Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Welcome to Portland!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Intern Rebecca here, with embarrassing news from my hometown…

oregongThis case reads a bit like a bad episode of any daytime soap, so I’ll try to break it down for you.

Way out West in Portland, OR, a twenty-year-old man-child by the name of Zachary Driver was caught pimping out girls via the Internet – a business venture made possible by sites such as MySpace and Craigslist. One of Zachary’s “employees” was a fifteen-year-old girl, and Zachary was soon exposed for selling underage girls as prostitutes and was sent to prison.

Distraught by the idea that her son would be returning (that’s right, returning) to prison, Shelia Montgomery, Zachary’s mother, decided to show the world that this particular fifteen-year-old was already a slut before dear Zachary turned her into an underage prostitute. How did Ms. Montgomery do this? She posted naked pictures of the fifteen-year-old on her own MySpace page – ostensibly taken before the girl met her son – to prove the girl lacked a moral code. Because posting naked photos of minors is child pornography, Shelia was charged with assisting in human trafficking over the Internet and is now serving time herself.

A little research unfortunately shows that human trafficking via sites like MySpace and Craigslist is apparently the hip new thing in Portland, along with avoiding gluten and wearing unnecessary glasses.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, an average of five cases of human trafficking via the Internet occur each week in my fair city, with an average of two cases a week being juveniles.

Portland police estimate a pimp earns $800 to $1,000 a day from each juvenile victim.

Really, Portland? Is this what it’s come to? I know we’re known for harboring insane amounts of pot, and more recently meth, and I know our only professional sports team is nicknamed the “Jail-Blazers,” and I also recognize the unemployment rate is uncomfortably high, but using MySpace to pimp out children? Or try to defend your child after they’ve used the Internet to pimp out even younger children?

As an Oregonian, I’m embarrassed. As a US citizen, I’m in shock. Human trafficking is clearly illegal. How can it happen via a forum as public as the Internet?? And we’re not even talking hidden black market websites here. We’re talking MySpace, Facebook’s ever publically embarrassing unwanted uncle.

Human trafficking is happening through the exact same medium you’re using to read this article. Are you disgusted yet?

Why hasn’t MySpace been shut down? Or Craigslist? How can this go on, legally, in a country that prides itself on being safer and all around better than the rest?

AMY RESPONDS…

I had no idea that Oregonians had such strong feelings. Or so many problems, really.  But I’ll be sure to keep my meth lab out of your state.  I think you correctly point out the horror of human trafficking, but I have to take issue with your solution here. First, there’s actually a law that protects websites from liability based on the third party content posted on them. In other words, if I have a website that carries content written and posted by outsiders (MySpace, for example), and someone posts something really stupid or criminal on it, by law as the website owner or internet service provider I can’t be held liable.

Secondly, I think we’ve got a public policy issue if we shut down sites that host content that we think is horrific (even where, as here, it really truly is).  The first amendment guarantees that the government shall not abridge the freedom of the press and while internet laws are still somewhat up for grabs, I think it strikes fear into the hearts of federalists everywhere that the police would be able to just shut down sites that post content that they hate.

Finally, I think that we misuse the justice system when we create a nanny state that, rather than punishing the scum-sucking slime that commit crimes like human trafficking, we simply shut down any possible sites that might allow them to do so.  Instead of shutting down Myspace, I propose instead that we snap pictures as these two idiots are doing the perp walk to the courthouse in handcuffs, and post those on myspace for the world to see.

Oh My Blog! Intern Rebecca Takes MC Blogger To Task

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Mike & Molly

Mike & Molly

Marie Claire dating blogger Maura Kelly had a lot to say earlier this week about obese folks. Mainly that she doesn’t want to see them. Kelly stated on Monday that when she’s home alone channel surfing, she wishes to never spot the horrific image of two “fat” people getting it on, going as far as saying, “I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other, because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

Hey, Kelly, all that hot air in your empty stomach is rising straight to your big, fat head. Good thing your offensive comments haven’t yet made it to primetime, so I don’t have to catch a glimpse of you on my TV. In the past few days, Maura’s blog post has received an astonishing 1,800 comments from readers who call the writer a bully, evil, and bigoted. One comment even points out that if “obese person” were replaced with “black person,” Kelly would already be in line for her first unemployment check.

I’d even say that a similar blog targeting gay people would thankfully no longer be accepted by society. So why should it be okay to talk this way about obesity – another genetic condition many people simply can’t help? Marie Claire recently announced that they have no intention of firing Kelly, and even backed her up, calling her a controversial blogger. Tell me, Amy, how is this woman keeping her job?

Right in Our Backyard!

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Pot smoking? Check. Wire tapping? Check. Cyber stalking? Check! This story has it all AND incredibly it’s taking place in the high school that educated both Amy and me…

Bad Daddy Indeed!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Ignore Request

Ignore Request

I’m not trying to brag or attain early-adopter bona fides by saying this, but I joined Facebook years before most of my friends had even heard of it. I signed up when you still needed an “edu” email address, when the majority of Facebook users were, in fact, college kids. Of course this begs the question, why would I sign up to this friendship collective when almost none of my friends were on it? One simple reason: I wanted to learn what my students were up to and interested in. For instance I thought it would be good to know what TV shows they listed as their favorites. Put less generously, I wanted to spy on the young folk.

After my coevals caught on and the median age range of Facebook friends began inching north, I often wondered what other post-college friends were doing on the service. Though I think some were trying to reconnect with their best friend from 4th grade who moved to another state and was never heard from again, I think many many many were, like me, interested in “dipping into” the lives of people we kind of knew.

Then parents got on the service and started friending their children. And, in my opinion, that’s when things started to become really bad and wrong. Take the case of John Forehand (yep, that’s his real name, though he goes by the handle, “Bad Daddy”), of Lancaster County, PA, who was arrested for allegedly propositioning his own daughter for sex on Facebook. He wrote to his daughter that he was having naughty dreams about her, and according to LancasterOnline.com, “As Forehand continued to write and suggest various sex acts in graphic detail, the girl said she had to look up the meaning of some of the words.”

Dude!

This whole story is so atrocious and wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. First, bleeechhhh, she’s your daughter! Second, bleeecchhh, she’s 13. Third, have you not gotten the memo, you idiot? Stupid predators get caught, and telling your daughter you want to have sex with her on Facebook is virtually worthy of a Darwin Award because if you think what you type there is a private message that can’t be recovered once deleted, not only have you not read our book–available at Amazon.com!–you’ve clearly not been watching enough cop show TV that, as I’ve learned, the kids so enjoy.

And believe me, I’m not trying to blame the victim here since she’s been through a horrible ordeal at the hands of her jackass father, but kids, let this be a lesson to you, too: regardless of the relationship you have with your parents, when they try to friend you on Facebook, ask yourselves why they’re doing this and keep in mind that Ignore Request button is there for a reason.

Amy as unpaid spokeswoman for Legal Zoom…

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Don’t call me a skank (anonymously)

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Now who's the "ho"?

alg_liskula_cohenA Manhattan Judge has ruled that Google and/or its subsidiary Blogger.com must unmask the anonymous blogger who posted a series of entries into the (now defunct) blog Skanks of NYC about former Vogue covergirl Liskula Cohen. In the posts, the anonymous poster called Ms. Cohen a “skank” and a “ho” among other less than flattering monikers.  Ms. Cohen sued Google to learn the name of the poster, presumably for the purposes of filing a defamation action against her.  The Judge ruled that Google must reveal the name of the anonymous snark.

Ho, ho, ho.  Who has the last laugh now?   Well the answer certainly isn’t the blogosphere, which has gotten its keypads in a bunch over the thought of the ways this will chill the right to free speech.  Certainly there is a right to free speech, and certainly that right extends to anonymous free speech. But herein lies the misconception: many people use the phrase “free speech” to mean “I can say whatever nonsense pops into my head to anybody at any time.” Not true.  There are certain types of speech that aren’t protected by the First Amendment. You can’t, for example, yell fire in a crowded theater. You can’t incite violence. And you can’t defame someone.  That is, you can’t say, post or publish something false about a person to another that damages the victim’s reputation or ability to earn a living.  You can’t print defamation, you can’t speak defamation (that’s called slander) and you can’t anonymously send it out to cyberspace.  So if maybe the decision makes people think twice before posting defamatory speech that is not protected by the First Amendment because they’ve been under the impression that either (1) it’s protected; or (2) you’ll never find me, then maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Because the decision is final but not yet entered, I’ve posted it here:

LISKULA COHEN DECISION