Everyone agrees that sex crimes are bad. Everyone agrees
that child exploitation is worse than bad, and that people trafficking is also
a heinous crime. All of these crimes have been linked to the crime underworld
and even to terrorism which rely on proceeds of these crimes to fund terror
attacks and criminal enterprise.
For this reason, it is good and right that checks are applied to put a stop to these criminals. However, the problem arises when bureaucracy rubs up against personal freedoms and impinges on upstanding citizens’ everyday lives.
Obviously, it is hard to find exactly where to place the line between safety and freedom, and many people may think that the world of sex for sale, people trafficking and even modern slavery are a million miles away from their comfortable world of work, play and the pursuit of as much leisurely nookie but the sad truth is that you probably see exploited people and victims of trafficking and forced prostitution almost every day that you spend in any big city. These criminal enterprises hover on the edge of respectable society for the simple reason that they need to present an honest front to the world. These days very few people can live entirely off the grid, so criminals need a clean cover story through which they can operate and funnel their dirty money.
Governments have long been engaged with a battle with internet service providers, with the governments demanding access to information and wanting the providers to closely monitor what their clients post and do on the sites they host. Internet service providers have long resisted interfering with their clients, citing free speech and generally displaying reluctance to disrupt their revenue stream.
As a result, frustrated with this impasse, the US government has recently enacted a law which makes internet service providers fully responsible for the content that their clients put on their websites. This move will ensure that potential crimes are looked for and vetted far more thoroughly than at present – the threat of a criminal charge, a large fine and potentially even being shut down is a great incentive to close down any criminal enterprises operating on their platforms.
This is great for law enforcement, who will probably benefit massively – at least at first, until the criminals find another way of operating their affairs – from this new law, but it does not bode well for the man or woman on the street – in a word, you and me.
Returning to the idea of where to place the line between criminal enterprise this new law now means that each individual internet service provider gets to decide what is permissible and what is not.One example of hyper-vigilance can already be seen: Craigslist has already disabled their personals section. This means that the censorship of private sexual hook-ups has already begun, and this means that proponents of free speech should watch out for the infringement of the first amendment…