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+ - Man Charged With Obscenity for Private Chat->

Submitted by Brian Ribbon
Brian Ribbon (986353) writes "In a case which largely escaped the attention of the mainstream media, a man from the UK has been charged with "publishing an obscene article" for discussing sexual fantasies involving children during a private online discussion with a friend. This case comes shortly after the dismissal of the controversial "Girls (Scream) Aloud" case, in which a defendant was unsuccessfully prosecuted for "publishing" a story involving the rape and murder of adult members of a popular music group. Presumably, the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prosecution Service hope that they can ressurect (and broaden) the Obscene Publications Act, simply by charging a paedophile with the offence. The man was also charged with downloading ("making") and possessing indecent images of children; a very broadly defined law under which people have been convicted for possessing naturist images of minors."
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Comment: But you believe their stereotype? (Score 1) 340

by Brian Ribbon (#32442986) Attached to: EU To Monitor All Internet Searches

"Pedophiles use children for their own self-serving purposes"

I understand the point that you were trying to make with your post, but that's a rather misguided statement. If you think that paedophiles "use children for their own self-serving purposes", you clearly haven't discussed the topic with any paedophiles or other neutral and informed individuals. Most people who are attracted to adults don't hunt adults to "use for their own self-serving purposes", so why do you think that most paedophiles do that? Most people who are attracted to adults obviously try to have sex with people they are attracted to (if both are available, consenting, etc), but for paedophiles there are some very, very good reasons to not act on one's feelings.

As someone who is attracted to children, I know many other people who are attracted to children, both online and offline. Many of the people who I know have friends who are children, but the majority of those people understand the importance of not actually acting upon their feelings towards children (and the others are apparently deterred by potential legal consequences).

Your view of paedophiles is bastardised by the media and the governments whom you are critical of. When everyone accepts the absurd constructed image of "the paedophile", the authoritarian legislators win.

+ - UK Mandates Sexual Consent Forms->

Submitted by Brian Ribbon
Brian Ribbon (986353) writes "The UK's Ministry of Justice has announced plans to criminalise sexual activity without possession of a permission slip from the Home Office, a justice minister explained on Thursday. In order to receive permission to engage in sexual activity, a person must complete a form providing intimate details about their lives and a description of the sexual acts which will take place."
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Comment: Re:What is the problem? (Score 1) 156

by Brian Ribbon (#31468648) Attached to: The Dark Side of the Web

"Children are sexually and emotionally abused. Would you say that it's okay to molest children as long as its just a "hobby?""

Neither I nor any of the respondents suggested that children being abused is "okay"; that would be a ridiculous assertion. My argument was that distribution and availability of child pornography on anonymous networks is extremely unlikely to encourage people to produce it.

I also question your assumption that "child pornography" is necessarily a depiction of children being molested. I don't know of any definition in any part of the word which dictates that an image must show children being molested in order for the image to be considered "child pornography". In the UK, for example, an image is illegal if, in the opinion of the jury, it "offends against the recognised standards of propriety"; the image does not need to meet any other criteria.

"Nobody profits from being a pedophile, but they still hurt children in ways you obviously could never sympathize with."

Paedophilia is a sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. Most paedophiles don't hurt children for the same reasons that you wouldn't try (nor wish) to hurt adults who you're attracted to. Do you really think that most paedophiles fantasise about children suffering and don't know the difference between fantasy and reality? The alleged "threat" of "paedophiles" is as overblown as the threat of terrorism.

"Child pornography is at worst an unpleasant nuisance."

"This is insane. You seriously don't understand the effects on the victims?"

I think ObsessiveMathsFreak was accounting for context, which is a key issue here.

If you think that child pornography is a depiction of children being molested, do you not feel that those producing the images would molest the children anyway? In cases where children are actually molested and filmed, it is the molestation that is the problem, not the camera.

While everybody is panicking about child pornography, children are being abused by their parents and being killed by armies around the world, while the inherent rights of all people are being systematically stolen by governments in the name of protecting those children.

In the context of all that is done to children and also to adults, ObsessiveMathsFreak's statement is understandable.

Comment: What is the problem? (Score 5, Insightful) 156

by Brian Ribbon (#31463810) Attached to: The Dark Side of the Web

If child pornography is being freely distributed amongst anonymous networks of paranoid people, what is the problem?

The vast majority of people who use onion routing are very cautious people, so very few will be stupid enough to leave a trail which could identify them (such as a payment) as doing anything which is seriously controversial or illegal. It would be absurd to suggest that anybody is going to profit from producing child pornography and distributing it through anonymous networks.

If somebody produced child pornography as a "hobby" (instead of for profit, which would result in a swift arrest anyway), it's pretty obvious that the producer would produce the pornography for themself regardless of whether they distributed it. So again, anonymous networks are not contributing to a problem, nor is the alleged availability of child pornography.

The majority of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are the parents of the child. If people genuinely wanted to stop child abuse, they would focus on protecting children from abusive parents. Instead, politicians and police chiefs tend to focus on matters which score politicial points and win votes; parents are not an acceptable target because they constitute a major component of the electorate. Claming to fight child pornography is much easier for politicians and police chiefs, as they will not lose significant support and they can easily claim a victory without any risk of being exposed as liars; after all, who is going to check the evidence?

Comment: Nudity can be "indecent" under UK law (Score 1) 821

by Brian Ribbon (#30994816) Attached to: "No Scan, No Fly" At Heathrow and Manchester

"The law covers indecent images of children. They must be engaged in, or appearing to suggest, a sexual act."

That is not true at all. An indecent image of a child is a photograph or pseudo-photograph which offends against the recognised standards of propriety*. Figures collected by Garda, the Irish police, showed that 44% of convictions for indecent images did not involve images depicting any suggestion of sexual activity**. Some people have even been successfully prosecuted for possessing images of children which contained no erotic posing; just nudity*.

Don't believe the claim that UK law only criminalises images of child abuse. CEOP, the IWF, the NSPCC and others make a lot of money by untruthfully claiming that they require significant funding to fight a massive industry which systematically abuses children.

The images produced by airport scanners are likely to offend against the recognised standards of propriety and will therefore be illegal under UK law.

* http://newgon.com/wiki/Indecent_images_of_children#Indecency
** http://newgon.com/wiki/Research:_Child_Pornography#The_Nature_of_Child_Pornography

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2, Insightful) 821

by Brian Ribbon (#30994460) Attached to: "No Scan, No Fly" At Heathrow and Manchester

"Pictures of naked kids are only a problem if there's a reasonable possibility that they will end up in the wrong hands."

So if somebody masturbates to an image of a child, the child is harmed, but if nobody masturbates to the image, the child is not harmed? In the case of the airport scanners, the feeling of one's privacy being breached will be caused by being forced to walk through the scanner. Harm cannot be caused by the sexual interests of the person who views the scan, which are obviously not known to the child. Photographs of children are only harmful if a child was forced into a situation which made him or her feel uncomfortable, and in such a case, the child will be harmed to the same extent regardless of who views the image.

The moral panic about paedophiles viewing images of children is an adult concern, not a typical child's concern.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous law (Score 1) 751

by Brian Ribbon (#30723610) Attached to: Full Body Scanners Violate Child Porn Laws

Actually, there's no reason to be more "cautious" simply because sexual attraction to children is fairly common. The majority of the population is attracted to adults, however sexual violence against adults is not a regular occurrence (in the context of billions of people) because people have an instinctive aversion to hurting those who they fall in love with, and that doesn't change simply because the subjects of one's fantasies are of a different age or gender. A sexual attraction to and a tendency to care for and love children in a platonic way are therefore not mutually exclusive, and only a very small minority of paedophiles actually "touch" children.

I am sexually attracted to children, but I would never try to have any kind of sexual contact with a child (or anyone else), and I know many other paedophiles (not just on the internet) who have the same policy. The fact that our sexual orientation didn't develop as we developed into adults does not mean that we didn't develop a conscience or an understanding of consequences. Furthermore, the fact that most paedophiles had difficult childhoods means that many of us know what tramautic childhoods are like, and don't wish to have such an effect on other children.

Anyway, most offenders against young children are generally not paedophiles (adults with a primary or exclusive attraction to young children); they are typically non-paedophilic men or women who have suffered trauma as a result of sexual relationships with other adults (which is of course no excuse for their abuse of children). Many child molesters are parents or other close relatives of the children who they abuse, so if a non-abusive parent is confident about the behaviour of their close family, they shouldn't be consumed with fear over the relatively small risk of their child being sexually assaulted.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous law (Score 2, Informative) 751

by Brian Ribbon (#30693612) Attached to: Full Body Scanners Violate Child Porn Laws

"Does anyone have statistics on what percentage of the population are pedophiles? I'm willing to bet that it's a pretty low number."

It's not a low number at all, although the occurrence of "paedophilia" of course depends on how you define "paedophilia". I've posted these figures before, but since you asked the question, I'll take the risk of sounding repetitive:

From Hall, et al -

Consistent with previous data (Barbaree & Marshall, 1989; Briere & Runtz, 1989; Fedora et al., 1992; Freund & Watson, 1991), 20 % of the current subjects self-reported pedophilic interest and 26.25 % exhibited penile arousal to pedophilic stimuli that equaled or exceeded arousal to adult stimuli.

[..]

Eighty subjects completed the study. [..] Twenty-six subjects [approximately 33%] exhibited sexual arousal to the child slides that equaled or exceeded their arousal to the adult slides.

[..] ....a sizable minority of men in normal populations who have not molested children may exhibit pedophilic fantasies and arousal. In recent studies, 12 to 32% of community college samples of men reported sexual attraction to children (B &R, 1989, H,G & C. 1990) or exhibited penile response to pedophilic stimuli (B&M, 1989, F et al, 1992, F&L, 1989, F & W, 1989). Thus, arousal to pedophilic stimuli does not necessarily correspond with pedophilic behavior (Hall, 1990; Schouten & Simon, 1992), although there are arguments to the contrary (Quinsey & Laws, 1990).

From the British Journal of Social Work -

A self-administer questionnaire was given to a sample of 92 female and 91 male public sector child care workers. Results showed a significantly higher percentage of males (15 per cent) than females (4 per cent) expressed a sexual interest in children.

From Is Pedophilia a Mental Disorder? -

In a sample of nearly 200 university males, 21% reported some sexual attraction to small children, 9% described sexual fantasies involving children, 5% admitted to having masturbated to sexual fantasies of children, and 7% indicated they might have sex with a child if not caught (Briere & Runtz, 1989). Briere and Runtz remarked that "given the probable social undesirability of such admissions, we may hypothesize that the actual rates were even higher" (p. 71). In another sample with 100 male and 180 female undergraduate students, 22% of males and 3% of females reported sexual attraction to a child (Smiljanich & Briere, 1996).

Laboratory researchers have validated physiologically the self-report studies of nonclinical, nonpedophile identified volunteers. In a sample of 80 "normal" volunteers, over 25% self-reported some pedophilic interest or in the plethysmographic phase exhibited penile arousal to a child that equaled or exceeded arousal to an adult (Hall, Hirschman, & Oliver, 1995). In another study, "normal" men's erections to pictures of pubescent and younger girls averaged 70 and 50%, respectively, of their responses to adult females (Quinsey, Steinman, Bergersen, & Holmes, 1975). In a control group of 66 males recruited from hospital staff and the community, 17% showed a penile response that was pedophilic (Fedora et al., 1992). Freund and Watson (1991), studying community male volunteers in a plethysmography classification study, found that19%were misclassified as having an erotic preference for minors. Freund and Costell (1970) studied 48 young Czech soldiers who were shown slides of children between 4 and 10, both male and female, as well as adolescents and adults, male and female. Penile responsivity to female children, ages 4-10, was intermediate to adolescent and adult females and males in one scoring system. In the other scoring system, all 48 soldiers showed penile response to adult females, as did 40 of 48 to adolescent females, and notably, 28 of 48 showed penile response to the female children age 4-10.

Despite the high occurrence of paedophilia in the general population, the issue with the scanners is that people of all ages will feel that their privacy is invaded. I'm really not bothered by the possibility of someone getting a kick from viewing a negative image of my body, but I am angered by the fact that the authorities in modern nation states have the right to subject people to such Orwellian treatment.

I also doubt that many people will be aroused by images of bodies produced by body scanners, whether they're attracted to adults or children. The belief that all paedophiles are hypersexual is really quite ridiculous; such beliefs are derived from the fact that the only "visible" paedophiles are those who are convicted of sex crimes, often because they are in the minority of paedophiles who have a sex drive which they have been unable to control.

Comment: Sad But Not Surprising (Score 1) 311

by Brian Ribbon (#30285566) Attached to: US Congressman Announces Plans To Probe Wikileaks

I suspected that something like this would happen. Recent events suggest that several countries are cooperating to censor controversial content which opposes their use of fear-based government.

Last week, an international operation against a pro-paedophile website/forum led to arrests of people in several countries, including the USA, The Netherlands, Chile, New Zealand and Brazil. One of the men was arrested for merely possessing an illegal weapon and drugs. Some people were raided but not arrested, as they hadn't violated any laws. The FBI claimed that the website was a "child pornography ring", however I know a number of people who posted at the forum, who provide information which debunks the claims of the FBI. According to one person, the website had been online for 8 years, with a membership of over 50,000 people. It had apparently not masked its location (a major web host in The Netherlands), so if it was a child pornography ring, it would presumably have been taken offline years ago. Furthermore, an operation against a real child pornography ring with over 50,000 members would have made international headlines.

In a post on another pro-paedophile forum, I suggested that the closure of the pro-paedophile website was an attempt to test the feasibility of international cooperation in online censorship, in cases where evidence of criminality is limited or fabricated. Very few people believe that paedophiles can ever be innocent, so a pro-paedophile website was an easy preliminary target. I suspected then, and even more so now, that Wikileaks is the ultimate target of international online censorship. No government likes criticism or dissent on the internet, and one shouldn't assume that China is the only country who will crush internet-based dissent.

Comment: Sexual attraction to children is not uncommon (Score 4, Interesting) 272

by Brian Ribbon (#30264720) Attached to: German President Refuses To Sign Censorship Law

I agree with your concerns about children's liberty being restricted in the name of "protecting" them. I also agree with your belief that there are some serious issues which are often ignored by the majority; the hysteria over paedophilia allows significant risks to children to remain undetected or trivialised.

"the effect of 0.00001% of the population having a predilection for children is frankly irrelevant compared to dangers such as traffic accidents, non-sexual abuse, violence and murder"

Actually, the percentage of people who are attracted to children is much higher than that, even if the men who like sexually mature 15 year old girls are not included in the statistics. Despite the widespread occurrence of paedophilia within the general population, most paedophiles refrain from abusing children for several reasons:

  • Most paedophiles have a conscience.
  • Most paedophiles don't want to be arrested and ostracised by their community (although frankly, many of us feel marginalised even though we haven't offended).
  • Most paedophiles have suffered bad childhoods and don't wish to create problems for other children.

I'm not just making assumptions based on the fact that I live responsibly with a paedophilic orientation. I know many other paedophiles who are also responsible people.

I have posted this information previously, but it remains relevant:

From Hall, et al -

"Consistent with previous data (Barbaree & Marshall, 1989; Briere & Runtz, 1989; Fedora et al., 1992; Freund & Watson, 1991), 20 % of the current subjects self-reported pedophilic interest and 26.25 % exhibited penile arousal to pedophilic stimuli that equaled or exceeded arousal to adult stimuli.

[..]

Eighty subjects completed the study. [..] Twenty-six subjects [approximately 33%] exhibited sexual arousal to the child slides that equaled or exceeded their arousal to the adult slides.

[..] ....a sizable minority of men in normal populations who have not molested children may exhibit pedophilic fantasies and arousal. In recent studies, 12 to 32% of community college samples of men reported sexual attraction to children (B &R, 1989, H,G & C. 1990) or exhibited penile response to pedophilic stimuli (B&M, 1989, F et al, 1992, F&L, 1989, F & W, 1989). Thus, arousal to pedophilic stimuli does not necessarily correspond with pedophilic behavior (Hall, 1990; Schouten & Simon, 1992), although there are arguments to the contrary (Quinsey & Laws, 1990)."

From the British Journal of Social Work -

"A self-administer questionnaire was given to a sample of 92 female and 91 male public sector child care workers. Results showed a significantly higher percentage of males (15 per cent) than females (4 per cent) expressed a sexual interest in children."

From Is Pedophilia a Mental Disorder? -

"In a sample of nearly 200 university males, 21% reported some sexual attraction to small children, 9% described sexual fantasies involving children, 5% admitted to having masturbated to sexual fantasies of children, and 7% indicated they might have sex with a child if not caught (Briere & Runtz, 1989). Briere and Runtz remarked that "given the probable social undesirability of such admissions, we may hypothesize that the actual rates were even higher" (p. 71). In another sample with 100 male and 180 female undergraduate students, 22% of males and 3% of females reported sexual attraction to a child (Smiljanich & Briere, 1996).

Laboratory researchers have validated physiologically the self-report studies of nonclinical, nonpedophile identified volunteers. In a sample of 80 "normal" volunteers, over 25% self-reported some pedophilic interest or in the plethysmographic phase exhibited penile arousal to a child that equaled or exceeded arousal to an adult (Hall, Hirschman, & Oliver, 1995). In another study, "normal" men's erections to pictures of pubescent and younger girls averaged 70 and 50%, respectively, of their responses to adult females (Quinsey, Steinman, Bergersen, & Holmes, 1975). In a control group of 66 males recruited from hospital staff and the community, 17% showed a penile response that was pedophilic (Fedora et al., 1992). Freund and Watson (1991), studying community male volunteers in a plethysmography classification study, found that19%were misclassified as having an erotic preference for minors. Freund and Costell (1970) studied 48 young Czech soldiers who were shown slides of children between 4 and 10, both male and female, as well as adolescents and adults, male and female. Penile responsivity to female children, ages 4-10, was intermediate to adolescent and adult females and males in one scoring system. In the other scoring system, all 48 soldiers showed penile response to adult females, as did 40 of 48 to adolescent females, and notably, 28 of 48 showed penile response to the female children age 4-10."

Here is some information collected by a friend (some of which is sourced from studies also quoted above):

"Although one-in-seven men expressed a sexual interest in children, it is likely that a significantly smaller number of men actually sexually abuse children. Empirical evidence indicates that inhibitors are effective in preventing a sexual interest in children becoming actual perpetration. [...] Research suggests the presence of socio-cultural inhibitors in the male population. If someone is fully inhibited from sexually abusing children, no amount of emotional congruence, sexual arousal, or blockage will lead them to abuse children."

~ Mike Freel, in Child Sexual Abuse and the Male Monopoly (British Journal of Social Work)

"The current results suggest that sexual arousal to pedophilic stimuli occurs among a sizable minority of normal men who report no pedophilic behavior and is not necessarily associated with pedophilic behavior."

~ Gordon Hall, et al., in Sexual Arousal and Arousability to Pedophilic Stimuli in a Community Sample of Normal Men (Behavior Therapy)

"Terms such as 'child sexual abuse', 'incest', 'child molestation' and 'pederasty' are not equivalent to pedophilia. Terms that denote sex with minors are criminal actions; pedophilia is the sexual attraction to children. Not all who sexually abuse minors are pedophilic. For example, some who sexually abuse minors may opportunistically select minors simply because they are available. Sex with a minor is not, ipso facto a determination of pedophilia. Also, not all individuals who fulfill the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia actually abuse children."

~ Peter Fagan, et al., in Pedophilia (Journal of the American Medical Association)

"Although the terms are often used interchangeably, a distinction must be made between "sex offender against a minor" and "pedophile." The former refers to a criminal sexual behavior and the latter to an anomalous sexual preference. Many pedophiles never act on their impulses. The DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) defines pedophilia in terms of recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children, and requires that the fantasies, urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. It is therefore possible for an individual who meets these criteria to have never engaged in illegal sexual behaviors. At the same time, not all sex offenders against a minor are pedophiles. All mental health professionals acting in an expert witness capacity should know this distinction."

~ Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield, in Coping With Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony (Institute for Psychological Therapies)

Comment: Children's charities don't care about children (Score 2, Informative) 434

by Brian Ribbon (#30231468) Attached to: Australian Govt. Proposes Internet "Panic Button" For Kids

"My question is, how is it that the "defenders of children" never have a clue about children?"

The "defenders of children" are not really "defenders of children". Many of the larger children's charities are self-promoting organisations who do very little to help children. They plead for donations, but rather than using those donations to protect children, they use the money to pay for advertising and other marketing activities. The extra donations which they receive as a result of those marketing activities can be used to pay for more advertising, and the cycle of growth continues, with the organisations becoming increasingly profitable, without helping children.

Frank Furedi dicussed this issue a few years ago, in an article at Spiked Online.

Comment: Define "sexual abuse" (Score 3, Insightful) 434

by Brian Ribbon (#30229742) Attached to: Australian Govt. Proposes Internet "Panic Button" For Kids

"Are 1 in 4 children really sexually abused by the Internet?"

If you ask organisations such as the NCMEC - who know that their funding depends on misinformed hysteria over children's safety - one in five children are sexually abused online. The reality is that the NCMEC and similar organisations use bizarre definitions of child abuse, so if a 13 year boy asks a 13 year old girl to show her breasts, the girl is reported to be a "victim of sexual abuse".

Most studies on this topic are remarkably biased (for financial reasons, or because they have been commissioned by governments) and based upon grossly inappropriate methodologies, so that question will probably never be answered. Consider Bennett Haselton's article article about NCMEC "research" as an example of how such data is biased.

+ - 'Offensive' Virtual Images of Kids Banned in UK

Submitted by Brian Ribbon
Brian Ribbon (986353) writes "In a country where politics regularly trumps the genuine protection of children, the parliament of the United Kingdom has now criminalised the possession of drawings and cartoons which feature children engaged in (or witnessing) sexual acts. The law is a result of lobbying by various commercialised "charities" who hope to gain publicity through their politicial acitivies, arguing that images of virtual children could incite the commission of contact offences against children, even though research indicates that virtual images reduce the likelihood of viewers molesting children. The new law prohibits any image which "focuses solely or principally on a [virtual] child's genitals or anal region" or depicts any sexual act which involves virtual children or is witnessed by virtual children, and is "pornographic" and "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character."
Privacy

+ - The ISA and Police State UK->

Submitted by
Brian Ribbon
Brian Ribbon writes "Using ineffective, feel-good "child protection" legislation to rob citizens of their inherent rights has become a favourite pastime of the British government. A particularly disturbing example is the creation of the "Independent Safeguarding Authority" (ISA), which will be tasked with ensuring that over 11 million adults are "suitable" to have even the smallest amount of contact with children. According to new guidelines summarised by The Telegraph, the ISA will collect and analyse information about the "interests, attitudes, relationships and lifestyle" of individuals, as well as their links with "anti-social peers". People who are considered "unsuitable" to have contact with children will be barred from careers or volunteer positions which involve any kind of contact with people under the age of 18, and those who pursue such a career but refuse to undergo the detailed analysis of their private lives could be prosecuted in a criminal court. The ISA is immune to litigation in relation to mistakes made when barring a person from a career, so anybody who suffers losses from false allegations made by the body will be unable to claim damages. The creation of a body to which 11 million people may be required to submit detailed information about their lives appears to be yet another excuse to monitor and profile millions of individuals. The power to block poeple on the basis of their beliefs is equally disturbing, as it could be an attempt to prevent people from influencing children if their beliefs are deemed to threaten the social order or the authority of the state."
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