By virtue of its simplicity, popularity, and price free! In my own house, the dining room table, bedroom dresser, kitchen stroller, deck chairs, and rowing machine all came through people we met through the site—and every single transaction has turned out to involve cool people, good quality products, and no problems.
But those same virtues always mean the site will attract not-so-cool people. More common criticisms have concerned prostitution.
Craigslist used to have a section called "erotic services" that became notorious among law enforcement for rampant use by prostitutes and johns. State Attorneys General from across the US pressured Craigslist until the site changed the section to "adult services" and instituted more hurdles to posting. But eventually, Craigslist bowed to the pressure and killed the section altogether.
Warner's case makes the questions clear, though it provides no easy answers: was it better that he have access to such a simple tool for finding those who shared his perverse interests, since the very openness of Craigslist made such posts easy to find and then police? Or would it have been better to vet such posts more closely first, driving them further underground but also making it more difficult for Warner to find fellow travelers? The existence of numerous posts like Warner's on the site might suggest that his method had producedand that he routinely met young girls for abusive encounters.
But that apparently wasn't true—as he told police that night after the parking lot arrest, he posted on Craigslist about once a week. No one had ever provided him with underwear; no one had ever taken him up on the "free babysitting.
Warner further claimed that he would "have been shocked if a real 13 year old girl showed up that day," according to a later FBI document, in part because the chats didn't seem like "something a 13 year old would say. Yet he had expected something or he wouldn't have driven all that way.
And he had talked about the Vicky photos and mailed shots of his genitalia to someone claiming to be 13 and he had shared possible child porn with Detective Smith. Baltimore County police obtained a search warrant for Warner's apartment the next day and seized a laptop, an iPod, a cell phone, and a thumb drive.
The FBI was later asked to help with the material and obtained its own federal warrant to go through the devices. In lateWarner ed a plea deal for a single federal count of using an "interstate commerce facility to entice [a] minor to engage in sexual activity.
He discovered the site Goodre, where a "lordbdub" from Joppa, Maryland hung out in Stephen King fan groups and said he was looking for writing that "actually makes me FEEL something. If a book can move me emotionally or physically then theres a good chance I'll enjoy it. The prospect of prison clearly alarmed him.
User "lordbdub" ed the Prison Talk website in December and posted a comment in the "Headed to Prison" forum. The comment heading was "Can someone help me please? Do not talk the facts of the case.
Do not talk about your mental health history. You need to go over to the Loving a Sex Offender forum and browse around there.
Educate yourself on civil commitment, and see if your state has a civ confinement law, or are you federal? See, if you are a sex offender, and they decide that because of the risk of re-offending due to a mental disease or defect is high enough, you could be committed to a civil "treatment facility" for the rest of your life.
Admission that you have these problems, as you have here, is a big thing.
That you "wanted to get caught" is another thing they'll look at On January 13,he learned his fate: months in a federal prison. The judge left him free until March, when he had to turn himself in to the Bureau of Prisons and begin a new life for the next decade.
Once he gets out, he will remain a registered sex offender. The Internet is an enormous communications network, and there's no possible way to stop all the people like Warner from looking for online comrades.
Leaning on a site like Craigslist may or may not reduce the problem, but no one believes than any single site or any single set of rules can bring it to a complete stop. Warner certainly knew that he could troll all sorts of unusual venues looking for his kicks. My own research showed that, a few weeks before his arrest, he had responded to a Yahoo Answers question —hardly the first spot someone would think of going to bust someone looking for child sex. Turn on?
Warner responded, "YES!!!! But the Internet gives investigators opportunities of their own—finding and contacting people like Warner requires only e-mail and a Web browser.
And despite the perceived anonymity of the Internet, most actual Internet-enabled crimes have some component through which identity is quite easily revealed. Trolling Craigslist for sex with children? Offenders need to contact their targets by phone or e-mail or instant message; eventually, they need to meet.
Subpoenas, stakeouts, undercover officers—all the traditional policing tools still work in this new world. The new policing doesn't rely on cops coming in as computer geniuses, either; training in such topics has become routine.
Detective Smith was able to take courses throughout his career in topics like "electronic surveillance," "intercept of secure communications," "protecting children online," "basic online undercover investigations," and "FBI peer to peer advanced computer training. Smith got good enough at it that byhe was giving seminars of his own PDF. If even a notorious hacker like Sabu can't keep himself hiddenpeople like "lordbdub" are unlikely to succeed.
And increasingly, they are being taken down even by local cops patrolling their local communities—by hanging out on the international Internet. Nate Anderson Nate is the deputy editor at Ars Technica, where he oversees long-form feature content and writes about technology law and policy.
Channel Ars Technica. ZIP: 74469