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United States Politics

Trump Signs Law Weakening Shield For Online Services (vice.com) 187

President Donald Trump has signed a new law aimed at curbing sex trafficking. From a report: The bill -- a mashup of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which is commonly referred to as the latter -- passed Congress in March. It makes websites liable for what users say and do on their platforms, and many advocacy groups have come out against the bill, saying that it undermines essential internet freedoms.

It could be months -- or as late as January 2019 -- before FOSTA is enacted and anyone could be charged under the law. But even in the days immediately after the bill passed in Congress, platforms started scrambling to proactively shut down forums or whole sites where sex trafficking could feasibly happen. Fringe dating websites, sex trade and advertising forums, and even portions of Craigslist were taken down in the weeks following, while companies like Google started strictly enforcing terms of service around sexual speech.
Commenting on the development, EFF said, "As we've already seen, this bill silences online speech by forcing Internet platforms to censor their users."

Trump Signs Law Weakening Shield For Online Services

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  • by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @01:32PM (#56418755) Journal
    I for one can't wait until the politicians who approved this bill have users post links "illegal" sites and they get hauled off to jail.
    • I am looking for junior representatives in government -- young, willing, and eager to please me by enacting policies of my choosing, without citing their "seniority" as independence from me as a special interest. Make me feel like a very special interest. I want to feel your warmth in my pocket.

      If you or some people you're able to acquire are able to perform this service for me, please contact. You'll find me to be a generous friend.

    • I for one can't wait until the politicians who approved this bill have users post links "illegal" sites and they get hauled off to jail.

      Nah, lawmakers will make certain there's an exemption for those in power just like the exemptions Congress has to "insider trading" laws so that they may enrich themselves via their foreknowledge regarding new laws, Acts. and actions of the government that affect stock prices.

      I wonder how many people are checking to see if anyone in Congress has a softball game scheduled?


  • by Sniper98G ( 1078397 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @01:37PM (#56418789)

    Since everyone in Congress told us this bill was necessary to take down Backpage.com, are they going to after them now?

    • Charges were unsealed and the people who run the site were arrested at the same time.

      That was before the law was officially signed which tells you just how badly some people were wanting to take the site down.

      • Or that this law is completely unnecessary and Backpage was just a strawman to get this power grab passed.

        • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 )

          Considering that the law literally gives people the ability to go after sites for things they did before the law the passed, I'm pretty certain that this is the backup plan to these charges.

          • This law gives THE GOVERNMENT the ability to go after sites for things that are most definitely not what Backpage did. Under the old law, if you contributed to sex trafficking though your own actions your immunity was revoked. Under the new law, if a user does something that the government decides you should have known about and stopped, your immunity is revoked. That's a huge difference, and includes a nice little bit where the government can dispense arbitrary justice by picking and choosing who should
        • The more logical conclusion is that these things are unrelated.

  • And hope no one notices that the loudest agitators for "net neutrality" and a "free and open internet" have also been caught red-handed censoring perfectly legal user content they disagree with.
  • This is where Trump gets booted off of Twitter, right?
  • Trump didn't act unilaterally this time. The bill passed in the Senate 97-2: https://www.democrats.senate.g... [senate.gov]
    • Yes, after being told by everyone in the freaking world--police, investigators, sex trafficking experts--that it will actually cause more harm to victims of sex trafficking and make it harder for police to find them and intervene.

      There are a ton of proposals out there that actually do things like put more funding up for investigation resources. FOSTA covers up the problem so we don't have to look at it, and causes it to fester even worse. People will die for this. 15-year-old hookers will be pimped and

      • by jythie ( 914043 )
        At the end of the day, scared suburban parents who think brown pimps are waiting around every corner ready to snatch their daughters vote en-mass, while sex workers living on the edge of financial disaster generally don't.
        • These people didn't pass this because voters were demanding it; they passed it because they have no idea what they're doing.

          My answer to the financial thing is to simply eliminate poverty. Right now I'm working on a completely-new approach to tax and income policy [google.com]. I've figured out a replacement for tax brackets and personal exemptions, and possibly the Standard Deduction. I'm not sure if there's an alternative to the Mortgage Interest deduction or SALT deductions (these were big topics for the GOP's

      • That's the big tragedy.
        Vote against this, and you'll be labelled as being "pro-sex trafficking"
        Try to give a nuanced answer as to why this bill is counter productive and very few people will listen.

        Voting for or against a law is nearly always judged by the law's stated intent, not by it's effectiveness or by its unintended consequences.

        Thanks for doing your bit to try and change it.

        • Try to give a nuanced answer as to why this bill is counter productive and very few people will listen.

          Generally, very few people don't listen; speak up.

          People got pissed at our State Senate recently for trying to put enormous penalties for violent and sexual crime re-offenders, with mandatory minimums [legiscan.com]. One Senator (yes, it was Zirkin) told me there were no mandatory minimums because the "no judge shall issue a sentence less than the minimum defined for these crimes" line leaves them open for review; of course, another clause says that these people aren't eligible for parole until they've served those mi

  • Yeah - this will totally work.

    Guvf jvyy gbgnyyl fbyir gur ceboyrz naq erqhpr genssvpxvat

  • by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @03:03PM (#56419335)

    It's hard to stomach a law meant to curb bad sexual behavior signed by Mr. "Grab 'em by the pussy".

    • Note that he didn't say "Pay 'em, and then grab 'em by the pussy," everyone knows a gentleman pays after the grab
  • I've been contemplating how to relate this to the real world.

    I think this is equivalent to being able to criminally and civilly charge a hotel chain if any prostitution occurs on their property that they didn't take measures to stop. They must then spy on all of their clients to at least try to be able to prove that they were taking reasonable steps to make sure that no prostitution is occurring on their property. Since that would be nearly impossible to perfectly perform, the only solution they'd have to b

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "All of that leads me to question whether this law is an attempt to ban social discourse on the web because the only effective defense is to not allow more than one person in a conversation."

      China and communism when after what they saw as the 'Four Olds' of society: old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]"Four_Olds"
      Todays US SJW are going after The United States Constitution by granting US governments the color of law to make speech online illegal.

    • In murder mysteries of a certain period, there are a lot of hotel detectives who seem to be primarily devoted to hindering the use of the place for extramarital or premarital sex. Having the house dick (which appears to be period usage, at least in the fiction) presumably meant the hotel couldn't be accused of allowing prostitution (or adultery or whatever...).

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @03:38PM (#56419581)

    Who could have seen this coming, besides anyone who gave it a moment’s thought?

    The new federal legislation that closed down Backpage.com "is creating an actual market for pimps." [blogspot.nl]
    WaPo reports on the unintended consequences of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. [thelily.com]
    According to The Guardian [theguardian.com], the site allowed sex workers to screen potential online clients before meeting them in person. It was a simple layer of safety without resorting to pimps for protection. These deals, that were once handled online, will now be pushed back into the open streets, leaving women on their own to protect.

    The Internet disintermediates. Take away the Internet, and you get re-intermediation.

  • Our Craiglist personal pages work just fine. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write a reply to a woman who only wants to go shopping at Holt Renfrew in exchange for me to experience her one hour bikini Jello wrestling in-call only services.
    • I once literally died in the street in front of Holt Renfrew. I was on 1000mg of DXM powder and the cops & paramedics both reported no signs of life.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @04:26PM (#56419877)

    Many advocacy groups have come out against the bill, saying that it undermines essential internet freedoms.

    Of course it does. That's the fucking point.

  • " platforms started scrambling to proactively shut down forums or whole sites where sex trafficking could feasibly happen"

    We can use this site to ask for sex

    "Wanted to buy __ girl"

  • People think this law effects only sections that allow for "personals" and "adult" type categories. Actually, this law is so vague it can be applied to any web site that has a comments section or allows a user to post a message. This means about 99.99% of every web site out there can potentially be shut down. Even this web site, if someone posts an ad about prostitution in the comments section, this web site owners are liable for that content.

  • Let's see... people are using the internet to 'date.' And somehow this is a really awful thing, so, I know what to do. Let's blame the websites! They look like nice rich folks who'll be able to fill lawyer pockets with cash to fight this.

    I notice a lot of politicians and lawmakers tend to be lawyers or judges before they were politicians. Ever get the feeling they're doing stuff like this to generate income for their lawyer buddies? I mean, this is a really really ugly can of worms and you're going aft

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.