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MySpace Not Guilty in Child Assault Case 228

Posted by Zonk
from the sanity-in-the-courtroom dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Washington Post reports that a Texas judge dismissed a $30 million case against MySpace for their role in a child assault case. 19-year old Peter Solis lied about his age on MySpace to gain the confidence of a 13-year old girl. The judge ruled, 'To impose a duty under these circumstances for MySpace to confirm or determine the age of each applicant, with liability resulting from negligence in performing or not performing duty, would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks and close this avenue of communication.'" What do you think? Good call?
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MySpace Not Guilty in Child Assault Case

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  • Moo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apocalypse111 (597674) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:56PM (#18029502) Journal
    So, now that we have seen "common sense" used in a court case, can we use this as precedent for all future rulings?
  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:58PM (#18029538)

    What do you think? Good call?

    Is the phone company responsible for verifying the age of people talking so a 19 year old can't lie to a 13 year old and then commit a crime? How about newspaper personal ads, are the newspaper's responsible? What ISPs who provide e-mail accounts? You know those companies that create voice boxes for people with throat cancer? Are they responsible for verifying the age of the person using them so they cannot be misused for this same purpose?

    Blaming the medium or the tools is just plain stupid. This was, of course, a correct decision

  • Yep, the only call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @04:59PM (#18029568) Journal
    This is like suing blockbuster because my membership card says "Gulliver" (which isn't my name - but they didn't check!), and somebody were to accept my (written in ink) blockbuster card as some form of ID. Say the bank were to loan a hundered thousand dollars to "Gulliver McMadeUpName", and then sue Blockbuster when I defaulted.

    This was a ridiculous and frivolous suit. MySpace has no obligation to verify the truth of any information any random person posts. They aren't bondsmen.

    The ramifications if this were taken seriously would be huge. Every web forum, including slashdot, would have to perform thorough background checks with 3 forms of government ID, before accepting members.
  • Thumbs up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:00PM (#18029586) Journal
    It's a good call.
    It's the parent's responsibility to keep an eye on their kid, including their internet activity (even if that is inconvenient or time-consuming for the parent).

    Suing Myspace is like suing the phone company - they're only the medium, ma'am.
  • Bad reasoning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:01PM (#18029612)

    Although the judge's conclusion was correct, the reasoning he applied was flawed: it's not that MySpace shouldn't be liable because its business model depends on it, it's that MySpace shouldn't be liable because it's the parents' responsibility to care for their kids, and MySpace isn't anybody's parent.

  • About time ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:02PM (#18029626) Homepage
    This ruling, hopefully, will stop all of those propositions the government keep trying to make to ensure that everyone will somehow be responsible for ensuring that children don't get onto their site.

    This seems to finally accept that it's just not possible to correctly validate the information that everyone gives you online.

    For the same reason they won't be able to identify when people claim to be younger, they won't be able to stop kids from saying they're old enough to be there.

    Depending on the level of court making this decision (and wether or not this establishes precedent) this might make it more difficult to sa, for example, that porn vendors are responsible for confirming that all applicants aren't kids or registered sex offenders. It's simply not possible to do it.

    Cheers
  • Re:Texas Judges (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:07PM (#18029704) Homepage
    It's because he isn't black.

    Seriously, I'm actually for the death penalty, but Texas' justice system is horribly racist, at least at that level.
  • you know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@noSPAM.carpanet.net> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:07PM (#18029720) Homepage
    I really want to know more about the psychology of this and how it comes about. I mean... who wants to be with a 13 yo anyway? Though, 19 meh... I have known 19 year olds who have dated 13 year olds, its usually a case of an overly marture 13 year old and an immature 19 year old. Hell, one of my best friends today was 19 and dated my sister when she was 14 and going on 15.

    I can attest that at 19, he wasn't quite at her level then. At 28, he still isn't now, but thats another story :)

    But I digress... and far. This is an issue of assault more than age. Who cares how old he was? What he did was wrong at any age where the person can tell right from wrong. I really don't see how age verification will help. 13 year olds arn't that hard to talk into doing things that their authority figures don't approve of, hell he might have had an easier time with his real age... 13 year olds think 19 year olds are cool and mature.

    The reason I say I want to know more about it, was I saw those dateline shows where they caught and outed a bunch of guys who did this stuff and interviewed them. It was sobering. Sobering that it was happening, and sobering to see these guys interviewd.

    They seemed.... mostly normal. The only thing really different about them seemed to be that they seemed rather socially undeveloped. I really got the feeling they were going after young easily influenced girls because, they seemed to lack the social skills to get a girl their own age. As a slashdot geek, I am pretty familiar with some of the behavious.

    I guess what bugs me, is I saw myself at different points in my life in their stories and thought, that with a slightly different values, and influences in my life, could I have been one of these guys showing up at a 13 year olds house with a six pack of cheap malt beverages?

    While its easy to deamonize people who try to do, or do bad things, and we have to deal with this from a criminal justice standpoint when it happens. However, shouldn't we be looking at our society and how we can help to not create people who are in the situation where a 13 year old starts to look like a viable option?

    It seems to me like these guys needed something. It wasn't a 13 year old girl they really needed, but it wasn't anything that time in jail was going to fix either. Most of them had even seen the show in the past, so the threat of incarceration certainly wasn't stopping them.

    I think it behooves us to understand these issues at a deeper level, and try to solve them from their source rather than their symptoms.

    -Steve
  • Frivolous suits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:08PM (#18029742)
    Myspace is not liable for this any more than the phone company is liable for the prank and threatening phone calls. I don't know about the rest of the /. community, but I am dead tired of the continuous attempts to impose liability on the carrier for the content. This goes to the very core of undermining the openness and freedom of the internet, as a neutral medium for communication and sharing of information. Verdict for the plaintiff would have been a horrible precedent.
  • In Loco Parentis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tiberus (258517) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:09PM (#18029766)
    This is a sick thing that happened and I think the guy should be jailed for life or worse but, what were the parents doing?!? I have to teenagers and while I won't delude myself in thinking I know everything that goes on in their lives, I have a fair idea about most of it (I hope).

    I am in my son's WOW guild so I know them, I play Halo on occasion (it sucks getting my ass kicked so much) with him and his other friends. They are welcome in my house as long as they follow the rules.

    I know my daughter likes manga, anime, country music, who her friends are, know their names and individual interests etc. etc.etc. Quality time is total b#$$s%^&, you have to spend time with them and know what is going on in their lives.

    Wonder if her parents ever looked at her MySpace to see what she thinks, likes or is worried about...

    MySpace it not at fault here, something is/was going on in that girl's life that put her in a position to want to go off and meet someone without telling her parents or at least without escort. The ball was not in MySpace's court.
  • No kidding.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CasperIV (1013029) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:12PM (#18029808)
    I'm glad a judge had common sense on MySpace's behalf. People want to shift blame to the medium used for the meeting, not the people in the real world who are at fault. The only people to blame in this case are the parents and the guy who committed the crime. It was the parent's job to know what their child was doing and to prevent her from meeting people like this. The world is full of bad people, but it's the parent's jobs to protect their children. Of course, this in no way removes responsibility for the crime from the guy. All I'm saying is that HE is responsible for committing the crime and the parents are responsible for not preventing their child from falling victim to him.
  • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gergoge (1000510) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:16PM (#18029886)
    There isn't a difference. Any information provided is user-submitted. If I find your home phone number, call it, and tell you I'm really a sexy 17 year old blonde girl looking for some good lovin', and you buy into it, everything at fault here is due to my lying to you, not the telco.
  • Bad Job, Judge! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Se7enLC (714730) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:16PM (#18029888) Homepage Journal
    The judge ruled, 'To impose a duty under these circumstances for MySpace to confirm or determine the age of each applicant, with liability resulting from negligence in performing or not performing duty, would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks and close this avenue of communication.'"

    So you're telling me that you had a chance to finally get rid of the atrocity that is MySpace and you DIDN'T???
  • Reasoning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigdavex (155746) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:18PM (#18029934)

    To impose a duty under these circumstances for MySpace to confirm or determine the age of each applicant, with liability resulting from negligence in performing or not performing duty, would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks and close this avenue of communication.

    Hmm, MySpace's business model would collapse if we rule against them. Therefore, it must be OK.

    Right decision, wrong reason.
  • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:19PM (#18029946) Homepage Journal

    Blaming the medium or the tools is just plain stupid. This was, of course, a correct decision

    I've got an even better comparison. Do we sue the city when someone is raped or molested in public? The technology exists to prevent it - just cover the streets with cops! Of course it would be horribly expensive, but the fact remains that we have the ability to stop if if we make some hard decisions, that will utterly cripple our city, drain the coffers, and make life basically unlivable. But we can stop public rape!

    But of course that would be utterly ridiculous, and the only reason that a lawsuit like this can even proceed is that it's computer-related, and most people have no clue about computers, so they are afraid of them, and that fear can be used. Kind of sounds like something else going on in our (American) society right now...

  • by harves (122617) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:29PM (#18030082)
    It's odd to say it, but I don't think this ruling is "right". Particularly not the precedent that it sets. The judge expressed concern for MySpace's business future and for the other users of the service. Seriously, this is not "common sense", this is "big business rules".

    I *do* think that the outcome is correct - but the wrong reasons were given. The correct reason would have been more directly related to the notion of personal responsibility. Not this "MySpace can't be responsible, because, oh gosh, they'd lose money if they were" crap.

    Common sense my arse. The outcome matches common sense, but not the rationale. I just hope it's not used as a precedent.
  • Re:great parents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:38PM (#18030258) Homepage Journal

    Negligence != fault. It was the pedophiles fault. My single parent mother worked two jobs to support her two boys. There was no way she could monitor our every move. (it's amazing we survived!)

    A parent doesn't have to monitor a child's every move to protect them. All they have to do is be honest and open with them and give them the information they need to protect themselves.

    I can't speak for any other kids, but I stopped listening to MY parents because they were hypocritical, and otherwise generally full of shit. My dad would tell me not to smoke, but he would smoke in the car when he was taking me places and not stop when I asked him to, and as a child I was actually allergic to cigarette smoke. My mom would make up answers to questions to which she did not know the answer, maybe she thought it was fun or her insecurity would not allow her to not know the answer. Regardless, I rapidly stopped giving a shit about my parents' opinions and formed my own decisions. I am lucky enough to have been a pretty bright kid and to have been very into reading, and to have read a lot of books with very positive messages, and this served me a whole lot better than it could have.

    If a parent treats a child with respect, the child will respond with respect. Unfortunately, most parents (including mine) didn't really get that. They were only concerned with me respecting them. They didn't really put effort into going the other direction until I was already an adult. But then, I moved out of the house when I was fifteen and moved in with my (considerably older) girlfriend. So they kind of had to wake up and accept that I was not their little boy any more, and in fact had not been for many years.

    Funny how when something happens, everyone claims it was the parent's fault. Yet when something that would help the parents do their job, like tracking devices, XXX domain names or age limits for video games, people here scream LIBERTY and talk about what a bad idea it is. *Note, I am not endorsing tracking devices, XXX domain names or video game ratings. That's another discussion.

    That's funny, because your comment very much makes it seem like you ARE endorsing these things, because you see the denial of these things as denying parents tools that would help them do their job, and you began the sentence with "Yet" as if you were denying that standpoint.

    Incidentally, tracking devices exist now and if you can get your kid to wear it and not pass it off to another kid, that's cool, but they will eventually figure out a way to get the thing off. It's a big ugly watch-thing that locks onto their wrist. Better hope it doesn't get caught in anything.

  • oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mhokie (988228) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:43PM (#18030348) Homepage
    then who should?
  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @05:47PM (#18030418)

    Communication sites like myspace (though not myspace in particular) are too important to the human race to damage over the abuse of one person. People are abused day in, day out, around the world. Closing or damaging myspace's ability to permit free communications will not solve this issue.

    We must move forward as a species - not backwards. Our future lies in free exchange of ideas and communications, and anything that works contrary to this should be opposed.

    We're a planet of billions. Keep things in perspective.

  • Re:Oblivious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:00PM (#18030628) Journal
    if you dont have their number already?

    Man, if only someone put together a list of phone numbers and published them... let's say in a big thick book. Then they could sell ad space and make millions!
  • by marquinhocb (949713) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:08PM (#18030760) Homepage Journal
    So, this court case wasn't so much for MySpace, but for all online communities. I myself am not a MySpace fan, as I think they do nothing to help protect its users (See my journal about their lack of ingenuity and innovation).

    However, this call was a necessary one. Although social networking sites should do what they can to help protect its users, they can't be held responsible for lousy parenting!

    In today's society, everyone is always trying to blame someone else, or sue someone else. No one takes the blame for what they've done and the mistakes they've made to cause badness. And who pays the price? Well, sadly, one of the people who pays the price is kids. What happened to the day when parents' top priority was their kids? Nowadays, parents are more concerned with money and the "easy way out", than taking care of their kid.

    Why on earth was a 13 year old girl able to talk to some stranger online, meet with him, without her parents ever knowing? Yes, the guy is a scoundrel. Yes, she was just a little girl. But why weren't her parents there to protect her? Why weren't they there to know exactly what she's doing online, talk to her, find out why she feels the need to meet people online (probably lonely, not many friends at school, not many boys interested in her at school, etc.). And not just confronting her and telling her "you're grounded, no more internet". They need to find out the cause of her feeling she needs to do this, and try to help.

    Lastly, not every guy online is a scoundrel. Maybe this Pete Solis was, but if the girl's parents had been there to talk to her, and maybe even offer to go meet this guy with her - what kind of guy who's looking to assault a 13 year old would agree to that? He would bail out in a second, while on the other hand any guy who has a shred of decency would accept. That's the other problem with parents these days - they automatically assume the worst, and of course teenagers know this. So the teenager has no way of trusting their parent, because they know that just bringing this up with them will mean "no more internet".

    So, the real issue here is, why are parents allowing their young girls to get conned online, and what are we doing to resolve this issue?

  • Re:oh really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:22PM (#18031012)
    That's up to the parents. It's their responsibility to either arrange for their kids to be taken care of, or even better, teach their kids how to make intelligent decisions on their own (assuming the kids are old enough).

    Really, parenting shouldn't be about keeping the kids on lockdown and watching their every move so they don't get hurt or in trouble. That just fosters resentment and results in kids who grow up unable to think for themselves as adults. It certainly doesn't prepare the kids for life in the real world.

    Parenting should be about teaching the kids to make the right choices for themselves, even in the absence of direct monitoring or guidance in a given situation. The parents can't possibly watch their kids or arrange for monitoring 24/7, and that's the wrong way to approach the problem anyway. I'd much rather have kids who are taught to think for themselves so they'll be able to properly handle a new situation that's never been addressed by the parent. I think way too many parents do not grasp this important point, and this is ultimately where many of them fail.
  • Hell yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by norman619 (947520) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:25PM (#18031058)
    I find it sick that parents will try to cash in on their own failure as parents and the misfortune of their child. Why seek 30 million? Why not seek criminal charges if they truly feel the operators of myspace were resp for what happened to their child? 30 million is a money grab. Seeking criminal chrages is seeking justice. Two very different things.
  • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @06:57PM (#18031522) Journal
    I think most people here rightly believe that the best way to deal with your children is not to go all "big brother" on them, and install monitoring software and cameras, but instead to take the time to foster the sort of relationship with your child that makes those measures unnecessary.

    That being said, I don't know of anyone here who disputes that parents have the right to do those things should they choose to do so.

    And the internet is held to a vastly different standard of proof from a physical building...In the case of a physical building you can quite easily require identification from every person before they gain entrance. On the internet, there is no way to make sure that the information which you collected accurately represents the person who is using your service. No way. To hold MySpace accountable for user created content when they have no possible way of accurately identifying their userbase is absurd.

    To hold them accountable would literally kill the internet in this country, because every site could be held liable for every post, and, even more frightening, all real world actions that occur because of that post.

    Excellent ruling.
  • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@nosPam.gmail.com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:50PM (#18033032) Homepage

    I think most people here rightly believe that the best way to deal with your children is not to go all "big brother" on them, and install monitoring software and cameras, but instead to take the time to foster the sort of relationship with your child that makes those measures unnecessary.

    That's fine in some fantasy fuzzy world where being your child's best friend is 100% percent certain to work. But it doesn't. Sometimes a parent needs to be a parent.
     

    That being said, I don't know of anyone here who disputes that parents have the right to do those things should they choose to do so.

    Then this must be your first day on Slashdot - because those things are roundly condemmed whenever they are proposed.
     

    To hold them [MySpace] accountable would literally kill the internet in this country, because every site could be held liable for every post, and, even more frightening, all real world actions that occur because of that post.

    And why shouldn't a site be held accountable for actions it facilitates? I'm sorry, but "it would kill the internet" simply isn't enough justification for not doing so. (Besides being nonsense.)
     

    Excellent ruling.

    I wonder how many will agree when an ISP refuses to give up the ID of a child pornographer - or facilitates a spammer. Probably exactly zero. You can't have it both ways - but you and the OP seem to want to.
  • by dj_virto (625292) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:06PM (#18033776)
    I agree absolutely. It's all about the culture. It has nothing to do with race, EXCEPT that people who see themselves as a certain race decide or are pressured to decide that they should be in a certain culture because of their race. Actually, I hesitate to even use the term race, because genetic studies are showing that every modern "race" is actually a composite of the earliest groups. Modern "races" have varying degrees of relation to each other, so for example a 'black person' who has ancestors who re-immigrated to Africa from the middle east might actually be ethnically closer to a 'white person' from Lebanon than to another 'black person'. Also that Lebanese 'white person' might have very little in common with a Swedish 'white person'. So as many people have known for a while, race is mostly an artificial social construct.

    The very important super extra critical idea everyone needs to get somehow, is that you are free to join any culture you want.. Want to be an up-tight protestant disciplinarian but your skin is really dark? That's ok! Want to be cyberpunk?.. well that demographic is already open to anybody, though some ghetto people might not realize it because they are functionally illiterate. Etc..

    Then, we can go one step further and criticize cultures for their failings, perhaps even combine the best aspects of different cultures. How about combining the work ethic, systematic approach of anglo-american culture with the care for your wife and family from mexican culture.. lose the isolation and lack of solidarity from anglo culture, lose machoism and the pressure for total conformity from mexican culture, compromise and just have 2 kids.. what do you get? A better outcome for all. I'd bet on it.

    Multiculturalism is a dead-end street because it commits you to absurd ideas, for example you'd have to say that the ghetto gang culture of macho violence is as hunky-dory as anything else, because it's right for them, within their own culture, and follows the rules which the majority of their subgroup has effectively agreed to. Hey if you think that right and wrong are totally relative, and you think it's just fine and dandy if someone gets shot, or lives in fear of getting shot, then this view makes sense. To me, it's pretty nutty.

    It also had an inherent contradiction. Everyone's culture is equally as good, so everyone is as likely to be successful. But, at the same time, multiculti advocates want to say that everyone's culture's way of life is just as healthy as anyone else's. So a culture that does not think it is important to read to or otherwise educate your kids (especially girls) is somehow as likely to produce a successful citizen and also can't be criticized for not reading to their kids? Am I missing something here? Or is the key that multiculti argues ultimately that a sub-literate person who lives on nothing but second-hand folk knowledge and knows little about anything outside their subgroup is just as good as anybody else? So in other words, an anti-social gangsta from the ghetto who looks after his peeps and is fairly likely to bust a cap in your ass for complaining about his nightclub-class radio playing 12 hours a day is someone you're just as happy living with as someone who has been training from day 1 to be quiet, thoughtful, and kind? Does that make any kind of sense?

    No..... and it's the culture at fault. It's time to take culture off the holy dais where it sits, untouchable. Let's get religion down while we're at it and kick both balls around. We're not going good places otherwise.

    -p

  • Re:Bad reasoning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:21PM (#18033888)

    And so what? If that were the legal requirement, then the only proper course of action would be to enforce it even if it did result in MySpace having to shut down. Lucky for us and MySpace, DOPA (or "son of DOPA") isn't law so it wasn't a requirement (and therefore wasn't enforced).

    But the point is this: any kind of concern for "business models" is entirely irrelevant regardless, because it's the court's job to enforce the law, not give corporate handouts!

  • Re:But... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:51PM (#18034130) Journal
    What are you uggesting? We should look at monority's more to salve all our violent crime? Or should we let the majority of the minority convicted offenders go to improve the ratio A bit?

    The facts are that the types of crimes blacks tend to commit that lend themselves t the death penalty by far out number the same for whites. This isn't neccesarily racist either. Living conditions tend to dictate the types of crimes people are invovled in. Poor people commit different styles of robery then rich people do and so on. This isn't to say that the say crime and way it was commited cannot be the same, it just isn't always. Now, If i was to ask you who was more likley to kill someone durring a robbery? How about a car jacking? How many prominent blacks walking through a poor area get mugged because it is thought they have money? Now whites? You watch cops on TV, who is the most likley types of person to run? How about shoot back at the cops of do something that might get an officer killed?

    Education, living conditions, social pressures, money and numerous other things that could be bad choices cause the type of crimes and how it was commited to be different. These differences can often be the difference in life or the death penalty. There is nothing racist about it. Even the fact that a better defence sometimes results in less severe punishments aren't racist.

    What is racists is, looking at the numbers and claiming something that isn't there. The solution isn't letting letting a bunch of minorities go because they commited a certain crime a certain way. And it isn't convicting the oposite race of more crimes when they didn't commit them or commit them in the ways the laws says is most deserving of the seath penalty.
  • Re:you know (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@noSPAM.carpanet.net> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @11:54PM (#18034556) Homepage
    Or speaking of being "wired that way"

    These guys are "wired normal". A Paedophile is someone attracted to pre-pubecent people.

    13 is pubecent... a guy attracted to a 13 year old is a male animal attracted to a fertile female animnal.... he is doing exaclty what millions of years of evolution taught him to do and society tried to unteach.... and on some level... failed.

    I think thats my real problem. There is grass on the field. a 13 year old girl will often have a strong sex drive. The few women who I know that have been really open and honest about their teenage years have told me they would spend hours masturbating at that age.

    Now I know 13 year olds in our culture are nowhere near as mature as they could be...and in terms of their maturity, probably far behind in the area of sex compared to other areas, since our culture seems hell bent on intentionally retarding their growth. (and thus leaving them even easier prey)

    However.... I do think we have to keep nature in mind when we look at these crimes. Should it be illegal? Yah probably. Is it wrong? Yah usually. How bad is it? I don't know, I mean... I have a problem faulting people for just... being what they are.

    Besides, I think its far healthier to start young than late. More so for men than women since there is still alot of social expectation laid on us, and starting mostly in my mid-late 20s, its been quite an uphill battle to become more normal and make sex part of my life. I wish to the gods I don't believe in that I had started at 13.

    -Steve
  • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday February 16, 2007 @01:29AM (#18035152) Journal
    So every site, including this one, that posts anything that anyone finds objectionable, or that some (bad) parent blames for their child's misbehavior or misadventure should be held legally accountable? Nice way of passing off all your responsibility on to a third party. I'm wondering where you draw the line...If a guy chats up your daughter in the mall, should mall security have the authority to shoot on site, or would you just shock her with a nice taser jolt from the electric chastity belt you're making her wear?

    And, even better, you want the government to have the authority to do witch hunts through ISP subscriber lists trying to find illegal material, and you don't see anything at all wrong with that? Very nice.

    There are certainly a lot of privacy advocates here, and I'm generally considered a bit fringe because I don't believe in a right to privacy anywhere outside of your personal property/personal space.By comparison, you're not even on the same planet with the rest of us. Take your distopian nanny state and go move to china or n. korea if you don't like it here.
  • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday February 16, 2007 @09:49AM (#18037462) Journal
    Still doesn't matter, because, after you've checked the ID and verified they are who they say they are, they leave, and then later, someone logs on using the login information you gave to the person who presented their ID.

    How do you know it's the same person? There have been more than a few password hacking scams; how do you know that the user today is the same as the user yesterday?

    I'm not sure how you can call MySpace and YouTube monopolies...Both companies are leaders in a crowded field, with a very low barrier to entry. MySpace is cool now, but "cool" is ephemeral, and I'll wager that they are as well, to be replaced by the next big thing with the kiddies. YouTube has the potential to survive, but it's so mainstream it leaves plenty of room for niche competitors.

    I'm tired of everyone blaming their children's behavior on everyone but themselves. It is not MySpace's job to be your babysitter. It is your job to monitor your child's behavior, and if your child meets a guy online, travels three states away and then gets raped, my question is, "WTF were you doing that whole time?"
  • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gump59 (174359) on Friday February 16, 2007 @10:05AM (#18037642)

    I if built a building - and allowed kids to come in and hang out, decorate, dance, whatever... Under the law I'd sure as hell be liable if a adult or older child was preying on younger children in my building - but the transport system they used to get there wouldn't be. (Check out the legal concepts of in loco parentis and attractive nusiance.) Why should MySpace be any different?
    Both the original analogy and yours are both off. What you describe sounds like a day care center or place specifically for kids to hang out. You ask the question of "why should MySpace be any different?"

    Well, the answer to this is because it is different. It is a place for *anybody* to hang out. Kids, adults, goatherder from Somalia, Eskimo after a seal hunt, and I suspect even my pet cat on a particularly creative day. If you leave your kid unattended at a local recreation center pool, or county fair, or shopping mall and he/she gets chatted up by some perv who gets his/her phone number, then calls and arranges to meet him/her at a later date at a different location are you going to sue the rec center, fair, or mall?

    MySpace is a public forum. And just like any other public area out there, real or virtual, the owner of the space does not suddenly become responsible for parenting your children the moment they set foot in it.
  • Re:Frivolous suits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fastolfe (1470) on Friday February 16, 2007 @12:40PM (#18039550)

    I if built a building - and allowed kids to come in and hang out, decorate, dance, whatever... Under the law I'd sure as hell be liable if a adult or older child was preying on younger children in my building - but the transport system they used to get there wouldn't be. (Check out the legal concepts of in loco parentis and attractive nusiance.) Why should MySpace be any different?

    This seems to fit the definition of a mall. Kids go there to hang out, and the girls and boys get dressed up to show off for each other. They shop or talk at the food court. Same thing, right? How often do you see malls getting sued because their 13 year olds met a 19 year old there? Are you saying you'd prefer to see people carded whenever they walk into a mall, and the adults separated from the children? Maybe you should propose that at your next city council meeting. Think of the children!

    Because it would establish that the owner of a space is responsible for what happens there of he can reasonably prevent it.

    Fortunately, the legal standard isn't just whether the harm can be reasonably prevented. You also have to consider whether or not a duty of care exists. You have a duty to keep people away from a public nuisance (such as a fence around a swimming pool). You have a duty to keep your public space safe for public use (such as by keeping walkways free from ice). The word "reasonably" in your statement is the key term here as well. It is unreasonable to expect the operator of every public park, every mall, every stop light, bus stop, bowling alley and bingo parlor to card everyone, and monitor the behavior of the people there to ensure they aren't talking about doing something improper. If you disagree, you are more than welcome to change what's "reasonable" in your community. It's a jury that decides how these terms are applied, after all. One community's "unreasonable" may not be the same as another's. That's by design.

    The mere fact that a space can be used as a place for meeting or discussion doesn't make it an attractive nuisance. You must have skipped this day in law school.

    Consider the Federal highway system - anyone can acess it and go anywhere it goes as and when they will. But they may not drive on in such a fashion as to endanger the life and health of others. I can use the telephone system for a variety of purposes, entertainment or business - but I may not use telemarketing except under a fairly strict set of circumstances.

    Nobody's arguing that laws or regulation aren't needed. But attacking the medium has a substantially different effect than attacking the offenders. When you attack the medium, you require the operators of the medium to do your policing, and when you hold them to high standards (such as carding everyone and isolating age groups), that may drive expenses unreasonably high.

    You give the highway system and telephone systems as examples of where regulation is present and doesn't seem to hurt our freedoms. You forgot to suggest that the highway and telephone system operators be held liable for the illegal activities that occur over them. Should the US be liable for every case of drug trafficking over the highways? Should the telephone system be liable for every drug deal done over the phone? When you suggest that the operators of these systems have a duty to prevent these things, can you imagine the expense that would be necessary to achieve that? This is unreasonable.

    You can't have it both ways folks

    Perhaps it's a different group speaking up on either situation? You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the "Slashdot community" is perpetually in consensus.

    Bear in mind that before we had MySpace, we had places like bowling alleys and the telephone for kids to meet and communicate with adults. No parent can be perfect with their oversight of their

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