Search Results for: Communications Decency Act

Number of Results: 21

Wash. State Supreme Court rules lawsuit against Backpage can proceed

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Back in 2012, three women who were prostituted on Backpage while underage filed a lawsuit against the website in the state of Washington. For three years I hadn’t heard any updates about the lawsuit. I just assumed it was dismissed like similar lawsuits have been in the past. I’m glad I was wrong.

Earlier today the State Supreme Court of Washington ruled that the lawsuit against Backpage can proceed. Previously lawsuits like this have been dismissed because of the Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996. That act, which is antiquated in internet time in my opinion, basically says that a website is not responsible for the content that its users may post on it. However, in their ruling the court said that the case can proceed because there may be evidence that Backpage had a hand in creating the content.

The lawsuit filed in Pierce County Superior Court claimed Backpage.com markets itself as a place to sell “escort services” but actually provides pimps with instructions on how to write an ad that works.

Between the lawsuit proceeding and taking a hit in the wallet after the credit card companies cut ties with them it looks like Backpage may finally be beginning to reap what they have sown.

It pays to have a charity in Backpage’s pocket

An alleged accurate representation of what Backpage gives o charity.

An alleged accurate representation of what Backpage gives to charity.

Normally I don’t post links from biased news sources. One News Now touts itself as an American Christian news outlet. However, this article is spot on when it comes to Backpage escaping justice because of the outdated Federal Communications Decency Act.

Specifically the article about the lawsuit in Massachusetts filed by three women who were trafficked on Backpage while underage and why the suit was dismissed.

“It allows for service providers who make good-faith efforts to protect children from pornography, from sexual exploitation, and even prostitution,” explains Donna Rice Hughes, who heads Enough is Enough. “If they make a good-faith attempt to protect children, then they will have civil immunity from any type of prosecution.”

What good faith efforts are Backpage realty making? By good faith efforts do they mean getting a discount for using anonymous payment methods or having the head of a supposed human trafficking charity in your back pocket, or the part where they might try to move overseas to avoid US prosecution?

That doesn’t sound like good faith to me. Instead it sounds a lot like Backpage trying to cover their own ass while raking in a cubic assload of dough on the exploitation of women and children.

Sex trafficking website owner pleads guilty

myredbook

Unfortunately it wasn’t anyone from Backpage.

I originally posted about Eric Omuro here. He was the operator of escort website MyRedbook when he was arrested by the FBI on prostitution and money laundering charges back in June. Earlier this month Omuro pleaded guilty to facilitating prostitution.

Omuro admitted that the website hosted advertisements posted by prostitutes containing explicit photos, graphic descriptions of sexual services offered, and rates for the sexual services.

The reason this is a big deal is because it’s the first successful prosecution of its kind. Normally people like this hide behind free speech arguments or the massively outdated Communications Decency Act of 1996 to say that they’re not responsible for what their users post on their websites. However the website operators like Omuro know that these ads are for prostitution. They’re not that stupid and are too greedy to stop.

Hopefully Omuro’s guilty plea put Backpage on notice letting them know maybe they’re not as untouchable as they think they are.

UPDATE 5/2/2015: As part of his plea agreement Omuro must forfeit two cars and over one million dollars. Sentencing is scheduled for later this month.

UPDATE 5/27/2015: Omuro was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison.

And for those of you defending Omuro and MyRedBook…

The FBI identified more than 50 juveniles advertising prostitution on myRedBook, according to court documents.

Now hopefully the feds can go after Backpage before they flee the country.

Alleged serial killer met victim through Backpage

Afrikka Hardy

Afrikka Hardy

19-year-old Afrikka Hardy is believed to have been the victim of alleged serial killer Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana. She was working as a prostitute out of nearby Chicago and was advertised on Backpage. However just because she was a prostitute doesn’t mean she deserved to be strangled to death by a serial sex offender who has allegedly confessed to killing at least 7 victims. She had family and loved ones who cared about her.

This is more blood splashed on the pages of Backpage since they facilitated the murder in my opinion but they’re not going to stop unless they’re forced to stop. Congress needs to get off its ass and update the archaic Communications Decency Act before there are more Afrikka Hardy’s. Backpage isn’t going to stop on its own while there is blood money to be made.

UPDATE 10/31/2014: Vann has pleaded not guilty.

UPDATE 4/27/2015: Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Vann.

UPDATE 3/8/2016: Vann has been charged with five more murders after leading police to the bodies of five additional women that he allegedly killed.

UPDATE 5/31/2016: Vann’s trial, which had been scheduled for July 25th, has been rescheduled for an unknown date. A hearing for the new trial date is set for August 19th. The defense requested the rescheduling stating they need more time to prepare.

Darren Vann

Darren Vann

UPDATE 4/25/2017: I don’t know why I didn’t post this back in January, but back then Vann entered into a plea deal which saw him sentenced to life without parole. There had been an argument about the constitutionality of Indiana’s death penalty but the state’s Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Mass. lawsuit against Backpage (From the mouth of Liz McDougall IX)

Backpage attorney Liz McDougall

Backpage attorney Liz McDougall

For those of you outraged by the picture and are ready to accuse me of misogyny please read the entire post before jerking your knee.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against Backpage this year for their prostitution ads by trafficking victims. I haven’t really been posting about them because they’re always dismissed under the guise of Backpage’s free speech. Another one has been recently filed in Massachusetts by two women who were turned out by pimps on Backpage when they were 15 and 17 respectively. Unfortunately I’m sure this one will be eventually dismissed as well since the law is actually on Backpage’s side due to the antiquated Communications Decency Act of 1996.

However, this particular lawsuit caught my eye because Backpage’s head legal weasel and corporate whore (we’re not there yet) Liz McDougall has commented on this particular lawsuit.

“We do more than any other online service provider to try to prevent the use of our service for any kind of human sex trafficking,” McDougall said.

No, no you don’t. That has to be a bold-faced lie if I ever heard one. As I’ve posted before Backpage represents 82 percent of all online prostitution and 80 percent of all their ads are for prostitution. So statistically you’re doing a whole lot of nothing when it comes to preventing trafficking on your website.

Now as far as the picture goes I did not place the caption on it because Ms. McDougall is female. I placed it there because I think that there’s no way in hell she can possibly believe the bullcrap that she is spreading on Backpage’s behalf. Since she’s more than likely only doing it for the money that makes her a whore in my eyes. Go back and read some of the other things she has said and tell me that she isn’t. And if you still want to call me a misogynist then that is your right but just remember I actually care about the women and girls that are being trafficked against their will on Backpage while it’s obvious that Liz McDougall does not.

UPDATE 1/19/2015: The cities of Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California are both going to file friend of the court briefs in support of the lawsuit.

UPDATE 5/18/2015: As expected the lawsuit was dismissed citing the much outdated Communications Decency Act however, lawyers for the plaintiffs plan to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. Sadly I think that Backpage will completely move operations overseas before they can be held responsible for their actions.

UPDATE 6/22/2015: The victims who were trafficked on Backpage have already started the process to appeal the lawsuit’s dismissal.

UPDATE 10/8/2016: Prior to the arrest of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, 20 state Attorneys General filed friend of the court briefs, asking the Supreme Court to allow the lawsuit to proceed.

UPDATE 1/12/2017: Roughly around the same time Backpage closed the adult sections of its site, The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the lawsuit.

Backpage responds to latest legislative effort against them (From the mouth of Liz McDougall VI)

Despite support, sex trade ad bill faces uphill battle:

Backpage attorney Liz McDougall

Backpage attorney Liz McDougall

I originally posted about the SAVE act proposed by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk here. Backpage has responded to the latest threat through usual means with the typical response.

Let’s hear from Backpage’s legal weasel Liz McDougall…

“The aim of stopping the sex trafficking of minors, indeed the trafficking of any human being, is laudable,” Backpage.com attorney Liz McDougall wrote. “However, identifying and vilifying a single U.S. website (previously craigslist, now Backpage.com) as the cause of the problem and the key to the solution are ill-founded and unproductive.”

So according to Backpage it’s laudable to stop sex trafficking but more importantly it’s profitable so we’re not going to stop. Also vilifying Backpage is not unproductive considering they’re the online leaders of where women and children are trafficked. Unfortunately for right not the law is on Backpage’s side, a badly outdated law called the Communications Decency Act of 1996, but the law nonetheless.

Let’s be realistic here. Backpage makes their money through the purchasing of ads where these women and children are advertised as prostitutes. They’ll make grand gestures that they screen the ads but deep down I think they know where their money is coming from yet Backpage owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin continue to wallow in their prostitution profits while paying Liz McDougall to do tricks for the people.

Illinois Senator to introduce anti-Backpage trafficking legislation

Kirk, Alvarez Outline Anti-Sex Trafficking Agenda:

 U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk

Unites States Senator Mark Kirk represents the state of Illinois. Along with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez he is hoping to get legislation passed that would allow the government to take action against Backpage for facilitating sex trafficking. If you’ll notice I didn’t mention his political affiliation because when it comes to sex trafficking sides of the aisle shouldn’t matter.

Senator Kirk had some very poignant things to say about the matter…

“As President Obama has said, it’s time to call human trafficking what it really is – modern day slavery,” Sen. Kirk said. “Illinois was the first state in the nation to ratify the 13th amendment that abolished slavery – it makes sense for Illinois to lead the nation in a bipartisan effort to end human trafficking. We can start by putting an end to sex ads on websites like Backpage.com.”

“Everyone in America should be outraged that Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin can make millions by victimizing young women,” Sen. Kirk added. “It’s time to bring Lacey and Larkin to justice.”

Lacey and Larkin are the scumbags that own Backpage.

The proposed legislation is called SAVE which stands for Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation. It would allow the government to shut down advertisements on websites promoting underage sex.

What the article I linked to doesn’t mention is that there are two overwhelming obstacles that this act would need to hurdle. The first of course is the Communications Decency Act of 1996. That act absolves website owners of any wrong doing if their users engage in criminal activity. As I’ve said numerous times before in internet years it might as well have been the Communications Decency Act of 1776. I doubt the drafters of the CDA had the sex trafficking of women and children in mind when the act was first passed. The second obstacle is the First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees the right to free press. Excuse me for not being anything even remotely close to a legal scholar but doesn’t the right for the victims of human trafficking to be free outweigh any right Backpage can claim when they’re making money from slavery? If there are any legal experts reading this please feel free to correct me.

I wish Senator Kirk and State Attorney Alvarez all the best with this but unfortunately the success rate for similar legislation has been nil.

UPDATE 4/27/2015: The SAVE Act has passed the Senate recently and has passed the House in January. If my basic understanding of civics is correct all the SAVE Act needs is a signature from the President. I wonder if this will cause Backpage to move overseas quicker.

Even if it is signed into law I’m sure it will go under many legal challenges before it can be actually enforced.

Backpage pimp accused of raping 15-year-old girl

Charge: Kent man pimped runaway girls in Seattle, Portland:

Auburn man faces pimping charges in connection with 15-year-old girl he met in Kent:

childprost

43-year-old Nathan Bonds was arrested back in June for allegedly pimping out a 15-year-old runaway girl on Backpage in the SeaTac and Portland, Oregon, areas. If that’s not repulsive enough Bonds allegedly raped the girl after first meeting her. Bonds then turned out the girl and a friend hers plus another woman on Backpage. I could go into more detail but why bother? I’d just be repeating every other child prostitution story involving Backpage I’ve ever posted. Pimp meets underage runaway, pimp rapes runaway, pimp turns out runaway on Backpage, repeat ad infinitum.

Outside of law enforcement no one is doing anything about this. Countless women and girls are being forced against their will into the business of sexual slavery. Human trafficking is so profitable to criminals because the resources, human beings, are constantly renewable.

Backpage continues to make millions of dollars from the advertisements of sexual slaves and cower behind the First Amendment. Lawmakers either refuse or are too ignorant of what’s going on to make amendments to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that protects Backpage. Is Backpage’s so-called right to freedom of speech more important to the freedom of the women and children that are being peddled on their website?

My greatest hope is that someone will read this and join the cause to fight against the sexual slavery that’s being promulgated by Backpage.

Man who rented out room charged with sex trafficking

Room rental leads to human trafficking charges:

room-for-rent-300x271

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police arrested 33-year-old Garrett W. Frazier. Frazier is accused of placing an ad on Backpage for a room he was renting out. Police say the problem is he was renting it out to underage prostitutes and taking a cut of the money they made. Luckily the prostitutes and customers were actually Fort Lauderdale police. Now before everyone goes around crying entrapment I would imagine that there was something in Frazier’s Backpage ad that made it enticing for pimps and prostitutes.

One of the charges levied against Frazier is living off the earnings of a prostitute which makes me wonder. If individuals can be charged for making money from prostitution shouldn’t Backpage be charged as well? The ads they carry are not free and it’s obvious to even the simplest of minds that they’re for prostitution so why isn’t Backpage being charged.

Of course the answer to the is The Communications Decency Act of 1996 which absolves Backpage of the responsibility of what their users do no matter how illegal. As I’ve said previously I doubt in 1996 that Congress ever imagined that websites would be using this act to protect and profit from the sex trafficking of women and children. 18 years is ancient in internet terms and this law has become archaic. It’s past time that the government got together and passed a new law where sites like Backpage couldn’t profit from prostitution.

It’s not a free speech issue it’s a free people issue.

State of Washington forced to settle with Backpage

frank-palmer-washington-state-seal

State agrees to work to repeal law opposed by Backpage.com:

Earlier this year the state of Washington passed Senate Bill 6251 into law. In a nutshell the law required websites and publications doing business in the state of Washington to verify the ages of the women being advertised in ‘escort’ ads. Almost immediately Village Voice Media, which owned Backpage at the time, sued to have the law blocked. They won.

More recently a few weeks ago not only has Washington given up on SB 6251 but they’ve also agreed to pay Backpage $200K for legal fees. That’s not just a devastating loss for you know…freedom but it adds insult to injury to a state that is trying its best to stop online sex trafficking of women and children.

While Backpage continues to make money off the exploited women and children in the adult section of their site Attorney General Rob McKenna sums up what the stumbling block is in trying to deal with sites like Backpage…

“But unless Congress acts to revise the section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, an appeal will be extremely challenging and costly. It is unfortunate that because of this ruling, Backpage will continue to profit from sex ads for kids and others. Congress must revisit the CDA in order to close a loophole that allows companies such as Backpage to make millions advertising an illegal service that takes a particularly devastating toll on children,”

A man after my own heart. As I’m fond of saying the Communications Decency Act was signed into law in 1996. That was the infancy of a publicly available internet. Do you remember the internet from 1996? I wasn’t even on it yet but it dredges up memories of dial-up modems, AOL discs and Netscape. How much has the internet evolved in the past 16 years? Shouldn’t the CDA evolve along with it? And again what is more important, Backpage’s ‘right’ to make money from sexual slavery or the rights of the women and children on their pages not to be sold?