Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Robert Kraft arrest for prostitution leads to more attention to FOSTA as CDT appeals; Facebook may whack anti-vaxxers

The arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft apparently for soliciting prostitution at a parlor in Jupiter, FL has called heavy attention to Florida’s reputed sex trafficking problem centered on these businesses, as CBSNews reports

The argument advanced is similar to that for drugs – that the users drive the criminal underground with their demand.  That now has even extended to prostitution. The libertarian position is the reverse: criminalization makes it worse. 

The news reports have not gone into FOSTA much, but the attention to international sex trafficking is bound to make social media and hosting platforms even more skittish. 

In the meantime, the Center for Democracy and Technology has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Federal Circuit, Court of Appeals in Washington DC of a dismissal of an earlier lawsuit by Woodhull et al. The wording of FOSTA extends to prostitution. 

On a tangential matter, there is a lot of pressure on Facebook to shut down pages encouraging people not to get vaccinated.  Again, while I agree with the herd immunity theory and that vaccinations are “safe” when given properly, it’s disturbing to see additional pressure on Facebook to behave like an editor or publisher and screen content.  There is at least a theoretical argument about individual rights from those who do not want to vaccinate their children, although these parents and their kids benefit from the majority who do get vaccinated. 

Given my own history, I’d love to see a vaccine for HIV, and something generic that could stop another 1918-style influenza, or a “bird flu”. Vaccines would be an important homeland security protection against bioterror. 
Facebook is likely to use rationale similar to past purges (inappropriate coordinated behaviors) on this matter.

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