Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber-libertarians for Child Pornography

In a discussion between co-idealogues Jacob Applebaum also known as "ioerror" asked if people are "horrified by how the US treats people like me?"  Which probably prompted a world's smallest violin concert since Applebaum asks for sympathy for imagined persecution while calling for legalization of child pornography. It also means that child pornography is sanctioned by those behind Tor. Jacob is not alone, Falkvinge's call for child pornography legalization received a warm welcome in hacktivist and cyberlibertarian circles.



Certain cyber-libertarians argue that child pornography laws could and/or are being used by copyright nasties to make it easier to control file sharing. Which is an immoral argument as it places one's ability to download dvd rips above victims of child pornography. Falkvinge's only evidence is an anecdote of a Danish anti-piracy person expressing hope that child pornography filters could be used to suppress file sharing. The comment was made years ago and our ability to download gossip girl remains unaffected so arguing that images of child rape must be legal to own lest the all mighty copyright lobby gets its way are false.

Similarly they argue that child pornography is used to justify surveillance and control of the internet, a strawman central to arguments against child pornography filtering.  Terrorism not child pornography, is the leading justification for internet surveillance.  People argue against child pornography by claiming its not a solution to CP but no one ever said it was the goal is to remove as much as possible. Filtering images of child rape helps internet freedoms by damaging arguments for a general filter.


Eric Raymond is a celebrity in hacker subculure who argued that "child porn must be de-criminalized - otherwise, the censorship that child porn laws legitimize will have worse effects than the porn." Laws against child pornography are not censorship to describe it as such is proof of only dishonesty. Raymond's process of "de-criminalizing child porn" includes legalizing sexual violation of minors.

After their daughter Rehtaeh's suicide the Parsons family called for harsher laws against child porn and stalking which Hacktivist guru Nadim Kobeissi described as "internet freedoms" which in his view should not be limited without a hint of empathy for the family, only scorn. Kobeissi's website "is being used by pedophiles to spread child pornography on the internet. Nadim Kobeissi knows about this, but is deliberately turning a blind eye." In other tweets he expressed opposition to efforts against child pornography viewing them only as attempts to impose 'censorship.'



Richard Stallman is another giant in hacker subculture; the "father and current maintainer of the One True Emacs."  On his blog Stallman revealed he wants "an end to the censorship of "child pornography"..." (Note the quotes around the words child pornography.) Tarek Shalaby is a blogger activist who rose to fame during the Egyptian revolution, he also supports child pornography possession. Shalaby doesn't "think they should censor anything, not even child porn. It's a principle."

Gary Lord, a former member of the neo-nazi allied Wikileaks party, tweeted his endorsement for legalization of child pornography. Lord also defended Holocaust denier Israel Shamir and claimed to have found "no evidence of anti-Semitism" in his writings. Maarten den Braber is "Digital Health Strategist | Speaker | Co-founder Quantified Self Europe and QS Amsterdam" who hailed a pro-child porn article as a "must read."  Kenneth Christensen an editor at a Norwegian outlet 'itbransjen' who concurred with Falkvinge that being unable to legally own images of six year olds being raped violates free speech.

The support for child pornography possession  is not limited to individuals since groups and outlets also joined in. The official twitter feed of  y combinator (a hacker forum) tweeted in praise of making child rape images legal . 'Hacker news' (not to be confused with chewing magazine) made no secret of their support for making an evil activity legal. The techy site 'cafyn' expressed belief that "mere possession of child pornography should not be made illegal." The fringe hate site 'before its news' endorsed the article describing Falkvinge as "spot on." A putrid anarchist site called "attack the system" lauded the article and had a very chummy exchange with Falkvinge in the comment section.

Michael Masnick argued that "these attempts to link filtering to child porn doesn't help stop the problem of child porn. In fact, it makes it worse." Masnick and others quoted a German group MOGIS an organization that only represents its members not the overwhelmingly number of survivors  worldwide who have not called for people to be able to legally enjoy their suffering. No evidence is provided for the outlandish fantasy that "it makes it worse" (therefore the claim must be dismissed) since child pornography legalize would cause the trade to explode without risk of incarceration for consuming the material.

Masnick expressed more anger towards Filtering and laws against child pornography than images displaying rapes of minors. He insisted that  "the way to deal with it (child porn) isn't through censorship and filters" his use of the word 'censorship' is support for possession of child pornography; it bestows legitimacy on child pornography.  Masnick described filtering child pornography as "censorship" meaning he believes that child porn possession and even trafficking should be legal. If someone calls for something to no longer be 'censored' that person believes it should be a legal activity.

He argued that the way is to "go after those responsible" which is already being done; critics complain that the FBI focuses too much on child pornographers. He tried to dress up his views as sympathy for victims by insisting that 'censorship'  "just drives them further underground." 'They' already are as underground (partly thanks to services like Tor) as they can go. Fear of arrest is more than enough to drive 'them' underground and child pornographer secrecy does not prevent authorities from making spectacular busts of child pornography rings.  Mike's entire article proves nothing other than his support for child pornography possession.

The views detailed in this article can only be partly attributed to individual depravity. Support for child pornography is a natural result of an ideology that places all state authority in the category of evil; if the state can do no right then laws against child porn have no legitimacy. Cyber-libertarians see authoritarian plots behind any tepid legal action, under that train wreck of thought anti-CP laws can only be a step toward Oceania. The best way to test an ideology is to examine how its order would protect innocents and the vulnerable; few ideologies pass that test.

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