Law-enforcement officials and groups that oppose human trafficking have been highly critical of Craigslist, saying that the adult helped facilitate prostitution and the selling of women against their will. Craigslist, which is based in San Francisco, did not respond to requests for comment, and it was unclear whether the block represented a permanent shift in policy or a temporary protest against the outside pressure on the company, which has lasted several years.
The controversy is the one of the most prominent in the debate over free speech on the Web, where anyone can easily and anonymously post anything: just how much responsibility does a Web site have for what is posted by its users, or for potential criminal activity that from the posts? The company, while promising to provide more rigorous oversight of thehas defended its right to run them and says it is protected under federal law — the Communications Decency Act — a position that judges and legal experts have generally backed.
There is human trafficking in children, assaults on women. Craigslist continued to block access to the section on Sunday. Craigslist is private and does not report financial figures.
Some Internet law analysts said on Saturday that Craigslist could be sending more than one al — that it was both capitulating to law enforcement and thumbing its nose at it. Burke, a lawyer at Davis Wright Tremaine who specializes in Internet law and is not involved with Craigslist.
But Malika Saada Saar, executive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, a nonprofit group that has urged Craigslist to shut the adult services section and screen the entire site for suchsaid the company should be held responsible for what appears on its site. Craigslist has taken steps to appease critics before. But criticism has continued, fueled by prominent cases like that of Philip Markoff, a Boston medical student who was charged with murdering a woman he had met on Craigslist.
He pleaded not guilty, and he died in jail last month in an apparent suicide. The section in question appears not to have been blocked abroad. ZIP: 50022