Category

Sex Trafficking / Pornography

Tech Companies Should Not Side with Exploiters in the Name of Privacy

By | News and Events, Sex Trafficking / Pornography, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

Amid the circus that is the impeachment, a very important hearing took place in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, “Encryption and Lawful Access: Evaluating Benefits and Risks to Public Safety and Privacy.”

Most Americans would agree that child sexual predators should not be free to engage in their criminal activity online or on social media apps. The hundreds of thousands of women I represent at Concerned Women for America (CWA) want law enforcement to use every technological tool available to apprehend child pornographers and child sexual predators. Criminal enterprises, such as human trafficking, should never be allowed to operate with impunity cloaked by tech companies’ privacy efforts.

But this is precisely what is happening today on many platforms that use encryption to protect user privacy while ignoring the concerns with abuse, exploitation, terrorism, and other criminal activity.

Privacy concerns are legitimate, but so is public safety. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution strikes a delicate balance between privacy and safety concerns.  It states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Notice it protects us from unreasonable searches, making it clear that there are, in fact, instances when it is entirely reasonable to enter a person’s home to search for evidence. It tells us that a warrant, upon showing of probable cause, is such an instance— as when, for example, law enforcement suspects child sexual abuse or human trafficking is taking place. With a properly issued warrant, they would be able to gain access to the private residence where they believe the criminal activity is happening and apprehend the perpetrators. That’s how it should be.

This delicate balance is seriously being threatened when the evidence is in electronic form (like on a cell phone), as is so often the case in this day and age. Some tech companies are deploying strict encryptions on their products that prevent law enforcement from gaining access to the device even after a properly issued warrant showing probable cause that a crime has been committed.  Apple, WhatsApp and Signal are just three companies that have made it difficult, if not impossible, for law enforcement to do their job.  Remember the San Bernardino terrorist whose phone was finally hacked by an outside “company,” but Apple did not assist in helping with the investigation?  This isn’t an isolated incident of their noncompliance.

One company that has worked hard to protect children is the world’s largest social media site, with 2.45 billion monthly active users, Facebook.  Unfortunately, they are mulling a change of policy and joining the strict encryption bandwagon and abandoning legitimate public safety concerns.

In 2018, Facebook filed, as required by law, 16.8 million reports to the U.S. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). These included more than 8,000 attempts of abusers trying to lure children into a meeting or sharing images of themselves. This is how much potentially criminal activity it has identified in a single year.

This is not theory. Many abusers have been stopped thanks to the heroic help of Facebook’s reporting. In a recent open letter to Facebook, top law enforcement officers from the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia gave the example of an 11-year-old who had been abused for four years. The sexual abuser was stopped after Facebook sent a report to NCMEC. “Without the information from Facebook, abuse of this girl might be continuing to this day,” they wrote.

The letter was written after reports surfaced that Facebook is considering abandoning its public safety efforts to join the strict encryption pattern other tech companies have employed, preventing them from identifying criminal activity, like the abuse of this young girl.

That is the opposite of what we need. When The New York Times reports, “Tech companies reported over 45 million online photos and videos of children being sexually abused – more than double what they found the previous year,” why would tech companies choose to ignore this massive problem in the name of “privacy”?

The predators and sexual exploiters will continue to be there. In fact, emboldened by new privacy protections, they will surely expand their criminal activities. But tech companies would, in some cases, simply turn a blind eye towards it, depriving law enforcement of the vital information they need to apprehend criminals and save vulnerable victims. This is unacceptable!

This is not progress. It’s preposterous. Most Americans would be appalled to find out both about the magnitude of the problem and the tech companies’ efforts to ignore it. We must demand more from these corporations that have become such an integral part of our daily lives.

Lawmakers should surely make this a top priority, but frankly, tech companies would be wise to listen to the victims and their families, to listen to moms concerned about their children and online predators, and to listen to law enforcement officers. Tech companies, like Facebook, should work on their own to enhance their cooperation with law enforcement and their corporate responsibility to the public, not abandon it completely under the guise of “privacy.” It’s unreasonable to claim that big tech cannot both protect

Penny Nance: Fight Against Sex Trafficking and Child Porn Could be Hurt by Change to Internet

By | Culture, News and Events, Sex Trafficking / Pornography | No Comments

CEO and President Penny Young Nance wrote an opinion piece recently for Foxnews.com explaining how a new standard could have implications in protecting children on the Internet:

Google and Mozilla recently announced plans to begin testing a new standard that would encrypt the Domain Name System, often referred to as “the address book of the Internet.”

Depending on how DNS encryption is implemented, it could have serious implications for the protection of children.

While encryption in the name of additional security is a laudable goal, it needs to be done in a way that does not have the unintended consequence of impeding law enforcement and efforts to filter inappropriate and, in the case of child pornography, illegal content.

As a leading organization dedicated to protecting children and ending sexual exploitation, Concerned Women for America is deeply concerned about any potential changes to the functioning of the Internet that could inadvertently open the floodgates of harmful content and hurt efforts to identify and stop sex trafficking and child pornography.

Read Penny Nance’s Entire Article on Foxnews.com Here:

Denny: The Epstein Case Is Back – Will Justice Be Done?

By | Legal, News and Events, Sex Trafficking / Pornography | No Comments

In a recent opinion piece featured in the Townhall.comDoreen Denny – CWA’s Senior Director of Government Relations discusses the Jeffrey Epstein case and asks, ” … if justice will be done in sex cases involving wealthy, sex-obsessed men?”

“Jeffrey Epstein is back in the news.  The case against multi-millionaire, serial pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is sickening, outrageous, and a total annihilation of due process and the rule of law. The absolute tragedy of the case cannot be overstated.

Pedophile sex trafficking charges against Epstein underscore the travesty of how wealthy, sex-obsessed men can get away with years of predatory behavior and leverage special treatment from prosecutors.   In Epstein’s case, vulnerable girls as young as 13 were groomed and enticed with cash for massages and sexual favors.  They were victims of sexual abuse.

In November, the confirmation hearing of William Barr for Attorney General served as a catalyst for resurrecting the decade-old case.    Senator Ben Sasse called for an investigation of the Department of Justice’s handling of the plea deal after The Miami Herald published a bombshell  investigative report. That report mustered scant attention. Outrage was relegated to random op-ed pages and an occasional columnist.”

Click here to read the entire article.

 

See Doreen’s previous article explaining why it’s now up to the Federal Government to keep our precious children safe in places like restrooms and locker rooms.

Nassar Case Demonstrates Harms of Pornography

By | LBB, Legal, Sex Trafficking / Pornography, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

The pornography cancer that continues to consume our nation reared its ugly head again as the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar concluded this week. The former USA Gymnastics doctor was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who told him, “I’ve just signed your death warrant.”

Nassar abused more than 150 girls over the past two decades. He got less than what he deserves.

But those getting acquainted with the case now might miss that, just like virtually every other predator in the history of sexual assault, Nassar fed, groomed, and rotted his brain on pornography before and after abusing girls for years.

It was pornography that did him in…

Read the rest of this op-ed as featured exclusively on CNSNews.com.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is Concerned Women for America’s legal counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.