The mantra of unfettered internet freedom has forced PayPal to abandon plans to prohibit the use of its payment network for child sex abuse material like The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct which was jettisoned by Amazon.com in 2010.
On March 8, 2012, in an act of conscientious corporate responsibility, PayPal revealed a longstanding policy which limited the use of its payments service "to purchase material focused on rape, incest or bestiality." Based perhaps on Amazon.com's experience with pedophile grooming manuals, PayPal recognized that "this type of content also sometimes intentionally blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction. Both these factors are problematic from a legal and risk perspective."
PayPal's policy, which was in place for many years, recognized the "business risk associated with this content" and that "PayPal is a payments company. The right to use PayPal’s service is not the same as the right to speak."
The backlash was swift and fierce. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) rallied in defense of the "right" to profit off child sex abuse manuals, how-to grooming guides and child rape manifestos.
Leading the charge was the Electronic Frontier Foundation whose tag line is Defending Your Right$ in a Digital World. Declaring that "financial services providers should be neutral when it comes to lawful online speech," EFF warned that "PayPal’s policy underscores how vulnerable such speech can be and how important it is to stand up and protect it."
Echoing the gospel of the new millennium, EFF proclaimed:
The Internet has become an international public commons, like an enormous town square, where ideas can be freely aired, exchanged, and criticized. That will change if private companies, which are under no legal obligation to respect free speech rights, are able to use their economic clout to dictate what people should read, write, and think.
PayPal, and the myriad other payment processors that support essential links in the free speech chain between authors and audiences, should not operate as morality police.
Thanks to EFF and their cohorts, the right of child molesters and pedophiles to PROFIT off child sex abuse will continue unabated. PayPal quickly caved and announced last week that "we are going to focus this policy only on e-books that contain potentially illegal images, not e-books that are limited to just text."
Child molesters and pedophiles can continue to sell not only works like "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct," but Peter Sotos' Show Adult which celebrates Masha Allen as the world's first child porn star.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been underwritten by numerous big law firms such as Durie Tangri, LLP (which represents powerful and profitable I$Ps in privacy litigation brought by the "plaintiff's bar" i.e, you and me), Howrey LLC (bankrupt DC powerhouse law firm), Kecker & Van Nest, LLP (who represents P2P networking companies and white collar criminals), Pilsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP ("Our people have the ability to imagine, plan for and help our clients and one another realize a better future."), and Winston & Strawn LLP ("Our attorneys have extensive experience in persuading prosecutors not to return criminal charges against individuals and corporations.").
Once again, "internet freedom" has triumphed over "corporate responsibility." As big money continues to drive the relentless expansion of powerful multinational ISPs into every facet of society, losers like sexually abused children continue to suffer in the reinvigorated "profits not people" mentality.