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Backpage CEO arrested - online first amendment rights?

Rejected submission by edinlinux at 2016-10-07 23:24:00
Digital Liberty

Carl Ferrer, the CEO of (an online classified similar to craigslist that also has an 'adult' section in addition to the usual sections for apartment rentals, car sales..etc) was arrested yesterday by California (though he lives in Texas) and extradited for violating California "pimping" laws. The CA attorney general accuses his web site of harboring escorts as well as sex and child traffickers. []

It is an interesting case as the CEO does not live in California (nor is it clear that he has ever been there), and that as the owner of the site he is being held responsible for online postings made by users (rather than the police going after and arresting the actual traffickers themselves in California).

From the point of view of press freedoms, this would seem to have interesting implications.

In the case of the consenting untrafficked adult escorts, it is not clear why that should be illegal anyways.. the best way to get rid of trafficking would be to just make prostitution legal like it is in lots of other countries.. tax it, regulate it and go after traffickers when that specifically comes up (which would be pretty rare once the industry is in a legal regulated environment). Same as the approach now being taken with pot legalization and consenting adults.

Original Submission