Parry and thrust: Criminalizing child pornography

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B. [T., edit] asserts: Individuals that produce child pornography and exploit children for sexual purposes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law-without exception. At the same time, statutes and laws that ban the possession of child pornography by regular Internet users are problematic. Living in a free society means that the free exchange of information by private individuals should never be outlawed, no matter how repugnant that information is. Data should never be criminalized. Rather, the only real criminals here are the those who sexually exploit and abuse minors, record it and then upload it on the Internet. [...]

B. [edit] retorts: Arguing that criminalizing the possession of child pornography will stop real-life exploitation and abuses is like arguing that outlawing drugs will stop addicts from having cravings and relapses. Individuals who have sexual predilections towards children will continue to have sexual predilections towards children whether or not possession of child pornography is legal or not. The real issue is whether the state should have the ability to regulate the free flow of information along private channels, between private users who have committed no crime and have not actually abused children. Should it also be illegal to watch and distribute videos of murders or thefts? Videos of Daniel Pearl's horrific execution or Saddam Hussein's hanging circulate freely on the Internet. What is so different about sexual content involving children?

source: Article 'Parry and thrust: Criminalizing child pornography';; The McGill Tribune; 12 February 2008