Friday, June 16, 2006

You Are Here: The Blogger Remembers Being Idealistic, Once...

Jean. Fuckin' Jean. I am so in love with you, hon. Someday I & mine will share steamed crabs with you & yours under the big silvery moon, god willing.

all-a-y'all go there, read that, feel less dirty.

I wonder if all this sturm und drang speaks more to all our own individual boogeymen lurking under our own individual beds than to actual solutions to the problem of sexual predators weighed against constitutional rights.

Some of us have jackbooted hoodlums with big shiny badges goosestepping through our nightmares, busting down doors and swinging blackjacks. Others of us have stickyfingered trenchcoated phantom perverts creeping up on us through a dreamscape of sexual horror.

Sometimes the jackbooted hoodlums are real, and sometimes the perverts are real. There's no getting around that from either side.

I do think of the children, and their inalienable civil right to grow up free from molestation and exploitation, their right to physical inviolability, their right to their own sexual development free from the interference of dangerous perverts. I get that. I'd even go so far as to say that every good and decent human being should stand for that.

I just don't think that these sorts of internet dragnets capture the actual evildoers, but instead waste lots and lots of time and resources "flagging for further interest" and "establishing patterns of behavior" that amount to a lot of sound and fury but ultimately signify nothing, THEREBY ALLOWING THE ACTUAL EVILDOERS TO CONTINUE DOING EVIL while at the same time creating a climate of fear for people who aren't actually doing evil.

Me, for example. I'm not searching for child porn on the internet, and yet I'm afraid. I'm afraid some mischievous 12-year-old will port-spoof my ass and I'll never recover from the shame. I'm afraid that something I say will be taken out of context and evil-ized and rumor-ized and I'll spend the rest of my life like Andrea Dworkin going "I never said that I never said that I never said that..." I'm afraid of the jackbooted goosestepping hoodlums with badges, and those who support them.

Wanting to save the children - not idiotic at all. Noble, brave, commendable.

Thinking that reporting sitemeter statistics to some kind of credit bureau of perverts will save the children without harming innocent people - idiotic completely. Stupid, ineffective, condemn-able.

If I could be absolutely rocksolidcertain that some real flesh and blood child was saved by the alert citizen who reported an internet search, I could support such actions with a whole heart.

But nobody has mentioned even one instance where a conviction has been made, or even an arrest, based on sitemeter stats.

If I'm gonna play Junior G-man, I want to make sure that my efforts actually catch actual criminals and actually save actual children.

Otherwise I have better uses for my Genuine Real Police-Style handcuffs...

well, Dim got it wrong again since I was simply calling these organizations, in general, idiotic for the very reasons you state. and i stated as much in comments on that post and a couple of days later.

this is what I wrote to Belledame:

heh. it's true. I think the organization is idiotic. i think the entire government is idiotic, not in an anarchist way, of course. i called them idiotic b/c, on my view, what they probably did was the equivalent of patting BB on the head and say, "thanks for reporting this info, now run along little girl."

Because, when you look at the reporting form, they are looking for USENET and Bulletin Boards and IRC channels. They don't give a fuck about the results they get from sitemeter because they want to catch the people posting the crap on USENET, running BBs and IRC chat rooms, etc. They want the people making money off it. They want the people who may know who taking the photos and the snapshots.

They are not interested in the people looking for it in stupid ways. As everyone knows, it's not available via google search. You find it by knowing someone who knows.

well, everybody who actually knows anything about cybercrime, the FBI, and the Keystone Feds.

Hence, the org is idiotic because it plays with us and it played with BB, giving us a false sense of "fighting injustice" and a lot of other horseshit.

There really are people who sit around and think about how to distract us with tht crap. They mostly harmless and ultimately inept, but part of the military's job is to figure out how to lie to us. They present papers on it every year at a conference called Infowarcon.

why? Because sometimes it's useful to distract humans with shiny balls and twinkly buttons, so no one's looking at what they're really doing.

Can't bluff someone if they're not paying attention.

How's that for tinfoil hat, hhhhmmmm?

But if you go look really closely at the cybertipline reporting sheet and who and what theywant you to report, you'll notice there isn't anything there for people _searching_ for kidding porn. There isn't a line item there for an IP address.

They don't give a rat's ass about that since, for $30 or less, I can see it to it that my IP address isn't report properly. It'll look like I'm dialing in from Australia or Croatia, but not where I am. It'll look like my IP address is some obscure dial up in Vermont.

Sick weirdos who really have a problem have figured this out. They won't be caught. As BB pointed out in a follow up post, when she called Cybertipline, they said they were looking for people who'd been caught, charged, punished, and might do it again. I'm guessing they're not that dumb.

Casual weirdos? Uh? They should be hunted down by violating our civil rights.


The organization is idiotic for telling BB that she was accomplishing anything. She'd be better off holding a friday fundraiser, getting everyone to donate a buck when the sitemeter results are reported, and donated it to an orgnization that IS helping people. Today. Tomorrow. Or skipping the houur to write up the sitemeter stats and volunteering at the local rape crisis center or child protection center.

Or, oh hey. I know. Interne with the child protection center for awhile. Watch how many professional in child protection are cynically using the threat of "we're taking your children" away -- just as they did to lester Siler and his wife. See how many use this to try to fuck with people, and usually poor people. Be/c they don't usually fuck with people in nice homes who can hire lawyers.

See how many child protection agencies turn out to be abusive themselves.

You know: actually work with these organization and let's find how the unblemished truth of how they do both good and bad and ask ourselves: is it worth it?
oh, and by the way, i could tell hair raising stories of why i see jackboots. i will do it privately for reasons Jean will understand.

but i also molesters lurking in the living room, at the family picnic, and fixing your training wheels and helping you learn to ride a bike.

that is, the biggest problem for us is domestic sexual assault. i grew up in the county in upstate NY with highest rate of incest, teen pregnancy, and yes, beastility. Teams of social scientiest learned to speak farm animal to collect those stats. a joke that last bit.

anyway, in one neighborhood when i was an adult and married, 2 of the 9 families houseed a molestor.

the family next to us, torn apart when it finally came out. torn apart b/c there was also no way the mother did not know in these crackerbox houses with thin walls. she had no job outside the home and couldn't drive. there every minute. three times a day he had sex with his wife and another two times a day sex with the girl.

The other guy? His daughter finally got pregnant and he blew his brains out over what he'd done for years. Another girl, another family, torn apart and screwed for life.

They're are there alright. Standing right next to the Cybertipline employee who patronized BB.

I'm sure,just as with rape, our biggest problem is not the anonymous, sleazy random weirdo -- like the one who flashed us in the park as kids -- but the relatives raping and abusing children.
But, but, it's cheaper and less societally disruptive to overhype the risk of stranger danger than to actually take steps to deal with overlooked dangers in our midst.

Just as it's easier to implement a guilt-inducing ad campaign to shame non-breastfeeders, rather than institute any actual changes to make breastfeeding easier

I think you hit the nail on the head by describing it as a false sense of "fighting injustice". Such an easy way to make one's heart swell with pride. [Just look at all the yellow ribbon bumper-stickers on SUVs, or Duhbe's indignation when we aren't impressed by hir actions.]
Report from the Annals of Idiocy

1. I called Cybertipline. I'd thought I'd do it then, I was lazy. It's Friday. What the hell.

Me: Hi. I run a website. I was told I can report child pornographic searches on my site.

Her: You want to report online child porn?

Me: Goshes no! I know someonw who has a site who says that I can report visitors to my site who are there to find child Pornography.

Her: They're entering phrases into your site's search box?

Me: No. They're searching on google.

Her: I don't think anyone can get in trouble for that. You actually have to look at child porn.

Me: Oh

Her: You have to look at it a lot.

Me: So, someone searching for child porn, isn't he a creep.

Her: Sure. You can report it if you want.

Me: but there isn't a line item on the form for that information.

Her: Hmmm

Me: Is there someone therw ho knows?

Her: Well, to tell you the truth, I don't know anything about how the analysts study this information. I just know that they take information and analyze it.

Me: Can I talk to them?

Her: You know, did you see the part when you can add comments? Why don't you put the IP address and the search words there.

Me: What's an IP address. I think I understand....

Her: Ummm. (quiet for awhile). Oh. Here. It's the special number assigned to a computer using the Internet to communicate with other computers. Every computer has one.

Me: Like a house number?

Her: Not really. IP addresses are, it says here, dynamically assigned. They can change and you don't always have the same one.

Me: Well, that's confusing. But anyway, so what will happen?

Her: I don't really know. I handle these calls, but the analysis happens in a crime lab.

Me: anyone know there?

Her: You can put the information in the cybertipline form and be sure to give them your phone number.

Me: Oh? They will call me?

Her: If you want them to and they find something, they can call. Now, with your case, they might just call and say, 'Thanks for wanting to help, but we can't do anything about people searching for child pornography.' I don't know. I know that just searching probably won't get you in trouble. Someone could be looking for statistics about child pornography and find your site.

Me: I don't think these searches mean they are doing research. They are really disgusting.

Her: Well, just fill out that form and tell us what you know. Be sure to give us a phone number to contact you. If we learn anything, we'll let you know.

Me: But I want to be sure this is doing something.

Her: Well, you know, it can't hurt. So send them the information.
hee. sorry. when i first started working in the biz, I did what they call "social engineering" as part of a 'tiger team'. companies hired us to crack into their networks, to find the weak spots, so they could know how to strengthen them.

but cracking into networks is made much easier with a social engineer. Kevin Mittnick, the famous Haxor, got into networks, not with computer skills, but with good phone skills. he'd just ask someone for their password and they'd give it to him. Ha.

so, an integral part of a tiger team is the social engineer who solicits info from people. i didn't turn on the charm. not enough coffee in me.

besies, i just wanted to be a normal person fighting justice and evil with my SooperKeyboard!
FWIW - here are the comments on the retraction; I'm posting here because I'm not expecting to get through over there.

I'm glad you did. I was really worried about that.
Ken | 06.15.06 - 3:16 pm | #


Me too. Imagine confusing crypto-fascist with proto-fascist. It's just not done!
delphyne | 06.15.06 - 8:19 pm | #


Me three. Imagine it really making a huge difference in the point being made. What a relief!
manxome | Homepage | 06.15.06 - 10:31 pm | #


phew, thank goodness you corrected that, Dubhe! Otherwise we might have had completely the wrong idea about The Certain Blogger...
Laurelin | Homepage | 06.16.06 - 7:22 am | #


And my reply, which I will submit to The Den -

With all due respect, I think you're missing the point of why it was important to ALL OF US to make that correction.

The issue was this - Dubhe said originally that a "PRO-KIDDIE-PORN FEMINIST" called The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children "cryptofascist".

It's not the "cryptofascist" that was really the problem. It was the fact that somebody somewhere was calling hirself a "pro-kiddie-porn feminist" and at the same time, this person was heaping scorn upon a reputable, good-intentioned non-profit organization.

Unfortunately, no such person was doing any such thing. there was no direct quote from ANYONE (pro-kiddie-porn or not) which alleged such things against NCMEC.

The "Certain Blogger" was dangerously misinterpreted. It reminded me of another time a feminist was dangerously misinterpreted.

I'm sure we're all familiar with the phrase "all sex is rape" being attributed falsely to Andrea Dworkin. She (and her supporters) had to waste all manner of time and energy refuting the claim that she said that. Her critics wasted all manner of time and energy ripping her apart over something she never even said, time that could have been used in the furtherance of greater understanding between her supporters and her critics.

Think about the damage done to the feminist community, radical and otherwise, by the mischaracterization embodied in that statement, "all sex is rape" - damage which never would have been inflicted if someone hadn't started the nasty rumor that Dworkin said WHAT SHE NEVER DID SAY.

My point is - there's plenty of real stuff to argue about, and as a result of that, plenty of opportunities to grow and develop as feminists in the world, but only if what you're arguing about is REAL and TRUE.

What Dubhe said about this particular blogger was neither REAL nor TRUE. Nobody is helped by that. Not you, not me.
BL, you actually called the Cybertipline? I love it! Thanks for the transcript.
It was a bullshit apology, and bullshit responses. I don't respond at Teh Den because I know my comments will be moderated away, so I won't even bother to point that out to them over there. All that said...I'm always up for crabs and beer, anti.
amber -- yah. i highly encourage other s to do likewise. although i suspect they will get weirded out if a lot of people call about this.

antip -- wow. that was a good reasponse. but also, wow: i figured. anything i would type in my defense would just be responded to wtih "yeahsureright, bitch." I bin ta these goat ropins' on the Internets (tm) before.

i suppose it matters in some sense. e.g., I might have been inclined to believe the crap about Dworkin had a feminist online not challenged the men who were spreading that info. Now, _I'm_ the first one on those discussion lists to defend Dworkin b/c of what I learned from her. She's left the lists, but I'm carrying the torch, damn it! No one cracks on Dworkin with the rape line with this Bitch around. *grin*

Jean: I throw horns. It's knowing that attorneys like you exist that has kept me sane thru the situation I've dealt with the past 6 months. In fact, it's just a thrill to read someone who is lawyering who loves the principles for which they fight, in spite of the minutae in which your day-to-day life on the job is often buried. I love that about anyone who truly loves their work -- who still remembers why it gets them, why it makes them tick.


And you know, too, there's more than one way to abuse a child. It doesn't *have* to be as dramatic as sexual abuse. There is for example such a thing as emotional abuse, and verbal abuse. Fairly certain that exposing your kids to an environment where one parental figure is screaming and bellowing at the other all night would qualify as the one; assuming the parental figure doesn't also extend the all-nite screaming and bellowing to the kids as well.

Oh, no agency's gonna step in for that sort of thing, certainly. Probably even your kids won't tell you they think it's abusive. Because chances are *you're scaring the crap out of them.*
"I called Cybertipline..."


(drying eyes)

Oh, but, um. Uhm. Why should we believe you? Aren't you that woman who once said "fuck feminists?" I suppose that's how you get YOUR jollies. You're probably a man, anyway. And a fraud. A fraudulent man. Stop pretending to be a man, you faker! RAPE FANTASIES!!! CHILD PORN!!!!! Why do you hate America so much?

most definitely on the emotional abuse and the all night yelling and screaming.

and yeah, no one has to believe me, but why believe BB's report. Oh. that's right: fuck feminists. :)

Still, I encourage folks to call over the course of the next coupla weeks. I asked her to speak slowly and repeat herself as I scribbled my special shorthand.

The woman I spoke with was probably in her mid-twenties and very nice. she obviously didn't want to move the phone call upstairs, which I was trying to get her to do.

if I didn't have a lot to do, I'm inclined out of sheer curiosity to do a story on this, calling on clients for whom I used to work who know folks in the cybercrime biz, espcially child porn. There's also a 'hacker underground' that fights child porn. They've built what they call 'honeypots': web designed to trap peole looking for child porn. was some controversy about the ethics of that back in 1999-2000. Anyway, they think of themselves as ethical hackers who use their skillz to fight this stuff. Why that's related, I've forgotten... Oh yeah, I was thinking a cool story would be to get in touch with them and learn more about what they do.
Crabs and beer?


I think i'm a little young yet to remember my idealism. But i don't really feel like i have any now. Guess i'll make some up in retrospect.
not sure yet. possibly the Group W bench.
Cybertipline is Congressionally mandated. The NCMEC is a weird hybrid org that began as non-governmental but has slowly evolved. E.g., the Adam Walsh Center merged with Feds back in the 90s. I suspect that the biggest reason for making it difficult to tell that it's closely tied to the givernment is that doing so would close off donations to the org. e.g., when we think our taxes are paying for it, we won't donate. just a hunch. anyway, from their FAQ:

The Congressionally-mandated CyberTipline is a reporting mechanism for cases of child sexual exploitation including pornographic images of children, online enticement of children for sex acts, molestation of children outside the family, sex tourism of children, child victims of prostitution, and unsolicited obscene material sent to a child. Reports may be made 24-hours per day, 7 days per week online at or by calling 1-800-843-5678.
"It all started to go downhill at recess one morning. Still spitting sand, I reflected bitterly that that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; nor yet the swings to the first in line; but time and chance happeneth to them all."
been meaning to ask: what does slip mean?
agh. yet another convention that is apparently only from the Vee Cee. it just means: someone else's posts "slipped" while you were responding to the one directly above.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wrong topic, sorry
You were with the VietCong!?!?

[Seriously, just curious what the acronym stands for.]
"virtual community"
okay, now *I'm* feeling like a cultist. loading the language!
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