Reuters News Wire wrote:
There are times to fight fire with fire.
We need a botnet of good guys to fight back![TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A few organizations like this are already operating: I am reminded of ' ' for one; a large group of volunteers which trolls the various chat systems specifically using false names and pictures (and leaving the impression they are underage children) attempting to lure older people into chats with them. I have sort of mixed emotions on this technique, but it seems to work as intended, at least if you watch MSNBC's continuing series called 'To Catch a Predator'. Perverted Justice claims they do NOT make the first move, and they do keep careful chat logs which they turn over to police frequently. Perverted Justice claims they log on using a name and sit there waiting to be approached. Apparently they never have to wait very long. They claim they are non-committal in their responses on line except to 'give the impression' to the adult chatter that they are a minor and that they are home alone, and 'looking for some fun'. They have staged a 'sting operation' in Petaluma, California and in a rural town in Georgia, outside of Atlanta. MSNBC has televised the results of the sting operations and it is simply amazing to watch these men show up -- actually go up to the door -- of the house rented for the occassion expecting to meet the 'child' they were chatting with on line. I think Petaluma netted some fifty or sixty guys in the sting, and Georgia was the same way. The men bring beer and other alcoholic beverages, web-cams, sex-toys, condoms and whatever for their 'new friend'.
I said earlier I have mixed emotions about this approach, since any number of the men caught up in the sting (they invariably get arrested by police who are lurking in the weeds when the guy comes out of the house empty-handed after being 'greeted' by an NBC commentator) claim they would not have ever gotten involved if Perverted Justice had not induced them to make the first move. I know, as you must, that many of these guys are notorious liars, but a few of them at least appeared to be telling the truth, and only stuck around in the chat room when the 'child' encouraged them by providing them with the address to come to and making suggestions about what they would 'do' or wanted 'done'. Many of the guys had earlier criminal histories but quite a few of them did not.
Perverted Justice's stock answer to that is "So what? It is against federal law for any adult to engage in computer chat of a sexual nature with someone they believe to be a minor. Why were you there talking to that person anyway? When the person said (claimed, lied) that they were (ages 10-17?) your response should have been to break off any further communication. Cease any further comments, period."
Apparently now, in response, a few individuals are trying to spoil the fun for Perverted Justice by going systematically around to the various chat rooms (of the several thousand on the net) and typing in to the room at large or to individual users something like this: "WARNING! ADULT/CHILD SEX STING IN PROGRESS ON THIS CHANNEL. CONTINUE CHATTING WITH ANY UNVERIFIED PERSON HERE AT YOUR OWN RISK. INSIST UPON CAMERA VISUAL/FULL ADDRESS/AGE VERIFICATION BEFORE CONTINUING YOUR CHAT. THANK YOU." In particular, they seem to like putting messages like these on chat rooms on AOL/Yahoo/MSN known to be used by kids or known to be used for sex talk. Wouldn't _that_ spoil a good chat? PAT]