Backpage sold to overseas company: What it could mean for human trafficking

By on December 30, 2014
May or may not be Backpage's new logo
May or may not be Backpage’s new logo

So far I’ve only seen this reported in the Dallas Business Journal but for now I’m going to assume that the sale of Backpage to an unnamed Dutch company for an undisclosed amount is true.

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer sounds like a Bond villain making the announcement at the expansion of his ‘legitimate business’…

“We launched in some markets internationally some years ago and we’re starting to get traction,” he added. “In fact, some of those markets are growing double and triple digits. Having a Dutch company own us gives us access to vendors, companies and experts, especially in Europe, where we’re having the most success.”

Since it’s going to be the same guy as CEO going forward I doubt very much that they’ll be dropping the ads for prostitution anytime soon. As a matter of fact I believe this move guarantees their increase. It’s not surprising that they sold to a Dutch company as The Netherlands are infamous for having legalized prostitution zones but they are also a top global destination for human trafficking. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that they want to be operating in a human trafficking friendly country.

Another reason I think they sold to an overseas company is to flummox US lawmakers. Backpage attorney Liz McDougall is always saying how prostitution websites would move offshore if Backpage closed down. Instead of waiting for the US Government to catch up with them, like they did to MyRedbook operator Eric Omuro, they’re going to shift operations overseas even though they’re claiming to keep operations in Dallas.

So if the U.S. Attorney’s office or any State Attorney General has an ace up their sleeve now may be the time to play it before Backpage leaves the table a winner.

Taft Union shooter’s mom says her son was the victim

By on December 29, 2014
Taft Union High School
Taft Union High School

In the wake of his recent mistrial Bryan Oliver’s mother took to the media to declare her son the real victim. Here’s a sample…

I have said from the beginning that I pray for Bowe Cleveland and I said under oath on the stand that he didn’t deserve this. But my son Bryan is the ultimate victim in this case. He was tortured, teased, called faggot, ginger and fatty everyday by these kids including Bowe Cleveland and Jacob Nichols. At least Jacob had the decency to testify truthfully about his treatment of my gentle but different son, who simply snapped after enduring the torture.

First off your victimhood kind of lessens when you shoot someone in the chest with a shotgun putting them in a medically induced coma. Second, your son didn’t ‘simply snap’. The shooting had to have been planned well in advance. Also let’s not forget that mass murder is not a reasonable response to being bullied. He intended to kill and should not be excused from his actions.

RI RSO caught using Kik to corrupt teen

By on December 29, 2014


24-year-old Joseph Oakes of Coventry, Rhode Island, was recently arrested for ‘having a sexual relationship’ with a 14-year-old girl. Not surprisingly, Oakes was using the messaging app Kik to communicate with his victim. Kik has previously been called a tool of the trade by an admitted pedophile.

The problem with Oakes being on Kik is that he’s on probation for a 2011 child porn arrest and according to the terms of the probation he’s not supposed to be on the internet.

I still can’t stress this enough that as a parent you need to not only know which apps your kids are using but who’s on their friends list. Even a tiny device like a smart phone can leave a huge open widow to your kids.

WA woman pimps out teen daughter on Backpage

By on December 29, 2014


A 44-year-old woman from Snohomish County, Washington was recently arrested for allegedly pimping out her 15-year-old daughter on Backpage. The suspect isn’t being named to protect the identity of the victim. The mother is said to have advertised her daughter on Backpage as being 18-years-old.

Backpage has comically claimed in the past that they block millions of ads that appear to involve minors or sex for money. Obviously there are a torrent of ads for underage girls and sex for money that are still getting through and Backpage just keeps rolling in that ad money and then acts like they’re solving the problem they helped create. When craigslist did this before they removed their erotic services section I called it the Craigslist Conundrum. I think now we can officially call it the Backpage Paradox.

Sex trafficking website owner pleads guilty

By on December 28, 2014


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.

Man sentenced for sex chats with teen that started on Omegle

By on December 28, 2014
Marckenson Chery
Marckenson Chery

Everyone’s favorite anonymous webcam chat site is back in the news again. 29-year-old Marckenson Chery, of North Lauderdale, Florida, was recently sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for having explicit web cam shows with a 15-year-old girl. Chery met the girl on Omegle and continued the shows using Skype.

Now here’s why I keep saying that parents should be aware of what apps are on their kids’ phones, tablets and PC’s…

By the time the girl’s father became suspicious and confiscated her phone about two months later, the girl had already participated in several video-sex sessions.

Her dad printed out “approximately 143 pages” of sexually explicit online chats between the girl and Chery.

Not to mention that once a picture or video hits the internet you can never get it back. I hope that in this case that Chey doesn’t like to share.

This story also answers a question that brings some curious folk to this site. Not only can you be arrested for using Omegle with underage kids you can also go to jail for it for a very long time.

The latest ‘school shooting’ video game

By on December 28, 2014


I almost hate to give this story attention because that’s all it’s designed to do but I know there are going to be some people who are going to be spouting misinformation about it so I thought I’d better enter the fray.

So there’s this fairly new video game out called ‘Hatred’. It’s about what you’d expect, an ultraviolent blood soaked shooter designed only to cause controversy which it’s already somewhat achieved.

Here’s the trailer for it if you can stomach it as it is very graphic.

So let’s get some facts out there. This is not a game that little Billy can just buy out of the case from Wal-Mart. As of right now it’s only going to possibly be available for PC through the Steam Store. So far there’s no rating yet but I can’t see this getting anything less than an AO rating.

It’s already being called a ‘school shooting’ game which as always is a misnomer. From the trailer alone I could see that there were several different locations and the main antagonist doesn’t seem to be some high school kid in mom’s basement. This game is not going to cause your kids to shoot up their school. Art, and I use that term incredibly loosely here, imitates life.

As an almost 40 year gamer myself I have played some pretty violent games in the past decade or so. The difference between those games and Hatred is that Hatred has no moral consequences for the killing spree and no real end goal other than violence for the sake of violence. My personal impression of the game is that it is the video game equivalent of petulant child that only seeks attention. This game will not win any Game of the Year awards, it’s only there to kick the hornets’ nest and in my opinion the only people who will seriously play it will be the fedora wearing neckbeards who argue about ethics in video game journalism.

Now having said that do I believe the game should be banned or censored in any way? No, never. The game designers have the freedom and right to make the game. Steam has the right to sell it in their store.

So what should you do if your sensibilities are shaken to their very core by this game? Simple, ignore it. That’s what you do when something exists only to draw attention to itself, you ignore it and it will go away. And even if it doesn’t no one is forcing you to play the game and it doesn’t affect your life if someone else does.

UPDATE 1/16/2015: Hatred did in fact receive an AO rating from the ESRB. This means you probably won’t see it on home consoles as the big 3 console manufacturers, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, do not allow AO rated games on their consoles.

The Company That HIPAA forgot

By on December 28, 2014


As a lot of you know I was unemployed for most of 2014. Back in November I was offered a job in a pharmaceutical call center and I took it. I figured with my experience in the healthcare field this job will be a piece of cake.

When my training class started the company emphasized how important to them HIPAA was. For those of you who may not know HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In a nutshell it’s the federal law that protects your private personal health information. If an individual provider or practice or corporation is caught violating HIPAA guidelines hefty fines and jail sentences can be imposed. In my career I’ve been dealing with HIPAA for a while now and understood the gravity of the position my new employer was taking.

For example we were not allowed to have our cell phones out on the call center floor due to fear of someone using it to steal personal information. That’s understandable. I’ve worked at a couple of companies that had similar policies. Then we were told that we could have no pens or paper on the floor so no one could write any personal information down. Instead we were given small white boards and dry erase markers. I thought that was a little extreme since sometimes you have to write things down in order to assist the patient or customer with their request. In other offices there were bins that we dumped all our paper in at the end if the day that would eventually be shredded. But again, I sort of understood where they were coming from. Finally we were told we could have no bags on the floor. No backpacks or purse or what have you. If you absolutely had to bring belonging out on to the floor they had to be in some form of transparent bag. To me this was a little more than extreme so I did some research and found out that the company was fined heavily by the government when one of its former employees was caught stealing and selling personal health information. At that point I assumed that they were just covering all their bases when it came to HIPAA. Then we started taking calls.

During our first week on the call center floor my training class was not authorized to take calls because of an IT snafu so we listened in on the calls of another class who started the same time we did. In the past I may have said that HIPAA was an answer to a question that no one asked but it’s been the law of the land for the while now. You wouldn’t have been able to tell with the calls I heard. The CSR’s were giving out all sorts of personal information to parties that should have not had that kind of access. They weren’t doing it maliciously but no trainer, coach or supervisor was correcting them. When I asked a higher-up about it I was basically told that the new hires have 30 days on the floor before they start cracking down on things like that? That may be great for the new hires but they’re talking to real patients who have real medical needs whose real personal information was being given to unauthorized parties with no repercussions.

Shortly into the 2nd week of being on the call center floor I walked out. I wish I could say it was all due to the flagrant violation of federal privacy laws but it was a rather large part of it. The really sad part is a lot of customers of this company have no idea that their information is being given out so freely.

Why Strangeland should be remade every decade

By on December 17, 2014


If you haven’t seen the 1998 movie Strangeland it was made by Twisted Sister’s own Dee Snider about teen girls who end up being kidnapped and tortured after meeting a predator online named Captain Howdy. While it may not have been the most compelling movie of all time it’s something that parents should have seen back in the day.

Back in the late 1990s the big predator playgrounds were chatrooms. The movie could have been remade in the 2000s with social networking sites and in the 2010s with smart phone apps.

Not surprisingly this is a tale that Snider has actually been telling since the 1980s with possibly my favorite epic song of his from the 1980s called Horror-Teria, a single track that features the dual songs Captain Howdy and Street Justice. This was from back in a time when the predators had to have physical contact of your kids before they could harm them. I guess they could be called analog pedos by today’s standards.

Mistrial declared in Taft Union High shooting

By on December 17, 2014
Taft Union High School
Taft Union High School

Back in January of 2013 a then 16-year-old Bryan Oliver stormed Taft Union High School, in Taft, California, with a shotgun and discharged the gun into the chest of his victim, Bowe Cleveland. Cleveland had to be induced into a medical coma and had further complications after his initial release from the hospital. Oliver fired another shot at another student by the name of Jacob Nichols. A teacher prevented Oliver from committing anymore violence. Oliver was charged as an adult with two counts of attempted murder. Yesterday during the sentencing phase of Oliver’s trial a mistrial was declared.

As in most school shooting cases bullying was used as the main defense. I’m still of the opinion that the bullying in Oliver’s case may have just been a case of him being a violence obsessed loser in the vein of Cho Seung Hui but I digress. It appears that the defense was a successful one for now because of bleeding heart jurors…

“I think he went in there to shoot the child, but I don’t think he went in there to murder,” he said. “Just because you shoot somebody doesn’t mean you want to kill them.”

In the end, Miller said, the greatest failure was on the part of the school district.

“They didn’t step up,” he said. “This boy was crying out for help, and they didn’t give it to him.”

With all due respect sir you are a fucking moron. When you shoot someone, with a gun, killing them is your only intention. Especially when the person holding the gun was discovered to have written bloody revenge fantasy stories. If for some reason Oliver goes free after the retrial in January and goes on to commit violence again you should be the second person held responsible.