Writing critically about child pornography and Internet related issues makes any columnist twitchy. Words must be precise, ideas and intent clear, and even then such writing is more like tap dancing through a minefield than it is an editorial undertaking. As a result, the subject of child pornography and those chosen to police it are given little journalistic scrutiny.
Enter Christopher Soghoian, a columnist for CNet who writes the "Surveillance State" blog. Soghoian has stepped up to the plate and taken on what he calls an Internet "sacred cow," the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Soghoian's column says it's time to appoint a "child pornography czar
" able to step in and "take over the tasks currently performed by the powerful yet oversight-free organization" known as NCMEC.
You most likely know NCMEC as the organization responsible for the (brilliant) missing child campaign that puts images of kids on milk cartons. But they are so much more, Soghoian writes:
NCMEC was created by a congressional mandate in 1984, and coordinates the the efforts of law enforcement personnel, social service agency staff, elected officials, judges, prosecutors, educators, and elements of both the public and private sector to fight against all forms of child exploitation.
While NCMEC was created by Congress, is mostly funded by the U.S. government (and in particular, the Department of Justice), and plays a key role in assisting the FBI in its fight against child pornography, the organization isn't part of the U.S. government.
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