Prosecutors Pressure Backpage To Close Adult Services Site - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Cloud
News
9/23/2010
10:20 AM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Useing Threat Data to Improve Your Cyber Defense
Aug 10, 2017
Attend this webinar to learn how you can determine which threats pose the greatest danger to your ...Read More>>

Prosecutors Pressure Backpage To Close Adult Services Site

Coming off their victory against Craigslist, 21 state attorneys general are going after another classified ads site.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed
(click image for larger view and for full photo gallery)
State attorneys general who recently pressured Craigslist into shutting down the adult services section of its site have asked another online classified ads site to do the same.

A group of 21 state prosecutors said Wednesday that a letter was sent to Backpage.com notifying the site that such sections are often used to promote prostitution, including trafficking in children. The argument for closing the site was the same brought to Craigslist.

However, Backpage.com appeared to be more defiant in its refusal to remove the controversial section. "Backpage.com respectfully declines," the site said in its blog.

The state attorneys general's move against Backpage.com is similar to the pressure placed on Craigslist. The arguments of both sides in the latest case are the same, with the prosecutors railing against illicit sex trafficking on the site, and the website arguing that its business is legal and it is working with law enforcement in helping to prosecute any individuals using the service for illegal activity.

"Backpage.com is disappointed that the AGs have determined to shift blame from criminal predators to a legal business operator in an apparent attempt to capitalize on political opportunity during the election season," Backpage.com said.

Indeed, federal law protects classified ads sites from prosecution for the postings of users if the sites show they do not condone illegal activity on the properties. Like Craigslist, Backpage.com argues the state attorneys general are looking to censor its site.

"Censorship will not create public safety nor will it rid the world of exploitation," the site said.

Nevertheless, prosecutors claim that just having the adult services sites available is contributing to the problem. "Turning a blind eye to this very obvious avenue of criminal conduct, as many of these websites have done, is a shameful act in and of itself," Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray said in a statement.

Craigslist took down the adult services section of its U.S. site this month and later told a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., on child prostitution that the section had been "terminated." Nevertheless, William Clinton Powell, director of customer service and law enforcement relations at Craigslist, told the House subcommittee that people using the site for sex trafficking would likely go elsewhere on the web, making it more difficult for them to be monitored by law enforcement.

States attorneys general signing the letter sent to Backpage.com were from Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll