We will respond to Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart’s complaint (we have not yet been served, and learned of it only through press releases and media) sometime soon. Our preliminary view is that the complaint is not well founded in law, and that it should be dismissed.
However, we still very much appreciate and commend the good work of Sheriff Dart’s department, and will continue to provide any and all assistance whenever we are called upon to help in their efforts to protect and serve the people of Cook County.
craigslist has a long history of cooperation with law enforcement. As example, here is a recent joint statement by craigslist, 40 state Attorneys General — including the Attorney General of Illinois Lisa Madigan — as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which was announced in November 2008:
craigslist is an extremely unwise choice for those intent on committing crimes, since an electronic trail is inevitably created that law enforcement officers can follow. We pride ourselves on the prompt and valuable assistance we provide to police departments and federal authorities nationwide.
Here are some of the measures we currently take to prevent illegal activity on craigslist:
2. We place prominent notices on our posting forms warning against illegal activity
3. We perform telephone verification on user accounts as a requirement for posting in “erotic services”
5. We remove inappropriate ads that come to our attention
7. We provide a community moderation system whereby our users flag inappropriate ads for removal
8. We place prominent notices asking users to flag inappropriate ads
9. In U.S. cities we require credit card authorization to post in “erotic services”, and charge a fee for each ad, with 100% of net revenues donated to charity.
10. We label adult content using the PICS rating system, which supports most content control software programs
11. We prohibit the use of adult-only categories by persons under the age of 18
12. We participate in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) Cybertipline program
13. We collaborate on user awareness campaigns regarding human
trafficking and child exploitation
14. We place notices encouraging users to report any suspected abuse of minors
15. We maintain a resource page to assist users in reporting suspected abuse of minors
16. We maintain information pages regarding personal safety on craigslist
17. We adapt our web site to aid the work of agencies working on human trafficking and exploitation issues
18. We respond promptly to inquiries and requests for assistance from law enforcement officers
More background information on the “erotic services” category is available here: