Banks Seeks to Strengthen Enforcement of ‘Obscene Pornography’ | Sun News
WASHINGTON – Representative Jim Banks has signed on as one of four lawmakers who sent a letter to the United States Attorney General’s office calling for increased action on “obscene pornography.”
Banks posted a tweet Friday afternoon with the signed letter – also endorsed by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, and Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas – asking the Attorney General William Barr to “pursue obscenity and make it a priority (of the Department of Justice).”
“Laws are ALREADY in the books that prohibit the distribution of obscene pornography in the places we frequent every day: the Internet, on cable / satellite TV, in hotels / motels, and more,” Banks tweeted in a follow-up post. “Yet the application of these laws effectively stopped under Obama.”
The letter describes an “explosion of obscene pornography” that has become widely accessible via the Internet and other technologies.
“There are American obscenity laws which, if enforced, can improve this problem, as you well know from your previous tenure as United States Attorney General when you effectively shut down the porn industry and dramatically decreased child pornography in America, ”the letter to Barr says.
“Given the pervasiveness of obscenity, we recommend that you declare prosecution for obscene pornography a criminal justice priority and urge your US prosecutors to prosecute the major producers and distributors of this material. “, the letter continues.
The letter does not directly define the term “obscene pornography”.
In the modern age, pornography has generally been considered a constitutionally protected expression under the First Amendment.
Although in common usage people may qualify indecent material such as pornography as “obscene,” the term has a special legal definition.
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court in Miller v. California has determined that for material to be considered obscene, it must lack “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” According to this test, many representations of pornographic material are therefore not classified as obscene.
Subsequent court cases in the early 2000s also overturned attempts to restrict the distribution of pornographic material via the Internet by using obscenity laws as unconstitutional.
Following a follow-up request to Banks ‘office seeking clarification of the term’ obscene pornography ‘and the intent of the letter, Banks’ press secretary Mitchell Hailstone said the letter “asked Barr to simply enforce the laws already in force which are the will of the people, not to do anything that Congress has forbidden.
Hailstone also provided information on the Department of Justice website which states: “Federal law prohibits the distribution, transportation, sale, shipping, mailing, production with the intention of distributing or selling , or engage in any business selling or transferring obscene material. Convicted offenders face fines and jail time. While the law does not generally criminalize private possession of obscene material, receiving such material may violate federal laws prohibiting the use of couriers, public carriers, or interactive computer services for the purpose of transportation.
The acts, including the production of child pornography, the distribution of such material, and the dissemination of pornography to minors are all illegal under federal and state law.
One of Banks’ tweets on Friday also referred to a pledge signed by President Donald Trump of the Enough is Enough association to enforce obscenity laws and fight obscene pornography. Enough is Enough describes his organization’s goal as “to confront online pornography, child pornography, stalking and sexual predation with innovative initiatives and effective communications,” according to the nonprofit website.
This commitment focuses in particular on the enforcement of existing laws to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online; enforce federal law to force schools and public libraries to filter pornographic material; establish a presidential commission to study the effects of pornography on young people, families and culture; and partnering to adopt voluntary measures to reduce Internet-assisted exploitation.
Pornography is a billion dollar a year business in America and around the world, with websites ranking among the most viewed sites in the world.
Web traffic tracking company SimilarWeb ranked adult sites Pornhub, XVideos, and XXNX respectively as the seventh, 10th, and 13th most-visited sites in the United States as of November 1.
According to Alexa Internet, a subsidiary of Amazon, LiveJasmin, Pornhub and XVideos ranked 33rd, 38th and 51st most visited places in the world at the end of August.
According to statistics from Enough is Enough, about a third of young people have visited a porn site on a mobile device between the ages of 11 and 14, with the average age of first exposure to pornography being 12.2 years old.