Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Unfortunate Effects of Easy Access

Yesterday, Justin Berry, who was a porn star in the child pornography industry (and I call it an industry because that's what it is, whether you like it or not), testified in a Congressional hearing. He started doing webcam porn when he was 13. The irony is that his mother, whom he lived with at the time, works as a counsellor for sexually abused children or something related. NYTimes reporter, Eichenwald, first broke the story ("Through his webcam, a boy joins the sordid online world") last year. Apparently, the child porn industry is huge, conservatively estimated at $2 billion/year. One of the favored methods is to utilize various directory/blog services (such as to seek out young kids who have webcams and convince them, with words, cash, or presents, to perform sexual acts on the webcam. Typically, money is exchanged via paypal and credit cards. Alternatively, Amazon wish lists allow for "fans" to purchase gifts for the "stars" directly.

Mostly, the companies that make this process so easy with their helpful tools/products/services do it unwittingly. Although the child pornography industry has always been around, with the advent of easy-to-use technology, it has exploded (and continues to grow alarmingly). Justin turned in to the FBI records of his subscribers, amounting to about 1500 people, along with IP addresses and credit card numbers, including the Intel engineer primarily responsible for the P4 processor.

On several blogs, heated debates have erupted, (Here) (Here) (Here) mostly centered on Justin's culpability as a 13-year-old who "should have known better." That the adults who played a role in propogating child pornography should be prosecuted is a fairly unanimous concept, although the FBI/Department of Justice has done very little in this regard. Tomorrow, the DOJ will go in front of the same Congressional committee to answer some questions.


Blogger Christine said...

That's horrible - I think he should have known better. And his mother should have known what was going on - what kind of mother would not notice? that's just my personal opinion though.

2:12 PM  
Blogger limewash said...

My mistake, it is a $20 billion/year industry.

And Christine, I don't know what you were like at the age of 13, but I can easily imagine a typical 13 year old who gets suckered in by a huge amount of cash (we're talking thousands of dollars a day here) and even the attention, as unhealthy as it may be, to do these stupid things. People smoke (grownups and children alike), knowing the negative consequences, and no one is paying them anything to do it. I just find it difficult to judge a 13 year old so quickly.

However, the mother -should- have known better, especially considering the nature of her job. And the father should just be shot.

7:35 AM  
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