From The Plain Dealer
If you are on this website (obviously you are) and saying or doing something that could get you arrested or sued (let’s hope not), you might have troubles. But the operators of this and every other website in the United States might not, because they are generally protected from prosecution for your foolhardy or criminal offenses.
Attorneys general from most states, including Ohio’s Mike DeWine, say that needs to change. The federal law that protects websites might foster dialogue, commentary and commerce, but on some sites it also has fostered the promotion of online pimps who traffic in child prostitution, law enforcement authorities say.
“Don’t tell me it’s not a problem,” DeWine said. “We do have human trafficking and other bad things that are going on, clearly being promoted” through certain websites.
In a recent letter to congressional leaders, 47 state attorneys general (plus those from Guam and the Virgin Islands) said a section of the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, or CDA, is interfering with their ability to bust child prostitution and sex-trafficking purveyors who promote their services with classified ads on the web. They asked for a federal amendment that could remove legal protections from any website, including those whose primary purpose is to provide news.
Civil libertarians, Internet privacy groups, law professors and even editors of newspapers and news websites say that’s going too far. They say that they agree with the goal of the attorneys general, but they told lawmakers in their own letter on July 30 that the proposed means of achieving it could make it impossible to have a free exchange of ideas online.