Public embarrasment as a tool
May 5, 2000 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Public embarrasment as a tool to stop child pornography trading. The Wall of Shame highlights Gnutella users searching and downloading kiddie porn, carrying this disclaimer: "I'm all for freedom of data sharing but not when it comes to exploiting children. A secret gnutella server has bogus image files with very obvious names. If you search and download thesefiles from the server your IP, time of D/L and DNS will be logged. You have been warned!"
posted by mathowie (17 comments total)

IP address != human being. I wonder who will have to get fired, sued, or killed this time before people figure this out.

We did this dance before, when caller ID came out, and people couldn't figure out that Phone number != human being...
posted by baylink at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2000

This quote just floors me:

“I have never and will never harm a child or anyone else in any way,” wrote one complainer. “However as a citizen of the United States I have every right of downloading those files for whatever the reason is.”

What exactly does he think? That children forced into porn by adults aren't harmed in the making of those photos?

I would like to see it go one step further, and publish their names. But maybe that is just me - I am vengeful that way.

posted by sperare at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2000

Good! When there's a debate between privacy and a child's safety.... I say screw privacy!

Sad think is, these sick s.o.b.'s will simply go elsewhere.
They think these kid's never get hurt? They'd find this man's Memoirs very enlightening.
-father of 5-
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 11:59 AM on May 5, 2000

I don't like talking about child pornography, it's too simple a subject. Sex with kids == bad. Looking at pictures of crimes being committed against children == bad. But what about computer generated child porn? Ah, gray areas...
posted by lzealand at 12:25 PM on May 5, 2000

I seriously hope that was a joke. A very sick joke.
posted by lizardboy at 4:00 PM on May 5, 2000

this is where civil liberties of the violater are set aside to protect those of the children . . . i never htought i'd say "civil liberties set aside"
posted by Dom at 5:15 PM on May 5, 2000

You hope that *what* was a joke, Lizard? "Computer generated kiddie porn"?


Since the passage of the CPPA in 1995, our country has been sullied by the thought police: law making child pornography illegal used to be based solely on the fact that actual children must be protected from being subjected to making it. If you "created" "child" pornography without using actual children, it was not illegal.

It is now.

It is, of course, impossible to point out that there's a difference between fantasy and implementation in these paranoid, sex-negative United States without onesself being accused of being a pedophile...

so I won't.

But there is some believable evidence that the only remaining vestige of, at least, commercial kiddie porn in this country is due to the US Postal Inspection Service.
posted by baylink at 5:16 PM on May 5, 2000

Here's the other David Steinberg column I wanted to point out in this context. His entire collection is available at, a wounderful resource for the sex-positive... and a great target for the sex-negative.

Why is this pertinent? Because this is a difficult topic to discuss rationally when one *has* a positive outlook on sex -- so, any rational discussions of the matter are, so it seems to me, bound to encourage that mindset.
posted by baylink at 5:25 PM on May 5, 2000

And, (damnit; I *still* didn't make my actual point -- not feeling well tonight) if you ever have to deal with this topic first-hand, ranting and raving will hurt the child even worse.
posted by baylink at 5:27 PM on May 5, 2000

Whether it's all fantasy for a person or whether it's actually implemented, I think that person has a problem, period. Sure, there is a difference between the two; the difference between a child being abused or not. But in either case, there's a problem there. And for a person to generate their own child porn by computer? I see that as a direct threat to any child within however many miles of that person.

It's quite sad.
posted by lizardboy at 7:02 PM on May 5, 2000

Um, lizard? If I sit down with Fractal Poser, and I create a rendered image of a 14 year old girl masturbating, what child does that threaten?
posted by baylink at 8:48 PM on May 5, 2000

If you can't see it, Baylink, then I can't explain it to you. I've worked with convicted felons behind the walls of a maximum security prison, many of whom were guilty of the topic at hand. A person with this kind of proclivity is a very real threat, whether they've committed an act or not. The potential is there, and not everybody knows where to draw the line. Feel free to disagree, I really don't care.

Mail me if you want to continue this. I think it's getting a bit off-topic for MetaFilter.
posted by lizardboy at 9:19 PM on May 5, 2000

I have no problems with censorship as the Thought Police already control my thoughts, but I do have a problem with this exposing of people.

What happens if you were planning to click on "Britney Spears does Dallas", but you click on the link below by mistake? Suddenly people might believe you're into child porn.

Also, do they only use the term 'pre-teen', what happens if something was labelled 'hot teenage girl ....', once you downloaded you're screwed (not literally). If zeropaid are the police, who polices the police.

From what I understand ( I just looked it up), people below the age of 18 aren't allowed to have their pornographic pictures shown in the U.S. A number of European countries have more liberal sex laws. For Example perhaps in Denmark the age is 16, so the Danish citizen who views a picture of a 16 year-old girl would be breaking U.S law, but not Danish law, so what happens here.

I think these are valid concerns
posted by jay at 1:02 AM on May 6, 2000

Britney Spears isn't child porn?

How are you going to police fantasizing about children? If you fantasize about rape, are you a rapist who just hasn't raped anyone yet? And fine, lizardboy, you've worked behind the walls of a maximum security prison, but that just means you've seen a ton of worst-case scenarios. How do you know that the guy or girl next to you doesn't fantasize about kids and actually manages not to go out and harm anyone because of it? Are all Quake players murderers in wait, etc. And on and on and on.

posted by lzealand at 2:49 AM on May 6, 2000

The Britster turned 18 last December 2. (I don't follow her music, but I have a niece who does ...)

The thing lizardboy is talking about is certainly valid, but there's no constitutional basis for locking up someone for being a probable threat. The FBI, US Customs, and other entities involved in policing child pornography have to operate under strict anti-entrapment rules. They can't target "downloaders"; they must first establish a relationship with the person, and then allow them to commit a crime. The three most common are arranging to meet a (person believed to be a) minor for sex, sending regular pornography to a (person believed to be a) minor, or sending child pornography period. The first two are corruption-of-a-minor issues, the last is essentially prima facie evidence of possession.

These stings generally involve arresting the person before anyone is actually hurt. This has the result of rarely leading to significant jail time. But they are often handled with a maximum of publicity (TV crews called in, etc.), which makes it a horrible embarassment that can ruin someone's life (viz. Patrick Naughton). Thus these arrests serve as a deterrent to others.

The zeropaid approach suffers from the same issues of proof that the police must avoid. An IP address is not a person; downloading something sight unseen is not evidence of a crime; and so on (it's early, I'm running out of steam before breakfast). But in essence they're following the same deterrence approach.
posted by dhartung at 8:31 AM on May 6, 2000

And that's the entire issue: can thought be criminal? The only times I've heard of it being so it's been a horrible disaster.

Obviously anyone in their right mind would like to stop the criminal before any child gets hurt, but is going all McCarthy on everyone a solution? I sincerely hope not. I'd hate to be held accountable for my erratic and evil mind. I'm probably betraying my country right now without even realizing it.

-- LZ.
posted by lzealand at 11:35 AM on May 6, 2000

As, hopefully, a final thought, consider this:

Being in favor of free speech doesn't particularly mean anything when the speech in question is something you don't particularly object to.

"I disagree totally with what you say, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." (Italics mine)

Does *anyone* think that way anymore?
posted by baylink at 7:00 PM on May 6, 2000

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