back to article New England wrestles porn law schizophrenia

Have Vermont’s lawmakers, who are currently debating a law that would give immunity from prosecution to teenagers engaged in "sexting," been infected with a rare outbreak of common sense? Or are their best efforts still not good enough? What, too, of Massachusetts legislators, who seem determined to turn the censorship dial in …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Andy Barber

    My son died... the age of 18. I knew he was sexting to his mates. When he died I just deleted ALL his photo's off his phone, without looking at them; as they were private to him & his mates.

  2. Graham Marsden

    You're old? You're disabled? You're not supposed to have sex!

    Apart from the large amount of GILF porn out there, I wonder how many people are aware of a group called "The Outsiders" an organisation dedicated to helping those with physical and social disabilities explore their sexuality.

    Protecting someone from assault or sexual abuse is one thing, equating people who are old or disabled (Does he take sugar?) with children who are unable to consent is simply insulting.

    BTW The article by Dave Wedge linked to in that piece says "Pervs preying on the elderly or disabled could soon face harsh new penalties under a first-of-its-kind proposed law that would punish sicko peddlers of geriatric and handicapped porn the same as child pornographers."

    I wonder if he's ever heard the words "Impartial" or "Unbiased" as applied to journalism?

  3. Eddy Ito
    Paris Hilton

    That is Mass for you

    Yeah, the state that likes to think of itself as progressive is still a puritanical backwater. The comic old days of witch hunting are still alive and well here in the bay state. I don't care what they think in bean town, Jacqueline Bisset in a present day porn would certainly be worth the price of admission and I have money that says you couldn't get Gov. Patrick or Senators Kennedy and Kerry out of the show if you shot them with tranq. darts that could put down an elephant.

    Oh, you forgot to mention Mass is considering a "Hummer Tax" but that's a fish of a different smoke entirely.

    Paris because she can't hold a candle to Miss Goodthighs

  4. Anonymous Coward

    As a disabled old person

    I spit on your bill

  5. Codge


    > Basically, rigid adherence to the Law causes difficulties (not least the fact that the majority of the UK adult population are probably guilty of committing an indecent assault at some point in their lives: its called "petting"). Over-codification of the law can create the same result.

    The majority of the UK adult population (eg.+18), are kiddy fiddlers or people guilty of sexual assault?

    Says who?

    This has to be the biggest sack of cack I have yet to read... ever!

    How much did this report cost? And to what end?


  6. Chris Hatfield

    EEEEE, when I was a lad

    We didn't have cell phones . In fact, this one kid had a pager and we thought he was flash.

    Anyways, can we NOT use the word 'sexting' - it's totally gay.

  7. Frank


    "...engaging in a perverted, albeit new, form of courtship."

    Can anybody tell me what is 'perverted' about a form of mildly thrilling (for a teenager) form of behaviour, with sexual overtones, that does not involve other people, does not cause harm and does not even involve physical contact?

  8. skeptical i

    Sexting is gay? I'd have guessed het ...

    ... although I'm sure LGBT folks do it too.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What??? by Codge

    Engage your brain, put on your spectacles or do whatever it takes to read and understand what was written.

    "at some point in their lives: its called 'petting')" implies that whilst under the age of consent a couple engaged in the act of petting which by "Rigid adherence to the law" would make them paedophiles, a label that would stay with them right throught their adult life. Petting is an act that the majority of the adult population have done as part of the normal process of growing up, it's a pity the same can't be said for getting an education.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @EEEEE, when I was a lad

    When _I_ were t'lad, only the posh folk had phones in their houses. We had to walk 10 miles to the public call box, through rain and hail too.

    The one wi' t'flatcap in pocket.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    GILF lover here

    Even since I was a teenager I've been attracted to older women, whether it be middle-aged mums or even post-menopausal grannies. In the UK, there are maybe one or two magazines dedicated to this particular flavour of porn.

    Imagine my delight on having an internet connection and finding that I wasn't alone in my appreciation of older ladies, and in fact there are many (many, many) sites with free access to such material. These 'models' are over the age of consent and have agreed to be filmed/photographed for the erotic stimulation of viewers. Why in the name of all that is holy should that be legislated against ?

    The same arguments could be presented in relation to disabled 'models' of consenting age. Now, it's not my cuppa tea (unless midgets are considered 'disabled', ahem....cough) but if disabled people want to get into the porn industry and people want to get off viewing them, then whose business should it really be ?

    If you're going to allow a porn industry to exist in your country, then you have to allow it for all consenting adults, without discrimination.

    Paris - she'll be old one day, and I just bet she'll still be worth looking at.

  12. Steve Swann

    @Chris Hatfield

    Quite right! They used to go round back of the bike sheds and play doctor & nurse. Again, the only thing that has changed here is the technology used and the fact that it scares the living daylights out of those who don't understand it.

    Same old story, mankind. It you don't understand it, it scares you; if it scares you, kill it!

    (PS, please, please stop trying to legislate morality! it's not going to work!)

  13. Guy Herbert

    Says who?

    Says the Home Office, which is responsible for the relentless extension of legal sanction into the formerly private lives of British citizens, and keen to label as many as possible as 'sex offenders', thus making all its vetting and censorship campaigns seem worthwhile.

  14. John Ozimek

    We're all criminals (@codge)

    Sorry to undermine your outrage, but the issue of most adults being technically criminal is a pretty old legal chestnut, and one that occasionally throws up issues for various legal systems around the world.

    There are some actions - such as killing another person - that the law would rather maintain as pretty universally verboten, irrespective of the age differential between victim and perpetrator.

    There are other activities - particularly in the interpersonal sphere - where the relative age of the actors is considered to be relevant. Sexual experimentation is one of those: an act that society might consider to be outrageous if committed by a 40-year-old on a 12-year-old becomes far mor morally acceptable when a 14-year-old does it with a 13-year-old.

    The problem - and the challenge - for legal systems is to set in place a framework that allows one set of activity, disallows the other and still has the flexibility to cope with cases of exploitation within the range of "permitted" cases.

    Historically, there have been three approaches to this. The UK one tends to be about having rigid laws, with few exceptions, and the establishment turns a blind eye a lot of the time. It was a DPP who said it would not be in the public interest to criminalise half the adult population for what they did whilst young teenagers.

    Germany (I think) has more detailed codification, with laws on sexual interaction varying according to the ages of the participants.

    Some US states - as the Vermont example suggests - are now trying to do a modified German route, creating specific exceptions for some age groups.

    No single approach is perfect: the aim is balance, between being over-legalistic, and letting people get away with abuse.

  15. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Its just a photograph

    All the government needs to do is acknowledge that a photograph of the nude human body does not automatically make it porn or child pornography, no matter what the age. It would be different if kids with cameras were sending photographs of themselves engaged in sex. They are not.

  16. Dave Bell

    Massachussetts Porn

    It's the other end of the consent problem. Some sorts of disability, and diseases of old age, do affect a person's ability to consent. And all you really need to do is make it plain that the people appearing in porn have to be able to lawfully sign a contract on their own behalf. And I can't remember when photographers were not told to use Model Release Forms.

    As it happens, there's an attractive woman I know who would be caught on both grounds, age and disability. Just thinking about anyone I know in a porn context feels a bit embarrassing, It wouldn't be a picture I'd pay for, but it wouldn't make me run screaming into the Outer Darkness.

    I get the feeling that some politicians will ban anything which embarrasses them. It worries me. They wouldn't dare be seen to approve of some of the things which push my buttons, (And the anarchist witch folksinger denies everything.)

    There are reasons to worry, but the answer is crazy.

  17. Michael Nielsen

    I do not understand the problem

    There are laws against exploitation

    There are laws against rape

    So why is it necessary to have specific laws for sex, underaged sex, sexting, etc.

    If Someone is having unconcenting sex, it is called rape

    If Someone is photographed against their will naked, or a photo they shared privately (with boyfriend) is sent on to others, it would likely come under exploitation.

    If someone tricks someone to sex, who does not have the mental ability, experience, or otherwise is unable to see the consequences of the action (such as kids, mentally disabled etc) - it is known as rape, or exploitation.

    So why are legislators creating more and more special cases, which basically comes under the heading of exploitation, and rape. we have already seen 2 teenagers who at 14 taped themselves having sex, the recording then was stolen and the teenagers charged (4 years later) for making child porn..

    Churches and moralists are wanting to stop kids from having sex, and exploring their sexuality, which I believe is wrong, kids needs to be educated to learn about consequences, not punished for their curiosity, we already have enough people who are ashamed about their bodies, and sexuality, that it is leading to suicide, and anorexia and worse.

    Unsurprisingly, legislators are now tripping over their own feet, as they are discovering that the laws they are passing, are infact criminialising teenagers who are exploring their own sexuality, and using new technologies to do this. They are also discovering that not only are they criminalising these kids, but they're also marring them for life, by causing them to become a sexual offender..

  18. Paul
    Paris Hilton

    @Chris Hatfield

    I agree, no more sexting please.

    Makes you wonder what to call it though. Tail mail? Flash message? A Paris?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @@EEEEE, when I was a lad

    10 miles in the rain and hail? You had it easy.

    We had to crawl 50 miles over broken glass with a wardrobe on our

    back, swim the channel with a bag of bricks down our trunks,

    hike over the alps, naked, singing country and western songs

    in hindi then eat a pound of rusty nails and beat our genitals

    with barbed wire for *three days* before we'd be put through to BT Openworld technical support.

    You tell the youngsters that these days..

    ..they'll tell you it's even worse now.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just what is perverted about a person getting any form of excitment from the sight of a naked person they find attractive. It has been many years since I was a teenager, but I still like the sight of my girlfriend naked. It dosen't make me a pervert.

  21. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    @ @Perverted?

    I completely agree - I'm not a pervert either, and like you I greatly enjoy the sight of your girlfriend naked. You get a great view from the telephone pole on the other side of the street.

  22. peter tomlinson

    @AC - 14:18 GMT -It dosen't make me a pervert

    Yeah, you say that now. But you'll be singing a different tune when the coppers are beating down your door and doing a tap dance on yer head.

  23. Peter Stern

    Overzealous legal industry

    This is the product of an overzealous legal *industry*... and I call it an industry because that's what it is.

    And this industry is out to ensure a future supply of business.

    And one good way to do that is it to make it really easy to be a "criminal" and by defining a "criminal" as merely possessing a picture that they didn't even take.

    And people have been prosecuted for simply taking pictures of their own kids while playing in the bathtub with no sexual connotation to it.

    But the legal industry *wants* to take benign things and make them 'criminal'... and that's a fact.

    This is wrong.

    There needs to be some serious push-back on this.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like