Craigslist faces new wave of political attacks by Declan McCullagh September 9, 2010 A year ago, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark was busy touting e-government, promoting neighborhood social networks, and blogging about squirrel-proofing his bird feeder. But now the 57-year-old entrepreneur is spending his days in more nerve-wracking pursuits: responding to attacks from ambitious attorneys general, legal threats from antiprostitution advocacy groups that sometimes seem to be actually anti-Craigslist, and critical articles written by journalists employed by the same newspapers that his company is helping to slowly eviscerate. And now, two sources have told CNET, a congressional committee has asked Newmark to testify at a hearing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday afternoon on the topic of “domestic minor sex trafficking.”….
Liability and the law
Then there’s the option of persuading Congress to rewrite Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Translated, that means Craigslist isn’t generally liable for what its users do.
But the law that immunizes Craigslist from lawsuit also protects Facebook, Blogspot, Flickr, and innumerable other Web sites. It lets news organizations, including CNET publisher CBS Interactive, permit readers to post comments without prior approval by an editor. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that one sentence–inserted as part of negotiations over antiporn legislation–gave birth to Web 2.0 and modern social networks.
“Any attempt to reopen section 230 will inevitably invite a flurry of other proposals of how to deputize online intermediaries to handle any concern or pet grievance,” says Berin Szoka, a senior fellow at the free-market Progress and Freedom Foundation. “Just limiting it to adult services or prostitution is naive.” Andrea Powell, executive director of the FAIR Fund, is also weighing a class action lawsuit against Craigslist. “There are enough victims,” Powell said. “We were thinking about this one day and reached out and it turns out other groups were pondering it. I had a conversation with one woman who was victimized by Craigslist. By our records, our financial records, they owe her $60,000.” http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20015916-38.html
Call to treat Vatican as a rogue state September 9, 2010 THE Vatican should be treated as a kind of ”rogue state” by the rest of the world until it stops using statehood – and the ancient rules of the canon law – to protect paedophile priests.
So says Geoffrey Robertson, QC, the veteran human rights lawyer and United Nations judge, arguing that the Catholic Church is the only religion permitted under international law to claim the privileges of statehood and its leaders immunity from civil or criminal action.
In his new book, The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse published as a Penguin special in Britain – and in Australia at the weekend – Mr Robertson urges the world to press the Catholic Church into abandoning canon law, the ancient set of ecclesiastical rules that also define disciplinary provisions for offences ranging from sex crimes to ordaining women.
However, these punishments, sometimes meted out under mediaeval written procedures run by fellow priests, allow ”neither cross-examination and medical examination, nor DNA testing” and ”no punishment worthy of that name”, he says. ”The worst that can happen, other than an order to do penance, is ‘laicisation’; that is, defrocking, which permits the paedophile to leave the church and get a job in a state school or care home, without anyone knowing of this conviction. Canon law has no sex offenders registry. ”While there can be no objection to an organisation disciplining members for a breach of arcane rules, there is every objection when those breaches amount to serious crimes and the organisation claims the right to deal with them internally without reporting them to the police. ”And that is precisely what the Vatican has been doing: instead of reporting to law enforcement authorities those priests it knows to be guilty of raping children, and to be likely to rape more children in the future, it has been dealing with them under canon law, which demands utmost pontifical secrecy, moving them to other parishes and letting them off with admonitions and unenforceable penances … usually to say prayers for their victims.’
Belgian court bins church paedophile raids evidence Sep 9, 2010 BRUSSELS (AFP) – Belgian judges ruled invalid on Thursday truckloads of evidence seized by police in summer raids probing paedophile scandals within the country’s Roman Catholic Church.
An appeals court deemed the raids, on the church headquarters in Brussels and at the home of its former top cardinal, disproportionate, and ordered that the material — on hundreds of individual investigations conducted by an internal church commission — be returned with prosecutors unable to use it.