Under the guise of protecting society from sex workers, a website has emerged that allows users to post names, locations, phone numbers and pictures of women suspected of prostitution. Potential Prostitutes, which launched in October of this year, alleges that it operates based on user submitted information from “motivated members [within] a community.”
Fantastic public service, right? Hardly! Aside from the fact that prostitution itself is far from a core community problem, as prostitution wouldn’t exist without a demand, Potential Prostitutes has zero accountability for the user-generated content. Anyone who wishes to post information about a woman who is “suspected of prostitution” can do so for free. That means that if your ex-boyfriend is a vengeful person, he can post your name, phone number, location and picture on the website for the entire global community to see.
If you’re wondering how Gottfrid Swartholm of PRQ Inet KB, Box 1206, Stockholm, Sweden, which is the registered information for the Potential Prostitutes domain, can get away with such blatant libelous actions you can look at section 230 of the U.S. federal Communications Decency Act law. This specific section of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) gives websites, with third party generated content, an out on liability that Potential Prostitutes takes great pride in boasting about.
The FAQ section of the site clearly states (and brags), “PotentialProstitutes.com has been sued on many occasions based on the content which our users have created and posted. If you are considering suing PotentialProstitutes.com because of a profile which you claim is defamatory, you should be aware that to date, PotentialProstitutes.com has never lost such a case.” The FAQ then proceeds to quote the CDA and intimidates readers with “we want to take a moment to explain the law, and to also explain that the filing of frivolous lawsuits can have serious consequences for those who file them, both parties and their attorneys.”
But all is not lost. If you find that your information has erroneously been placed on the site, they will gladly remove it for you. All that erroneous information will quickly be removed from the site within 60 minutes … if you pay them $99.95! This writer is not an attorney, which is why one is kept on retainer, but PotentialProstitutes.com smacks of extortion under Title 18 U.S. code 41 sections 873 (blackmail) and 880 (Receiving the proceeds of extortion).
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