The internet is something we rely on on a daily basis. The use of the internet is endless and can be helpful in so many ways. But alongside these benefits, it is a breeding ground for illegal and illicit behavior such as child pornography, drugs and arms trafficking and even sex trafficking of humans. President Trump recently signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), a law that aims to fight sex trafficking by reducing legal protections for online platforms.
Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act protects website owners like backpage.com from any liability of information that is posted on the website itself by other users. These websites are regularly used by people to promote their sale of sexual transactions.
Section 230 “allows websites to offer platforms for critical and controversial speech without the threat of being sued or charged criminally”. The new law signed by the president FOTSA completely undoes these protective rights. With FOTSA section 230 no longer applies to any website helping promote or facilitate prostitution.
While the clear aim of FOTSA is at websites like backpage, Craigslist and rentboy these are not the only websites that will be targeted. It will cause websites to carefully comb through and monitor any information that has been posted on the website to make sure they are not breaching the law.
With the fear of FOTSA coming into play many websites already took down the adult sections of their website. Craigslist is one example of this.
It is however, unclear to what extent, if any, FOSTA will strengthen existing anti-prostitution and anti-trafficking law. There have already been lawsuits against websites that have areas that promote prostitution and sex trafficking before FOTSA. Came into play. For example, there was a lawsuit filed against back pages a week before the bill was signed. The owner of rentboy.com was also given a criminal sentence and the website was shut down last year for promoting pros, bringing forth the question was this law really necessary?
By bringing FOTSA into play, there is a vast majority of other online services that were once protected by section 203 that are now being hurt. This includes:
FOTSA is in many ways removing people’s rights to opinions and free speech and harming the use of the internet by the majority due to a minority of the population misusing it.
If you or your loved one have been subjected to the horrific crime of sex trafficking of any sort a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help guide you through the process. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer will use all their expertise to get you the best results available for your case. To explore your options contact our office on 310-430-7799.