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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Craigslist Adult Services Not 'Censored'

After 17 Attorneys General sent Craigslist owners a joint letter, asking them to shutter their "Adult Services" section, the department was replaced with a large, black and white banner reading "CENSORED." However, Craigslist is not censored, as censorship has exactly fuck-all to do with not being allowed to facilitate illegal acts, such as prostitution.

I'm not getting into the censorship debate here, because very few people actually get It, and I've spilled a lot of pixels going over and over it elsewhere many times before, so I'll leave it to say that you can no more censor something illegal than you can sell, or facilitate, it without becoming an accessory to the crime itself. That is to say, it is illegal to sell or buy marijuana in most states, so you cannot use the First Amendment as your defense if you get caught holding, or selling, weed.

And Craigslist knows this... maybe.

The truth is that most people are very stupid, and far more are even greedier. Some estimates suggest up to 33% of Craigslist's multi-millions annually comes from the Adult Services section. And while I have nothing personal against the sex industry or prostitution, generally speaking, I know it isn't a matter of "free speech."

And I'm flatly fucking offended that these people are trying to lump it in with such just to avoid prosecution and continue pimping hos.

Now, several non-profit organizations against child-trafficking have joined the cause, asking Craigslist to shutter the Adult Services portion of its site for good, throughout the world, and not just here in America.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010


Manodogs said...

PCWorld featured a well-written article the other day in which the author argued this was more of a publicity stunt for the Attorneys General in that, were they really just looking to stop prostitution, they would have gone after the hookers themselves, and the ads would have dried-up.

Good point, and one with which I agree, but it doesn't change the fact that this still is not a matter of free speech.

Manodogs said...

Danah Boyd, a "Social Media Researcher" for Microsoft, wrote an interesting piece on Alternet.org which begins by admitting that the closure of Craigslist's Adult Services is not a matter of free speech, then continues to repeat the word "censorship" throughout the rest of the article.

While Boyd's assessment is largely correct, it suffers from one, major flaw: Never once does Danah Boyd acknowledge the widespread corruption within the police, and general legal, communities. This is not a new issue, but one which continues to expand and deepen more rapidly than we can keep up with it. These people are not the "forgotten" heroes Boyd, obviously a member of the "well-to-do" (or should we say "comfortable") class, portrays. Not a single day passes that we are not made privy to some new allegation, abuse, and/or scandal involving the police and/or other legal authorities. To ignore this growing threat -- more specifically, to treat it as though it doesn't exist -- is a crime in and of itself, especially when discussing an issue such as this!

In fact, Boyd's own article proves this very point, as the author literally states that law enforcement officials "could have" used Craigslist's Adult Services to monitor, infiltrate, and arrest abusers (as well as johns, hookers, and the whole lot).

Criagslist's Adult Services has been around almost since the site itself. So, Danah Boyd, did you ever wonder why they didn't start monitoring it before? Whether to arrest, infiltrate, or "save," if the law enforcement really wanted to do anything about all of this, they would have been doing it already.