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DOJ Targets Adult Social Networking

DOJ Targets Adult Social Networking

From the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

The federal government is proposing regulations that would effectively kill adult social-networking sites. This is being done under the guise of fighting child pornography. You have until September 10 to object to these regulations. It’s easy to do and essential. A sample e-mail comment is at the bottom of this page. Please forward this information to your friends!

What’s the Deal?

The Department of Justice is proposing regulations to implement a federal law designed to combat child pornography, known as Section 2257. The law was first enacted in 1998 and was amended in 2006 and significantly expanded to include regulation of the Internet.

While many of the regulations pertain to companies that produce adult entertainment magazines and videos (and are extremely burdensome), they would also affect anyone who uses an adult social-networking site. Here’s how:

  • The regulations would require the people running a site to get and maintain personal information from every user (that means you) who posts a “sexually explicit” photo, including your photo ID (driver’s license, passport, or military ID).
  • The regulations would allow the Attorney General to conduct warrantless searches at will on the sites’ records, including your personal information.
  • There are few safeguards over what the FBI can do with the information it obtains.
  • If a site operator fails to comply with the regulations, he or she would face a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
  • For more detailed information on Sec. 2257, go to http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/misc/2257_fact_sheet.pdf.

This doesn’t just affect the gay community. Anyone who wants to post nude or sexually provocative pictures online (or anyone who likes to browse those photos and/or meet new partners) should be very worried. Because what this does is take away the anonymity. Now, the government can potentially subpoena explicit photos that won’t just be tied to hornylady39, they’ll have your driver’s license and information. I can’t imagine a more insidious tool for intimidation or blackmail for almost anyone in the red-state corporate or political scene.

If you’re a creative type, live in a liberal city, and/or work for yourself, you may think this doesn’t affect you–until you find out your potential dating pool has shrunk drastically because many of the other people looking for discreet or unconventional relationships are suddenly scared to put their photos online.

What You Can Do

The Department of Justice has published these proposed regulations and the public has until September 10 to comment on them.

We need to generate thousands of comments objecting to the proposed regulations – and it’s easy to do via e-mail. Just follow the instructions below.

Why We’re Involved

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc. is involved in this fight because we believe sexual freedom is a fundamental human right and we don’t think the government has any place in relations between consenting adults. These regulations are part of our government’s hypocritical and punitive views about sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights. All of this – from abstinence-only sex education programs to the elimination of funding for accurate and explicit HIV prevention programs – fall hardest on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Please click the link at the top of the article and take action. When anyone’s sexual freedom suffers, we all suffer.


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