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30 May 2007 @ 09:36 am
The current kerfuffle  

This hit my flist last night and I know it's all over the place by now, but just in case you've managed to miss it, here's the low-down.

An online site claiming to be aiming to protect children from paedophiles has targeted various LiveJournals and pressured SixApart to delete those journals which this pressure group has identified as being 'dangerous'.

The below is copy/pasted from a reply liz_marcs received when she contacted this pressure group with her concerns.

"LiveJournal (LJ) has many sexually explicit "journals" or personal sites that it hosts. I have no problem with that. It's intended for adults and is legal, adult oriented material. LJ allows free sites for people to post their personal thoughts and feelings and to let anyone view this and comment on it. I have no problem with that either.

LJ also allows admitted child rapists, child molesters, and child abusers unlimited freedom to post about their exploitation and abuse. I have a serious problem with this."

I, like the vast majority of you, do not in any way support any website which will allow criminals of any sort to ply their trade. However, the actions of this pressure group are suspect in that they do not appear to have done the research, do not appear to understand the community networking aspects of LiveJournal and has specifically targeted fandom sites based purely on user interests. RPG journals have been purged, fic journals have been purged, discussion communities have been purged. And what is absolutely unforgiveable, survivor support communities and journals have been purged. These are places online where the very people whom this pressure group claims to be trying to protect gathered for support. They no longer have that option.

And, what's worse, is that by drawing attention to the possible use of user interests as an access point for paedophiles, rapists, sex criminals etc, this pressure group has ensured that these practices are being driven underground further, thereby potentially hampering the legitimate investigations of world-wide law enforcement agencies.

liz_marcs is, as always, eloquent in her response and discussion of this, and the consumate reporter in her has presented the facts as she has been able to find them. Her posts about this are to be found herehere and here 

I'm in three fandoms which could potentially be seriously hit by this, so I would urge those of you who may be affected to take a look at your LJ interests and edit accordingly. Wincest, Daddycest, Petrellicest, Paire, Crazy Space Incest (Simon/River) - all of these could be targeted and your journals could be permanently deleted as a result. I would also urge you to take a look at your policy concerning posting NC-17 fic, art, vids etc. This material should not be easily available to underage children (and remember that the age of consent varies from country to country as well as from state to state) so it would perhaps be advisable to 'flock' all posts with that material. As far as I am aware there has not been any action taken against fic purely on the grounds of an adult rating but one has to expect that it is a genuine possibility.

And finally, if this whole issue has brought the dangers of child abuse to your attention, can I suggest a charity I have supported since my early teens? ChildLine has a new promotional campaign at the moment to raise funds to allow more calls to be answered. This charity provides a free phone number for children affected by all kinds of abuse to call and get support. They work closely with the police and social services in this country to ensure that the appropriate action is taken. Unfortunately they are only able to answer a fraction of the calls made and are desperately trying to raise awareness of this so that they can do more, so that they can help more victims. There For Them is their newest campaign. Please show them your support if you can.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
monkey_matt: Cheese - monkey_mattmonkey_matt on May 30th, 2007 09:00 am (UTC)
Reading between the lines, the guy seems a bit of a creep. Methinks he doth protest too much.
I work full time at a hospital at night. I spend, on average, about 30 hours a week doing this in my spare time. I am dedicated to finding the child predators and turning them in to [Law Enforcement]... This is not a hobby for me.
The guy is basically admitting, right there, that he spends 30-odd hours a week trawling the tinternet for unsavoury material. And he's not affiliated with any recognised law enforcement agency? If I were liz_marcs, I'd be on the phone to the cops right away. He sounds more of a potential threat to children than a community of fanficcers any day.
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: annie hall//forgot my mantra - mewhiskyinmind on May 30th, 2007 09:07 am (UTC)
The pure ham-fistedness of the approach is all but guarantteed to drive paedophiles underground where they cannot be traced - thereby thwarting potentially on-going investigations. This pressure group, whilst they think they're doing it for all the right reasons, are dangerous.

What's next? Burning books? There have already been communities purged for the 'crime' of discussing Lolita (both the fictional work and the Japanese sub-culture).
monkey_matt: Sword - monkey_mattmonkey_matt on May 30th, 2007 10:14 am (UTC)
Aye. Exactly. Nothing worse than an enthusiastic (but incompetent) amateur. It wouldn't happen in an operating theatre. Or in the cockpit of an aircraft. They should leave it to people who have both the authority and the training to deal with potentially illegal materials. Can you imagine any other sphere of police work where they would tolerate that sort of thing? "Oh, by the way officer, I think you should investigate that man over there. He looks rather shifty and his eyes are too close together, so he must be a criminal type."

(by the way, I'm speaking about them in the singular since they've referred to themselves as "I" in their response to liz_marcs - cos that really fills me with confidence that their "cause" is both legitimate and justified... < /sarcasm>)

I just wonder whether they realise that their computer will now have exactly those aforementioned illegal materials on since they've been spending thirty hours a week viewing them...

the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: annie hall//forgot my mantra - mewhiskyinmind on May 30th, 2007 10:26 am (UTC)
It just beggers belief really.

I'm still giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming it's more than one person's crusade. But you're right, since he is not affiliated with an actual law enforcement agency he himself (it is a he isn't it? I've seen people in the comments on Liz's post refer to 'her' but I read the name Tim I'm sure) could well find himself under investigation. Not sure how it works in the US but it probably is not too dissimilar to what happens here where the police/investigative body can confiscate any computer equipment and use the internet cache as evidence in any criminal action.
monkey_matt: Dark Side - monkey_mattmonkey_matt on May 30th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)
Let's hope so. The hateful little git needs taught a lesson. From the proper authorities, of course.

Is it too late to bring back public flogging?