In a shock to those who grew up with the internet from the early days, last month marked the sudden disappearance of Craigslist personal .
Not some of them — all of them. Similar online bulletin boards, the veritable town squares of the internet, are following suit.
What brought on this dark and ominous development, unfortunately, is a new federal law. FOSTA also guts Section of the Communications Decency Act ofwhich shields websites from liability for what users might post, hence the response of sites like Craigslist.
And in its zeal to do the right thing, FOSTA extends punishment to instances of facilitation that take place at any time, including those that occurred in the distant past. Laws against sex trafficking should be enforced, and sex traffickers should be punished.
But those important goals must not be used to obliterate the important rights and the basic features of common life and shared communication we enjoy in a free society. The problem is something scientists refer to as the precautionary principle: Policy should be made in accordance with our fears that worst-case scenarios might come to pass, no matter what the costs or consequences.
FOSTA is a big mistake. It needs to go as soon as possible.
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