Should the SDMB bar Canadian juveniles?

I’ve just been reading this article [noparse](via /.)[/noparse]. I’m wondering if the SDMB might want to change its rules about Canadian members and bar Canadian juveniles and juveniles posting from Canada. After all, there can be quite a bit of innuendo from time to time.

And I remember the incident of a convicted paedophile here a while back.

Why would Canadian law impact a message board based in the US?

Define “juveniles”. The SDMB already bars anyone under 13, from anywhere in the world (though obviously, this is very difficult to actually enforce).

One possible answer could be the prosecution of things like sex tourism. Another answer is extradition treaties between the US and Canada.

I understand the US is in the habit of disregarding other countries, but as globalization increases, that might not be the most realistic attitude to take.

IANAL but I do believe juveniles in Canada are given more adult rights at younger ages than in the United States – for example, 15 is the age of consent as opposed to 16 in the US – so if anything I would think young Canadians would be legally less of a problem than citizens of the United States. So what’s the issue?

The SDMB complies with COPPA - Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which covers instances such as the one referred to in your link.


Surely that just covers the Board, not the members?

I’m not sure I understand your question. Could you clarify?

I’m not Quartz, but I’m assuming that his concern is that he could be prosecuted in Canada for flirtatious board posts or PMs with another member who turned out to be a 12-year-old living in Montreal. The board’s policy would protect the SDMB itself (and the Reader, Cecil Adams, xash, etc.) from lawsuits about this, but Quartz could still be tried, convicted, and sentenced to die. Or something … There’s not really any board policy that could conceivably protect him from this, that I can think of, though. Even if the rule was ‘no members under 25’, there is, as mentioned, no good way to consistently enforce that. I’m sure we do have members under 13, despite the current rules, as one can get around these be solemnly swearing on the web form that you’re over 13. These offenses against children are almost always under a ‘strict liability’ standard, so this isn’t a defense against a charge of indecency, any more than the fake ID that the girl used to get into the bar they met at saved Rob Lowe from statutory rape charges … “I swear I thought she was 18” doesn’t fly in court, no matter how good the evidence was. Or so I’ve heard. :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t think we can protect our Chinese posters from being persecuted for the political content of their posts, either. If Canada chooses to become more repressive, our Canadian members need to decide whether it is a good idea to to post here, or on any message board for that matter.

Did you not read the article the OP linked to? It seems to me the issue is pretty clear.

First off, this is not a chat room. I seriously doubt Canadian police are searching over the Straight Dope Message Board looking for incidents of someone saying “how ya doin?” to a child.

Secondly, we’re pretty rigorous about disallowing people under the age of 13. But even if someone lied about their age and managed to hang here, the registration agreement says:

We are not responsible for minors on this site; their parents are. We will throw them out if we find them.

This site does not seem to be a hotbed of young teenage activity in any event. I just don’t see where this would be a problem.

The scenario that immediately springs to mind would be a kid participating in a thread like this one : [thread=533989]Cesario you’re awfully sanctimonious for a pedophile[/thread] , and drawing the wrath of the powers that be.

Beats me how a child could be harmed by that thread, short of falling asleep while trying to read its ridiculous length and falling down and hitting his head, or something.

I agree, but the article cited in the OP is pretty vague about actual harm. I only mention it because the comments made on that thread would look unsavory when read out of context from a thread in which li’l Timmy was participating.

The ruling mentioned in the linked article is actually quite controversial… I fully expect that at some point, additional context will be added to make it a little more specific.

From what I understand, the Supreme Court decided to revise the definition of luring to adjust to the reality of the internet. If a pervert is caught in the early stages of an online “relationship” with a minor, up till now they could still walk based on the fact that the discussions have no sexual content whatsoever and there’s been no attempt made to talk the minor into an IRL meeting, no matter how much proof could be gathered that it was more than innocent chatting from the pervert’s POV. The ruling just makes it possible to charge these guys when all signs point to the obvious, even if they haven’t been caught talking dirty to a minor.

It’s pretty crystal-clear what was going on in the Legare case. Let’s be honest… most adults don’t pretend to be 17-yr-old boys online unless they’ve got something a little hinky in mind, especially if they’re talking to a purported 13-yr-old. To let the guy walk based on a technicality (“but I never actually propositioned her”) is pretty repugnant.

I am in no way favoring any adult preying on children but this ruling is dangerously close to “thought crime.” And that’s scary for all of us.

Here is what the case says: (Emphasis in original.)

I suggest you avoid chatting with users you believe to be under 14. As a precaution, I’d avoid it even if you aren’t trying to facilitate sexual interference, invitation to touching, bestiality, exposure of genitals, abduction with respect to that person.

This could be an opportunity for the SDMB. If you require posters to enter their age in their profile, and you make it so Members can see the age right under the posters ID, but Guests can’t, then the cash might start rolling in.

I’ve been wrestling with responses to this thread for the past while, and have just deleted my fifth or sixth. Going to give it a rest for now, but I’ll be back with comments when my mind is fresher.