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Proposed Posting of Clients List In Prostitution Case Raises Privacy Concerns 533

An anonymous reader writes "An interesting case touching on privacy in the Internet age has erupted in Kennebunk, Maine, the coastal town where the Bush family has a vacation home. When a fitness instructor who maintained a private studio was arrested for prostitution, she turned out to have maintained meticulous billing records on some 150 clients, and had secretly recorded the proceedings on video files stored in her computer. Local police have begun issuing summons to her alleged johns, and have announced intentions to publish the list, as is customary in such cases. Police believe such publication has a deterrent effect on future incidents of the kind. However, the notoriety of the case has some, including newspaper editors, wondering whether the lives of the accused johns may be disproportionately scarred (obtaining or keeping a job, treatment of members of their families within the community) for a the mere accusation of having committed a misdemeanor. Also, the list of names will be permanently archived and indexed by search engines essentially forever."
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Proposed Posting of Clients List In Prostitution Case Raises Privacy Concerns

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  • Publish them all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious ( 11933 ) * <(gro.suoirafinmo) (ta) (hsals-cire)> on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:33PM (#41651611) Homepage Journal

    The more names of 'important' people who are on the list, the more it should be published. Maybe then someone will actually decide that prosecuting consensual crimes like this isn't generally worth the risk.

    Though, waiting until she and her partner are found guilty might be a good plan.

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:41PM (#41651665)
    I guess that whole silly "innocent until proven guilty" is so outdated.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:47PM (#41651693)

    I don't get it. So these characters had sex with a presumably "hot" gym instructer. So what!!!!

    That they paid for it - well again, So what???

    That the instructor kept records- Good practise in case of communicable disease - again, so what???

    That it's immoral - O.K. - cool - that's a personal call that's been made in to law - stupid but then many laws are.

    What in God's (and I use that word intentionally) name gives these people the right to compound a legally unlawful act (yet, yes, immoral) with an immoral act? (that of publishing the list of names) Can someone explain to me how the "Land of the free" has become a theocratically conservative state?

  • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:48PM (#41651697)
    just make prostitution legal (and regulated) like most of Europe. You can even tax the income, while ensuring the safety of the workers and the clients. For bonus points, I grew in Wells, ME, about 10km south of Kennebunk ... and this kinda of ridiculous attention to foolish stories/details like this is one of the reasons I left (small town politics, anyone?) A john's life destroyed? Hardly, especially not by an "employer" with half a brain.
  • Handle The Crime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:50PM (#41651727)

    If there is a criminal, prosecute them. Think no further and go no further. It is not anyone's place to preempt in such a manner. Just stay in your own lane.

    Personally, I feel that people need to stay out of someone else's pants. Prosecuting people for selling sex is a lazy approach to human rights and a sign of the populace sticking it's nose where it doesn't belong in the first place.

  • I recall... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:52PM (#41651741) Journal

    Somehow, I recall George Carlin's words on the topic:
    I don't understand why prostitution is illegal. Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal?
    If selling fucking were legal (as in some other jusrisdictions [] of the world), the criminal in question would not be a criminal, and the perpetrators of the misdemeanor in question would not have committed a misdemeanor.

  • Re:I recall... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moosehooey ( 953907 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:59PM (#41651771)

    What are you talking about? What two other acts, only when taken together, constitute murder?

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:08PM (#41651835) Homepage we can deter future johns. Otherwise they'll just victimize more -- oh, wait, are the johns the victims? Or is it the johns who victimize the prostitutes? Both?

    OK, let's publish the list so that future johns will be deterred from victimizing themselves. Or something.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:11PM (#41651855) Homepage Journal

    Though, waiting until she and her partner are found guilty might be a good plan.

    That's the problem here, the consequences for people who are still innocent until proven guilty. Even in this seemingly straight forward case it is possible that some of them really are innocent, for example like all the people caught up in the Operation Ore paedophile cases whose credit cards had been stolen.

    The media always publishes the names of people accused of murder, rape, paedophilia and various other crimes that will ruin their lives. When they are found innocent the same level of coverage is rarely given. Naturally they lose their jobs and probably most of their friends. The law could require that their employer gives them their job back, but often it takes years or even decades for them to be proven innocent.

  • Re:I recall... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:24PM (#41651971)
    I think a better argument against making prostitution illegal is that no one is harmed by it. And it's purely consensual. The cases where it isn't consensual are already covered by other laws (slavery, human trafficking, etc).
  • Stupider logic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:35PM (#41652051)

    So since drinking lots of alcohol is legal and driving a car is legal then drink driving should be legal? Voltaire is correct but the absurdity here is your argument.

    Drinking is legal. Driving is legal. Having had drinks prior to driving is also legal, up to a limit. That's because after that limit you're a danger to yourself and also society. How is having sex a danger to society?

  • Re:I recall... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:36PM (#41652059)

    What are you talking about? What two other acts, only when taken together, constitute murder?

    Well, there is driving your car forward and telling someone to stand in front of it. Or stuffing someone in a large room and filling the same room with poison (or flame or vacuum). I could go on, but the thing you are missing is that two actions, taken together, become something different than either of them separate. Murder is lethality + against a person, and prostitution is selling + sex, and an argument that the two individual actions together are legal makes the action as a whole legal is deeply flawed. Having sex is legal, and so is being in public. Is that a good argument that sex in public should be legal? No, because society has decided that when you put those two things together, you get something that is fundamentally different from either in isolation. Same with prostitution. You can argue that society is wrong, and I think make some good arguments for that, but George Carlin's argument is, quite frankly, a bad argument.

  • by CanadianRealist ( 1258974 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:49PM (#41652161)

    As long as all the money in the safe is the property of the banker then your example seems fine.

    However as the money is usually the property of other people, your example is ridiculous, unless all those other people also consent. Good luck with that.

  • Re:I recall... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:53PM (#41652195)

    Having sex is legal, and so is being in public. Is that a good argument that sex in public should be legal?

    Yes, of course it is — as soon as you drop the idea that you have the right not to be presented with a view of the world that makes you happy at the expense of other people's freedom, which is stupid idea to begin with. You see something you don't like? Look away or otherwise don't engage. I do this all the time when I see religious fuckery up on signs, or women who have turned themselves into a canvas for extremely poorly thought-out art, or when the KKK parades, etc. That's what freedom is: not the freedom to have the world comply to your standards, but the freedom to act, say and be things as long as they don't impinge on non-consenting persons unless by their own choice to engage.

    because society has decided

    Society decided Rosa Parks had to sit at the back of the bus, too. Also that slavery was a good thing. And that god is real. Etc., ad infinitum. The whole reason we went with a constitutional republic is because society — people — can't be counted on to make the right decision. Unfortunately, due to a serious flaw in the constitution (the lack of punishment for government actors when they violate it), eventually the same problem crept into the system anyway. Still, the fact that "society decided" or "there is a law" is no worthy basis for making the argument that something should be forbidden.

    And BTW, Carlin's argument is flawless. Two harmless acts, placed together to create a third harmless act, are still harmless acts. Conflating that with the utterly false idea that combining them puts them into the same class as acts that cause harm is disingenuous and misleading.

  • Re:ban it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @06:00PM (#41652251)
    If prostitution wasn't illegal the prostitutes would just go to the police if the clients or bosses did anything.
  • Re:ban it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @06:11PM (#41652305)

    The reason prostitutes can be victimized by johns and therefore need pimps to look after them is because prostitution is illegal, if it were legal they could go to the police when their clients abuse them, when it is illegal they don't have the option of going to the police.

  • by PlusFiveTroll ( 754249 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @06:11PM (#41652311) Homepage

    >Walking out of a store is legal. Putting things in your pocket is legal.

    Because the act of theft is actively depriving the store.

    The act of prostitution is actively depriving who again?

  • by PlusFiveTroll ( 754249 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @06:18PM (#41652343) Homepage

    This is America, sex is bad. Violence on the other hand is cool stuff.

  • Re:I recall... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by devleopard ( 317515 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @06:43PM (#41652545) Homepage

    The same is said of consensual sex with a minor: anyone under legal age is incapable of consenting. A 22 that has sex with a girl 17 years old, 364 days at 10PM is a felon who must register for the rest of his life as sex offender, but if they go to a movie first and then get it on at 12:01AM he's in the clear. (I'll leave it to other commenters to come up with a snarky comment)

    (Assuming it's a state where 18 is the legal age, I know it varies)

      Kinda interesting considering that minors can be certified as adults for purposes of conviction, but not for purposes of defense.

  • Re:I recall... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @06:47PM (#41652577)
    Drinking while driving is not a harmless act. You're still conflating harmless with non-harmless.
  • Re:Stupider logic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dr2chase ( 653338 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @07:05PM (#41652697) Homepage

    And if the women is not paid for sex, her body has a way to shut those infections down?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @09:22PM (#41653523)

    "The act of prostitution deprives prostitutes of their freedom and of the control over their bodies."

    How is this different from anyone who earns a paycheck in a mindless manufacturing job?

    I do agree that it should be legal and regulated.

  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @10:14PM (#41653797) Homepage

    The problem doesn't seem to be that Johns deserve privacy until proven guilty. The problem is that rich or important Johns deserve privacy until proven guilty, and potentially thereafter as well.

    Why are the well-to-do and well-connected being protected from losing their board positions, when the justice system doesn't bat an eye at causing factory workers and office assistants to lose theirs in similar circumstances?

  • by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @10:42PM (#41653945)
    Bullshit. A a prostitute, who is generally a sole-proprietor, controls the terms and conditions of her body's use to a greater extent than most workers. Being acted on directly by another is not any more oppressive than being acted on by the work environment controlled by the boss, though of course there also jobs like contact sports entertainment. Taboos aside, working for a sub-survival wage is rationally more shameful than being paid well, unless you are doing something truly reprehensible like practicing law.
  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:05AM (#41654401)

    you have a very naive viewpoint, most the ones not in the 70 to 90 percent which are slaves are are acting out of desperation. there is thus no such "control", your view of a prostitute is a fantasy.

  • Re:ban it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @05:14AM (#41655647)

    But the discussion here is why prostitution is illegal. If it was legal, then there would be no problems with informing the police. And the public law enforcement wouldn't be substituted by the guards, it would just be supplemented - just like with all other private guards. A customer is less likely to start beating a prostitute if there is a 300 pound gorilla sitting outside in the lobby.

  • by sFurbo ( 1361249 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:52AM (#41655961)

    No mentally stable, non-self-loathing woman with options will choose to be come a prostitute.

    I see, you know the mind of every women on earth. Or are you going to define "mentally stable, non-self-loathing" as one who does not want to become a prostitute, true Scotsman-style?

    There are women who want to be a prostitute but they do it for money/laughs.

    I see, you chose "blatantly disagreeing with myself". I suppose you will claim you didn't write any of the things I quote you for?

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