Federal Bureau of Investigation raids Sedona home of Backpage founder; website 'seized' by feds

by Abel Hampton April 7, 2018, 1:23
Federal Bureau of Investigation raids Sedona home of Backpage founder; website 'seized' by feds

In 2011, investigators alleged the of Backpage.com website's "adult services" subsection was being used for illegal prostitution and potential human trafficking.

The United States government has seized Backpage.com, the controversial classifieds website, according to a notice on the site. The notice provides little other information, saying the Department of Justice will provide more at 6 EST today.

Following numerous lawsuits, Backpage removed the "adult services" subsection from the website in 2017. Viewed narrowly, the bill allows victims of sex trafficking to sue websites that "enable" their abuse, but it raises a risky precedent for suing websites over user-generated content.

The FBI said it would share more details about the seizure later this afternoon. The bill amended the Communications Decency Act and would enable state prosecutors and victims of sex trafficking to pursue website operators in both criminal and civil court.

Backpage, started by Lacey and Jim Larkin, former Phoenix New Times execs, is a classified ads website.

Law enforcement agents are also at the Sedona, Arizona home of Michael Lacey, who is one of the founders of the website. The FBI confirmed that "law enforcement activity is occurring" and referred further questions to the Justice Department.

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