I originally posted about the lawsuit against Backpage here. For those of you who may not remember a 14-year-old girl from st. Louis sued Backpage after she was prostituted on the site by 27-year-old Latasha Jewell McFarland. The lawsuit accused Backpage of knowingly turning a blind eye to the trafficking of children that happens on their site. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was recently dismissed.
The presiding judge threw out the suit based on the Communications Decency Act which basically absolves any website of responsibly for content posted by its users. This act was put into place in 1996. In internet terms, it might as well have been put in place during the Paleozoic era. I’m sure that when it was enacted in 1996 that its authors had no idea that this is what it would be used to protect, that it would be used to absolve those who know that children are being trafficked on their site and refuse to do anything about it.
This is not an argument about a ‘free internet’. This is an argument about real people who aren’t so free. The Communications Decency Act needs to be revised in the name of justice.