Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brody's Notes... Craigslist Shuts Down Adult Services

By Brody Levesque (Bethesda, Maryland) SEPT 4 | Without prior warning, comment, or announcement in its blog, the internet people's forum 'Craigslist' shut down its adult services section late Friday evening in an apparent response to a letter from 17 Attorney Generals from across the United States. The AG's and other critics had complained that the services offered in that section, ranging from massages to escort/companionship, were little more than coded ads for prostitution.
Users visiting the site today would have seen the subheading replaced with a simple white lettered on black background; 'Censored.'
Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law and computer science at Harvard University, said that prosecutors can argue Craigslist is an "intermediary" to the crime of prostitution, but such cases are difficult to prove. Zittrain stated that prosecutors must essentially prove that Craigslist knew an ad was a solicitation for prostitution; ads on Craigslist are typically worded more vaguely.
It's unclear if Craigslist felt the attorneys general had a good argument, or if it simply got tired of spending time on the issue. But saying adult services were "censored" rather than just removing could be seen as a message to prosecutors, "They don't like being pushed around," 
he said.
Craigslist did not immediately respond to e-mail and voice mail messages seeking comment. Adult services listings continue to be available outside the United States.
Video From The Associated Press Here: [ Link ]