Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Dating apps face questions over age checks after report exposes child abuse (techcrunch.com)
36 points by Mimino123 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 68 comments





One question - where the heck are these kids' parents? I think most people on dating apps are under the impression that other users are of legal age.

If your child is searching for adult partners, complete strangers, over the Internet, you as a parent have a lot to answer for.

That being said, none of that justifies what happened to the minors mentioned in the article. Ultimately, there are a lot of bad people out there. It would be great for children to not be exposed to such people.

But I think the necessary change is parental supervision, not government intervention.


Same place your grandparents were when dad was hiding adult mags or the topless polaroids of girlfriend under the mattress or watching 4th gen copy videos of some 18 horror film with friends. I had fairly old-school strict parents and still managed to get around supervision. ;p

I'm going to hazard a guess you don't have kids. Short of bringing up children in a panopticon that gives no privacy, ever, and continual spot checks of what apps and usage, or a feature phone only until 18, what do you expect? Watch over shoulder the entire time they use a device? Bolt down the home router and rely on network 18+ limiting, and they can still use their friend's or Costa's wifi.

I might prefer to limit younger children from access, I can advise and try and give them a degree of common sense, and advise against blind trust. I can't as a parent prevent them doing some very daft things. It's part of the rite of passage of every teen.

I'd aim to be supportive enough that they can come to me when they fuck up for support and help. I can't in good conscience blame other parents for every lapse.


For a comprehensive scholarly treatment of this argument (with which I wholly concur), see Judith Rich Harris and The Nurture Assumption.

Her Wikipedia article offers a quick summary:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Rich_Harris

In short, kids, especially teenagers, aren't out to be like their parents. They want to be like their peers. And what we often see as the effects of good parental influence or supervision may simply be heritable behavior.


> where the heck are these kids' parents?

What about the internet suddenly absolves the company from being diligent and responsible?

If this was shops selling alcohol & cigarettes to 14 year olds, would your response be "where the hell are the parents?"

Parents aren't going to monitor their kids 24/7.

> If your child is searching for adult partners, complete strangers, over the Internet, you as a parent have a lot to answer for.

I don't have children yet I think this is a very uninformed comment. Sexuality and attraction (and even more-so perceived attraction) are complex and multi faceted things so I think jumping to blaming the parents is _very_ simple minded.


>Parents aren't going to monitor their kids 24/7.

It's not about monitoring your kids 24/7. It's about instilling values in them precisely so they can monitor themselves. This is what differentiates good upbringing and clueless parenting looking for scapegoats.


Are you a parent? Of a child over ten?

No. I happen to have been ten once, however, with good parents.

How is this different from, for example, requiring age verification to purchase alcohol? Or are you also opposed to that?

I think we understand that parents are not in complete control over their children, and in the interest of harm reduction, we don't give parents the entire burden of keeping their children safe but spread parts of it out among the community. This doesn't seem like a particularly burdensome request, here. Some parents are terrible parents, some kids are complete terrors, sometimes there are circumstances outside your control. Parents are not gods.


Did you read the article?

It clearly states that tinder and grinder already monitor for minors. They state that they spend, and I'm guessing this wouldn't be an exaggeration given their volume, millions of dollars on this effort.

What lawmakers want is ID required.

This is an extremely burdensome requirement. To have every new user of any online platform have to verify photo ID against a webcam is... very onerous. And even then whats to stop a kid from using his parents confirmed account?

Alcohol is a transaction for a substance that is deadly and purchased in public. Comparing it to creating an online profile in the privacy of your home is a big stretch. It would be more like creating an account with... I don't know, maybe buying a can of figs off amazon.

Can a child buy a can of figs without ID? Not easily, but he could. Could he hurt himself with it? Yes. Should we require ID for this: I'd say not.

The article seems to not mention any of the age verification things the kids forged and their parents computer. But don't worry, if it was convenient for the powers that be, they would have framed this as: "Evil kids get into banking system by HACKING."

Funny how I'm sure they won't be asking Amazon to verify ID everytime a purchase is made. I mean, plenty of kids have ordered down right dangerous things this way, probably even caused a death.

The worst part of the authoritarian inclined who use the 'what about the children?' argument is that many times they ironically make it less safe for children since the solutions aren't particularly well thought through (see drinking age in the US) - all while making it worse for the rest of us.

The thing about the outrage crowd is they point to a problem with while implicitly saying 'anyone who doesn't support 'the solution' is in favor of the problem'. I'm not in favor of the problem. I'm in favor of fixing the problem IF it can be fixed in a cost effective way. Many people can't accept that there aren't widespread easy and simple solutions to giant complex social problems. Accepting that this behavior is an emergent quality from our individual actions and pruning one's own actions is very hard. Most people shy from this and look for externalizations.


As to extremely burdensom... require a minimal one time fee to create the account to pay for a person to confirm their identity. Require an ID upload and a separate picture that matches a CC/Debit card to cover the cost.

If you don't have ID, a matching CC or debit card and $5, then maybe you should have other priorities other than getting onto DATING-APP


Actually, what we need is a single chip system given to you when you are born and charge people for it. If they can't pay, put 'em to work.

The chip will hold all our info.

Then when we want to do something on the internet or IRL, a computer will read our chip and we will use the system.

It will have... no abuse or secondary consequences.

But it will perfectly protect minors from getting on dating sites.

I wonder what other historical characters/political systems would love such a system?


Okay, my suggestion was nowhere NEAR the hyperbolic suggestion you are making.

> Did you read the article?

That's an inappropriate response. Don't respond that way in the future.

> What lawmakers want is ID required.

Yes, like for alcohol.

> This is an extremely burdensome requirement. To have every new user of any online platform have to verify photo ID against a webcam is... very onerous.

New regulations are regularly called "extremely burdensome". I would say that alcohol regulations are extremely burdensome in most parts of the country where I live (USA). This is why I used alcohol as a comparison point. The government regulates how many alcohol licenses are given, sometimes operates liquor stores themselves, conducts enforcement operations including "sting" type operations with underage informers. The hours and days when alcohol can be sold are regulated and in most places, minors are not allowed to serve alcohol or work the register for alcohol sales. In some states, most types of alcohol can only legally be sold in state-licensed liquor stores. In NY, for example, each liquor store must be owned and operated by an individual living within a certain physical radius of the store's location.

The question here is about weighing the burden against harm reduction.

> And even then whats to stop a kid from using his parents confirmed account?

Condoms aren't 100% effective. Why should laws be 100% effective?

> The worst part of the authoritarian inclined who use the 'what about the children?' argument is that many times they ironically make it less safe for children since the solutions aren't particularly well thought through (see drinking age in the US) - all while making it worse for the rest of us.

The effects of raising the drinking age in the US have been well-studied, and provide a wealth of data because laws were passed at a state-level and at different times. From a harm-reduction versus cost perspective, I am in favor of the 21 year drinking age in the US. Based on the studies.

> The thing about the outrage crowd is they point to a problem with while implicitly saying 'anyone who doesn't support 'the solution' is in favor of the problem'. I'm not in favor of the problem. I'm in favor of fixing the problem IF it can be fixed in a cost effective way.

I think you might be directing your comment at some kind of nebulous "authoritarian" or "outrage crowd" and I'm not a part of that, so if that's the case, I'd appreciate it if, when you respond to my comment, you respond to the content of the comment itself and not some third party.

You seem to believe that the burden to verify age is too onerous for online dating apps. I think that we should require age verification for dating services across the board, and it should be up to the online apps to compete with offline dating services on equal footing.

If it turns out that the reason why online dating services succeed is only because they don't have to bear the cost of age verification, then I'd be shocked.


Actually, asking if you read the article was me being kind in my assumptions.

Alcohol is responsible 88,000 deaths per year.

You are literally comparing something with 0-10 deaths per year (if that) to almost 100,000 deaths per year. That type of grotesquely disproportionate comparison is part of 'outrage' culture. It's something I dislike and have no trouble calling people out on.

Not a single cost/benefit analysis. No consideration of the cost, just a wave of the hand (they will bear it). No discussion even of what type of age verification should be or any pros and cons.

The fact that tinder has revolutionized sexuality for a generation is... or made dating safer for women... or made dating safer for LGBT in places where it can be dangerous to date as an LGBT... better bury that in bureaucracy.

No care about privacy.

Doesn't matter if over regulation just pushes people to less regulated platforms like online classifieds, maybe hosted in a non-us country.

If you don't seem to consider the consequences of laws, or even the fact that the logic you use is based on grotesquely unbalanced comparisons, I see little possibility for dialectics.


> Actually, asking if you read the article was me being kind in my assumptions.

Your assumption here appears to be that anyone who disagrees with you must be misinformed.

> You are literally comparing something with 0-10 deaths per year (if that) to almost 100,000 deaths per year. That type of grotesquely disproportionate comparison is part of 'outrage' culture. It's something I dislike and have no trouble calling people out on.

Please respond to content, not to your own emotional responses (likes and dislikes). Being offended is not an argument for or against anything.

Harm comes in different forms, and we are going compare harm prevention strategies even though some strategies try to prevent liver disease and death (age verification for alcohol) and others try to harm prevention strategies for child sexual abuse (age verification for dating apps). It is appropriate and normal to compare different things.

> Not a single cost/benefit analysis. No consideration of the cost, just a wave of the hand (they will bear it). No discussion even of what type of age verification should be or any pros and cons.

Yes, I would also like to see a cost/benefit analysis. On this, we agree.

> If you don't seem to consider the consequences of laws, or even the fact that the logic you use is based on grotesquely unbalanced comparisons, I see little possibility for dialectics.

You have come up with a great many explanations for how I am somehow an inferior person, but this is inappropriate behavior and you should in the future respond to content unless someone is acting inappropriately.


Nope, I don't think anyone who disagrees with me didn't read the article.

The thing is, logical people when they read about 3 deaths per year don't propose applying the same social burden as to avoid 100,000.

You ask questions, but don't answer. How about addressing the fact that a comparison of something that costs 88,000 lives to 3/year is grossly out of line? How about you write out exactly what you propose instead of innuendos? Maybe include pros and cons without any hand waving? You know, dealing with those details you seem to support.

Using reason means understanding 3 < 88,000. It's not opinion. That's logic.

I didn't say you were inferior. I said you were emotive and didn't use reason: if you can't handle such a call out, then you might not have a place in a serious discussion. We've all been there; having taken unreasonable stances. Whether you choose to stay there is your choice.

How about addressing privacy concerns for LGBT?

How about you answering questions on margin of error improvement based on the proposed changes? After all, you are the one proposing new things; the burden to prove your new solutions good is on you. Not that you have shown any desire of understanding this burden of proof thing. Asking for changes WHILE requesting others prove your numbers... it shows such a lack of understanding of how dialectics work. Reverse burden of proof isn't opinion, again, that is fact; you are wanting a change that you are asking others to prove/disprove.

Your opinion on inappropriate behavior is, as you used to put my perspective down, just that, your opinion. Last, you telling me what to do is... laughably authoritarian.


> You seem to believe that the burden to verify age is too onerous for online dating apps. I think that we should require age verification for dating services across the board, and it should be up to the online apps to compete with offline dating services on equal footing.

It is a burden for the apps themselves but it's not something they can't overcome. The real issue is end-users wanting some degree of privacy and not wanting to submit their real identity to who knows what's on the other end. For example, a gay dating app, or an app for people into BDSM or whatever the thing might be that they're into, or someone who is already in a relationship but wants to see what's out there - a significant percentage of those people will never submit their ID and won't use the app. Even if it’s just some vanilla dating app, how do you know the operators aren’t just in it to easily skim tons of IDs in some vast identity fraud scheme? I certainly wouldnt submit my ID to such services. It also doesn't solve the original issue, since teens will find a way to get around the ID check - use someone else's account, use photoshop to alter an ID, get a fake ID, etc etc.

> Condoms aren't 100% effective. Why should laws be 100% effective?

Yes, nothing is 100% effective. Yet proponents of these laws try to push things to 100% without stopping to check how we're doing so far. The article says 60 cases of child sex offenses since 2015. So 15 / year, about 1 a month, out of how many hundreds of millions/billions of people using these apps? Also, the article counts 16/17 year olds as children, despite them being above the age of consent in the UK and in many states in the US, so who knows how many of those 60 are actually under 16 and not just 16 or 17. Sounds like we have this issue 99% solved with current enforcement methods. Do we really need to institute onerous burdens on apps and end-users for the sake of that last 1%? We can eliminate automobile accident deaths by instituting a nationwide speed limit of 10 MPH on all roads at all times but we don't do that because of the obvious cost/benefit concerns.

If you're concerned about your child going on these apps, give them a feature phone until they're of age. That's what I'd do.


You are speaking to the outrage crowd. Really hard to reason with them.

They reverse the burden of proof.

If they find an issue, they point it out and imply that there is a solution that people don't want to take.

They don't consider any nuances: magnitude, scale, proportions, cost/benefit, margins of error, the concept of diminishing returns, game theory, etc. Hell, half the time they will comment without even reading an article. They just read title and then pull out a speech based on the topic of the title.

Instead of them having to advocate for their position with pros and cons and facts, they put you on the defensive with innuendo, distorted comparisons and other sophist techniques.


Yea, very frustrating.

Require a $5 CC payment and a photo ID where the picture matches their profile ID in order to create the account... The $5 would cover the cost of HUMAN verification.

Not every aspect of every interaction online needs to automate out human interaction.

The other aspect is to actively encourage REPORT for minors on the platform.

Another possibility is to allow 16+yo and wall them off from those over ~21 with a big fat banner on the account that it's a minor.


People like you have existed for a while. They want to tie internet use to verified ID offline.

And that is great; there are clearly good things that will come.

But there are also bad things will come with that.

Ignoring that second part makes your post seem shallow and not very well thought out.


I'm not saying all internet activity should be tied to a real identification... but, just perhaps, dating sites/apps should be.

Well the article mentions instagram. Facebook is a dating site for many. Many people use all kinds of platforms to hook up. Especially when you look internationally.

Exactly what do you define as 'dating site'? Craigslist has a dating section.

Please, you have suggestions, I'll be glad to reconsider my position in favor of reasonable suggestions that are based on a well thought out position.

Also, please let me know about how we are going to deal with leaks.

Like, when X person's sexuality is leaked and he/she is beaten to death for it or maybe for an infidelity (and you know those things get hacked/leaked), who do we apply for remuneration to? How many people do you think that will be? And why do those people not count vs the 15 kids in 5 years?

I'm truly open to solutions. I don't think they could possibly justify the tiny issue (statistically) that would probably not be fully mitigated by the solution anyway, but... I'm open. The burden is on you, who wishes to make changes, to prove that the change that you wish is preferable than the situation we have.


The real point I was trying to make, is often people say that verifying people is unreasonable because of costs... My counter to that is there's nothing stopping an organization for absorbing or distributing those costs at the point of entry. I'm not advocating some disclosure zone or requiring all internet activity to be doxable by anyone else online.

There are applications expressly for dating (tinder, bumble, pof, etc...), some also mentioned in the article. It's not an unreasonable expectation for such an app to be connected to an actual, verifiable person.

Aside: It also wouldn't be unreasonable to simply allow minors on a given platform, and give a visible indicator of minor (or under 21 for that matter) status. Other walls may also be appropriate.

As for leaks, abuse or other reactions to peoples behavior, there are already laws and courts for that. It's impractical to solve for every problem. All solutions have gaps, that's no reason not to try. It's up to individuals to reasonably protect their own identity when communicating semi-anonymously. And frankly, I'm not a fan of a lot of the association of real names to online accounts in a number of social platforms in general. My main counterpoint was that cost is NOT a real counter-argument to having a more thorough onboarding as it could be part of signing up for such platforms.


> It also wouldn't be unreasonable to simply allow minors on a given platform, and give a visible indicator of minor (or under 21 for that matter) status.

LOL if you think that fly's in today's legal landscape. I'm sure every VC will be happy to host a place where underage kids can hook up for underage sex. lol

But your post is filled with vague notions of what other people should do and no real word things like cost, except for measuring it as 'not unreasonable'... based off your own ideas. With no cost benefit.

Whatever down sides that has apparently can be brushed aside because "there are already laws and courts for that" - Can you please tell me more about that? Like, there are people who are terrified their sexuality is revealed and they might be killed for it. So when it does, exactly how do those courts work? Or do you mean to punish people once the leak has happens and the person is killed. If so, can you please make an estimate of how much damage your system will create vs the 15 cases reported in the news article?

Also, like for someone who was being unfaithful, when her abusive husband finds out and kills her, exactly how did the courts prevent that info from getting leaked? Like all the leaks that happen?

You also seem to suggest this should not happen on say, instagram or facebook, only tinder and grinder. But the article specifically states instagram (unless you didn't read it). So, should instagram be free of this requirement? And if so, what answer do you have for people on your band (who want ID) but who want ALSO it for instagram also. I'm sure they use the 'not unreasonable' argument too. After all, putting in all this stuff to save 7/15 kids over the last 5 years... well, is the cost/benefit change?

I'm truly interested in well thought out solutions. Yours, while having good intentions, seems to fail that test.


The difference is you can install a dating app and create a profile without providing a picture or providing a fake picture. This is what I did when I was 15 and just wanted to meet other gay people my age at a time when I was closeted and knew none. To the site operators, the profile looks just like any other. Unless they are actively reading private conversations between users, there is no way to tell a user is actually underage unless reported. Even then it may be difficult because oftentimes people don’t use the dating app itself to communicate but immediately take the conversation off the app to Snapchat or text, for example.

So to truly keep minors off adult dating apps you’d have to require everyone to submit photo ID and also somehow check that they haven’t just taken a picture of someone else’s ID and used that and I’m not sure how you’d enforce that.


The same way any highly regulated company does when ID needs to be 100% confirmed

Put on today's news/put up today's newspaper/generate a unique, time sensitive code the person needs to write down and display, have them take a picture while holding up ID and the date proof using a live webcam.

But when authoritarian people want other people to do things, they generally don't think about how much effort it takes, or if it does take effort it is brushed off as if nothing with no concept of cost benefit. It's easy when you just shift the burden of proof by making vague insinuating statements to appeal to the majority of the population which is highly emotive.


You'd better hope their ID/webcam matching software (or employee) isn't racist. Why are there no dark-skinned people on your platform? Oh, turns out they're all held up in ID verification…

Human beings are clever, and kids often are much more clever than adults partly because they lack the filter of having had experience. It's simply not possible to have the level of control you describe without effectively imprisoning children and stunting their growth.

I'll tell you where this parent is. He is trying to find tools to make phone use safe for his kids and finding nothing except excuses and denial from telecoms, phone manufacturers, and app developers.

Smartphones are a playground filled with jagged edges and predators behind an entrance of flashing lights and music. People made it, profit from it, and those same people should be held liable for their actions.


Actually, this parent is demanding 100% certainty in an uncertain world. He is also shifting burden from himself to others.

This parent isn't understanding that there are cost benefits and diminishing returns. We already filter kids from such platforms and it works to 99.999%, so exactly where should it be? And at what cost?

This parent is also filled with innuendo, seemingly unable to make points that stand on their own with actual dialectics.


Error: variable "the platform" was used before it was defined (heavily implying she was on a dating site, not Instagram as was the case).

> Last month the BBC reported on the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl who killed herself in 2017 after being exposed to self-harm imagery on the platform.


It's just bad writing. That case was Instagram.

and the scope creep for the bad Online Identification begins. First it was no porn, then it was no dating. Soon it will be no rw to access to UK internet without age+ID. Disconnect the UK before the damage spreads!

For what it is worth, age verification on dating apps strikes me as far more reasonable than age verification for porn

[flagged]


And this is related to the whole discussion how?

He is alluding that the comment he replied to is using a slippery slope fallacy.

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Slippery_slope


I didn't catch the sarcasm there. Now it makes sense but the parallel he drawn was, in my opinion, still unsuitable.

Actually, it's pretty on point if you get the culture and political references for the UK. One would suspect, without looking, that the OP is British.

It was just a comment on usage of the slippery-slope fallacy here. Sarcastic, yes...but I felt the original comment borders on fear-mongering.

> no rw to access to UK internet without age+ID

Fantastic. Everything attributable to a public pseudonym privately tied to a real person.

This sounds exactly how it should be.

If somebody tries to subvert the law, they can easily be arrested and tried in a court of law.


This is utterly damaging to democracy - a real democracy needs anonymity to survive. Removing anonymity will lead to people limiting for example posting critical opinions of the government or a political party.

The reason is simple: even if you trust the current government to not abuse all the tasty meta-data, who says the next government, led by the party you vocally criticized on the Internet, will look away?

Just look at China, or what Turkey is doing, or even what US border checks asking for your social media logins are doing right now.


Christ no. Not only is this the end of certain kinds of dissidence and protest, how does it apply to business communications and automated systems? The options are ludicrous - either you have the CEO personally criminally liable for a gazillion hacked routers, or you have an environment where dissidents can be hunted but all sorts of malicious foreign actors hide behind business fronts.

We were running a chat app network dating platform. User profiles were from chat apps & majority of the users were from Facebook Messenger, many in asian countries especially women from Philippines used their child photograph as their profile picture.

After I realised the issue, we integrated Amazon Rekognition API to detect age range < 18 & block the profiles who had a child's picture on their user profile. The issue is that Rekognition isn't perfect & we lost several users because of this integration & false positives, yet we continued to use it till the end for moderation. We were processing >200,000 profile pictures each month for this.


There is the danger that if these services don’t nip this in the bud, it’ll become a social problem akin to enjo-Kosai in Japan, which not only lends itself to exploitation of minors but also encourages needless conspicuous consumerism.

For the most part, aside from using someone else’s credit information, these businesses have information on age and with facial recognition should be able to flag most falsified accounts.


The solution seems relatively straightforward to me, but maybe I'm missing something. If you want to engage on a platform designed explicitly for adults doing adult things, you give them your driver's license number or non-driver's ID number. They can instantaneously verify that with the government electronically and determine the age of the person associated with that license number.

To further prevent problems - like kids taking their parent's ID and then changing the name and age - dating sites could bind the age of the site profile to the license provided. So if junior uses his old man's ID, he's going to show as 45, not 18, and he won't be able to change it. That has the additional benefit of stopping a lot of the lies related to age on dating sites.

Lastly, they could also bind the first name only to the profile, hide the last name from other users, and allow a nickname or preferred handle to be displayed. So you can't upload a license for John Doe, age 30, and then say in your profile that your preferred name is Tony and you look 15. This would be a red flag to anyone. But makes perfect sense for Robert who likes to be called Bob, or William who goes by Bill, and actually look their age.


I see a few problems with this proposal:

1- There are still strong taboos against certain kinds of relationships; being forced to tie one's dating preferences and behaviors to a governmental ID seems dangerous.

2- Should companies get automatic access to one's name and age based solely on the ID number? Seems like a violation of privacy.

3- Mandating that for apps served over Google Play or the App Store is not hard; what about dating webapps served from other jurisdictions?

Finally: will it really work? Looking 15 is already a red flag, because no minor is supposed to be there, yet they are.


1. Yeah, you wouldn't want to roll this out to places like Egypt or Iran, for sure. And I usually am very pro-privacy, but since people either pay the companies that run these apps/sites/services or they use it for free but have it directly linked to their phone, google, etc., in reality these companies already have their true identities - or at least enough of it that if asked by any government entity they could produce it even if they didn't have the actual ID number of the government issued document. Isn't this how people buy alcohol online, though? I've never done it, but I recall someone telling me they had to upload their driver's license to the site they were buying from for age verification. So this seems to already be occurring elsewhere and I don't think anyone has complained about it.

2. Not sure I agree this is a violation of privacy since a) you would be providing them this exact same information when building your new profile upon account creation and b) you would agree to its collection as part of the signup process thereby waiving any privacy right you may or may not have in this regard. It would also be considered something a reasonable person would expect the third party to be given when supplying that identification number. For example, I assume that when I provided my information to my insurance company when applying for a personal disability policy that they checked everything on those documents for accuracy (name, age, address, etc.).

3. I was assuming this was legislation and would therefore apply to all services of this nature as long as they operate in the country/state where the legislation is effective.

4. 15 year olds are able to exist on these platforms in part because some 18 year olds look very young while others look much older. So someone can be 18 or 20 and look 15-16.


I'd rather have those kinds of platforms use some sort of unique hash of your ID than trust those muppets (remember Tinder's GPS coordinates leaking?) with anything too serious.

Will this end up another misguided "think of the children" measure that will just make more consentual adult sex illegal? Or will it be accepted with open arms by dating sites who want all your PII to sell? ('anonymised' of course) (CoughmatchCough)

Am I just jaded or does this seem to be the way things are going?


You're not just jaded. "Trafficking" has become a vehicle for the religious right to shut down anything they don't like, from robot brothels [1] to, in this case, hookup apps. And nobody is for trafficking, so politicians from across the spectrum tend to go along with it.

It's been this way since at least the Mann Act, which was ostensibly about trafficking but used to crack down on interracial relationships (notably by Jack Johnson, who recently got a posthumous pardon)

"Remember when some tea company added "blockchain" to its name and stock prices soared? "Trafficking" is the equivalent word in the policy / non-profit world." -- Alex Frell Levy [2]

[1] https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/30/houston-robo...

[2] https://t.co/HaNQ2H7kFX


> And nobody is for trafficking

Nobody in first-world countries, you mean. In third-world countries, a lot of what gets categorized as “human trafficking” is just self-motivated border-crossing by career prostitutes.

You know how you might find a fellow working in America who is from, say, Bangladesh, and is here for the jobs that pay 100x as much as jobs in Bangladesh do, so he can send money home to his family? Well, in the hotbed countries of “human trafficking”, many of the women involved are just people who did exactly the same thing, moving from countries like Cambodia (“human trafficking source countries”) to countries like Thailand (“human trafficking destination countries”) because they know there’s far more of a market of sex tourists there with higher expectations of average prices. And her family back home? Thinks exactly the same of her as the family of the Bangladeshi man working in America does. “She’s providing for us; we’re proud of her.”

The annoying thing is that “human trafficking” was established to go after what is, at its core, a real and horrifying crime—the combination of kidnapping and slavery that mafias tend to consider the highest-margin way to operate brothels, factories, etc. If someone isn’t themselves doing the kidnapping, or operating the brothel, but is just, say, driving the kidnapped people around, we didn’t have a crime to charge them with and had to let them go, until we invented “human trafficking.” It was essentially a gang-busting crime, a way to put pressure on ground-level members to get them to give up their higher-ups. But now, basically everything related to the original intent seems to fall under the aegis of that crime†, and its scope has grown to the point that we’ve forgotten why we invented it.

† Probably because of motivated reasoning of statisticians working for the trafficking-related nonprofits. Sort of like the motivated reasoning of statisticians working for cigarette or sugary-cereal companies.


> Will this end up another misguided "think of the children" measure that will just make more consentual adult sex illegal?

What do you mean by “another”? When has regulating sex with children had the effect of making consensual adult sex illegal?


The UK has been pushing making adults register (with their ISP) to be able to access porn. Because of the children.

Which is not an answer to the question the parent asked.

1) Pushing? But it hasn't happened, right?

2) Porn isn't always consensual or between adults.

This comment seemingly has nothing to do with what I asked.


Im really glad to see this comment. It is absolutely a “think of the children” measure. ID isn’t required for most things online and that’s a good thing.

The apps are tools, it's up to the humans to do or not do stuff.

In these cases, how are children getting in first? Where are the parents of these children??

Then, it's not the apps that create abuse, but the users on the other side. There could be a set of rules that the apps should make users agree with, and remind from time to time, like be kind, don't get angry if it doesn't work out, report strange behaviors/underage profiles/illegal stuff if you happen to detect one, ...

Is it that complicated to be adults in 2019?


> The apps are tools, it's up to the humans to do or not do stuff.

Technology changes what it's possible for humans to do or not do (or more often, make it qualitatively more/less feasible). Tool-makers should not take it as axiomatic that they have no responsibility or involvement for the ways that their tools impact other people's lives.


I imagine that teenagers will figure out how to get around the age checks, and then it will escalate.

> Is it that complicated to be adults in 2019?

The people in question are very literally not adults.


> The apps are tools, it's up to the humans to do or not do stuff.

"Guns don't mass murder people, humans do"

In the real world, if I saw a child go on dates with a grown adult, I'd alert the police and have the man arrested, then I'd do my damndest to have the restaurant shut down for facilitating the grooming of minors.

And most importantly, _in the real world_, we all have visibility of this and society as a whole acts in disgust and would (legal or otherwise) punish the offenders and people who facilitated and accommodated this.

> There could be a set of rules that the apps should make users agree with

A pinky promise maybe...


>then I'd do my damndest to have the restaurant shut down for facilitating the grooming of minors.

You lost me there. This is an entirely unreasonable burden.


You don't think an establishment has a legal duty to report child grooming that occurs on their premises?

I used the word 'dates' (plural) - a re-occurring thing, not a one off event.


I'll bite, how is a restaurant supposed to figure out which groups of people are "child groomers" as opposed to something more pedestrian and normal like "parents?"

You've never once seen something and felt something was a bit off?

You're never able to read a person?

You don't think people working in a restaurant can't put 2 & 2 together and come up with 4 more times than not?

So, you see a person come in with different children repeatedly and act above & beyond affectionate to them. Inappropriate caressing/touching?

You don't think that's gonna set off alarm bells in the staffs' heads?


So, we're gonna rely on the psychic powers of witch hunting cretins who work in food service; what could possibly go wrong?

I don't know what planet you live on where we need to deputize the country's wait staff to catch child molestors who meet their victims on match dot com and bring them to restaurants, but I don't want to live on that planet.


> "Guns don't mass murder people, humans do"

Yes, that is true, even though you are being snarky. In fact, guns don't mass murder people, humans, put together into larger organizations (typically governments), do.




Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: