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Archive for July 27th, 2018

FOSTA is so universally despised, Congress took the unprecedented and bizarre step of making a propaganda video to support it:

Mike Masnick of Techdirt has already gone off on this video, but I was especially appalled at the incredible assertion that “FOSTA has shut down 90% of ‘sex trafficking’ on the internet”.  If you’re wondering what bogus study that figure came from, permit me to explain:  It was made up, just like all “sex trafficking” numbers.  I know that may sound glib, but it’s the truth; in eight years of studying this, I’ve found the majority of the numbers used by prohibitionists are literally just invented out of thin air.  To start with, “sex trafficking” doesn’t mean any specific thing; “authorities” use it to mean any of several dozen things, from irregular border crossing to ordinary sex work.  Then even if you’re talking about a specific crime, how would such figures be determined?  The only way we get figures for any “crime” is by either convictions or filed complaints.  But this supposed “crime” is claimed to be secret, so…where would “authorities” find the figures?  And even if they did, such reports take time to compile; they don’t just spring into being from the head of the FBI director like some warped Athena.  Notice that actual crime figures always refer to the calendar last year, or even further back; they can’t be determined in real time.  Therefore, this is a blatant & egregious lie, not even an exaggeration or distortion.  The only “source” for this I can even imagine is the oft-repeated claim that Backpage was responsible for some huge (indeterminate and ever-changing) fraction of “online sex trafficking”; if we accepted that this lie was actually true, and the claimed number had been 90% (which I’m sure has been the claimed figure somewhere), then it might follow some kind of warped logic.  The only problem with that notion is that FOSTA wasn’t used to shut down Backpage; that happened days before FOSTA was signed, and the charges are just the typical “money laundering” and other BS federal charges.  No FOSTA charges were made.  So I repeat: the number is simply a lie without even the most tenuous basis in reality, previously-released propaganda or public fantasy.  It’s just a damned lie.

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