Law enforcement can no longer feasibly contain child pornography within its former borders, since the Internet and digital technology have made images simple to produce in private and even simpler to distribute globally in an instant with little concern for national borders, local laws, or the rights of the performers. Ironically, the largest producers of child pornography in the world may now be the children themselves, who are circulating digital images of one another, sometimes casually, sometimes for pay, that are legally actionable. Justin Berry, the subject of an ethically controversial New York Times exposé of child pornography and prostitution online, created his own porn site with his teenaged self as the main attraction. Once he was caught, however, he was able to enact a gothic and improbable melodrama of innocence seduced and betrayed by adult sexual predators online. The digital “child who knows” has generated a paradox of “erotic innocence” emblematic of the Internet itself as the blameless conduit for the mass obscenity of its users.
Ellis Hanson; The Child as Pornographer. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2011; 110 (3): 673–692. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1275833
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