SALT LAKE CITY- Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff signed an agreement today with Craigslist to stop inappropriate content and illegal activity on the classified ad Web site.
Utah and 42 other states, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also signed the agreement to crack down on problems in the erotic services section of Craigslist.
Under the agreement, Craigslist will require posters of erotic services ads to give a working phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card. Craigslist has agreed to provide that information in response to law enforcement subpoenas. All proceeds from the erotic services ads will be donated to charity.
Shurtleff said, "The fee and phone requirements will help protect children, stop online prostitution and provide law enforcement with a road map to prosecute violators."
Craigslist also has committed to sue 14 software and Internet companies that charge a fee to help erotic service ad posters circumvent the Web site's defenses against inappropriate content and illegal activity.
The site will provide the attorneys general with information about those businesses for possible civil and criminal prosecution.
In addition, Craigslist will deploy search technology that it developed to assist the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and law enforcement agencies in identifying missing persons, children and victims of human trafficking. It will also explore technology to block inappropriate image uploads and provide a better filter for code words and euphemisms for illegal activity.
President and Chief Executive Officer of NCMEC Ernie Allen said, "The criminals engaged in the sexual trafficking of children no longer parade them on the streets of America's cities. Today, they market them via the Internet, enabling customers to shop for a child from the privacy of their own homes or hotel rooms."
Other steps by Craigslist to crack down on erotic services ad content include:
- Attach "tags" to the erotic services section that assist parental screening software.
- Employ "digital tagging" to identity and eliminate inappropriate content like pornography and criminal activity.
- Meet on a regular basis with the attorneys general to discuss additional ways to fight inappropriate content and make t he site safer.
- (Press release from the Utah Attorney General's Office)