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EU To Monitor All Internet Searches

Brian Ribbon But you believe their stereotype? (340 comments)

"Pedophiles use children for their own self-serving purposes"

I understand the point that you were trying to make with your post, but that's a rather misguided statement. If you think that paedophiles "use children for their own self-serving purposes", you clearly haven't discussed the topic with any paedophiles or other neutral and informed individuals. Most people who are attracted to adults don't hunt adults to "use for their own self-serving purposes", so why do you think that most paedophiles do that? Most people who are attracted to adults obviously try to have sex with people they are attracted to (if both are available, consenting, etc), but for paedophiles there are some very, very good reasons to not act on one's feelings.

As someone who is attracted to children, I know many other people who are attracted to children, both online and offline. Many of the people who I know have friends who are children, but the majority of those people understand the importance of not actually acting upon their feelings towards children (and the others are apparently deterred by potential legal consequences).

Your view of paedophiles is bastardised by the media and the governments whom you are critical of. When everyone accepts the absurd constructed image of "the paedophile", the authoritarian legislators win.

more than 4 years ago
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The Dark Side of the Web

Brian Ribbon Re:What is the problem? (156 comments)

"Children are sexually and emotionally abused. Would you say that it's okay to molest children as long as its just a "hobby?""

Neither I nor any of the respondents suggested that children being abused is "okay"; that would be a ridiculous assertion. My argument was that distribution and availability of child pornography on anonymous networks is extremely unlikely to encourage people to produce it.

I also question your assumption that "child pornography" is necessarily a depiction of children being molested. I don't know of any definition in any part of the word which dictates that an image must show children being molested in order for the image to be considered "child pornography". In the UK, for example, an image is illegal if, in the opinion of the jury, it "offends against the recognised standards of propriety"; the image does not need to meet any other criteria.

"Nobody profits from being a pedophile, but they still hurt children in ways you obviously could never sympathize with."

Paedophilia is a sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. Most paedophiles don't hurt children for the same reasons that you wouldn't try (nor wish) to hurt adults who you're attracted to. Do you really think that most paedophiles fantasise about children suffering and don't know the difference between fantasy and reality? The alleged "threat" of "paedophiles" is as overblown as the threat of terrorism.

"Child pornography is at worst an unpleasant nuisance."

"This is insane. You seriously don't understand the effects on the victims?"

I think ObsessiveMathsFreak was accounting for context, which is a key issue here.

If you think that child pornography is a depiction of children being molested, do you not feel that those producing the images would molest the children anyway? In cases where children are actually molested and filmed, it is the molestation that is the problem, not the camera.

While everybody is panicking about child pornography, children are being abused by their parents and being killed by armies around the world, while the inherent rights of all people are being systematically stolen by governments in the name of protecting those children.

In the context of all that is done to children and also to adults, ObsessiveMathsFreak's statement is understandable.

more than 4 years ago
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The Dark Side of the Web

Brian Ribbon What is the problem? (156 comments)

If child pornography is being freely distributed amongst anonymous networks of paranoid people, what is the problem?

The vast majority of people who use onion routing are very cautious people, so very few will be stupid enough to leave a trail which could identify them (such as a payment) as doing anything which is seriously controversial or illegal. It would be absurd to suggest that anybody is going to profit from producing child pornography and distributing it through anonymous networks.

If somebody produced child pornography as a "hobby" (instead of for profit, which would result in a swift arrest anyway), it's pretty obvious that the producer would produce the pornography for themself regardless of whether they distributed it. So again, anonymous networks are not contributing to a problem, nor is the alleged availability of child pornography.

The majority of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are the parents of the child. If people genuinely wanted to stop child abuse, they would focus on protecting children from abusive parents. Instead, politicians and police chiefs tend to focus on matters which score politicial points and win votes; parents are not an acceptable target because they constitute a major component of the electorate. Claming to fight child pornography is much easier for politicians and police chiefs, as they will not lose significant support and they can easily claim a victory without any risk of being exposed as liars; after all, who is going to check the evidence?

more than 4 years ago
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"No Scan, No Fly" At Heathrow and Manchester

Brian Ribbon Nudity can be "indecent" under UK law (821 comments)

"The law covers indecent images of children. They must be engaged in, or appearing to suggest, a sexual act."

That is not true at all. An indecent image of a child is a photograph or pseudo-photograph which offends against the recognised standards of propriety*. Figures collected by Garda, the Irish police, showed that 44% of convictions for indecent images did not involve images depicting any suggestion of sexual activity**. Some people have even been successfully prosecuted for possessing images of children which contained no erotic posing; just nudity*.

Don't believe the claim that UK law only criminalises images of child abuse. CEOP, the IWF, the NSPCC and others make a lot of money by untruthfully claiming that they require significant funding to fight a massive industry which systematically abuses children.

The images produced by airport scanners are likely to offend against the recognised standards of propriety and will therefore be illegal under UK law.

* http://newgon.com/wiki/Indecent_images_of_children#Indecency
** http://newgon.com/wiki/Research:_Child_Pornography#The_Nature_of_Child_Pornography

more than 4 years ago
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"No Scan, No Fly" At Heathrow and Manchester

Brian Ribbon Re:Really? (821 comments)

"Pictures of naked kids are only a problem if there's a reasonable possibility that they will end up in the wrong hands."

So if somebody masturbates to an image of a child, the child is harmed, but if nobody masturbates to the image, the child is not harmed? In the case of the airport scanners, the feeling of one's privacy being breached will be caused by being forced to walk through the scanner. Harm cannot be caused by the sexual interests of the person who views the scan, which are obviously not known to the child. Photographs of children are only harmful if a child was forced into a situation which made him or her feel uncomfortable, and in such a case, the child will be harmed to the same extent regardless of who views the image.

The moral panic about paedophiles viewing images of children is an adult concern, not a typical child's concern.

more than 4 years ago
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Full Body Scanners Violate Child Porn Laws

Brian Ribbon Re:Ridiculous law (751 comments)

Actually, there's no reason to be more "cautious" simply because sexual attraction to children is fairly common. The majority of the population is attracted to adults, however sexual violence against adults is not a regular occurrence (in the context of billions of people) because people have an instinctive aversion to hurting those who they fall in love with, and that doesn't change simply because the subjects of one's fantasies are of a different age or gender. A sexual attraction to and a tendency to care for and love children in a platonic way are therefore not mutually exclusive, and only a very small minority of paedophiles actually "touch" children.

I am sexually attracted to children, but I would never try to have any kind of sexual contact with a child (or anyone else), and I know many other paedophiles (not just on the internet) who have the same policy. The fact that our sexual orientation didn't develop as we developed into adults does not mean that we didn't develop a conscience or an understanding of consequences. Furthermore, the fact that most paedophiles had difficult childhoods means that many of us know what tramautic childhoods are like, and don't wish to have such an effect on other children.

Anyway, most offenders against young children are generally not paedophiles (adults with a primary or exclusive attraction to young children); they are typically non-paedophilic men or women who have suffered trauma as a result of sexual relationships with other adults (which is of course no excuse for their abuse of children). Many child molesters are parents or other close relatives of the children who they abuse, so if a non-abusive parent is confident about the behaviour of their close family, they shouldn't be consumed with fear over the relatively small risk of their child being sexually assaulted.

more than 4 years ago
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Full Body Scanners Violate Child Porn Laws

Brian Ribbon Re:Ridiculous law (751 comments)

"Does anyone have statistics on what percentage of the population are pedophiles? I'm willing to bet that it's a pretty low number."

It's not a low number at all, although the occurrence of "paedophilia" of course depends on how you define "paedophilia". I've posted these figures before, but since you asked the question, I'll take the risk of sounding repetitive:

From Hall, et al -

Consistent with previous data (Barbaree & Marshall, 1989; Briere & Runtz, 1989; Fedora et al., 1992; Freund & Watson, 1991), 20 % of the current subjects self-reported pedophilic interest and 26.25 % exhibited penile arousal to pedophilic stimuli that equaled or exceeded arousal to adult stimuli.

[..]

Eighty subjects completed the study. [..] Twenty-six subjects [approximately 33%] exhibited sexual arousal to the child slides that equaled or exceeded their arousal to the adult slides.

[..] ....a sizable minority of men in normal populations who have not molested children may exhibit pedophilic fantasies and arousal. In recent studies, 12 to 32% of community college samples of men reported sexual attraction to children (B &R, 1989, H,G & C. 1990) or exhibited penile response to pedophilic stimuli (B&M, 1989, F et al, 1992, F&L, 1989, F & W, 1989). Thus, arousal to pedophilic stimuli does not necessarily correspond with pedophilic behavior (Hall, 1990; Schouten & Simon, 1992), although there are arguments to the contrary (Quinsey & Laws, 1990).

From the British Journal of Social Work -

A self-administer questionnaire was given to a sample of 92 female and 91 male public sector child care workers. Results showed a significantly higher percentage of males (15 per cent) than females (4 per cent) expressed a sexual interest in children.

From Is Pedophilia a Mental Disorder? -

In a sample of nearly 200 university males, 21% reported some sexual attraction to small children, 9% described sexual fantasies involving children, 5% admitted to having masturbated to sexual fantasies of children, and 7% indicated they might have sex with a child if not caught (Briere & Runtz, 1989). Briere and Runtz remarked that "given the probable social undesirability of such admissions, we may hypothesize that the actual rates were even higher" (p. 71). In another sample with 100 male and 180 female undergraduate students, 22% of males and 3% of females reported sexual attraction to a child (Smiljanich & Briere, 1996).

Laboratory researchers have validated physiologically the self-report studies of nonclinical, nonpedophile identified volunteers. In a sample of 80 "normal" volunteers, over 25% self-reported some pedophilic interest or in the plethysmographic phase exhibited penile arousal to a child that equaled or exceeded arousal to an adult (Hall, Hirschman, & Oliver, 1995). In another study, "normal" men's erections to pictures of pubescent and younger girls averaged 70 and 50%, respectively, of their responses to adult females (Quinsey, Steinman, Bergersen, & Holmes, 1975). In a control group of 66 males recruited from hospital staff and the community, 17% showed a penile response that was pedophilic (Fedora et al., 1992). Freund and Watson (1991), studying community male volunteers in a plethysmography classification study, found that19%were misclassified as having an erotic preference for minors. Freund and Costell (1970) studied 48 young Czech soldiers who were shown slides of children between 4 and 10, both male and female, as well as adolescents and adults, male and female. Penile responsivity to female children, ages 4-10, was intermediate to adolescent and adult females and males in one scoring system. In the other scoring system, all 48 soldiers showed penile response to adult females, as did 40 of 48 to adolescent females, and notably, 28 of 48 showed penile response to the female children age 4-10.

Despite the high occurrence of paedophilia in the general population, the issue with the scanners is that people of all ages will feel that their privacy is invaded. I'm really not bothered by the possibility of someone getting a kick from viewing a negative image of my body, but I am angered by the fact that the authorities in modern nation states have the right to subject people to such Orwellian treatment.

I also doubt that many people will be aroused by images of bodies produced by body scanners, whether they're attracted to adults or children. The belief that all paedophiles are hypersexual is really quite ridiculous; such beliefs are derived from the fact that the only "visible" paedophiles are those who are convicted of sex crimes, often because they are in the minority of paedophiles who have a sex drive which they have been unable to control.

more than 4 years ago
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US Congressman Announces Plans To Probe Wikileaks

Brian Ribbon Sad But Not Surprising (311 comments)

I suspected that something like this would happen. Recent events suggest that several countries are cooperating to censor controversial content which opposes their use of fear-based government.

Last week, an international operation against a pro-paedophile website/forum led to arrests of people in several countries, including the USA, The Netherlands, Chile, New Zealand and Brazil. One of the men was arrested for merely possessing an illegal weapon and drugs. Some people were raided but not arrested, as they hadn't violated any laws. The FBI claimed that the website was a "child pornography ring", however I know a number of people who posted at the forum, who provide information which debunks the claims of the FBI. According to one person, the website had been online for 8 years, with a membership of over 50,000 people. It had apparently not masked its location (a major web host in The Netherlands), so if it was a child pornography ring, it would presumably have been taken offline years ago. Furthermore, an operation against a real child pornography ring with over 50,000 members would have made international headlines.

In a post on another pro-paedophile forum, I suggested that the closure of the pro-paedophile website was an attempt to test the feasibility of international cooperation in online censorship, in cases where evidence of criminality is limited or fabricated. Very few people believe that paedophiles can ever be innocent, so a pro-paedophile website was an easy preliminary target. I suspected then, and even more so now, that Wikileaks is the ultimate target of international online censorship. No government likes criticism or dissent on the internet, and one shouldn't assume that China is the only country who will crush internet-based dissent.

more than 4 years ago
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German President Refuses To Sign Censorship Law

Brian Ribbon Sexual attraction to children is not uncommon (272 comments)

I agree with your concerns about children's liberty being restricted in the name of "protecting" them. I also agree with your belief that there are some serious issues which are often ignored by the majority; the hysteria over paedophilia allows significant risks to children to remain undetected or trivialised.

"the effect of 0.00001% of the population having a predilection for children is frankly irrelevant compared to dangers such as traffic accidents, non-sexual abuse, violence and murder"

Actually, the percentage of people who are attracted to children is much higher than that, even if the men who like sexually mature 15 year old girls are not included in the statistics. Despite the widespread occurrence of paedophilia within the general population, most paedophiles refrain from abusing children for several reasons:

  • Most paedophiles have a conscience.
  • Most paedophiles don't want to be arrested and ostracised by their community (although frankly, many of us feel marginalised even though we haven't offended).
  • Most paedophiles have suffered bad childhoods and don't wish to create problems for other children.

I'm not just making assumptions based on the fact that I live responsibly with a paedophilic orientation. I know many other paedophiles who are also responsible people.

I have posted this information previously, but it remains relevant:

From Hall, et al -

"Consistent with previous data (Barbaree & Marshall, 1989; Briere & Runtz, 1989; Fedora et al., 1992; Freund & Watson, 1991), 20 % of the current subjects self-reported pedophilic interest and 26.25 % exhibited penile arousal to pedophilic stimuli that equaled or exceeded arousal to adult stimuli.

[..]

Eighty subjects completed the study. [..] Twenty-six subjects [approximately 33%] exhibited sexual arousal to the child slides that equaled or exceeded their arousal to the adult slides.

[..] ....a sizable minority of men in normal populations who have not molested children may exhibit pedophilic fantasies and arousal. In recent studies, 12 to 32% of community college samples of men reported sexual attraction to children (B &R, 1989, H,G & C. 1990) or exhibited penile response to pedophilic stimuli (B&M, 1989, F et al, 1992, F&L, 1989, F & W, 1989). Thus, arousal to pedophilic stimuli does not necessarily correspond with pedophilic behavior (Hall, 1990; Schouten & Simon, 1992), although there are arguments to the contrary (Quinsey & Laws, 1990)."

From the British Journal of Social Work -

"A self-administer questionnaire was given to a sample of 92 female and 91 male public sector child care workers. Results showed a significantly higher percentage of males (15 per cent) than females (4 per cent) expressed a sexual interest in children."

From Is Pedophilia a Mental Disorder? -

"In a sample of nearly 200 university males, 21% reported some sexual attraction to small children, 9% described sexual fantasies involving children, 5% admitted to having masturbated to sexual fantasies of children, and 7% indicated they might have sex with a child if not caught (Briere & Runtz, 1989). Briere and Runtz remarked that "given the probable social undesirability of such admissions, we may hypothesize that the actual rates were even higher" (p. 71). In another sample with 100 male and 180 female undergraduate students, 22% of males and 3% of females reported sexual attraction to a child (Smiljanich & Briere, 1996).

Laboratory researchers have validated physiologically the self-report studies of nonclinical, nonpedophile identified volunteers. In a sample of 80 "normal" volunteers, over 25% self-reported some pedophilic interest or in the plethysmographic phase exhibited penile arousal to a child that equaled or exceeded arousal to an adult (Hall, Hirschman, & Oliver, 1995). In another study, "normal" men's erections to pictures of pubescent and younger girls averaged 70 and 50%, respectively, of their responses to adult females (Quinsey, Steinman, Bergersen, & Holmes, 1975). In a control group of 66 males recruited from hospital staff and the community, 17% showed a penile response that was pedophilic (Fedora et al., 1992). Freund and Watson (1991), studying community male volunteers in a plethysmography classification study, found that19%were misclassified as having an erotic preference for minors. Freund and Costell (1970) studied 48 young Czech soldiers who were shown slides of children between 4 and 10, both male and female, as well as adolescents and adults, male and female. Penile responsivity to female children, ages 4-10, was intermediate to adolescent and adult females and males in one scoring system. In the other scoring system, all 48 soldiers showed penile response to adult females, as did 40 of 48 to adolescent females, and notably, 28 of 48 showed penile response to the female children age 4-10."

Here is some information collected by a friend (some of which is sourced from studies also quoted above):

"Although one-in-seven men expressed a sexual interest in children, it is likely that a significantly smaller number of men actually sexually abuse children. Empirical evidence indicates that inhibitors are effective in preventing a sexual interest in children becoming actual perpetration. [...] Research suggests the presence of socio-cultural inhibitors in the male population. If someone is fully inhibited from sexually abusing children, no amount of emotional congruence, sexual arousal, or blockage will lead them to abuse children."

~ Mike Freel, in Child Sexual Abuse and the Male Monopoly (British Journal of Social Work)

"The current results suggest that sexual arousal to pedophilic stimuli occurs among a sizable minority of normal men who report no pedophilic behavior and is not necessarily associated with pedophilic behavior."

~ Gordon Hall, et al., in Sexual Arousal and Arousability to Pedophilic Stimuli in a Community Sample of Normal Men (Behavior Therapy)

"Terms such as 'child sexual abuse', 'incest', 'child molestation' and 'pederasty' are not equivalent to pedophilia. Terms that denote sex with minors are criminal actions; pedophilia is the sexual attraction to children. Not all who sexually abuse minors are pedophilic. For example, some who sexually abuse minors may opportunistically select minors simply because they are available. Sex with a minor is not, ipso facto a determination of pedophilia. Also, not all individuals who fulfill the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia actually abuse children."

~ Peter Fagan, et al., in Pedophilia (Journal of the American Medical Association)

"Although the terms are often used interchangeably, a distinction must be made between "sex offender against a minor" and "pedophile." The former refers to a criminal sexual behavior and the latter to an anomalous sexual preference. Many pedophiles never act on their impulses. The DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) defines pedophilia in terms of recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children, and requires that the fantasies, urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. It is therefore possible for an individual who meets these criteria to have never engaged in illegal sexual behaviors. At the same time, not all sex offenders against a minor are pedophiles. All mental health professionals acting in an expert witness capacity should know this distinction."

~ Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield, in Coping With Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony (Institute for Psychological Therapies)

more than 4 years ago
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Australian Govt. Proposes Internet "Panic Button" For Kids

Brian Ribbon Children's charities don't care about children (434 comments)

"My question is, how is it that the "defenders of children" never have a clue about children?"

The "defenders of children" are not really "defenders of children". Many of the larger children's charities are self-promoting organisations who do very little to help children. They plead for donations, but rather than using those donations to protect children, they use the money to pay for advertising and other marketing activities. The extra donations which they receive as a result of those marketing activities can be used to pay for more advertising, and the cycle of growth continues, with the organisations becoming increasingly profitable, without helping children.

Frank Furedi dicussed this issue a few years ago, in an article at Spiked Online.

more than 4 years ago
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Australian Govt. Proposes Internet "Panic Button" For Kids

Brian Ribbon Define "sexual abuse" (434 comments)

"Are 1 in 4 children really sexually abused by the Internet?"

If you ask organisations such as the NCMEC - who know that their funding depends on misinformed hysteria over children's safety - one in five children are sexually abused online. The reality is that the NCMEC and similar organisations use bizarre definitions of child abuse, so if a 13 year boy asks a 13 year old girl to show her breasts, the girl is reported to be a "victim of sexual abuse".

Most studies on this topic are remarkably biased (for financial reasons, or because they have been commissioned by governments) and based upon grossly inappropriate methodologies, so that question will probably never be answered. Consider Bennett Haselton's article article about NCMEC "research" as an example of how such data is biased.

more than 4 years ago
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FCC Declares Intention To Enforce Net Neutrality

Brian Ribbon Verizon (343 comments)

Verizon may be in violation of the first principle of net neutrality by blocking access to controversial websites and justifying such blocks by falsely alleging that such websites are illegal. In 2006, Slashdot discussed how Verizon terminated its service to Epifora (a host for legal pro-paedophile websites, to whom Verizon provided a backbone). According to a friend who uses Verizon as his home ISP, the company is now blocking access to websites formerly hosted by Epifora (albeit intermittently), sometimes by falsely alleging illegal activites and sometimes through a covert redirect.

One particular website (NSFW but nonetheless legal) which is sometimes inaccessible for Verizon users is LifeLine, which provides support for people who are contemplating suicide or other irrational actions as a result of their attraction to children.

about 5 years ago
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"Sex" and "Porn" in Childrens' Top

Brian Ribbon Title correction (1 comments)

The actual title should be "Sex" and "Porn" in Childrens' Top Ten List.

more than 5 years ago
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Judge Tentatively Dismisses Case Against Lori Drew

Brian Ribbon Those "charges" are not relevant here (420 comments)

Paedophilia is a sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. There is no offence of "pedophilia" and there is no legal definition. The people who get stung on To Catch a Predator are often charged with crossing state lines to engage in sex with a minor and for attempting to commit the sex offence which they allegedly intended to commit.

Is there no law against harassment in the USA? That would be the most appropriate charge in this case and the maximum sentence would presumably apply.

more than 5 years ago
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How Should a Constitution Protect Digital Rights?

Brian Ribbon The Right To Possess Digital Information (151 comments)

"No person shall be convicted of any criminal or civil offence solely on the basis of the data contained within any digital storage media within their possession and the recording of any of their network addresses upon any other digital storage medium"

I'll be honest about my motivation for making this suggestion; I am appalled by the fact that people are frequently imprisoned for possessing/accessing child pornography which they did not produce, purchase, trade, or solicit. The argument that viewing child pornography creates an increased demand was formulated in a pre-internet era when people who were determined to view child pornography had to either produce, purchase, trade, or otherwise solicit the material in order to view it. In those cases - and in cases where pornography was abusive rather than just offensive to the sensibilites of the time - I believe that prosecution was justified. In the era of the internet, however, people are able to access child pornography without encouraging production, yet many of those people are traced through access logs, then arrested, convicted and imprisoned.

The suggested clause would not prevent the prosecution of people for purchasing child pornography, as card details would be recorded; these details could be coupled with data from the hard drive to secure a conviction. Anyone who trades child pornography could presumably be convicted, as evidence of trading should be available on another person's property. Anyone who solicits child pornography could likely be caught through their dealings with those who produced or distributed such images.

The suggested clause would also stifle attempts to introduce a local equivalent of MediaSentry et al, as such organisations rely heavily on evidence from users' computers and on the logging of the IP addresses of people who download copyrighted media.

Such a clause would also hinder the introduction of victimless criminal offences which are falsely alleged to discourage the commission of harmful crimes; the British and American legislators have begun to introduce such laws to bypass allegations of creating a police state obsessed with the concept of pre-crime. In the UK, for example, it is illegal for a person to possess information which could be useful to terrorists, on the absurd basis that anyone who wishes to view such material intends to engage in terrorist behaviour.

The reality is that the excuses provided for intrusion into peoples' digital lives are generally an excuse for the state to investigate the private lives of anyone who is presumed to wish to challenge the state, or anyone who may offend the electorate which legislators are forced to represent in order to maintain their seats.

more than 5 years ago
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Japanese ESRB Bans Rape Depiction In Games

Brian Ribbon Perspective (662 comments)

"The right to fantasize, daydream, and drool over violating people and committing crimes? I'm pretty sure I missed that right when reading the constitution."

The right to breathe isn't in the US Constitution either, but people have the right to do it. Lawmakers decide what people can't legally do, however they don't list everything that a person can legally do. The probable reason for the right to fantasise about crime being absent from the Constitution is that its authors couldn't comprehend the existence of a society where people tried to dictate what others could fantasise about.

"Things that depict abuse."

Violence and other abuses are frequently depicted in video games, on TV, etc. The UK media recently showed images of a baby who had been beaten to death by his parents.

Millions of African children die each year from a lack of food and water, however you seem to be more concerned about people who play video games where depictions of non-existent people are harmed. Please stop trying to dress prudism as a genuine concern for childrens' welfare.

more than 5 years ago
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Japanese ESRB Bans Rape Depiction In Games

Brian Ribbon That's Not Correct (662 comments)

"Those who have those urges towards children may feel prodded seeing the depicted acts to try them in the real world."

Research suggests otherwise. People need a harmless and legal outlet for their urges; for teleiophilic adults, options include sex with another consenting adult or adult pornography for those who can't find a partner. For paedophiles, the already short list of harmless and legal outlets is becoming ever shorter due to the moral crusaders who seek to ban everything which they find offensive. Shotacon/lolicon are one of the few outlets which are still legally available in some countries (although cartoons are quickly being criminalised). If you ban everything which may arouse paedophiles, you'll be left with people who simply ignore the law or people who are dangerously bitter, angry and hostile towards society.

Policy advisors would benefit from actually doing research with responsible paedophiles rather than making assumptions about the effects of certain stimuli. Listening to childrens' charities is a huge mistake, as charities have a motivation to make things worse in order to encourage further donations from naive, shallow citizens.

more than 5 years ago
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FTC Shuts Down Calif. ISP For Botnets, Child Porn

Brian Ribbon Do you trust the FTC? (224 comments)

"from the child-porn-world-needs-more-suicides dept."

Several people who I know have been victims of child porn laws, despite not having paid for or traded anything and having therefore not encouraged or facilitated production. Rather than making assumptions about child pornography, you may consider researching the issue. You should also remember that visiting websites which are alleged to contain illegal images - without loading the images (by disabling images in the browser) - is not illegal and can provide significant insight into the issue.

I'd also suggest a critical consideration of the FTC's statements. The war on child pornography is often used as a cover for wars on slightly more popular content which happens to offend the state. I find it rather bizarre that so many people who are critical of the state tend to believe whatever the state and its subsidiaries says about child porn.

more than 5 years ago
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UK Government To Monitor All Internet Use

Brian Ribbon Re:Paedophiles (446 comments)

"I once put the issue of the etymology of the word paedophile to someone after noticing it's frequent usage on the news in relation to crime stories. The response I got was one of 'well it's the accepted usage, I don't think you can expect people to differentiate'."

Well, many people are lazy and will not "waste" their energy by thinking about issues which they don't feel they have a responsibility to think about. They currently feel that they don't have a responsibility to consider the difference between paedophiles and child molesters because they assume that all paedophiles abuse children and so aren't deserving of their time, but it's difficult to persuade people that most paedophiles don't abuse children because of the existing conflation of terms. It's a vicious cycle.

"I think it has a lot in common with attitudes towards other perversions. Those who regard 'deviant' thought as harmful are often the same people who have their moral boundaries set out for them by their peers."

Ignoring the obvious reasons for anti-paedophile attitudes (such as sensationalist media, governments looking for easy, emotional issues to exploit, etc), I think the issue is also a result of laziness (people don't want to think about everything themselves), as well as a desire to fit in and to be above the bottom of the social tree. People who beat their wives, take advantage of drunk women, or engage in any other unethical behaviour can all say "I may have done x, but at least I'm not y". At the moment, y happens to be "a paedophile". It's somewhat comforting for x to believe that y abuses children (as x can believe that he is even further above the "lowest" members of society), and so the conflation of terms benefits x. People can also fit in with other members of society by uniting with others over a common interest (think about how people support professional sports clubs and hate local rivals). Paedophiles are easy to demonise because we are incredibly difficult to identify, which means that attacking paedophiles has become an easy and "acceptable" way of uniting and fitting in with others. It's no coincidence that the worst bigots have some serious issues of their own.

So yes, the hatred of paedophiles probably does have a lot in common with attitudes towards other "perversions", as everyone needs a group over which they can confirm moral and social superiority.

more than 5 years ago
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UK Government To Monitor All Internet Use

Brian Ribbon Re:Paedophiles (446 comments)

"Having erotic fantasties about molesting a child is only a small step away from acting out those fantasies."

Are you also one of those people who believes that a man who is attracted to a woman is a "small step" from raping her if she doesn't want to have sex with him? Or do you understand the concept of self-control? It's not difficult.

"a young child does not have the emotional or intellectual maturity to consent to such acts."

I've never argued that a child does. You're setting up a straw man argument here (and showing the ridiculous, presumptious nature of your arguments).

"In a similar way to how the police monitor other suspicious activity to prevent crime, it is completely correct that they monitor known paedophiles."

No. They have no right to harass someone on the basis of their sexuality (which is not an activity); it is unethical, discriminatory, and in some countries (such as the UK) it is also illegal.

"I can see that you don't like this, but obviously, you are biased."

Whereas you are not? I think you're one of the "I was molested by a paedophile so all paedophiles must be child molesters" trolls. You can't apply the behaviour of one "paedophile" (note that most child molesters are not paedophiles) to every other paedophile, especially when 33% of men experience significant sexual arousal to pre-pubescent children.

As for me not liking the popular myths which you rehash, I feel a little more strongly than that. I am going to make my point very publicly, by creating a website which encourages non-offending paedophiles to work with children. The website will include a selection of job/volunteer adverts from other websites, advice on how to avoid having one's sexuality discovered in interviews, and an explanation of why most paedophiles are safe to work around children. No matter how much the misinformed masses will hate me, the controversy should at least attract attention to my arguments.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Man Charged With Obscenity for Private Chat

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Brian Ribbon (986353) writes "In a case which largely escaped the attention of the mainstream media, a man from the UK has been charged with "publishing an obscene article" for discussing sexual fantasies involving children during a private online discussion with a friend. This case comes shortly after the dismissal of the controversial "Girls (Scream) Aloud" case, in which a defendant was unsuccessfully prosecuted for "publishing" a story involving the rape and murder of adult members of a popular music group. Presumably, the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prosecution Service hope that they can ressurect (and broaden) the Obscene Publications Act, simply by charging a paedophile with the offence. The man was also charged with downloading ("making") and possessing indecent images of children; a very broadly defined law under which people have been convicted for possessing naturist images of minors."
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UK Mandates Sexual Consent Forms

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Brian Ribbon (986353) writes "The UK's Ministry of Justice has announced plans to criminalise sexual activity without possession of a permission slip from the Home Office, a justice minister explained on Thursday. In order to receive permission to engage in sexual activity, a person must complete a form providing intimate details about their lives and a description of the sexual acts which will take place."
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'Offensive' Virtual Images of Kids Banned in UK

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Brian Ribbon (986353) writes "In a country where politics regularly trumps the genuine protection of children, the parliament of the United Kingdom has now criminalised the possession of drawings and cartoons which feature children engaged in (or witnessing) sexual acts. The law is a result of lobbying by various commercialised "charities" who hope to gain publicity through their politicial acitivies, arguing that images of virtual children could incite the commission of contact offences against children, even though research indicates that virtual images reduce the likelihood of viewers molesting children. The new law prohibits any image which "focuses solely or principally on a [virtual] child's genitals or anal region" or depicts any sexual act which involves virtual children or is witnessed by virtual children, and is "pornographic" and "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character."
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The ISA and Police State UK

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  about 5 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "Using ineffective, feel-good "child protection" legislation to rob citizens of their inherent rights has become a favourite pastime of the British government. A particularly disturbing example is the creation of the "Independent Safeguarding Authority" (ISA), which will be tasked with ensuring that over 11 million adults are "suitable" to have even the smallest amount of contact with children. According to new guidelines summarised by The Telegraph, the ISA will collect and analyse information about the "interests, attitudes, relationships and lifestyle" of individuals, as well as their links with "anti-social peers". People who are considered "unsuitable" to have contact with children will be barred from careers or volunteer positions which involve any kind of contact with people under the age of 18, and those who pursue such a career but refuse to undergo the detailed analysis of their private lives could be prosecuted in a criminal court. The ISA is immune to litigation in relation to mistakes made when barring a person from a career, so anybody who suffers losses from false allegations made by the body will be unable to claim damages. The creation of a body to which 11 million people may be required to submit detailed information about their lives appears to be yet another excuse to monitor and profile millions of individuals. The power to block poeple on the basis of their beliefs is equally disturbing, as it could be an attempt to prevent people from influencing children if their beliefs are deemed to threaten the social order or the authority of the state."
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"Sex" and "Porn" in Childrens' Top

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "While Australia, China, the UK and other subversive states clamber to implement "family friendly" web filters under the guise of protecting children from stumbling across the horrors of pornography, data collected by Symantec suggests that children themselves are busy looking for places where they can find the stuff. The data — collected by Symantec's "OnlineFamily" software, which is installed by parents on their childrens' workstations — indicates that "sex" is the fourth most popular search term amongst children, with "porn" in sixth place and "boobs" at number twenty-eight. The twenty-first most popular search term is "Norton Safety Minder", the application which the OnlineFamily software uses to monitor computer usage and report back to Symantec's servers. While many parents will presumably be horrified at the thought of little Timmy searching for online pornography, their primary concern should be the software's violation of an individual's privacy and the possibility of identity theft resulting from detailed usage information being reported to a foreign server. The evidence published by Symantec actually contradicts the prudish belief that children are offended and corrupted by online pornography."
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The Perverse Politics of Virtual Porn

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "In 2006, the UK Home Office (which has since devolved many of its powers to the Ministry of Justice) announced plans to criminalise the possession of "non-photographic images of child sexual abuse" (BBC, 2006). The justification for this law was based upon several assumptions, none of which are supported empirically.

The first and most significant claim of ministers, made in the original "consultation on possession of non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse", was that "fantasy images themselves fuel abuse of real children by reinforcing potential abusers' inappropriate feelings towards children" (Home Office, 2007). The Home Office noted "an absence of research into the effects of these images", but proceeded to ask if their proposal was "nevertheless justified".

Upon publishing the "summary of responses and next steps", the Ministry of Justice (2008) was unable to provide any evidence for the claims made in its paper, explaining that it had taken the decision to legislate against computer-generated images on the basis of a public consultation (in which the opinions expressed were far from unanimous) and closed meetings with "interested parties". Those "interested parties" were comprised mostly of charities which have a financial stake in the matter, as well as the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre, which receives funding to investigate potential sexual offences committed online and is currently seeking public support for a doubling of its funding.

Evidence-based legislation?

In 2009, the Coroners and Justice Bill — which intends to criminalise the possession of virtual child erotica — was introduced by Jack Straw and Lord Bach. The accompanying research paper (Almandras et al, 2009) cites a report by the Longford Committee (1972) and Ray Wyre's appendix in Tim Tate's (1990) book on child pornography as evidence, however both works discuss photographic pornography rather than computer-generated or drawn imagery.

The Longford Committee's findings were published several years before the "discovery" of child pornography, which was not the subject of public or scientific debate prior to 1975 (Stanley, 1987; O'Donnell & Milner, 2007) and was not subject to legislation until 1977 in the USA or 1978 in the UK. The committee's findings therefore cannot be taken as conclusive evidence with regard to child pornography, nor can they be assumed to be applicable to computer-generated pornography (which was not available at the time). The findings of the committee — as cited in the research paper — are also rather vague. According to the Ministry of Justice, the committee's report stated that "pornography clearly must have some effect" but admitted that "only in very rare cases can a causal connection between pornography and anti-social behaviour be conclusively proved" (Longford Committee, cited by Almandras et al, 2009). The evidence provided by the Longford Committee clearly does not support the beliefs expressed by legislators in proposing the prohibition of virtual child erotica.

Child pornography had been acknowledged and formed part of the criminological discourse when Tate's book was published, however there is no empirical (or even anecdotal) evidence of the existence of computer-generated child pornography prior to the publication of Tate's book. Wyre's argument was based solely upon his experiences in working with sex offenders at the time, and was therefore based upon his observations of how offenders allegedly used photographic child pornography. Even if one discounts the fact that virtual pornography is yet another step away from reality in relation to photographic pornography, the reliability of Wyre's argument remains debatable. One must remember that a correlation may not involve a direct causal link; while many of the contact child sex offenders which Wyre studied may also have used pornography — and may have used it as an excuse for their behaviour — it is quite possible that the contact offenders would have committed a contact offence regardless of their use of pornography. If, as Wyre suggested, a contact child sex offender "will use anything — including child pornography or child erotica" to "make his behaviour seem as normal as possible" (Wyre, cited by Almandras et al, 2009), child erotica is not necessary for the facilitation of contact offending, as the offender would find other ways to justify their behaviour. The government's use of Wyre's work in supporting the proposed legislation is actually a serious misinterpretation (or misuse) of the text and does not justify the ban which is proposed by legislators.

Contrary to the largely irrelevant research cited in the research paper for the proposed legislation, there is a significant body of evidence which suggests that child erotica has a positive effect on the behaviour of people with a sexual interest in children, providing a sexual relief which reduces the likelihood of contact offending. Sheldon & Howitt (2008) found that despite the popular belief that fantasy leads to action, "fantasy deficit may be involved in contact offending against children" as contact offenders are unable to generate mastubatory fantasies without engaging in contact offences. The correlation between liberalisation of pornography laws and a decrease in cases of contact offences is also worthy of note here. A major correlation was observed in Denmark and West Germany (O'Carroll, 2000), while a correlation between an increase in the availability of virtual pornography (including child and rape pornography) and a decrease in contact offending has been observed in Japan (Diamond & Uchiyama, 1999). While the O'Carroll and Diamond & Uchiyama studies only prove a correlation, it is unlikely that the increased availability of child pornography and a decrease in contact offences against children could have a common causal factor, indicating that the legal availability of pornography (both child and adult) reduces the risk of sexually harmful behaviour.

A charitable concern?

Two of the primary campaigners in favour of the prohibition of cartoon child erotica are the NSPCC (a children's charity with statutory powers) and CHIS (a coalition of charities in which the NSPCC is an influential member). In a response to the Scottish consultation on the proposed prohibition of virtual child erotica, CHIS argued that "advances in technology have made it possible to create materials which are entirely artificial but which, in turn, are indistinguishable from photographs or videos of real events" (CHIS, 2008). Such an argument is clearly misleading as a reason for legislating against virtual child erotica, as erotic photo-realistic images of children are already illegal under UK law and possession of such images carries the same maximum sentence as actual photographs (Sentencing Advisory Panel, 2006). It is evident that CHIS was already aware of the illegality of photo-realistic indecent images of children when they responded to the consultation, as they quoted from the relevant law on the same page of their response. It is therefore difficult to interpret the CHIS response as anything other than an attempt to mislead the public, media, and undereducated civil servants.

Before progressing to a further analysis of the children's charities' use of misleading information, it would be careless not to mention that the same manipulative tactics are also being used by politicians. When the Ministry of Justice announced the intention to criminalise virtual child erotica, Justice Minister Maria Eagle issued a press release claiming that "paedophiles could be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons" (Eagle, 2008). Regardless of whether or not this is true (there is no evidence for or against the claim), Section 69(3) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act (2008) criminalised the possession, distribution, showing and making of images derived from indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children three weeks prior to Eagle's announcement. In short, the "loophole" which Eagle referred to had already been closed. The implications of her announcement are therefore quite disturbing; either the Justice Minister was unaware of the content of a major bill which had just been enacted, or she was deliberately attempting to mislead and manipulate the media and public into supporting her department's proposals.

Despite the misleading statements of CHIS, the motivations of the NSPCC themselves are of the greatest concern. The NSPCC has a history of using sensationalism, half-truths and deception in its campaigns for donations. In 2007, it emerged that the NSPCC had mailed fake stories of child abuse — presented as genuine accounts — in order to garner donations from concerned members of the public (The Daily Mail, 2007). Prior to this discovery, Sociology professor Frank Furedi (2004) described the NSPCC as "a danger to the nation's children". His article drew attention to the NSPCC's use of expensive marketing companies and misleading statistics to frighten both parents and children into donating to the organisation. Similar concerns were also expressed in an article in the Observer (Rayner, 1999) and by the Social Issues Research Centre (1999).

Of greater concern with regard to the proposed law against virtual child erotica is the NSPCC's conflict of interest in responding to the proposal. Unbeknownst to the general public (and possibly even to legislators), the NSPCC conducts a significant number of sex offender therapy programmes (NSPCC, 2008). The amount of funding which they receive for conducting such programmes has not been disclosed, however intense public fears over child sex offenders and the costs associated with finding staff who are prepared to work with such offenders would suggest that the NSPCC receives significant funding for carrying out this service. Considering the revenue which the NSPCC is likely to generate from providing such services, expecting them to provide objective input on a proposal which will increase the number of people who use those services is highly optimistic.

Another argument proposed by the NSPCC and by other proponents of the legislation is that the availability of cartoon child erotica implies tolerance of child sexual abuse, therefore encouraging paedophiles to act out (Hilton, 2009). The first problem with this argument is that the broad definition of "prohibited images" in the Coroners and Justice Bill includes images which simply focus on certain areas of a child's body and are perceived to be "grossly offensive" or "disgusting" (Coroners and Justice Bill, 2009), even if no sexual activity is depicted. Furthermore, the claim that the availability of cartoon child erotica — even if it depicts sexual abuse — implies a tolerance of child abuse is unfounded and grossly illogical. Firstly, a glance at (legal) discussion boards for paedophiles — such as Boychat.org and Annabelleigh.net — indicates that paedophiles are extremely aware of the negativity of attitudes towards paedophilia per se as well as child sexual abuse. Contrary to the argument of the proponents of the proposed legislation, the fact that child erotica is only legal in cartoon form clearly suggests that society is so opposed to any indication of child abuse that it prohibits material which depicts real children in a potentially sexual manner. By criminalising mere cartoons, the government risks providing additional justification for the (justifiable) belief that much of the crusade against paedophiles is a matter of prudism or playing on people's fears, rather than an attempt to protect children. The prevalence of this belief is clearly problematic for a government whose policies rely heavily on a veiled politics of fear, using the "think of the children" mantra as an excuse for abuses of state power. By providing additional evidence for the belief, the government also challenges any message of the kind which the NSPCC were referring to, as it characterises pornography laws as an attempt to legislate morality rather than a disapproval of child abuse.

One of the original arguments in favour of the prohibition of cartoon child erotica is the belief that contact offenders could use cartoons to "groom" children (The Register, 2007). While this may be true, the act of grooming a child is already a serious criminal offence in the UK. If someone is prepared to violate laws against grooming, committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence and attempting sexual activity with a child, they are unlikely to be deterred by laws against the possession of virtual child erotica.

Everyone needs a release

One major concern raised by the proposed prohibition of virtual child erotica is that such a prohibition may encourage some paedophiles to use real child pornography. While viewing or possessing child pornography per se is unlikely to encourage production, the purchase of such material may stimulate production, which must surely be of concern to those who have an interest in protecting children. Criminalising the possession of virtual child erotica will obviously criminalise a legitimate and responsible release for paedophiles' sexual urges. If virtual child erotica were criminalised, the only available releases (other than clothed and non-erotic images of children) would be illegal activities, such as the use of illegal photographs or harmful behaviour involving real children, or the new offence of using virtual child erotica. While the sentence for possessing illegal photographs of children is slightly harsher than the recommended sentence for the proposed crime of possessing "prohibited [virtual] images of children", an offender would be outed as a "paedophile" in both cases, with all of the destructive social and financial effects which that entails. It would therefore be unsurprising if anybody who required a release involving some kind of erotic stimuli depicting children chose illegal photographs, as the consequences would not differ significantly from those which would result from viewing cartoons. The greater issue is with the minority of paedophiles who have no concern for the welfare of children or believe that having sex with children is harmless. In the case of people who avoid sexual contact with children solely as a result of the legal consequences — and who desperately require the release which virtual child erotica provides — the consequences of banning virtual child erotica are a major concern.

Conclusion

Children's charities and legislators are clutching at straws and ignoring the plethora of evidence which indicates that child erotica has a socially positive effect on paedophiles. While the motivations of children's charities are presumably financial, one must ask why the government are so insistent on legislation which will have no benefit to the safety of children or any other person.

A more cynical interpretation of the proposed legislation would be that the government is attempting to tighten its grip on the population. By exploiting the natural concern of protecting children as an excuse for monopolising power within the state, power-hungry legislators are able to increase their ability to further their personal political agenda. While such a belief could be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, one must consider the intentions of someone who chooses a political career; a career which does not provide huge financial rewards for people whose necessary social engineering skills could achieve seven-figure salaries in the private sector. Inevitably, politicians will be motivated to influence and control others.

Many politicians find that arguing for "child protection" laws is an easy way of soliciting votes from a public which is misinformed by the media and manipulative "childrens'" charities. Politicians may also find that they can persuade the public to support controversial legislation by claiming that such legislation is "for the children". Furthermore, any elected politician who disagrees with any legislation which is "for the children", however reasonable their grounds, is liable to lose their position at the next election.

The current political system supports politicians who crusade under the guise of protecting children in order to justify policy types which support their own world view or increase their power over those who they govern. The laws which result from such policies threaten the civil rights of everyone, as they may be used to justify further intrusions into the private lives of citizens. The proposed law against the possession of cartoon and drawn child erotica is one such law, and the effects which it may have should be of significant concern to both civil libertarians and people who genuinely care about children."
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Child Porn Viewer Told to Pay $200000 Restitution

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "In a landmark ruling, a man convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography has been forced to pay $200000 to a subject of images which he possessed but did not distribute. The lawyer of a woman who was once depicted in some of the images claimed that "the victim is a victim of sexual exploitation caused by this defendant," despite the fact that the defendant downloaded the images almost ten years after they had been produced. Ernie Allen, of the state-funded advocacy organisation NCMEC, argued that "every time they are downloaded, every time they are distributed, the victim in that image is revictimised"."
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European ISPs Could Be Subject To UK Laws

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "The European Parliament has long demanded an intra-jurisdictional approach to criminal activity on the internet — typically using the protection of children as justification — however the Single European Police State has taken a step closer to (or further from) reality, with the introduction of the Coroners and Justice Bill. The bill — which is currently being discussed by a 'select committee' in the English Parliament — seeks to criminalise both UK and European service providers under UK law if they dare to provide access to any material which is deemed to encourage suicide or display 'pornographic' drawings of children.

"Schedule 10 of the Coroners and Justice Bill (as amended) intends to criminalise any UK service provider which "does an act, in an EEA state other than the United Kingdom, which encourages or assists the suicide or attempted suicide of another person and which is intended to encourage suicide or an attempt at suicide, and does that act in the course of providing information society services". Schedule 11 of the Bill intends to criminalise any UK service provider which "is in possession, in an EEA state other than the United Kingdom, of a prohibited image of a child, and is in possession of it there in the course of providing information society services". An entity is providing an information society service if it operates "any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by means of electronic equipment for the processing (including digital compression) and storage of data, and at the individual request of a recipient of a service". This includes internet service providers, web hosting companies, and search engines which cache data from other websites.

The above clauses may also be applied to a service provider which is registered anywhere in the EEA (European Economic Area), if the institution of criminal proceedings "is necessary for the purposes of the public interest objective, relates to an information society service that prejudices that objective or presents a serious and grave risk of prejudice to that objective, and is proportionate to that objective." In short, the UK authorities will prosecute if they believe that the service provider's provision of certain material is offensive to the British public. A service provider is registered in the UK or an EEA state if it "effectively pursues an economic activity using a fixed establishment in [..] the United Kingdom, or [an] EEA state".

Any service provider (registered either in the UK or another EEA country) which is prosecuted under Schedule 10 of the bill (if enacted as amended) will be charged with an offence under the 1961 Suicide Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. Any service provider which is prosecuted under Schedule 11 will be tried for possessing a prohibited image of a child, a new child sex offence which will be created by this Bill.

A "prohibited image of a child" (as amended) is any visual depiction (excluding photographs or pseudo-photographs) of a (virtual) person who appears to be under the age of 18, where the image was "produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal", is "grossly offensive, or otherwise of an obscene character", and focuses on the genital or anal area, depicts children witnessing sexual activity, or shows children engaging in sexual activity. Such legislation was demanded by childrens' charities and police agencies who claimed that "cartoons of child sexual abuse" could "fuel the inappropriate fantasies of potential abusers", despite evidence which suggests that paedophiles are less likely to act on their urges if they are able to generate sufficient fantasies about children. Furthermore, legislators have ignored research which suggests that most people who abuse children do not have a significant sexual interest in children (and so are more likely to seek pornographic images of adults, not child sex cartoons).

The Bill apparently attempts to exempt ISPs who act as "mere conduits", but the relevant clause is written in such a way that ISPs which employ traffic shaping techniques are not considered "mere conduits". There is also an exception for caching, but this does not include the reduction of images to thumbnails. Web hosts may be subject to prosecution if they refuse to remove offending material which they have been notified of, even if they are not made aware that possessing or providing access to such material constitutes a criminal offence in a foreign (UK) jurisdiction. If enacted as presently amended, this Bill could theoretically lead to the operators of non-UK ISPs and web hosts being prosecuted under UK law for a ridiculous child sex offence or complicity in an act of suicide, simply because the ISP or host provides access to material which is illegal in the UK."
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UK Claims Link Between Child Porn and Terrorism

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "The Times reports claims made by government officials and security services, regarding an alleged correlation between the use of indecent images and terrorist activity. According to the article, "secret coded messages are being embedded into child pornographic images, and paedophile websites are being exploited as a secure way of passing information between terrorists" and "it is not clear whether the terrorists were more interested in the material for personal gratification or were drawn to child porn networks as a secure means of sending messages." The correlation is likely to be false; under UK law, nude photographs of all minors — including those who are over the age of consent — are illegal, so it's not surprising that many people (including terrorists) are found to have illegal material when their computers are searched. In reality, this story is probably just a poor attempt to justify the government's proposed big brother database."
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UK Police Arrest Controversial Critics

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  about 6 years ago

Brian Ribbon (986353) writes "British Police have arrested two forensics experts for "conspiracy to possess indecent images of children", days before they were due to testify during a group action which aimed to expose serious Police failures in the handling of the controversial Operation Ore. According to The Register, the data seized during the recent raid included a clone of a hard drive which had been copied with permission from the Police, as well as other data which was relevant to the group action but is not believed to contain indecent images. One must ask questions about the motives behind the arrests."
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UK Photographer Charged For Fairy Photos

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "A man in the United Kingdom has been convicted of taking indecent photographs of children after photographing underage girls dressed as fairies. The photographs were taken with the permission of both the children and the parents — the latter also being present at the photoshoot — however the images depicted the girls without their breasts covered, meaning that they fell under the definition of the lowest level of child pornography; "images depicting erotic posing [or nudity] with no sexual activity". The sentencing judge was unhappy about the conviction, stating "what is clear is that [the photographer] had no base motive, no sexual motive and there was not any question of deriving sexual gratification from what [he was] doing", and so handed out a community sentence rather than the recommended two years' custody. Could it be the case that laws against indecency are designed to prosecute deviants and not to protect the public?"
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UK to Criminalise Virtual Child Pornography

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "The English Ministry of Justice has today announced that it will criminalise "all images of child sexual abuse, including drawings and computer-generated images". A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice justified the decision by claiming that "paedophiles could be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons", however it is already illegal to do this or to possess any image derived from an indecent photograph of a child, under Section 69 of the 2008 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act. It is presently illegal to distribute any obscene publication, so the proposed new law will actually target only the possession of virtual child pornography for which no real child has ever been abused."
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Internet "creates paedophiles"

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "In the latest sensationalist article about paedophiles on the internet, the director of a Spanish vigilante organisation has claimed that the internet "creates paedophiles". While conflating paedophilia with child sexual abuse, the "expert" quoted in the article incorrectly states that "studies show that some paedophiles feel attracted to children from an early age, but the majority of them develop the tendency later on"; he then claims that "the internet can become a catalyst for people belonging to the latter group"."
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Bill Seeks Criminalisation of "Extreme" Ad

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "During the Queen's speech, it was today announced that the "Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill" intends to criminalise the mere possession of "extreme" or "violent" adult pornography. Many flawed and deceitful arguments (often used to justify the criminalisation of the possession of child porn) have been used, including claims that the possessor will somehow "harm" the victim every time the image is viewed, and the unproven belief that the possessor will be "corrupted" by the images and will then act out his fantasies. The "evidence" (pdf) used to justify this aim of the bill came from a study solicited by the Ministry of Justice, conducted by feminist activists. Will the British government ever cease to use pseudo-science in order to invade the private lives of its citizens?"
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EU Demands Europe-wide Censorship of Underage Porn

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "Radio Netherlands is reporting that the EU is planning to force all of its members to criminalise the viewing of child pornography on the internet. While many people will consider this to be a necessary measure to protect the children, it fails to consider the fact that the downloading of material — without payment — does not encourage those who produce such material, rather it simply offends the public. The production of child pornography is currently the only crime which can't be observed; even watching a video of a murder is legal, yet the EU are demanding even stricter forms of censorship of sexual material. Is such censorship justified, or is it a symptom of a moral panic?"
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Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "The British government has announced that it will soon be illegal to possess nude child art, which includes drawings, sculptures and computer generated images depicting nude children. While it is difficult to deny that some people will support this new law, should we really believe that this is about protecting children, or is it simply another example of popularist politics from a government official who desperately needs to improve his public image?"
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Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "The BBC has a report regarding a study into child welfare by international charity Unicef, which reveals that the US and UK have the lowest levels of child welfare out of 21 countries studied. The study measured child welfare using six categories; family and peer relationships, material well-being, health and safety, behaviour and risks, and children's own sense of well-being (educational and subjective).

Is it a coincidence that the countries which have the most draconian legislation disguised as measures to protect children also have the lowest level of child welfare, or is the level of paranoia and hysteria in these countries actually harming children?"
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Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Brian Ribbon writes "The Daily Mail is reporting that Police in the UK will be given unlimited access to the homes of convicted sex offenders. They claim that these powers will allow them to prevent future acts of child molestation, but are they correct in their assumption that most sex offenders — paedophiles or otherwise — are child molesters? Could the government simply be testing new powers against a group which is frequently used as a scapegoat?"

Journals

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What Do People Expect?

Brian Ribbon Brian Ribbon writes  |  more than 7 years ago

There are a couple of extremely critical articles regarding children being banned from "playing tag." It is, of course, ridiculous that children should be banned from playing this game, however the parents who are complaining should be aware that they are at least partly responsible for this.

Parents intend to protect their children from child molesters, dangerous games, inappropiate TV, etc. That's probably a good idea, but when their fears grow to include "protecting children" from non-offending adults, safe games and TV with a little nudity and minor violence, their control is being taken out of their hands.

It should be obvious that the teacher mentioned in the articles does not care about children.... and TV networks which censor childrens' TV do not care about children. They only care about satisfying parents and protecting themselves from liability. The lack of common sense from parents has led to the authorities and other inadequate "official" groups controlling the rules which govern childrens' lives and has caused the situations which parents are so angry about. The people who are professionally responsible for children are running for cover.

In the same way that it's reasonable for children to play tag, it's reasonable for children to spend time with minor-attracted people. There is, of course, the potential for a minor-attracted person to harm a child, just as there is the potential for a game of tag to cause harm, but in both examples, the risk is exaggerated, primarily by the media. Most games of tag do not lead to injury, most minor-attracted people do not have sex with children, but in both cases, reports of harm have led to paranoia and the people who are professionally responsible for children are forced to protect themselves.

These are just two examples of irrational fears which have led to absurd levels of "protection", but when parents are paranoid and irrational, they shouldn't expect anything other than increased paranoia from the authorities who are responsible for their children.

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