December 16, 2019

World News Group: A war on obscenity

Advocates call on the Justice Department to tackle illegal online pornography

Lawmakers in Washington are pushing the U.S. Department of Justice to tackle the beast in the basement: hard-core online pornography. Last week, four Republican U.S. representatives sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr urging him to enforce dusty federal obscenity laws against the creators and distributors of graphic, violent, and deviant online pornography, an exploding and illegal industry.

Although the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects some pornographic content under the guarantee of free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld exceptions, including content legally considered obscenity (Miller v. California) and child pornography (New York v. Ferber), which are prosecutable...

In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump signed a pledge, produced by internet safety group Enough Is Enough®, promising to aggressively enforce existing federal laws, including obscenity laws, to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online. He also promised to appoint “an attorney general who will make the prosecution of such laws a top priority.”

The four representatives seek to hold the White House accountable for the president’s promises...

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