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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Searching Made Unusually Terrifying

This is right up my alley- child pornography. What? No! Geeze. I mean the ethical and technological issues. Just because I'm a libertarian...

Pedophilia is, of course, a problem that any society has to deal with, but porn was made possible by technology. Drawing, writing, photography, videography, and CGI.

The mellifluous Michelle Malkin mentioned the massive amounts of motion picture pornography made popular by p2p. This is a problem, in a way, because any system that can send information can send bad information. Since p2p is so easy and anonymous, and since there are no central servers to be shut down, it is the perfect medium for child porn.

There is theoretically nothing unethical with watching child pornography, although its effects on the psyche are extremely unhealthy. This seems to return us to the question of using the results of a crime for good; should we use the research done by Dr. Mengele and other Nazis? Can someone believe research on embryos is wrong, but still use the fruits of the research? In these cases, the demand for the research, while not wrong in itself, creates a demand for more research. Using tainted research in a way that will encourage more tainted research makes the user an accomplice.

In p2p, does the consumption of pornography encourage its supply? To answer that would require that we understand the motives of the pornographers. Are they exhibitionists? The individuals who make pr0n are not necessarily those who distribute it, but when it is distributed freely, what are the motives of the distributors? Do they want to share and make the world a better place? That seems unlikely.

Regardless of the moral issues evoked by the consumption of child pornography, the production of it is the real concern.

Computer generated images don't use a child at all; The 9th circuit has already found the possession of this type of video to be legal. There is no victim, so there can be no crime. The problem is that soon, technology will make virtual and real images indistinguishable.

My conclusion is that the rampant spread of child pornography via p2p will ultimately be a good thing. This is because the video will be available to law enforcement, and facial recognition technology will also be available. It will be possible to run the video through a database of, say, every American's ID picture.

There is no national ID; there is no database of faces. However, many school age children now have school IDs, and that number will approach 100%. The database is simple, the technology is almost mature. Anyone who produces the video will be caught. The extreme copyright infringement of the p2p world means that all video will eventually end up on the network.

Imagine if image captures of the subjects' faces were run on the nightly news.

This is ManiaC Provost, signing off. Courage.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story is somewhat related to your comments.

12:24 PM  

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