edit: wow this is super long, sorry !! Its easier for me to proofread and revise on a different machine than this one lol. Take your time.
In the states we typically issue one felony charge per individual article posessed. If i'm not mistaken the consequences for this have been lessened some, from several years per individual article to about six months to a year, just going off of the top of my head in huffpo's crime section. Hopefully across the pond they wouldn't treat it quite as terrible as we do here, relatively speaking.
I don't think that we really disagree on much aside from where the grey areas are, how big they are, and if there should be exceptions. I generally agree as a whole its a 'bad thing' - minors and pornography of them - but what I see here in the states is that overzealous prosecution and possibly an overhyped public fear as well, are leading to some very poor consequences such as pedophile communities on the outskirts of most every major city. The reason for this is because registered sex offenders of certain infractions are disallowed from living within X distance of schools. While this is somewhat sensible, the distance has been increased over time and there are entire 'uninhabitable zones' which cover almost all of an entire city, forcing people to live on the outskirts of a city or town where there generally isn't things like public transportation and where they cannot access jobs or services easily becuase of that. This leads me to believe the law over here is a lot less 'considerate' of the situations individually and more in favor of arbitrary punishment. When you start to measure the US's crime statistics in regards to per capita, prosecuted victimless, and whatnot you can see that we tend to be quite a bit more zealous in our 'crime' prosecution than many other places. I'm thinking perhaps they do handle individual cases with more consideration in other places than they do here. This may be a core foundation of the back end of the 'pedophilia problem' that often gets overlooked... in other words, pedophilia might not be such a big problem if we didn't turn it into such a big one, all arguments about legalization and victimization aside.
>Given the volumes of child pornography created and the international nature of the deep web, investigating each incident is an impossibility. Legalisation will not bring it all above board into some utopian world of regulation and fair play.
And I think here is where we have a bit of a problem. Yes it is impossible to physically investigate each article. However digitally I don't think its impossible at all to provide some baseline investigation into every article. Software for one is going to be able to handle quite a lot of the footwork, software that appears already available and functional, ranging from face recognition to ip tracking (of which we should all know by now that .tor is far from a sufficient protection in regards to anonyminity, at least here in the states it has not been and quite a few people have been convinced it provided anonyminity and then been bagged by the fed once records were obtained from isps and if memory serves .tor itself) to image referencing .
Anyways as you were saying, it is and impossibility to investigate each article - I say this is true in a physical sense but in a digital sense you would have to have the article in the first place to even be aware of it or acknowledge it, hence digitally investigating it seems the next plausible step for any justice department. Now when we cannot physically access where we think the material is coming from as it comes from other countries, that becomes their juristiction and generally requires at least an OK to go fetch the people in question. When this doesn't seem practical or is too costly, all too often we're left still holding the 'end user' or 'consumer' - the posessor of the material, and as they're the only person we physically have access to, they end up being punished for it as if they were 'that person' overseas I'm guessing, largely because we have to have our 'fall guy' and someone has to pay, and if we can't make the victimizer pay people seem willing to settle for the end consumer instead. At least thats what I'm thinking is the dynamic to some extent here. Someone has to pay for victimizing the child so the justice system and the public will be appeased as long as it is so, even if they did not. It seems the case in the states, and I would assume anywhere else were pedophilia is a political heartstring that is tugged on to play the public.
>Public exposure should be reserved for criminals and offenders, and if it is not a crime against anyone to possess such contraband that you did not create, you should not be exposed.
Definitely agree, but the distinction I'm making is the presence or absence of a victim, rather than if they are a criminal offender. The latter term is very empty to me, but I think we're more or less in agreement here we just may be taking different passes at the terminology and concepts (i.e. 'crime against anyone' comparable to 'victim'). I agree that prohibition extends to, rather than makes an exception for, adults who engage with minors beyond the +/- 4 year difference concept. Its my understanding that what you mentioned above is not the case in the states.
As for the legalization bit I think I should try to clarify. My concern with the law and legalization/decriminalization is that we are doing exponentially more harm than we are preventing, particularly when we factor in things like 1 article = 1 felony charge and manditory sentencing aspects which also include the 'sex offender for life' bit. My other concern here is that by being incredibly diligent and fastidious in our persecution and prohibition of material that doesn't have a victim - and this is more along the lines of older children than very young - we are creating way more damage than these kids could ever do to themselves by prosecuting them, and in the case of the very young children, while I too find that material disgusting and abhorrent and morally wrong, what worries me is that by reducing availability of it to certain measures we are generating more victims.
A case in point might be drug prohibition such as marijuana, cocaine, etc. Those things cost, at most, less than a dollar to produce what ends up being 20 or 30 or 50 dollars worth of merchandise. The biggest reason for the difference in price is because of prohibition. By forcing the drug market to go criminal, and underground, we hence force it to become violent and organized and at the same time the end user's consumption cost goes up due to scarcity and legality. This in turn fuels the drug trade in criminal sense, and makes drugs more profitable than they would be.
My concern is that this translates to the market of child pornography, and some investigation seems to suggest this is exactly the case and if I can get on a better computer I will try to fetch that information for you, but there appears to be a direct relationship between availability of CP or similar such (EP? teens that is) and vicitmized children. Unlike the drug market, CP is not 'actually' consumed like drugs are. When a person does drugs, they're gone. If a person views CP they can copy it and send it along for others to see. This means that some significant portion of demand can be met without producing new material, and this is where I think arbitrary prohibition fails. If by destroying and prohibiting all CP/EP/Porn or nudity of under 18/16's it seems that the people who consume that material are prompted to have new material produced or even to act on their urges.
Now the last part is a big one. There is a lot of disagreement here in general, but the angle I disagree with is that when people view or consume digital copies/victimless CP/EP they are promoting victimization. In regards to web traffic... web traffic is generally a good thing for sites that obtain revenue via ads or have some need for popularity, I'm not so sure that a site or place hosting CP/EP actually benefits from more traffic like other websites do. Certainly, if we all go to 'The Hub' site to view MLP and catch a couple advertisements on the video and page, we're contributing to that.
However, who is paying for clicks on a CP/EP site? I would assume the vast majority if not near entirety of advertisers would NOT want to advertise knowingly on a site that depicts minors (CP/EP) like that. Who would really dare to advertise on a CP/EP site other than other entities that share that niche interest? It seems to me that, by viewing half a dozen pieces of media which are several years old, this is the 'lesser of two evils' compared to needing original and new material created and that those old digital copies produce no victimization.
Jumping back into idealism here, imagine if we could create an environment where we didn't have to lock up people who possesed digital copies for a year for every instance of, and where we could significantly reduce victimization of children AND steal the steam away from the actual underground industry that makes money from producing this stuff. I think this environment can be achieved by allowing availability of preexisting material, probably in a controlled manner or setting, and not driving scarcity/demand by destroying material as bothersome as the idea may be.
We may have to agree to disagree there, but to me, it makes some sense. It also makes sense, to me, that certain material can be utilized to help pedophiles and the like direct their urges towards the material instead of towards a victim. There is a huge problem here though... if all material of a sexual nature which depicts people under 18/16 is prohibit, then this angle of treatment and diverting urges cannot be used.
And if that angle of treatment reduces victimization and assists the pedophile in functioning with society and their therapist in a positive manner, it needs to be looked at and considered on those merits. Currently with arbitrary criminalization of each individual article in certain areas, regardless of context such as sexting or victimless or it being unoriginal and a several year old copy, we cannot look at this option. We may actually be driving scarcity which in turn produces demand and increases profit. Though it seems unusual, I genuinely think that we can utilize what already exists in the 'underage porn' market to help pedophiles and reduce actual human victims. We just can't do it when the law dicates it cannot be utilized and instead must be destroyed, as well as, more or less, anyone who saw it. Except for police or prosecutors of course, they're immune to the 'if you saw it, you're going to prison for looking' angle, which in my mind is a prime example of prosecuting thought crime (unless the person actually required a victim and produced material).
>few people will want to analyse hours and hours of videos of child pornography for their job - much of which may well be abusive and violent - and those who do probably wouldn't want to admit it to the public, at any rate.
As it currently stands I don't see how this is unavoidable, much less in the idealistic setting I proposed. In order to handle the the material legally it must be looked at regardless. Someone has to do it, someone is doing it, someone has been doing it. I'm not sure how you could possibly work prohibition of material without seeing it, in the current real world example or in my ideal setting. There have to be human eyes that can say 'oh, this isn't actually a child, this is a famous porn star who looks really young we can throw this one out' or 'there is no way to tell if this person is an adult or child because the picture cuts off' and there has to be someone, currently, who looks for original material to get leads on where production is happening. I dont see how it is at all avoidable, my proposition just makes a distinction between material where we can ID people and victims and those that cannot or do not appear to be vicitmization. I suppose I more or less agree that at very young ages it all becomes rather moot and we can default to considering the child a victim. Where to draw the line though is sketchy, if the average age that kids start having sex in some areas is 13 years of age this is shooting pretty low in regards to age and I'm not sure how or where to draw the 'age line' when you consider that roughly half of 13 year olds in certain areas or demograhpics are sexually active. It seems like it might be better to consider the media produced to be contraband and confiscate/destroy it but not to criminalize the 13 year olds involved. Now an adult and a 13 year old is different I agree.
>Look at the world of legal pornography between consenting adults. There are billions and billions of videos produced, non-stop, endlessly, and there is no hope of regulating that in the slightest. Why should child pornography, even if it was legalised, be any easier?
Because the nature and method of the two in regards
to production are quite different. There are lots of adult porn actors but are there lots of child porn actors? There are lots of adult porn sites but are there lots of child porn sites? Because pornography of minors is either consumed 'underground' or by other minors by and large, we have a very different game on our hands than we do with the adult porn industry. You can walk into a shop and find thousands of porn videos but I highly doubt you'll ever find one that caters to child or teen porn in the same way. There are no child/teen porn acting awards, and anyone buying and selling porn of minors suggests heavily that the material is original. Unlike adult.
Further those porn sites for adults profit from more hits and traffic via ads, and I really don't think the same applies to underage. As above, who really would risk advertising on a site like that much less paying for clicks that come from a site like that?
I don't really see the two as comparable, adult porn media and underage porn media. When I think about where the material exists and where it doesn't in comparison to each other, it seems to me that this makes it naturally easier to scrutinize because the two rarely exist together nor are advertised nor handle their revenue in the same ways.
>Secondly, they will not be labelled for life and given felony charges, they will be sent to juvenile detention and given appropriate treatment. (...) therefore it is illogical to punish a minor so extensively. Instead, it is more likely that a minor distributing child pornography will be given psychological help, and effort will be put in to find out why the child was doing what he or she was doing.
as long as this is the case I'm with you, however I'm not aware that in the states we do this. Juvenille Detention Centers are notoriously abusive here, and we have a penchant for vengance and punishment while leaving out rehabilitation. If rehabilitation and averting extreme punishments like felony charges and
sex offender lists are the practice there, as they should be, I'm all for it.
However in the states I am not convinced that any rehabilitation happens in JDC by and large and in general (certainly always exceptions I am simply unware of them). 'The punishment fits the crime' seems to be the only major concern with the justice system here, rehabilitation is a pipe dream and little more.
And the more we sensationalize the issue, the more punishment is viewed as required to fit the more and more heinous crime (more and more heinous because of sensationalizing rather than the crime actually being more and more heinous).
Our justice system here spends about 20% per individual of what they spend in Canada and Australia. I don't have UK's data. However this should give you a decent idea that we do not rehabilitate here, we just punish. This is largely the cause of recidivism and why our 'land of the free' has more prisoners per capita than any other nation by a large margin.
With that in mind, I tend to support decriminalization where it seems that our justice system here fails to rehabiltate and the 'crime' doesn't have a victim, because as I see it, the damage done by prosecution is far greater than damage prevented, not just to individuals but to society, particularly when we're dealing with actions that didn't produce a victim. Otherwise, we are producing and victimizing people with our own approach to the issue that really don't need to be imo.
Last edited at Sun, Jan 20th, 2013 10:05