Saturday, 6 September 2008

Spy software snares child abuser

Spy software snares child abuser (BBC News, Tuesday, 2 September 2008)

There is not much about this case in the press, and perhaps the offender is really pure evil and the victim is pure innocence. The only practical way to criminalise child abuse is to set an age of consent, which according to my sources happens to be 12 in Malta, 14 in Austria, 15 in France, and 18 in Turkey. The case reported here is clearly statutory rape in the UK, as the girl was not yet 16. (By how many months or how many days?)

This said, am I a vile monster myself if I feel some compassion for this guy who is being sent to jail for 4.5 years? Having sex is what has saved the human race from extinction, and urges programmed into our genes tend to take precedence over social conventions about, for example, age difference. Moreover, the reality seems to be that a third of British teens have sex below the age of consent (Third 'have sex below legal age', BBC News, 13 Aug 06), and for gay teens this may be more than half (Report Finds 58% of Gay Teens Have Sex Before Legal Age of 16, UKGayNews, 1 December 2006).

Incidentally, judging from our overcrowded prisons (e.g. Scots jail numbers at record high, BBC News, Friday, 29 August 2008), it seems that either Britons are more inclined to commit crimes than our neighbours oversees, or most people in UK jails don't deserve to be there, due to an antiquated legal system and self-righteous legislators who think that all that is undesirable will go away if only penalties are high enough, irrespective of any sense of justice.

Of course, in the present climate of child abuse hysteria, it is no longer allowed to consider such matters rationally. This holds in the UK as much as in the US, cf. the Rind et al. controversy. Further recommended reading is Predator Panic: A Closer Look by Benjamin Radford, Skeptical Inquirer 30(5). In France we saw the Outreau trial a few years ago.

Back to the original BBC News article: If an attempt was made to provide a balanced view on the trial, it wasn't successful. Could it be that the father who installed spy software on his daughter's computer was himself a bit off his rocker? This doesn't sound very sane to me:
I picked up the software for £60 and is the best thing I have ever bought and is now on all my children's PCs.

Poor children. Will they sustain more permanent trauma from the consequences of their budding sexuality or from being continuously spied on by their parents?

This is a good occasion to reread:

Girl to get tracker implant to ease parents' fears (The Guardian, Tuesday September 3 2002)

A less gullible source is:

Cap Cyborg to chip 11 year old in wake of UK child killings (The Register, Monday 2nd September 2002)

Want to mould people into a surveillance society? Start early!

No comments: