State of Washington forced to settle with Backpage


State agrees to work to repeal law opposed by

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?

Some details on the Backpage letter


Backpage Says It’s Doing Enough, McKenna Still Pushing The Issue:

The other day I posted about the letter that Backpage’s attorney, Sam Fifer, sent to the Attorneys General. The contents of the letter were not immediately made public.

Now out of Washington state we’re beginning to hear about some of the contents of the letter. Here is what Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office said this was in the letter…

Backpage says “There is no gap between our mutual goal of eradicating the scourge of child trafficking as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Citing its use of “aggressive content moderation and programmatic content filtration” technology, the company reasserts its claim that there “there can be no question that does its best to provide a sage and legal environment for its customers and to be a responsible corporate citizen.”

That’s one of the biggest loads of horseshit I’ve ever read. There is a Grand Canyon sized gap between what the AGs want and what Village Voice Media is willing to do.

There is no sage and legal environment for prostitution and human trafficking and Village Voice Media and Backpage are far from being responsible corporate citizens.

The bottom line is and always has been that they are making money hand over fist on thinly veiled ads for prostitution. Some of the girls being prostituted are underage and I would hazard a guess that the overwhelming majority of them are being trafficked. It’s blood money pure and simple. Village Voice Media would have to be extremely stupid not to realize this but they’re not stupid, just greedy. And also lacking any basic human kindness.