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Has Verizon Forfeited Common Carrier Status? 721

Posted by kdawson
from the single-point-of-failure dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "Freedom of speech, the future of the Net, you name it. In October, a U.S. vigilante group asked Verizon to cut off Net access to Epifora, a Canadian ISP that hosts a number of (entirely legal) web sites offering support to minor-attracted adults. Shortly thereafter, Verizon gave 30 days notice to Epifora, ending a 5 year relationship. Telecos have traditionally refrained from censoring legal content, arguing that as 'common carriers' it is outside of their scope to make such decisions. Furthermore, they have refrained because if they did so in some cases, they might be legally liable for other cases where they did not exercise censorship. The questions are: has Verizon forfeited their claim to common-carrier status by selectively censoring legal speech that they do not like? And can the net effectively route around censorship if the trunk carriers are allowed to pick and choose whom they allow to connect?"
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Has Verizon Forfeited Common Carrier Status?

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  • by eln (21727) * on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:26PM (#16741701) Homepage
    Verizon is just protecting the children, you pedophile freak.

    Seriously though, Common Carriers should really not be censoring ANY content if they want to be common carriers. Here in the real world, though, Verizon and all of the other big telcos have the FCC in their pockets, so I wouldn't hold my breath on anything happening to them because of this.
    • Censorship is an ethical cancer. There can be no legitimate justification for it. This will not stop either the corporations or the legislators from implementing as much of it as they can get away with.

      • by Stickerboy (61554) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:41PM (#16742133) Homepage
        >Censorship is an ethical cancer. There can be no legitimate justification for it.

        Yes, because you still have the unlimited right to yell, "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire. Or incite a riot.

        Face it, there is NO such thing as unlimited freedoms, and for good reason.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bky1701 (979071)
          "Fire" is just a word. It's not my fault people are so jumpy. Inciting a riot takes some underlying issue 99% of the time, so trying to ban "inciting a riot" is kind of like blaming red buttons for nuclear attacks.
        • That's not censorship.

          Censorship would be the gov't throwing you in prison for warning people about the danger of fire. Your example is the gov't throwing you in prison for knowningly and willfully endangering people's lives by shouting something you a) know to be untrue, and b) know will most likely cause a panic-stricken stampede for the exits.

          Quite honestly, saying that not being able to yell 'fire' in a croweded theater is like saying that your right to bear arms is infringed by not being able to shoot people at will.

        • You can say anything you want. If it can be substantially proven that you inflicted quantifiable harm on another, you can be held accountable for that.

          For instance, if I published a full-page ad in your local paper calling you a pedophile, I would have the full legal right to do so. If you could demonstrate that I caused you financial losses from such a thing, and damages, then I could be sued for libel.
        • Yes, because you still have the unlimited right to yell, "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire. Or incite a riot.

          Yes you do have that right. Only thing is that you will likely be charged for inciting violence/panic. Censorship is never the answer.

        • by gid13 (620803)
          First of all, preventing someone from yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater not on fire is completely different. That is a situation where someone is knowingly (presumably, anyway) providing false information to people that did not ask for it and can reasonably be assumed to be there for the movie/play/whatever. In this case, the only people seeing the information are (presumably) people intending to see it by clicking on links from other pages, search engines, etc.

          And as for inciting a riot, I think people
        • The difference is, no one is censoring your ability to speak about fire, discuss your feelings about fire, or make political arguments about the dangers of fire. It's a very fine line, but shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theater amounts to more than speech. The anticipated result to yelling fire in a crowded theater is not comparable to any result you could gain from a normal discussion, but is more comparable to actually firing a gun near a herd of cattle while children play nearby or chasing people with m
          • My peek at this website issue is similar to what you said.

            these pervs aren't in theatres propositioning kids (that's the rough equivalent to yelling FIRE in a theatre). They are at their computer discussing the nature of the laws and/or MAYBE how much they would "like" to yell FIRE in a theatre.

            As soon as it is illegal for me to say "mmmm fire" on the Internet, I'll move to China. So I guess these pervs might have the right to say "mmmmm young girl" on the Internet in the same light. that changes the mi
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater is not a free speech issue. It is a property rights and contract issue. When I buy the ticket, there are certain standards of behavior that I implicitly ( everyone knows it's not done ) or explicitly ( posted signs) agree to by choosing to enter the theater. Yelling 'fire' is a civil violation of a contract with the theater owner.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by nuzak (959558)
            Your novel interpretations of contract law have no connection to reality. If your action is calculated to precipitate harm to others, it's not protected speech. Shouting "Boo!" at a surgeon is another example of such.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by avronius (689343) *
        Ethical cancer - hmm... flashy words.

        Sadly, you've offered little information to support your claim.

        You state "There can be no legitimate justification for it.", but I beg to differ. Rather than ask you to prove your statement, I will merely offer examples of what "I" believe to be "legitimate" justification.

        • Example A:
          Subject suffers from a kidney disease. A result of this condition is a bed wetting problem. Currently, there is a law that protects the subject from ridicule by preventing this informat
    • They should really split their business into two companies to be able to keep their common carrier status:

      Business 1 is their common carrier business which does not do any censoring etc, but just provides common carrier services.

      Business 2: Value added services (hosting etc). This business then does all the censoring etc.

      • by Elm Tree (17570)
        I haven't read the article, but from the description the site in question is hosted in Canada, and it's the connection to the hosting company that's being cut. Which would be entirely in "Business 1" in your system.
    • by JordanL (886154)
      I agree with the summary mostly, however, I found the connotation of the entire thing rather... dubious.

      I cannot check the article, (slashdotted), and since no link to the sites in question was provided, I am left to trust that the sites were good-natured content, and entirely legal, instead of deciding for myself.

      I also wasn't able to find out the name of the vigilante group, as it wasn't included in the summary. For all I know it could be the ACLU.

      The discussion should be about the principal of c
      • by StewedSquirrel (574170) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:10PM (#16742813)
        I did some digging and found the "vigilante group" is "Perverted Justice" (www.perverted-justice.com), the makers of the Dateline "to catch a predator" shows. Their status as "vigilante" is debatable during their law-enforcement-supported television shows, but their daily operations definitely slide toward the vigilante area.

        I found a site called corrupted-justice.com which is a site critical of Perverted Justice, and discusses a number of cases where they clearly violate the law and most people's ethical standards in a "the ends justify the means" sort of way.

        In fact, I also found quotations from Perverted Justice and thier founders saying basically "we have no interest in protecting children, that's not what we're about, we simply hate pervs and want them to suffer miserably". Corrupted Justice seems to imply they use 15-17 year old "minors" in some of their stings as "bait" and tell them to engage older adults in sexual discussions.

        I don't know, that sort of "by all means, hell with the law" approach is disheartening.

        I also found that the websites hosted by Epifora include sites like www.boychat.org and www.girlchat.org.

        Doing some more digging, they seemed to be linked to some sort of organization called "Free Spirits" (www.freespirits.org) which claims it is a "support group" for pedos, but it also says that it is very opposed to illegal content.

        Of course, there is absolutely nothing saying that Epifora wasn't hosting child porn on their server, but I have a feeling that the FBI or RCMP or whatever would have beat down the door if there was any evidence of that, rather than Verizon quitely unplugging their upstream. In addition, comments from Canadian law enforcement mentioned elsewhere in this thread seem to lean toward their content having been audited by both law enforcement and MCI's legal team in 2001 and found to be entirely legal.

        So a conclusion? Verizon pulled the plug because they didn't want to be listed as a "corporate sex offender" on the perverted-justice.com website. They had a meeting where lawyers said "we choose the better of two evils" and they chose to shut down the Epifora ISP and face the unlikely circumstance their "common carrier" status was put in jeopardy, rather than face the guarantee that "perverted justice" will be posting fliers on their headquarters with pictures of decapitated children or somesuch that say "VERIZON DID THIS".

        Stew
        • by StewedSquirrel (574170) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:51PM (#16743593)
          Here is a word-for-word copy of their webiste for those unwilling to visit:

          Creepy, but doesn't sound illegal to me...

          hy does BoyChat exist? Isn't it really about encouraging abuse?

          BoyChat is a forum in which boylovers can explore issues related to their sexuality and provide mutual support and companionship - to learn to lead productive lives in ways that help young people rather than harm them.

          BoyChat is not a board in which well-meaning social workers firmly guide people the way they think they ought to go. BoyChat is run by boylovers for boylovers. It encourages its posters to work freely through their own issues and questions. Participants will express a wide range of views. No post represents the views of anyone except the poster. No individual post can be considered typical. Occasionally extreme views will be expressed: these do not receive wide support and are usually strongly condemned. Such posts are often deliberately posted by people who wish to discredit the board.

          How do boylovers feel about child molestation?

          Free Spirits doesn't have official positions because we only exist to provide web sites and foster communication. There is an ethical consensus among the BoyChat community and the keepers of the sites, however, that all forms of non-voluntary sexual contact are to be condemned.

          Some participants on BoyChat voice their opinions that men should not have sexual contacts with boys when boys seek it because they don't want to risk society's harmful reaction. Some believe they should never have sex with boys under any circumstances. Others, especially those who sought out relationships with men as boys, say that some boys are harmed when their repeated requests for love and intimacy are rejected without explanation.

          Discussions on BoyChat delve deeply into ethical issues. No regular reader could fail to be aware of the ethical issues of his attraction. Victims of sexual abuse find not only support and caring, but also strong condemnation of their abusers. Posters who contemplate anything abusive get very short shrift from the rest.

          Participants are also very aware of the legal issues. They understand the extreme penalties for even the slightest physical contact or suspicion of sexual contact between adult and minor. They know about the knock on the door in the middle of the night, the removal of and destruction of property, the planting of evidence and the extraordinary mental and sometimes physical torture of possible victims. They know that boys, even if not already victims, will become so at the hands of the police in the name of child protection. Readers are aware of the bashings and rapes in prison; the informing of neighbours and employers and the sign in the yard, the modern Scarlet Letter. They are aware also of the enforced "therapy" that consists mainly of destroying the offender's sense of self worth with no chance of actually changing sexual orientation.

          What does Free Spirits hope to accomplish?

          In light of what we know about boylove and the difficulties boylovers face in current society, there must be places where boylovers can communicate positively and find emotional support. BoyChat is safe because it is anonymous. People don't have to show their faces if they don't want to. People who have bottled-up emotions are dangerous to themselves and others. Every once in a while, a non-boylover will read BoyChat and see that boylovers are human beings like all others. We let others watch us interact. This is good.

          What kind of people belong to Free Spirits?

          Nobody "belongs" to Free Spirits. Free Spirits is just a web site that a bunch of people maintain. The site is accessed by a diverse population from dozens of countries. The pages are used by people who are interested in the issues surrounding boylove. This means not only boylovers, but also many males who have had self-defined positive experiences as boys with men. Other participants include child abuse researchers, internet anti-pedop

    • Civil liability? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lonewolf666 (259450)
      If I understand Common Carrier status correctly, it shields also against civil liability (as long as you comply with the DMCA when you get a takedown note). I think the real danger of losing CC status is that the RIAA might be able to sue you for the entirety of copyright violations on your network.

      Any lawyers, care to comment??
  • seems like a similar debate to net neutrality.
  • by diersing (679767) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:27PM (#16741737)
    Done. Every carrier will need a team of lawyers to review all content and deem it's legality.

    Next

  • Common Carrier? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conception (212279) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:28PM (#16741755)
    So, since they did this, isn't the obvious thing to do to sue Verizon for transmitting something bad that "hurts" you? They are no longer protected now, yes?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aadain2001 (684036)
      Yes, from a legal standpoint they have just 'opened' up the flood waters. If you sensor even one message/data/item/etc passing through a system under your control, you loose common carrier/neutral party status and are held liable for everything that now occurs. Why do you think /. editors do not edit comments posted here? As soon as they did, they would be held liable for all the comments /. users make and would be open to lawsuits. Right now, Verizon can be held legally responsible for every piece of w
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wkcole (644783)

        Yes, from a legal standpoint they have just 'opened' up the flood waters. If you sensor even one message/data/item/etc passing through a system under your control, you loose common carrier/neutral party status and are held liable for everything that now occurs.

        WRONG!

        That legal urban legend has been wandering around the net for many years, but it has never actually been true, at least under US law. ISP's have never been common carriers as ISP's (which is part of why the ISP/ILEC wall exists in ILEC-

  • yes, no, maybe. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FacePlant (19134) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:28PM (#16741769)
    In theory, yes, but no corporation with that much money will ever be held accountable to the laws of our country unless they kill the citizenry, and even then, only after many, many years, and especially not when they're Thinking of the Children
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:29PM (#16741789)
    The phrase "minor-attracted adults" makes baby Orwell cry.
  • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:30PM (#16741821)
    Can the editors please mention that a site might possibly not be safe for work?

    As eager as I am to rally behind censorship, I'm not too keen on gay shirtless men popping up on my monitor as I eat my lunch. My Christian coworker might think odd things of me.
    • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:40PM (#16742085)
      I'm not too keen on gay shirtless men popping up on my monitor as I eat my lunch. My Christian coworker might think odd things of me.

      Or, he may not :-)

    • "Can the editors please mention that a site might possibly not be safe for work?"

      So, you need to be protected from the evils out there on the big wide web? I'll make it real simple for you: quit reading slashdot at work.
    • As eager as I am to rally behind censorship, I'm not too keen on gay shirtless men popping up on my monitor as I eat my lunch. My Christian coworker might think odd things of me.

      I'm not sure why what someone else thinks of you is that important though. Does said person worry about what you think of him/her?

      Your Christian coworker probably already thinks odd things of you, now that person will see that and think it's a confirmation of their suspicions.
  • They certainly aren't arresting people or hanging them or even imprisoning them. The article says they "destroy lives", when in fact the guys they "sting" destroy their own lives.
    • by PFI_Optix (936301)
      Absolutely. These "vigilantes" are working to prevent criminal acts. For some reason, I have a hard time having sympathy for the people caught engaged in those acts.
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        Criminal in the minds of the vigilantes. Apparently the sites are nothing more than gay men's sites. Sounds like nothing more than good old gay bashing, redneck vigilantes to me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just like blacks and whites who dated fifty years ago "destroyed their own lives", eh? And like gays getting caught up in stings before the gay rights movement "destroyed their own lives".

      -Ella, 16
    • by dfghjk (711126)
      Ah, krell, you're never gonna learn what a vigilante is, are you? If it doesn't involve beating with a baseball bat it isn't vigilantism, right krell?

      "...when in fact the guys they "sting" destroy their own lives."

      How so? By seeking support at legal sites? Is getting Verizon to censor legal content an example of that "sting"? Nice leaping to conclusions, krell. Good thing you aren't in "law enforcement". Just a member of the mob.

      "We're gonna have a first class trial followed by a first class hangin'."
  • While the irony of suggesting this be censored is pretty crushing, the fact is we've got gay ads and artistic but none-the-less exposed drawn breasts.

    The parent post really should be updated advising of that.

  • Minor attracted adults? AKA pedophiles? You're going to have a hard time drumming up sympathy for that particular group, no matter how legitimate the sites are.
  • by Nimey (114278) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:40PM (#16742105) Homepage Journal
    fud notfud yes no maybe

    Maybe itsatrap as well.

    Why do we have tags if the same braindead ones are displayed for most of them?
  • by wfberg (24378)
    A business can be in two businesses. Verizon is both a webhost, which pretty much never qualify for 'common carrier' consideration, and it's in the internet tubing business, where its tubes transport god-knows-what. If the very same websites are hosted somewhere else tomorrow, Verizon will still carry their internets through their tubes (though the internets may arrive late, because of all the movies).

    Likewise, theoretically "Pall Mall" and "Camel Club" clothing isn't advertising for cigarettes. And Microso
    • by AusIV (950840)
      Not that Verizons WANTS to be a Common Carrier. That would imply some sort of network neutrality.
      To the contrary, I'm sure Verizon would like to redefine Common Carrier status the same way the RIAA has tried to redefine fair use - they want to get all the perks of common carrier status (not being liable for what they transmit) while still getting to choose what they transmit (network neutrality).
  • Right to Refuse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iiioxx (610652) <iiioxx@gmail.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:42PM (#16742151)

    The right to refuse business is a long-standing tradition, at least in this part of the world. Verizon can generally choose not to do business with whomever they wish, with certain provisions relating to discrimination.

    It is not censorship, it is Verizon's right to say "you can believe and say whatever you like, but please take your business elsewhere." Last time I checked, pedophiles were not a protected class under the U.S. Federal Civil Rights Act, or the Americans With Disabilities Act.

    So no, I do not believe Verizon's status as a "common carrier" would be in question with regards to this matter. But thanks for asking!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JayBlalock (635935)
      Uh... the poster wasn't talking about the pedos suing Verizon over this. It was talking about people suing because of OTHER offensive pages being hosted by Verizon.

      Verizon is (in theory) not responsible for anything put onto their networks because they're a "common carrier." They take all comers who can pay without worrying about the content. Therefore, if kiddie porn is being transmitted through Verizon's lines, it's not Verizon's fault because they have taken absolutely ZERO responsibility for the con

    • Re:Right to Refuse (Score:5, Informative)

      by Detritus (11846) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:53PM (#16742403) Homepage
      Common carriers do not have the "right to refuse business". If the Gay Nazis for Nuking Whales and Buggering Baby Seals wants telephone service, Verizon is obligated to provide it. They can only terminate service for non-discriminatory reasons like not paying the bill. It's inherent in the definition of a common carrier that the service be offered to the public in a non-discriminatory manner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The right to refuse business is a long-standing tradition, at least in this part of the world. Verizon can generally choose not to do business with whomever they wish, with certain provisions relating to discrimination.

      True, but in doing so they lose a group of special privileges allocated to those that are "common carriers" and who just carry the mail and don't know what's in it. For example, common carriers are not prosecuted for transporting drugs, death threats, child pornography, or government secre

  • It seems an odd thing for Verizon to do. I'm sure it's not the first time they've been asked by somebody to censor something they didn't like, but the fact is that if they actually did they'd be inundated with requests.

    I don't think that Verizon actually wants to be an internet censor. It's more work for them, and it doesn't serve any of Verizon's corporate goals.

    Even odder, and unmentioned in the summary, is that the group is apparently part of a reality TV series funded by NBC. They supposedly complained
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:45PM (#16742227) Homepage
    What the hell is a "minor attracted adult", if not a pedophile?

    Notwithstanding the common carrier issue and the legality of the material, it bothers me to see the mainstreaming of pedophilia with terms like this. Years ago I worked at a Montreal ISP. Someone notified us of one of our user's 'secret' webpages--a page not linked from his home page, requiring you to know the exact URL. The page was a collection of links to NAMBLA and like organizations and websites, including a message board for "child lovers".

    On the message board, pedophiles alternately discussed sitting in parks watching children play, and discussing how they "came out" to themselves and each other, and accepted themselves for who they are. What was most subtly grotesque was the manner in which they'd adopted the rhetorical stance of the queer community. They talked about 'coming out', and about accepting themselves, and reclaiming terms like 'boy lover'. They were mentally and emotionally setting the stage for the same sort of battle for public acceptance that the gay community has fought and mostly won over the last few decades.

    I don't want them to 'come out', I don't want them to have supportive underground communities, and it was saddening to see the entirely appropriate discourse of public acceptance of homosexuality and queer identity perverted like this. This is exactly the slippery slope that the right uses to justify non-acceptance of gays, and we need to bring a big heavy boot down on crap like 'minor attracted adult' to demonstrate that we can make moral choices about who we will accept and who we won't.

    The world's a better place because homosexuality has been mainstreamed. It'll be a better place still when pedophilia is absolutely and explicitly denied the same path and the same acceptance. It starts by calling bullshit on terms like 'minor attracted adult'.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      The world's a better place because homosexuality has been mainstreamed. It'll be a better place still when pedophilia is absolutely and explicitly denied the same path and the same acceptance.

      How can you argue with logic like that?

    • What the hell is a "minor attracted adult", if not a pedophile?

      Mark Foley?

      I haven't RTFA, or tried to follow any links. But what if they aren't talking about a support group of that sort, but rather a group that works to find psychological help for people with this problem so that they can be stopped. What if a person finds themselves as a "minor attracted adult" and knows this is wrong, and wants to seek help? What options do they have?

      Should we castrate them and lock them up in jail? Even if they've c

    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:13PM (#16742843) Homepage
      What the hell is a "minor attracted adult", if not a pedophile?
      Medically, pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent or peripubescent children. An adult attracted to a minor who has passed puberty may be an 'ephebophile' (likes adolescents) or possibly engaging in 'pederasty' or something like that. but no one bothers to learn those terms in the general usage, so the meaning of the word 'pedophile' has become somewhat stretched.

      Consider a moment if was 18 and I liked a 17-year-old girl, I could be considered a "minor attracted adult" - but pedophile? I think not.

      Now, all that aside, I really have no idea what the site was about at all, and I decline to comment about Verizon's action at this time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr2001 (90979)
      What the hell is a "minor attracted adult", if not a pedophile?

      Someone who's attracted to teenagers, probably: in Canada, the age of consent is 14, so most teenagers can legally have sex with adults. The term "pedophile" typically refers to those who are attracted to pre-pubescent children, not adolescents.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:17PM (#16742915)

      ...it bothers me to see the mainstreaming of pedophilia with terms like this.

      That's fine, but it is free speech. Better to have people discussing this than for it to be a forbidden topic that festers in darkness.

      They were mentally and emotionally setting the stage for the same sort of battle for public acceptance that the gay community has fought and mostly won over the last few decades. I don't want them to 'come out', I don't want them to have supportive underground communities, and it was saddening to see the entirely appropriate discourse of public acceptance of homosexuality and queer identity perverted like this.

      The important question is why? What is it that is different between pedophiles and homosexuals? Why should society accept one and not the other? Is there a fundamental difference of ethics in your mind that you can explain or are you just reacting emotionally?

      This is exactly the slippery slope that the right uses to justify non-acceptance of gays, and we need to bring a big heavy boot down on crap like 'minor attracted adult' to demonstrate that we can make moral choices about who we will accept and who we won't

      The "slippery slope" is a logical fallacy. What we need is reason and rational dialogue. We need an understanding of why pedophilia is wrong, not just an angry, emotional attack upon it.

      The world's a better place because homosexuality has been mainstreamed. It'll be a better place still when pedophilia is absolutely and explicitly denied the same path and the same acceptance. It starts by calling bullshit on terms like 'minor attracted adult'.

      I disagree. The "negativity constant" of a word is how much people react negatively to a given word. It is an emotional response, conditioned by society. Pedophiles are people who are attracted to minors. Rather than reacting to either set of terminology it should be made clear why either people who are attracted to minors or pedophiles should be forbidden from acting on their attraction.

      In my mind the ethical principal is quite simply, responsibility. Children are not granted all the rights of an adult, nor are they held entirely responsible for their decisions because they have not yet developed the capacity to make rational, informed choices about their lives. As a result, they are taught to obey their elders as a matter of principal and to cede their will to authority figures, who "know better." They place great trust in their elders and society and that trust in turn engenders a greater responsibility for society to protect them. Sex with children is wrong similar to the way rape is wrong. A child is not socially in a position to make a correct choice and does not have the critical thinking capacity to properly make major life choices.

      Sex is a major life choice, both from an emotional and social perspective and from a health risk perspective. Until a child reaches an appropriate level of maturity, every member of society is responsible for making sure to go out of their way to avoid letting children make such choices, whether they think they are ready for it or not.

      Now no one with any reason believes that a child magically becomes responsible at the age of 18. Some people develop faster than others. I don't think some 25 year olds are ready to make life choices yet, while some 15 year olds are. Society has chosen an arbitrary age of 18, but ethically, we need to be aware that it is wrong to take advantage of immature 18 year olds. Let the ethical principal, not the law guide one's decision making in this regard.

      I pity people who find themselves sexually attracted to children, but I do not forgive them any unethical actions they take. By understanding the issue, however, I think we can more intelligently make decisions and promote understanding within society, both of why one group should be legal and another not, and how we should all act with regard to the issue. Reason, not emotion should guide us.

    • by dfghjk (711126) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:28PM (#16743165)
      "What the hell is a "minor attracted adult", if not a pedophile?"

      Attraction to those under the age of the majority. That includes more than prepubescent children.

      "it bothers me to see the mainstreaming of pedophilia with terms like this."

      Has it occurred to you that it may be a tactic to bash those who can't be shown, or even suspected, of pedophilia at all?

      "They talked about 'coming out', and about accepting themselves, and reclaiming terms like 'boy lover'. They were mentally and emotionally setting the stage for the same sort of battle for public acceptance that the gay community has fought and mostly won over the last few decades."

      What is the problem with this? So far you've described no criminal behavior at all. Are you advocating keeping people with this condition be as emotionally deprived as possible? How is that a help to society?

      "I don't want them to 'come out', I don't want them to have supportive underground communities, and it was saddening to see the entirely appropriate discourse of public acceptance of homosexuality and queer identity perverted like this."

      It isn't perverted. Being closeted for them is no different. Plenty have said the same things about gays.

      "This is exactly the slippery slope that the right uses to justify non-acceptance of gays, and we need to bring a big heavy boot down on crap like 'minor attracted adult' to demonstrate that we can make moral choices about who we will accept and who we won't."

      My moral choice is to accept what everyone's condition is. There is a big difference between accepting a person's condition and accepting their actions. It is child molestation that is the issue and nothing you've described has anything to do with that. You just seemed consumed by hatred and fear of those you don't know.

      "The world's a better place because homosexuality has been mainstreamed. It'll be a better place still when pedophilia is absolutely and explicitly denied the same path and the same acceptance. It starts by calling bullshit on terms like 'minor attracted adult'."

      I don't agree with any of that. First, homosexuality hasn't been mainstreamed outside progressive areas. Second, pedophilia is a condition that people develop outside their choice, and it's child molestation that has to be prevented. Finally, you have no idea why the term "minor attracted adult" was chosen and you have no basis for declaring that it means "pedophile" (or more accurately "child molester in your usage).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)
      What the hell is a "minor attracted adult", if not a pedophile?

      Everyone. Not all minors are children, and there's a reason it's called "sweet 16". People become sexually mature before they turn 18. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being physically attracted to sexually mature people. It's natural, it's normal, in fact if you don't find 17 year old hotties attractive, I'd say there's something wrong with you.
  • Why don't you just say pedophile?
    I can't believe political correctness has filtered down to the point where we don't want to offend the pedophiles!
    God forbid we make anyone uncomfortable about their perversion.
  • This is an action that a company deemed to be in its best interests. They decided to disconnect from a paying customer. The same customer is welcome to seek connectivity services elsewhere. They are not being "blocked."

    Is it censorship? It might be censorship if, after they connected through another provider, were subsequently blocked. It might be censorship if the order for disconnection was at the demand of a government entity. From what I have read, it's a vigilante group and not a government entit
    • Moderate parent up. Every business and individual should have the right to end a business relationship that is not its best interests.
  • I would have to go back and look this up, but after the Cable Companies won (overall) in the Brand X case and the SCOTUS said they did not have to be classified as common carriers, the DSL companies petitioned the FCC, and two months later the fcc reclassified DSL carriers as well, so they were no longer beholden to common carrier rules. there was a one-year carry over, where they would continue under the old rules, which, i think, just passed.

    This news.com [com.com] story pretty much sums it up from summer of 05
  • "Freedom of speech, the future of the Net, you name it. In October, a U.S. vigilante group asked Verizon to cut off Net access to Epifora, a Canadian ISP that hosts a number of (entirely legal) web sites offering support to minor-attracted adults.

    Minor-attracted? It's paedophilia. Look it up.

    That being said, it's not the ISP or carrier's duty to shut anyone down except for abuse or by subpoena. That's why Verizon did the wrong thing and there's no reason to use doublespeak like "minor-attracted" to su

  • Conspiracy Theory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JayBlalock (635935) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:07PM (#16742729)
    OK, so Net Neutrality has more or less won, although without any legislation either way. At any rate, the tide of public opinion is massively against the ISPs.

    What if this is Verizon DELIBERATELY blowing their common carrier status as an end run?

    If it is, watch for them doing a lot more of this in the future. Then when they start blocking access to Google (or whateveR) they'll say, look, we're policing our own network now. We're NOT a common carrier.

    And thus kill Net Neutrality.

    I make no claims as to the correctness of this theory. It's just something that occured to me.

  • by cr0sh (43134) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:44PM (#16744509) Homepage
    America, and American society as a whole, is spinning around the drain. Personally, and sadly, I would love to leave this cesspool of apathy, hypocrisy, and ignorance. However, short of establishing my own personal colony on the moon (read: never going to happen), nowhere else on this planet is really any better. Thus, I figure I might as well stay and stand ground right here, on a battlefield that I at least have some familiarity with.

    Perverted Justice is getting thier way, and our society is eating it right up. These narrow-minded souls and others like them have already twisted the english language in such a manner as to cause (in many people's minds) to equate "pedophile" with "child molester", even though a simple etymological study of the words in question would quickly reveal that one has nothing to do with the other. I would think that here on Slashdot we geeks would be more intelligent than this. Then again, I might as well be Don Quioxte arguing about the differences between a hacker vs. a cracker. Even so, words help to define and propel thoughts, and what was once a valid word to describe a legitimate topic has now taken on a wholly wrong and sinister definition.

    Why on earth is it that our society can't seem to fathom the idea that there could actually be people out there who truely and honestly love children (without any sexual connotations), on a level that isn't just mere lip-service meant to console the consciences of the "think of the children" moral hypocrites? The fact that this self-same group targets and rallies against such people, while entrenching the concept of "pedophile=child molester", further gives lie to their hypocrisy: This process has little to do with "thinking of the children", and everything to do with "thinking of myself and my power". What these people hope to acheive with this power is anyone's guess, but I can guarantee it will not be something free-thinking people will enjoy.

    Instead, we are now a nation who constantly "thinks of the children", while simultaneously fearing them. This fear brings a cost onto our society, as such fear (ie, the legitimate fear of being branded a new-speak "pedophile") causes legitimate teachers and counselors to avoid working with children closely, doing what they do best - teaching, counseling, mentoring, and consoling. Our society, by deligitimizing contact between children and adults (including parents, on many occasions!), is slowly raising a generation of individuals who have never had honest adult guidance. Rather, the little guidance they may have had (from parents or others) was presented to them couched in fear, uncertainty, and doubt. These children aren't robots, they are picking up on these notions. One has to honestly wonder what effects such watered down (and dishonest through ommission) interactions will have on these children as they grow into adults. I sincerely doubt they will be good. In fact, it seems like it would serve to cause more of the same "for-the-children" behavior from these children-turned-adults, or it will flip 180 degrees from where it is today. Both of these outcomes are equally extreme, and neither are a world I want to live in.

    Despite all of these cries of "for the children", though, our society continues to turn a blind eye toward the other side of the coin: The sexualizing of children and youth by the media. We the people legitimatize it by doing nothing about it - by letting it continue and expand in scope. By continuing to buy (for ourselves, and for the children, too) and consume the products being advertised, we are effectively saying out of one side of our mouths "this is OK", but lest any member of that society espouse an attraction to these youthful portrayals, we pounce on them and decry "PEDOPHILE" - figuratively rending the individual who dared to utter such thoughts limb-from-limb (interestingly, though, this seems to only apply to certain sub-groups within the larger whole - but this goes well outside the scope of this rant). We ostracize them as a pariah to the group. T

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