Blackmail and slander have been around as long as human beings have been around, and with the internet, we have the high tech tools to embarrass people on a grand scale. One website Potential Prostitutes lets people anonymously accuse women of being prostitutes with no evidence, and then charges the women $100 to have their names and photos removed. Brilliant! (?)
The site lists alleged “convicted prostitutes” along with women who in theory have no criminal record whatsoever. Every entry includes the woman’s photo, name and telephone number. This is so impossibly wrong at so many levels that my head is exploding in a big bang of swearing.
We tried the site submission system ourselves and, indeed, anyone can send any photo, add the name and contact information, and submit it. What’s even worse: the uploader doesn’t have to provide any contact information whatsoever. There’s zero accountability for the dickhead who does this. This means that any butthurt douchebag may be able to defame his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife.
The owners of the site are even proud of their methods:
Currently we operate based on the efforts from motivated members of their local community who have at one point or another come into contact with a potential prostitute online and feel they can be a threat. All of our offenders have been reported by local members who feel these offenders should be taught a lesson before their actions escalate.
“Motivated members”? “Offenders should be taught a lesson before their actions escalate”? I had to read that last sentence a few times to make sure these bigots are so openly self-righteous and hypocritical. Why hypocritical? Because if the “offender” pays $100, everything is forgiven. She is not longer a “sinner” and they take her file out of the site.
The site argues that the Communications Decency Act protects their actions. This is the same law that protects any site—like Facebook, Tumblr or Gizmodo—from any legal action in case any user posts anything that may break the law or attack a third party. The difference is that, if a user of one of these sites posts anything that can be legally prosecuted, the sites will immediately take the content down and collaborate with law enforcement and the victim to get the criminal.
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