-substantial problem with prostitution that's

  • Maybe my tinfoil hat is too tight, but my first thought is that Google and Facebook are setting up a way to take down Craigslist, in order to take over local online classifieds.
  • Today feminazis have teamed up with religious conservatives in an ongoing effort to ban prostitution. Granted the language around this measure is a little hysterical, grossly misleading, and totally insincere. But I can't say I care that much. I don't enjoy patronizing prostitutes, and in as much as I have some socially conservative feelings, I'm okay with the ban.

    *Of course* it will fail, like every other attempt to ban prostitution ever. But like I said, no loss to me.

    Now all the self-described Progressiv

    • That's funny, because prostitution is about the most empowering career a person can have without student loan debt. Get paid an impressive salary without a day of school? Sign me up! Ironic that feminazis would be against empowering women. I think it's a jealousy thing, older generation realizes no one would pay for them anymore so they force the younger generation to not be able to do it either. Of course schools don't want women doing that because they'd be unnecessary for nearly half the populatio
  • So this could, ultimately have very negative repercussions for large social media sites.

  • by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @10:48AM (#56199929)
    As much as I wish sex traffickers would be thrown into a volcano...SLOWLY, I more worry about the tinkering with the Constitution. The minute they start placing restrictions on something, they will come back to take more and more and more. Most of the crap on the web, I don't care for, but, I just ignore it. Sex trafficking is a sick perverted thing and needs to be stopped, but this isn't the way to do it.
    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      As many people in this thread have already said, the word "trafficking" just means selling something illegal. "Drug trafficking" is selling illegal drugs, "sex trafficking" is selling sex in those places where selling sex is illegal (most of the United States). In other words, it's prostitution. In this case they're taking advantage of public confusion over the term in order to come down hard on prostitution in a way that the majority of the public doesn't support.

      However, that's already been said elsewh

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