November 17, 2008

Man Convicted Either For Child Porn Or Nothing

You decide.  Make sure that once you pick, you accept the logical consequences of your choice.

Britain-- where they have more surveillance cameras than jobs (sadly, zing)--

A man has made legal history as the first to be sentenced for downloading "Tomb Raider-style" computer-generated child pornography...The pictures were part of an illustrated story involving child abuse and incest - but involving no real children
Computer generated still pictures. 

The pictures on which Hoque was acquitted were "almost comic strips" with speech bubbles, the court heard.

The six pictures on which he was found guilty were so realistic, the jury concluded they looked like photographs.

No one thought he had molested anyone, and it appears no one even thought he was going to.  But the pics are more like heroin, the more you use, the more you want, and maybe then you might become a molester:

"I think you'll get some insight into the damage that children can suffer. This may be on the fringes of it but it's still an entrance, a door into a very murky and distasteful world." [said the judge.]

The problem with this argument is that it doesn't fit the reality.  Are you sentencing him for possessing the pictures only, or because it leads down the path to wanting more?  Because he already wanted more:

They were among tens of thousands of images on his computer hard drive seized by the police in October 2006, ranging from crude, simple illustrations to cartoon images to complex graphics.

Most were "fairly distasteful and disgusting, but perfectly lawful", said the judge.

In other words, if he had the tens of thousands but not those six, is there no concern?  If I had those six, but not the other ten thousand, would I get the same sentence?

You have no idea, really, if it leads to molestation, that argument is a red herring.  If it was actually the real concern, then this would not have happened:

The judge did not ban Hoque from working with children.

The problem with policing a thought crime is that we can't agree on what is a crime, let alone a thought.  And if you don't have the legal or physical ability to forbid someone from performing a physical action (e.g. work with kids) how do you plan on forbidding them from thinking things?

These are not real kids, this is CGI.  As abhorrent as it may be, you can't regulate thought on the assumption it leads to behavior.  It is impossible to ask how many virtual child porn users molest.  There's no way to verify either.

You can't argue that fake child porn will incite them to molest kids; legal porn wouldn't get them fired up as well?  Or the KMart catalog?  Or a visit to the playground?

Almost Supreme Court Justice-but-instead-we-got-Kennedy Robert Bork made the argument that pornography, especially child pornography, doesn't deserve to be protected speech anyway.  Carefully, he hedges that while the government shouldn't have the right to outlaw such "speech," neither does it have the right to prevent segments of society from curbing it themselves.  Supporting this nuance, he us that porn as a first amendment issue is a relatively new discussion, despite how the First Amendment, not to mention porn, actually is.

He's right, but he's perhaps purposely avoiding the question of whether it is ok to punish real people  for, in essence, looking at stuff. 

As I've said elsewhere on the same subject, don't confuse my neolib sentiments for actual lib sentiments: if you want to prevent child molestation, make it a capital crime.  But the focus has to be on the act, not the thought, because you can't measure the thought, neither does it translate clearly into act.


(Older post on pedophilia.)  

















Comments

Another point which has to ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2008 2:26 PM | Posted by David: | Reply

Another point which has to be included: actual child porn involves a real victim. The issue of free speech becomes secondary to the commercialization and/or propagation of material related to that sexual abuse.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
"As abhorrent as it may be,... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2008 2:38 PM | Posted by Neuroskeptic: | Reply

"As abhorrent as it may be, you can't regulate thought on the assumption it leads to behavior."

Obviously not - and I doubt anyone would seriously try. I don't think anyone really believes it - it's a rationalisation. The jury just really don't like the idea of child porn, even if it's fake, so they convicted him.

Fair enough, but they should just admit that's what they're doing, so we can decide whether that's the kind of society we want to live in.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Supporting this nu... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2008 3:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Supporting this nuance, he us that porn as a first amendment issue is a relatively new discussion, despite how the First Amendment, not to mention porn, actually is.
I'm really confused.

Alone's response: No, I'm an idiot. Fixed.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
It's worth pointing out tha... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2008 6:09 PM | Posted by Ambrose Nankivell: | Reply

It's worth pointing out that the actual conviction is for a specific crime of looking at images that would be illegal if they were real. And (from what I've heard) they have to be difficult to distinguish from real so, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Girls * would be fine, as it's cartoons.

I guess the actual trial itself merely hinged on whether or not the images were lifelike enough to be illegal. And it's newsworthy not because it's a weird/dodgy judgement call by a court, but because it's the first conviction under a new law.

So why does the law exist?

Well, there's the 'real' answer, which is that it's effortless to implement, appeals to base instincts (with a huge dose of self-righteousness and a modicum of titillation), difficult to object to and, most importantly, is protecting people against unverifiable monsters.

Why would you want to distract the public debate on crime from things like muggings, vandalism, burglary and other crimes? Because public perception of the frequency of those crimes is correlated as much with how shrill the press is about them as it is with how often the crimes are actually committed.

Having said all that, I think that there is a reasonable public interest in reducing the amount to which these images are created and viewed, because from society's point of view, there is no upside to them, and there is a risk/harm. Because (see e.g. http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/sadly_porn/ ) these images are likely to damage the social function and sexuality of people who use them for erotic purposes, and (stereotype coming) these people are already those likely to be on the margins already, but not over the margins, I think there's certainly a case to be made that having these images illegal would provide a better boundary to these people's behaviour than the almost imperceptible boundary between a photorealistic sexual drawing/rendering/montage of a child and that of a real photo of an actual child suffering sexual abuse.

So looking at it in terms of the law being a slightly firmer and wider boundary on what is socially acceptable than normal censure, I think that there's a case to be made for this law. And here in the UK, there's no constitution to compare it to.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
It's like a more pervy 1984... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2008 7:22 PM | Posted by Shaan: | Reply

It's like a more pervy 1984!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
RE "how do you plan on forb... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2008 8:24 AM | Posted by mark p.s.2: | Reply

RE "how do you plan on forbidding them from thinking things?"

Answer:A psychiatrist forces antipsychotics on the patient.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
So you don't buy the utilit... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2008 1:07 AM | Posted by daniel: | Reply

So you don't buy the utilitarian argument?

He might value porn greatly but doesn't the value of the the deterent effect of this decision trump his loss of liberty?

And you though it's not obvious from the decision i believe this would work well as deterence.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
This is the same argument u... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2008 10:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is the same argument used to justify the criminalization of marijuana: they're "gateway" pictures. I think there's a reasonable public interest in allowing people a safe outlet as well. By erecting a firm boundary, you force people to rub up against it and that much more likely for them to burst through it.

BTW, if you search for 'hentai' or 'ecchi' and you'll see there's quite a lot out there.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
I was thinking more along t... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2008 1:09 PM | Posted by daniel: | Reply

I was thinking more along the lines of the social benefit that society gets from keeping itself in the dark about the existence of these kinds of pictures. Deterence in the sense that you have to be able to hide your porn better or we'll come after you regardless of whether they're real or not.

The gateway argument is, i believe, kind of weak.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Sounds like an injustice to... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2008 11:30 AM | Posted by Felan: | Reply

Sounds like an injustice to me.

6 out of 10000 that questionably borders on child pornography doesn't seem like a very good reason to charge him with a crime to me. Maybe they were able to demonstrate an strong preference for viewing those particular images out of the 10000 other images, but that doesn't seem to be suggested by the article. So even if you are willing to thought police I think this case is really dodgy.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
hentai and ecchi are not re... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2009 9:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

hentai and ecchi are not representations of child porn, asians women are just tiny >.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
I realize that I am in a di... (Below threshold)

June 17, 2012 12:00 AM | Posted by gary lee: | Reply

I realize that I am in a different country and our laws don't apply there.
I am however in the adult entertainment industry and I (rightly so) have to jump through many hoops involving child pornography. Our laws (2257) require proper ID and model releases to be given on ALL adult video productions. I have to keep all these records and be ready to be questioned by law enforcement at any and all times. I for one am against child porn and the many amateur girls who work for me know that I can be a pain in the butt to make sure all my records are done perfectly.
I don't do these cartoons at any of my sites including my biggest cuntrybabes.com. However, I do think that this should be legal because there is no victim. How can there be a crime with no victim.
So on a movie on TV last night a lady was mugged in the park and the thief not only got her purse and money but when he beat her and shoved her down her head hit a rock and she was killed. If you ask me that thief should have gotten arrested (if it were real)for a strong-arm robbery and even murder. I really doubt that the actor involved was arrested for anything and so far the police have not came to my door and hauled me to the klink for watching it.
I guess I live in the right country.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (8 votes cast)
I'm no psych nor lawyer and... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 6:11 AM | Posted by Ariel: | Reply

I'm no psych nor lawyer and I live in a different country, but I assume the nub is something like:

- it is bad and wrong to abuse children.
- to seek images of genuine child abuse is to "demand" a "supply", and creates motivation for someone else to abuse a kid. So that's bad and wrong too.
- a person who seeks images of genuine child abuse knows (at some level at least) that they are looking at abuse that really happened, and that's bad and/or wrong one way or another.
- no children were abused during the creation of the faked/CGI child porn pics. Which is...fine?
- thinking something is NOT the same as doing something.
- you get sentenced for something you DID, not something that might happen, maybe, down the track.
- a person who fantasises in this direction and spends time collecting and viewing real or fake images can become attenuated and desensitised, and their fantasies may escalate in bad/wrong ways.

Given all that, I'm comfortable with the legal acquittal if the dude honestly did not have any pics of real child abuse. Not so happy if he didn't get some form of enforced intervention that included forensic mental health assessment plan plus a ban on working with kiddies while going through treatment.

I do have a niggling doubt that CGI child abuse porn can be created without using reference material...

The

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Even if you use "reference ... (Below threshold)

March 20, 2013 12:00 AM | Posted, in reply to Ariel's comment, by Atarii: | Reply

Even if you use "reference material," that could constitute looking at a child from a distance, drawing him, and using that as a base model.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
So when are you going to ge... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2013 12:41 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Ataroo: | Reply

So when are you going to get on fixing that? I suspect what you meant to write was,

"Supporting this nuance, he says that porn as a first amendment issue is a relatively new discussion, despite how old the First Amendment -- not to mention porn -- actually is."

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Depictions of child porn ar... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2013 2:28 AM | Posted by Blivet: | Reply

Depictions of child porn are so unimportant, from a first amendment point of view, that suppressing them costs nothing and is a fine opportunity to put a stick in the eye of a pervert. if I offended any perverts, deal with it.

I understand that, as a society, that most Americans have an irrepressible urge to nail themselves to the cross in the name of some wholly theoretical value, like protecting child porn under the pretense of freedom of speech. But not me.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)

Post a Comment


Live Comment Preview

October 25, 2014 03:45 AM | Posted by Anonymous: