back to article US prosecutor orders Craigslist 'erotic listings' shutdown

A US prosecutor has told Craigslist that if it doesn't take down all "erotic listings" within 10 days, it will face a criminal investigation and possible charges. South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said today he's sent an open letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster demanding the site immediately shutter all …

COMMENTS

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  1. Franklin
    Thumb Down

    Not just illegal...

    ...but illegal AND unlawful? Both? Zoinks!

    El Reg needs a "rolls eyes" icon.

  2. IR

    Dumb

    How hard is it to arrange to meet these lawbreaking users of Craigslist and arrest them? You'd get convictions galore if the evidence is good enough to prosecute Craigslist.

  3. raving angry loony

    wrong solution

    Europe shouldn't have just shipped their Puritans to the new world, it should have simply burned them as heretics and exterminated them. We'd have a lot fewer problems now if they'd done that. Damn Puritans.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yellow Pages

    And yet the same massage parlors have their own listing area in every local telephone company's Yellow Pages. Pretty much every massage parlor listed under Massage Services in the US (as opposed to Therapeutic Massage - the genuine, non-divorce inducing kind) engages in illegal activity. They vet their clients first of course, but if you know how to ask you can get pretty much anything. Just look for those with an Oriental theme and comments like "stress relief" in the ad.

    It's also a bit rich to claim a website costs the Police money by making it easier to find criminals. No doubt all the prostitutes would go away and become lawful citizens if they didn't have an online resource to advertise their wares. So rather than being grateful for making their work easier, the police bitch because they look bad if they don't act on the information this website inadvertently gives them. Sounds like your typical lazy police force who want to put their heads in the sand and believe the only work they should be doing is sitting by the side of the road waiting for speeders - and in the case of Texas police, subsequently rob them of their jewelry and cash (check CNN if you don't believe me).

  5. RW

    Ah, but prostitution is not illegal *everywhere*

    It's legal in Canada, though hedged about with silly legalistic restrictions. The cops actually prefer whores to advertise through normal channels (e.g. the pages of any "alternative" newspaper) than walk the streets.

    Since ads on CL are organized geographically, I fail to see how this order could affect more than just those listing categories located in SC, or perhaps the US.

    Just like the trade in intoxicants, wouldn't it be simpler to legalize the sex trade and stop this silly posturing?

    (I'm waiting for this prosecutor to be discovered to be a frequent customer at his local house of joy.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    What the hell...

    The US Attorney is a complete fool..Let's ban the Catholic Church ..... obviously, it is a conduit for child molesters and should be abolished.... Let's kill the messenger.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a coincidence

    The South Carolina guy will be running for State Governor next year.

    The Illinois chap will have to stand for re-election next year.

    Cynics might see a connection to this outburst of moral outrage but I'm really, really sure it's just a coincidence.

  8. Jimbo

    crazy

    it's really crazy what is still illegal in US in 21st century ....

    I recommend this book (not the best I've seen but pretty good) Eric Schlosser: Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market

  9. Hud Dunlap
    Dead Vulture

    Confusing first sentence

    The first sentence is very confusing. "A US prosecutor has told Craigslist...". It implies he is a federal prosecutor not a state prosecutor.

    This is clearly a federal issue. It crosses state lines and is not universally against the law. Some areas of Nevada prostitution is legal. As someone else pointed out, the yellow pages are full of ad's for escorts and massage therapists. Most Major cities have a left wing rag that has pages of ads.

    This is very much like internet gambling. A Federal not a state issue.

  10. Anonymous Coward
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    elsewhere

    cos like there's no chance that another site will spring up somewhere on the internet catering directly for people in those states but located well outside the juristiction of these monkeymen

    control what you can, don't push it outside of your control

  11. Steve Kay

    If that's what South Carolina wants

    ...then that's what South Carolina can have.

    Conservapedia notes "The inevitable triumph of conservatism over liberalism" (http://conservapedia.com/Essay:Best_New_Conservative_Words), and is a fairly Republican and conservative state. If they want to ban hoeing on their turf in some way or another, that's up to them. If the populace don't want it de-listed from CL, they can vote in a new administration.

  12. Nameless Faceless Computer User
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    I object to the term Craigslist Killer

    Craigslist is an important forum of free speech and should not be shut down by the government. I object to the term Craigslist Killer or Craiglist Murder. This is just media hype over that evil Internet. What if the so-called Craiglist Killer used the Yellow Pages? Would the media call him the Yellow Pages Murderer?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More 'merkin nonsense

    Thank god Adultwork is based outside that puritanical irony-hole.

  14. steward
    Black Helicopters

    General McMaster needs to read some Federal law

    Specifically 42 USC 1983:

    "Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia. "

    And a prosecutor is NOT a judicial officer in the American system of jurisprudence. McMaster may think he's got a cute way of getting himself publicity, but if he really moves it into the legal realm, he will probably be sued by Craigslist personally. With no prosecutorial immunity. Does this idiot really want to be broke, and, since it would be a civil rights violation, probably lose his license to practice law?

    Maybe he should have a talk first with former prosecutor and former lawyer Mike Nifong of North Carolina (of Duke University fame, see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19279621/ )

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    management may be probed

    And if they get sent to jail that's most assuredly what will happen to them. That's part of what the wanker AG is counting upon.

    @AC - 23:32 GMT

    You forgot the "full body shampoo".....

    Oh, yeah...where's that soap.

  16. Steve Dulieu

    Illegal and Unlawful

    Ah, illegal and unlawful. Know what the difference between them is?

    Unlawful is something that is proscribed by law.

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    Illeagle is a sick bird...

    Cheers, Steve.

  17. Chris C

    It's my way or the highway

    So to put it more succinctly, this state Attorney General is making personal threats against the employees of a company because he personally objects to information on the company's website. At the same time, acting as state AG, he's ordering the company to remove non-illegal information in additional to information he considers illegal (taking down all "erotic listings" versus just those listings "encouraging prostitution"). Sounds to me like he himself broke a number of laws by sending that letter.

    Also, how precisely does this AG expect a website to block services to citizens of his state? The Internet is a global medium, and there is literally no way to determine where a visitor is physically located. You can guess by using geolocation of their IP address, but that's just a guess which may be inaccurate due to proxies or a number of other causes. There are (at least) three things which will always hold true on the Internet: 1) there is no way to know where someone is physically located, 2) there is no way to verify someone's age, and 3) there is no way to prove that the person sitting in front of the host is the person they claim to be.

  18. Greg Trocchia

    @Hud Dunlap

    The second sentence clears up what ever confusion the first sentence left:

    "South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said..."

    That means that McMaster is a "US prosecutor" in the sense that he is a prosecutor who lives in the US, not that he represents the US government (he represents the state of South Carolina). I think your reasoning about why this ought to be handled at the Federal level has merit, but I think is beside the point for McMaster who seems to be in search of some cheap publicity to bolster his run for Governor (as suggested by AC at 00:07). Unfortunately, a lot of Constitutionally dubious measures are proposed with such motivations.

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