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Posts Tagged ‘Censor Chic’

Respecting private property means government has to pay for the property it destroys.  –  Scott Bullock

A Broker in Pillage

There are many ways for governments to steal things that don’t belong to them:

…a federal jury ruled that Vicki Baker is entitled to $59,656.59 in damages after a SWAT team [wantonly] destroyed her McKinney, Texas, home while pursuing a fleeing fugitive in July 2020…the Institute for Justice…file[d] a lawsuit [on her behalf] in March 2021, after the city refused to pay for the damage that had been caused…U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant III ruled that the destruction of Vicki’s home was a “taking” that required the city to pay just compensation.  On April 29, Judge Mazzant rejected the city of McKinney’s argument that police…should be categorically exempt from [any consequences] for [their actions, no matter how callous and idiotic]…Because “the destruction to Baker’s home was intentional and foreseeable,” compensation was required, he ruled…

Civil rights advocates often joke that the Third Amendment is the only one that hasn’t been undermined, but I fail to see any important difference between the government forcibly taking people’s homes to quarter troops and forcibly taking them to enable cops and robbers games.

Divination

Authoritarians just love their wanking fantasies of mind-reading machines:

A Chinese research team claims to have created a “mind-reading device” that detects “porn watching,” which could be used by police to enforce the country’s strict laws against sexual expression…[Naturally the inventors used buzzwords such as] “AI”…an[d puritanisms such as]…”indecent image”…to [hawk their bogus] “porn police helmet that can read people’s minds to detect pornography”…

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from predatory cops:

A [sleazy] cop is out of a job after he admitted to using [a sleazy cop surveillance database] to look up personal information about a woman he [found on] OnlyFans…Kevin Bohn, a member of the Cinnaminson police department, used a restricted law enforcement database to find information about the woman and her family…[the]n tried to hide his actions by creating incident numbers for his inquiries and then closing out the cases…

The Next Target (#1151)

Prohibitionists’ real goal is to completely ban online sex work:

The federal government of Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has ordered all open-access online platforms to “remove, disable or block access” to all “pornographic” content…Gay content is already illegal in Nigeria, as is any form of private gay sexuality.  According to reports, the country ranks second worldwide on searches for “gay porn”.  The order was made public [on June 14th], with all platforms available in the nation of 216 million given only 24 hours to comply.  It is unclear what the reach and success of the measure has been in practice, especially considering the easy availability of VPN programs to change an individual IP address location…

To Molest and Rape (#1239)

So many rapist cops, so many underage victims:

A [typical and representative Florida cop] has been sentenced to [a mere] six years in state prison for [repeatedly molesting] a [teenager]…William Arnold Jr…pleaded no contest to…sexual battery…[in exchange for more serious] charges [being] dropped as part of a plea deal…he will [also] face 9 years of probation with electronic monitoring and a lifetime of registering as a sex offender upon his release.  The victim…was 14 [when Arnold started molesting her]…

Thought Control (#1244)

No public library is safe from censorship, because they’re controlled by politicians:

…Trustees of the Smithtown Library Board on Long Island voted to remove signs for Pride and any LGBTQ+-related books from children’s sections [last week]…Books related to sexual orientation and gender identity will indefinitely be removed from children’s areas—regardless of the literature’s targeted audience—and put elsewhere…board trustee Marie Gergenti proposed the [censorship] to [give a heckler’s veto to unnamed parties she claimed to have]…receiv[ed] complaints [from, but]…New Yorkers both inside and outside the Smithtown-area[, especially politicians who saw an opportunity for vote-getting virtue-signaling,] rushed to social media to blast the board’s decision…The New York Library Association reaffirmed its “commitment to intellectual freedom,” and condemned the move…

The clamor immediately caused the board to reverse its ill-considered move.

Censor Chic (#1248)

A government powerful enough to…obscur[e anti-abortion] information…is also one powerful enough to…hid[e] info about how to obtain an abortion“:

…By the early 1970s, nearly 20 states prohibited publishing or advertising information about abortion…The U.S. Supreme Court would go on to declare such bans unconstitutional, in the 1975 case Virginia vs. Bigelow.  But…[with] Roe v. Wade…overturned, it’s all but assured that battles over…abortion information will begin again…senators have exerted pressure on Google to limit certain sorts of results…How long until we see [thm] pressured to block ads for abortion pills or information on methods to self-induce abortions?  We’re also likely to see abortion added to the list of things used to justify broader crackdowns on free speech, in the way that things like sex work, disinformation, and domestic extremism [are] used today.  The ability to communicate privately about…abortions could be used as another argument against encrypted communication.  And it shouldn’t be long until we hear about how Section 230…should be reformed since it protects Big Tech from being held liable for user posts about how to obtain an abortion…risk-averse companies may be quick to censor a wide range of content related to abortion, even if that content would ultimately prove protected…

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A government powerful enough to bully tech companies into obscuring information about anti-abortion centers is also one powerful enough to bully tech companies into hiding info about how to obtain an abortion.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

If Men Were Angels

“Pastor” + “assistant principal” = “youth pastor”:

A [pastor and] assistant principal at Union Grove Christian School [in North Carolina]…has been sentenced to five consecutive 10-12 month sentences…for a series of sex crimes that he committed…from 2008 to 2009…with a high school student…

Quiet Genocide (#1130)

Meanwhile, the West obsesses about porn:

Under Xi, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has steadily beaten the population into ideological conformity.  For ethnic and religious minorities, that has meant erasing their identities and remaking them as Han Chinese.  Most far‐​reaching has been the campaign against the Muslim Uyghurs…the…vi[ctims of a]…far‐​reaching campaign of…Orwell[ian]…surveillance…and…[repress]ion …more than a million Uyghurs [are caged] in reeducation camps…[whose] purpose is also Orwellian—to produce CCP‐​controlled automatons.  Even after release, many Uyghurs are not free…[they are] forced…[to] work…in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well‐​known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen…Even when [Uyghurs]…find…safe haven outside China…Beijing is also determined to control [them]…A new report by Bradley Jardine, a fellow with both the Wilson Center and the Kennan Institute, explores how China is exporting repression abroad, including into the United States…

Censor Chic (#1138)

Corporations have become the favored tool of censors worldwide:

…some politicians…think Google should be serving up only government-approved information.  In the latest iteration of this phenomenon, 21 senators have sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai complaining that people who search for information about abortions may be led to websites for crisis pregnancy centers…The[se] often draw people in by purporting to be neutral sources of information and support for people facing unexpected pregnancies, but their goal is to convince people to continue those pregnancies…But while some have been found to misrepresent themselves in ways that amount to fraud, most operate within legal limits and have every right to exist, to advertise, and to try to persuade people…standing in contrast to the much more drastic tactics of trying to…criminalize abortion [entirely]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1166) 

Frog, meet scorpion:

For years, TikTok has responded to data privacy concerns by pr[etend]ing that information gathered about users in the United States is stored in the United States, rather than China, where ByteDance, the video platform’s parent company, is located.  But according to leaked audio from…internal TikTok meetings, China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users…Despite a TikTok executive’s…[perjur]y in an October 2021 Senate hearing that a “world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access to this data, nine statements by eight different employees describe situations where US employees had to turn to their colleagues in China to determine how US user data was flowing.  US staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data on their own…

Creepy Coppers

The people the government empowers to police your sexuality:

New Mexico [cop]…Robert Jesse Strand…was…charged with c[hild porn]…possession…[he was caught in] June 2021 but…once [the investigators] learned Strand was [a member of their gang, they tried to bury]…the case…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1238)

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

…sex workers could be subject to unwanted visits from police — and more profiling from strangers — if the Manitoba government passes new legislation i[ntended to infantilize sexworkers and make it easier to persecute them and their clients, whom the bill’s sponsors label]…”exploiters”…Winnipeg police [are promoting the usual idiotic “]signs of exploitation[” on their website, and the]…new legislation…would compel hotels and temporary accommodations…to keep a record of guests’ information, including their names and addresses, and turn it over to police on [demand] without…a warrant…Families Minister Rochelle Squires [lied that the bill]…won’t go after people involved in consensual sex work.  The province wants to [call all sex work “]human trafficking[” so the government can pretend the bill]…is not intended to push sex work further underground…

Served Cold (#1245) 

OUR’s increasingly-bizarre antics have made it a pariah even among “trafficking” fetishists:

Operation Underground Railroad has a pattern of exaggeration and misrepresentation…its founder, Tim Ballard…claimed…in a video posted on…Instagram, in a Tweet, and in a Facebook post…to be doing a “collaboration” with American Airlines this month, with the airline showing a video about its work…a spokesperson for American flatly said there was no such collaboration…“We do not have any partnership or affiliation with them, and the content is not available on our in-flight entertainment”…Turns out…[that in actuality,] the organization bought an ad with a third-party service provider, Clearwind Media, which…never actually ran on [American’s] in-flight entertainment…this is qualitatively different from a “collaboration” with American…

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Those in government office a[re] the proper subjects of scrutiny…not those who hold them to account.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Same As It Ever Was

All prohibitionism is the same:

The place of the humble egg in the street food culture of Gujarat…has become the latest flash point in the growing role of religion in everyday life…under [Hindu nationalist] Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who[se]…policies to reshape India…include tightening a ban on alcohol and adding protections against the slaughter of cattle…But even devout Hindus don’t always agree among themselves what practices the faithful should follow, a conflict that also raises issues of income and class.  Hence the bitter disagreement over eggs…[which some high-caste] Hindu…vegetarian[s]…consider…to be meat products.  Citing complaints from Hindus as well as [bogus] health concerns, local officials in Ahmedabad…and at least four other cities in mid-November banned the sale and display of meat, fish and eggs on the street…facing a lawsuit and protests, officials in Ahmedabad relented and allowed sales…to resume for now, though the dispute is being considered by the courts

Stalkers in Blue

Cops regularly demonstrate exactly what they are:

Two [cops, James Delinicolis and Angelo Dellosa,] who regularly [harassed] women while [wearing their magical clown costumes were allowed to skate despite] pleading guilty to misconduct in public office over sex with a 17-year-old schoolgirl…in March 2020.  The…other charges [they faced] were withdrawn, including attempted…sexual assault [at gunpoint] and multiple charges of intentionally recording an intimate image without consent…Judge Peter Berman…[let them off] with…community service…[because they testified they were scared of jail despite the fact that they apparently also] tried to rape a schoolgirl…The two [routinely tried to intimidate] …women [into submitting to]…sex…with the[m]…

I Spy (#990)

Remember this when some useful idiot claims you don’t need anonymity online:

…Customs and Border Protection…routinely use[s] the country’s most sensitive databases to obtain the travel records and financial and personal information of journalists, [bureaucrats, politician]s and their staff, NGO workers and others…includ…ing email addresses, phone numbers and photos from passport applications…Running background checks as a matter of course may be creepy, but it’s difficult to imagine it not becoming standard practice when that information is available at agents’ fingertips…because of the fetishization of national security…an[d]…also because it’s so easy to access information on almost everybody…The number of journalists jailed around the world set another record in 2021…[with] 56 journalists…arrested in the U.S. this year…as many as in 2017-2019 combined….journalism isn’t a status, but rather an activity in which anybody can engage…and…annoying powerful people has become an increasingly dangerous activity even where it was once safe…

Permanent Record (#1018)

An important victory in the fight for sex worker rights:

Magistrate Judge Mustafa T. Kasubhai…in Gililland v. Southwestern Oregon Community College, et al. [ruled] that a nursing student who was discriminated against because she was a former adult film performer is sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX.  This ruling is a historic victory for sex worker rights and will likely be expanded upon in years to come…Gililland asserted the college’s behavior was “gender stereotyping” her…The college…contended that Gililland was not protected by Title IX because…“employment history is not a protected status”…Judge Kasubhai…rejected th[is as bullshit and]…determined the “heart of this analysis” is “the kind of woman…that [the college] perceived [Gililland] to be because of her employment history…an ‘unclassy’ woman unfit to be a nurse”…

Censor Chic (#1046)

I’m sure you’ll extend the same courtesy to authors who aren’t violent, genocidal  megalomaniacs, right Amazon?

Amazon quietly removed criticism of…Xi [Jinping’s propaganda screeds] by scrubbing bad reviews, ratings and comments from its Chinese site…agree[ing] to Beijing’s demand to have anything below a five-star review of…The Governance of China removed from Amazon.cn about two years ago…The move is the latest example of western tech companies willing to [kowtow to] Chinese censors for access to the country’s massive consumer market…

Droit du Seigneur (#1183)

It’s good to see this lurid narrative turned against cops for a change:

A Putnam County [New York cop named]…Wayne Peiffer [has been] charged with protecting [what prosecutors refer to as] a sex trafficking ring…in [exchange for sexual services.  The sex workers were arrested and prosecutors]…are [attempting to threaten them into cooperation by threatening them with deportation to Mexico]…One of the Queens-based s[ex workers escaped]…and is being labeled a fugitive…

As in the Virginia case, it’s tough to tease out reality from fantasy here, but I’ve done my best to extract what appear to be the facts from amongst the dysphemized descriptions, agency denial, and outright lies.

Thought Control (#1197)

There is nothing as contagious as a bad idea:

…Local public libraries in Texas…are fielding a flurry of book challenges from [censorious twatwaffles].  While book challenges are nothing new, there has been a growing number of complaints…in re[sponse to censorship demands from politicians.  In]…October…state Rep. Matt Krause [bloviated nonsense about “pornographic books” in school libraries, and was soon joined by violent prohibitionist]…Gov. Greg Abbott…In the weeks since, school districts across the state have [been forced to waste huge amounts of money and work-hours] review[ing] of their book collections, and state officials have [sp]un in[creasingly-stupid propaganda about]…inappropriate content…In Victoria…Dayna Williams-Capone says the number of [copycat] complaints about books is the most she’s seen in her nearly 13 years…about 40…books f[rom a short list]…that touch on topics of same-sex relationships, sexuality and race.  After Williams-Capone and her staff [turned down] the [censorship demands], the…[would-be censors tried to go over their heads]…to the library’s advisory board…[who] voted…to [trust their] librar[ians’ judgement rather than accede to the demands of prudish ignoramuses]…

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We made their lives worse.  –  former OUR member Meg Conley

Stalkers in Blue

Another cop demonstrating exactly what he is:

A [typical and representative] cop [who]…snapp[ed] photos up skirts during a Texas wedding is [named]…Scott Eugene Kilmer…[wedding organizers foolishly hired Kilmer to attend the event wearing his magical clown costume], whe[re] he was caught [repeatedly putt]ing…his foot [with a camera on it] between [women’s] legs but [nobody wanted to] confront him because [they were afraid he would maim, tase, pepper-spray or even murder]…the…guests…the camera transmitted photos to a device in Kilmer’s p[igmobile]…[where other cops] discovered about 50 video clips from the wedding and…similar images [he had taken] previously…

Censor Chic (#830)

Corporations have become the favored tool of censors worldwide:

The British government [has] proposed sweeping re[gulation]s to force [websites] to…[cens]or what is posted online — including carve-outs to [render] politicians [immune to such censorship]…The much-delayed Online Safety Bill includes hefty penalties for companies that fail to [obey the censorship diktats of politicians]…and…[forc]es a so-called duty of care on social networks, smartphone apps and other sites where people can interact with each other, making them [arms of the fascist establishment whether they like it or not]…Content on [politically favored] websites will…not be subject to the new rules…The U.K.’s proposals come as countries worldwide look to [by]pass [legal restrictions on censorship by] forc[ing] social media companies to [do the governments’ dirty work for them]…In Germany, local officials recently revamped the country’s [notorious] online content rules, known as NetzDG, to mandate that companies [become police informants]…The European Union is also pushing ahead with s[imilar] proposals…while countries like Hungary and Poland are pursuing [laws] that would…ban…platforms f[rom censoring politicians and bureaucrats]…[anti-]rights campaigners and misinformation [promoter]s welcomed the U.K.’s new proposals…

See also “Kiss Freedom Goodbye” and “The Convergence of Censors“.

O, Canada! (#1027)

Prohibitionists want Ontario to be more like the US:

Advocates and community groups are calling on the province to drop plans to [increase police powers using the pretext of] human trafficking…[because the] proposed bill [will] harm sex workers and…lead to discrimination and racial profiling…The proposed law would [empower cops] to inspect any place for compliance with the law and [interrogate] any person [they feel like harssing]…with failure to comply leading to possible heavy fines.  Police and inspectors would also have the power to [demand] hotels…[let the pigs root in] their guest registers…without [warrant, merely by vomiting the magic words “]human trafficking[” at random clerks]…Over 70 legal and human rights organizations have written to the provincial government in opposition to the bill, calling for the resources dedicated to this plan to instead be redirected into efforts to help marginalized communities across the province.  Sandra Ka Hon Chu…of the HIV Legal Network…[pointed out that] these types of government initiatives [always] involve surveillance…and [usually abduc]tion and/or deportation of sex workers…“human trafficking i[s used] as a pretext to monitor and interrogate sex workers and to discourage them from working,” she said…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

There are still some Westerners who insist this isn’t genocide:

Across much of China, the authorities are encouraging women to have more children…but in…Xinjiang, they are forcing them to have fewer, as…part of a vast and repressive social…engineering campaign by a Communist Party determined to e[stablish fully totalitarian] rule…Xi Jinping…has [condemned millions of]…Uyghurs…to [concentration] camps…placed the region under tight surveillance, sent residents to work in factories [thousands of kilometers away, abducted Uyghur] children…[to give to childless Han couples, and forced] Muslim women…to [submit to]…invasive birth control procedures…[propaganda] authorities [absurdly claim that] the procedures are voluntary…[but] the [facts say otherwise.  Uyghur women]…recuperat[ing] at home [from the forced sterilization were also forced to literally accept] government officials [in their beds]…If they…refused…they faced steep fines or, worse…a…[concentration] camp…[where] they were…[repeatedly and systematically] raped

Served Cold (#1120) 

It took almost seven years, but the press finally caught up with me on this:

I’d never heard of Operation Underground Railroad when…Tim Ballard, called me suddenly in the summer of 2014…I didn’t wonder why he thought it was appropriate for me—the writer of a mommy blog—to chronicle anti-trafficking work…A camera crew filmed everything, because Ballard…[was] pitch[ing] a TV series about his [cowboy games]…OUR staff…were mostly as inexperienced as I was…Everybody wanted to “save the kids,” but no one really knew anything about these kids.  We talked mostly about fundraising.  The calls never addressed real things children need to be saved from…Ballard…put me in harm’s way so that I could write a story about him…But…I’d imagined myself the same way he did…as a savior…I tried to find meaning in my own life on the backs of exploited kids… A TV show based on [his] bookSlave Stealers, is currently in development.  And a new action movie about him, Sound of Freedom, is forthcoming. Jim Caviezel plays Ballard, with Mira Sorvino as his wife…

Dangerous Speech (#1128)

US “authorities” keep pretending “because sex” is an excuse for any tyranny:

Federal prosecutors have failed, for now, in their most repugnant smear tactic to date in the case involving veteran journalists and onetime Backpage.com owners, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin…Judge Susan Brnovich denied a government bid to prejudice the jury at trial by introducing gruesome details of homicides that Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants have absolutely nothing to do with…But in a separate ruling issued the same day, Brnovich explained that she will permit prosecutors to try to introduce material involving “sex trafficking” and “child sex trafficking,” though the defendants are not charged with these heinous crimes…These allegations rest on an absurd theory of vicarious, third-party liability, in an attempt to hold Lacey and Larkin responsible for the alleged illegal acts of people they don’t know, have never met and have zero connection to…

To Molest and Rape (#1130)

High union rank is another thing rapist cops often have in common:

A [typical and representative] Miami-Dade [cop] and…high-ranking union member has been charged with sexual battery…John Jenkins Jr. has been “re[warded for his behavior with a paid vacation]” said [top cop] Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III in a statement [which also focused] on…Jenkins…not…[wearing his magic clown costume while raping women]…Jenkins resigned as executive vice president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association…

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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Authoritarians are apparently unable to conceive of any solution to any problem that doesn’t depend upon some kind of enforcers using violence to impose “regulations” conceived of by the ruling elite, with any deviation punished by still more violence.  It doesn’t matter whether the problem is man-made or natural, intentional or unintentional, widespread or sporadic, common or rare, or even real or unreal, because the point of the proposed “solutions” isn’t actually to solve anything, but rather to seize more power for the rulers and their enforcers.  If anything, real solutions (however brutal and destructive to human rights) are far less desirable than busywork “solutions” (preferably involving a massive, unaccountable bureaucracy and a boatload of new criminal laws) which do little if anything to solve the problem and therefore result in a new, permanent way to subjugate and bleed the peons.  And wholly imaginary problems are superior (in the short run) to real ones, because without a real subject to examine, it’s harder for foes of the regime to collect actual facts with which to undermine the supposedly-benevolent tyranny.  Reason‘s J.D. Tuccille has recently published two articles on the subject, one about tyranny imposed using a real problem as an excuse, and the other about similar tyranny justified by an imaginary “problem” that mostly exists in animal fears and petty intolerance.  And as you might expect, there isn’t a lot of difference:

We’re told that life is never getting back to normal, so we need to suck it up and accept a world of mask-wearing, economic disruption, and social distancing…government responses to COVID-19 are pushing the world toward authoritarianism…dressed up as if that’s a good thing.  That’s unfortunate, given that less-intrusive responses to the pandemic are proving at least as effective as heavy-handed ones…authoritarian tools may become permanent because government officials are rarely punished for doing something, even if the something is awful and counterproductive…In addition…crises are excellent excuses for accumulating unprecedented authority and using it in novel ways.  “For authoritarian-minded leaders, the coronavirus crisis is offering a convenient pretext to silence critics and consolidate power,” Human Rights Watch cautioned in April.  “The ‘lockdown measures’ adopted by many European states have disproportionately impacted racialized individuals and groups who were targeted with violence, discriminatory identity checks, forced quarantines and fines,” Amnesty International reported in June…”Governments…have exploited [the pandemic] to crack down on journalism and silence criticism,” the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression noted in July…Public health excuses continue to ride roughshod over protections for individual rights…

Compare with this:

…as the world wrestles with a pandemic and overbearing public health measures, [politicians] are taking the opportunity to tighten the screws on speech they don’t like…the French National Assembly…[tried to] give companies [only a single] hour…to [censor] content [it] alleged…to glorify terrorist activity or to constitute child pornography…France’s Constitutional Court struck down the vast majority of the law as an unconstitutional threat to freedom of expression.  That’s really the only good news to report so far.  France’s blocked…law was inspired by Germany’s notorious NetzDG law, which makes online platforms liable for illegal content…”the NetzDG conscripts social media companies into governmental service as content regulators,” with millions of euros in fines hanging over their heads if they guess wrong.  That model of delegated censorship has proven to be as infectious as a viral outbreak, taking hold in over a dozen other countries…”Europe’s most influential democracy has contributed to the further erosion of global Internet freedom by developing and legitimizing a prototype of online censorship by proxy that can readily be adapted to serve the ends of authoritarian states,” Justitia, a Danish judicial thinktank, warned in a 2019 report…The U.S. faces its own speech- and privacy-threatening legislation in the form of the [so-called] EARN IT…Act…which…”would allow small website owners to be sued or prosecuted under state laws, as long as the prosecution or lawsuit [can be pretended to be] related to crimes against children,” warns the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “We know how websites will react to this. Once they face prosecution or lawsuits based on other peoples’ speech, they’ll monitor their users, and censor or shut down discussion forums”…

Governments have been embracing this fascist power-delegation model – using threats in order to force corporations to exercise tyrannies their constitutions and other legal instruments prohibit to government – for over a decade now, always using scarecrows like “terrorism” and “sex offenders” and “human trafficking” in order to put the masses to sleep about it.  So when COVID came along, it was 100% predictable that they would seize upon it to feed their insatiable hunger for power, while telling their gullible subjects it’s for their own good.

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The censor-morons are loose, and they’re attacking the small targets so their totalitarian masters can expend their energy on big ones like the internet.  –  “The Return of the Censor

Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  From the most totalitarian of governments down to the youngest of adults, it seems everybody without a functional moral compass (which is to say, the great majority) wants to impose their ideas of “right” thinking and “correct” speech on everyone else.  China, of course, is leading the way, with a new Maoist-type campaign to purge schools and libraries of books deemed insufficiently pure, but the West isn’t far behind.  In the UK, cops are knocking on doors to intimidate people who made statements online that the cops didn’t like, and early this month a woman in Melbourne was actually arrested for posting on Facebook about a protest against totalitarian “lockdown” orders imposed by the Victorian government.  In the US, the pandemic is only one of many popular excuses for censorship; others include “hate speech”, criticizing the police, and (for social media platforms) either engaging in censorship on their own or not censoring often enough for the tastes of censors.  I know that last is confusing, so let me state it a different way:  Some politicians and other control freaks want to censor Facebook, Twitter, et al for engaging in censorship themselves, while others want to censor the same entities for not censoring enough.  Yes, it’s complete lunacy, and it isn’t limited to the internet; culture warriors in academia, Hollywood, and even corporate America are firing,expelling, or otherwise ostracizing people for engaging in wrongthink, or even for failing to chant approved party slogans with sufficient enthusiasm.

When I was a librarian, Banned Books Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech, ranging from “it hurt my feelings”, to “it was said or written by a dead person who did things considered normal then, but which are now mortal sins”, to “it contains ‘bad’ words”, to the ever-popular “But SEX!”  As I wrote last year, the censor-morons (a term coined by D.H. Lawrence, one of many writers now considered “problematic”) are loose; furthermore, they are multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power.  For now, the courts are mostly still defending the rights of those with enough money, resources, and patience to fight “cancellation” through official channels.  But if you will take the time to read all of my essays for this occasion starting in 2012, and working your way up a year at a time to the present, I think you’ll see a very frightening trend.  We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.

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It’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public.  –  Emma Best

Pathologization

The abuses committed by the “therapeutic state” are rarely so blatant:

A 16-year-old boy [locked in] a Los Angeles County [cage stack] developed enlarged breasts after he was [forced to take] estrogen [against his will to make him docile]…a move that baffled doctors who said the [so-called] treatment defied medical logic…The teen…was [claimed to have “]oppositional defiant disorder[“, a label invented to medicalize teens’ natural resentment of being treated like children]…Medical records…show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor [assigned to control] him prescribed daily doses of estrogen…After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia…James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA…[said]“You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD”…The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, [is being sued along with the county by the young man, who]…will require surgery to treat the [malformity]…Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen…without the parents’ consent…

2 mg of estrogen is roughly 4x the typical amount taken for hormone replacement by post-menopausal women.

Lying Down With Dogs (#412)

What other country does this sound like?

In mid-June, Tunisian Islamic political party El-Karama launched an initiative to ban all forms of sex work in the country and penalise sex workers…[using the moronic excuse of] “the dignity of…woman”… “Political parties [used to] shun sex work issues. It’s a taboo subject,” says Souhaila Bensaid, founder of the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention (ATP+) for sexual and reproductive health. But increased animosity against sex workers over the past decade has turned into “a moralistic crusade,” according to Bensaid, leaving women in increasingly precarious situations with little to no protection…

Censor Chic (#882)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Twitter has banned the account of the collective that published almost 270 gigabytes of leaked documents from police departments all over the country…Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets…said that Twitter had taken down the official account of the DDoSecrets collective, which is made of activists, journalists, and technologists…when a Twitter user now clicks on a link that leads to the DDoSecrets’ site, it’s redirected to a warning that labels it as “unsafe”…“it’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public”…[said] Best…

Forward and Backward (#894)

A prohibitionist attempt to destroy the Leeds red light district has been defeated:

The University of Huddersfield…[was] tasked…with investigating how effective the [Leeds] Managed Approach (MA) was, amid [attempts by] some [politicians to]…abandon…[it] altogether…the review concluded: “The MA was found to be more effective at reducing the impact of problems associated with on-street sex working than any other approach or model.  There are currently no alternative models or approaches that promise to be more effective and which fit within existing UK law on sex working”…[unfortunately NIMBY] residents [have] stag[ed] regular protests…[using the usual hackneyed claims of] littering and soliciting creeping into residential areas

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with beating:

[A] Dover [New Hampshire cop named Ronald Letendre beat his wife] Sarah [so severely he broke four of her ribs, then had her arrested] and charged her with domestic violence [on him]…the…husband…is a[lso]…a…former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter…[since] the incident…The…police are…con[tinuing to harass]…Sarah…stopp[ing] her vehicle [and trying to brutalize and re-arrest her on bullshit charges]…Fortunately [s]he…was [able to escape] and…ha[s] not yet [been tracked down by]…police…

The Mote and the Beam (#1016)

Hawley has a long history of spouting self-aggrandizing lies about sex workers:

When Missouri police raided several Springfield massage parlors in 2017, as…Josh Hawley…tells it, it was a righteous rescue mission led by a promising young attorney general who would later go on to become a rising Republican star in the U.S. Senate…While this tale nicely reinforces Hawley’s long-standing preoccupations with public morality  and Chinese hegemonythe evidence doesn’t back up his version of events.  The real story is one about police and prosecutor overreach at the expense of potentially vulnerable immigrants, followed by grandstanding and falsehoods from a senator intent on rewriting his own history.  Three years after the initial raids, Missouri has [only] managed to elicit six guilty pleas to misdemeanor offenses against the state’s massage licensing law…Hawley’s…raids…[were] largely based on…the fact that they all advertised on the now-seized classified ad site Backpage

Safe Position (#1042)

Under the current zeitgeist, Swedish model pushers are being increasingly seen as the copsuckers they are:

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz [lied during] her campaign [by] promis[ing] to end the criminalization of sex work…[in reality she is pursuing a Swedish criminalization strategy]…Amnesty International found in a study published in 2016, that [this] Model violate[s] the rights of sex workers by creating an atmosphere of fear built upon surveillance, evictions, and deportations…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs…One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women.  The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs…of 13 tons of products made from human hair…forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps.  Both…evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz.  The Genocide Convention, to which China is a signatory, defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.  These acts  include (a) killing; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.  Any one of these…constitutes genocide.  The overwhelming evidence [is that] Chin[a’s]…campaign [against]…the Uighur people…meets [all] of the[m]…Over a million…Uighurs are…subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatingsstress positions, and injections of unknown substances…The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”…demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole…

Disqualified

Twitter accidentally admitted what everyone already knew:

[Last week]s hack of a large number of prominent Twitter accounts — which led to the company’s disabling of…verified…accounts for part of the day — also resulted in the unexpected confirmation of the practice known by users as “shadowbanning,” and by Twitter as “blacklisting”…the secret re-categorization of certain Twitter accounts, without the knowledge of the affected user or their followers, so that they do not show up in searches, predictive auto-complete fields or trending topics.  Even though…companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have in the past denied knowing what “shadowbanning” meant, large numbers of sex workers…are verifiably victims of this…practice…a…Motherboard article…[showed] a screencapture from Twitter’s back-end reveal[ing] some accounts labeled under “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist”…[reporter Samantha] Cole explained…“A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard on the phone that these blacklists are the same ones it explained in 2018 (though it didn’t use the term ‘blacklist’ at the time and has not used that word publicly)”…

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[US police] violence appears so widespread and consistent that you could…think…it’s coordinated at a national level.  –  T.C. Sottek

The Widening Gyre (#864)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the “scrap paper” variant of the “sex traffickers marking cars” scary tale:

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said…post-it notes left on various cars throughout Lubbock were…not sex trafficking ploys…Lubbock Police…looked into the matter and found that the numbers were, in fact, from a legitimate hail damage repair company…three Facebook posts claiming the notes were sex trafficking ploys…had been shared over 3,000 times…

Hail causes sex trafficking!

You Were Warned (#926)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

…The Court of Appeal for New South Wales has just dismissed an attempt by several Australian media outlets to overturn a 2019 ruling that they could be held liable for Facebook comments about [the state torture of a young man named] Dylan Voller…Voller…sued some of the media outlets that covered him—not because the news reports defamed him, but because other people writing on the outlets’ Facebook pages were accusing him of having committed various crimes.  Australian courts have not yet ruled on whether these comments defamed Voller.  This fight is about whether media outlets could even be sued for Facebook comments.  The outlets argue that…Facebook does not let them preemptively stop individual readers from posting comments on their page.  They do have the option to delete, hide, or report individual comments, but only after they’ve been posted…But the fact that these outlets have the ability to delete comments after the fact was enough for Judge John Basten to declare them publishers…Another judge suggested that a potential solution would be…censor[ing] content…If this ruling stands, it’s going to force Australian media outlets to monitor all comments and beef up their social media teams at a time when they’re having to lay off staff and even shut down newspapers

Censor Chic (#948)

It’s so convenient to outsource tyranny to computers:

…certain combinations of Chinese characters have been immediately removed from [YouTube] within a few short seconds…[without] warning or reason…The Hanzi Which Shall Not Be Named were merely 共匪  (“communist bandit”) and 五毛 (“fifty cents”)…the term 共匪…was used by Nationalist partisans led by…Chiang Kai-shek against…Mao Zedong and the reds.  Today, it is considered a slur against the CCP…五毛 is a cleverer anti-CCP troll.  It’s basically calling a pro-CCP commenter a paid shill, albeit a cheap one.  The joke is that human CCP NPCs get paid fifty cents for each pro-CCP post; ergo, the “fifty-cent army” or 五毛党…those terms would not disappear from YouTube comments if you typed them out in English or in Pinyin…only…in the original Hanzi…YouTube is already banned in China and can be a pain to access without a good VPN and strong desire to do so…We are asked to believe that YouTube’s pesky algorithm just happened to accidentally disappear these very particular Chinese anti-government phrases since at least October of 2019…Perhaps the fifty-cent army flagged these phrases enough to become automatic triggers that the algorithm would automatically pull.  But it is also possible that someone at YouTube manually added these terms to a blocklist…Pressure from politicians of both parties contributed to Google winding down its proposed “Dragonfly” Chinese search engine that would have been compliant with CCP censorship demands…

Panopticon (#1007)

FWIW, the DEA mostly conducts old-fashioned Stasi-type surveillance:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd…Attorney General William Barr issued a statement…blam[ing the protests on]…“anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics”…He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”  Barr did not say what those agencies would do, however…

Panopticon (#1030)

Pigs now routinely use spy drones for surveillance :

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is regularly flying Predator drones…above American cities for surveillance.  This includes cities farther than 100 miles from the border…In two instances last month, CBP…flew [a drone] either close to or directly above Minneapolis…[another] recently flew around half a dozen times above or near San Antonio, Texas, which is also outside the 100 mile border region.  In some cases the Predator drones circled above the cities for an extended period of time…

Social Distancing (#1041)

Australian sex workers are challenging crypto-moralism:

Sex workers in Australia could operate under a COVID-19-safe framework…according to the adults-only industry association.  The industry has been crippled by bans in all states and territories during the…pandemic.  As other industries are included in road maps for restarting, only the Northern Territory has given clear advice to sex workers on when they can return to work.  In a letter to Health Minister Greg Hunt…the Eros Association expressed concern that shutting down the sex industry was being “motivated by moral judgments…rather than any justified concerns regarding public health…strip clubs, escort agencies and brothels should be allowed to operate (with appropriate restrictions) at the same stage as other body work practitioners such as massage therapists…Attached to the letter were proposed guidelines for restarting the industry…

But for Video

Just a few choice selections of police brutality from the past week:

…A New York City [cop] tore a protective mask off of a young black man and assaulted him with pepper spray…New York City [cops]…rammed a crowd in a street…[cops] in Minneapolis marched down a quiet residential street and shot paint canisters at residents who were watching from their private porch…Police in Louisville raided a public square, [stealing] and destroying water and milk…used to counter irritants like pepper spray…Atlanta police [shot] two black people…with tasers and t[ore] them out of their car…A New York City [cop] used two hands to throw a woman to the ground…San Antonio Police used tear gas against people. So did Dallas policeSo did Los Angeles policeSo did DC police. The list goes on…A freelance photographer in Minneapolis…went permanently blind in her left eye after being [intentionally] shot [in the face with a rubber bullet at close range]…

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The state may not use a butcher knife on a problem that requires a scalpel to fix.  –  Judge John T. Nixon

Where Are the Victims?

It’s always a “gang”, even when it clearly isn’t:

Hu Shuangyan…was part of a[n imaginary] gang that [rented] flats [to sex workers] in Kent, Essex and London…[she and her parter Zhang Dongning] tricked estate agents by posing as employees of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei…[she] was also convicted of money laundering…

A couple is not a “gang”, and if there wasn’t a stupid law against renting rooms to people engaged in a legal trade, there would have been no need for them to lie.

The More the Better 

“Mommy whores” are good, but “gramma whores” are even better:

…grandmother-of-seven Abby Roberts is…working six days a week selling sex to make ends meet.  With disabled husband Sorren unable to work, the 58 year old spends eight hours a day…[working] via…webcam…[and] also shoots six adult movies a month…”As an average I work about eight hours a day.  Some people call me a workaholic but I just love it actually,” she says…that’s the way it has been for 18 years because when I fell in love with my husband I knew he had a very heavy disability”…She and Sorren…were regular swingers before he suffered a heart attack and was told he couldn’t have sex again…

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

A youth pastor at a Colorado Springs church has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a child…Stephen Michael Houlihan…[of] Fellowship of the Rockies church, was booked June 8 on charges of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, internet luring of a child, and obscenity…

Censor Chic (#894)

Google is now so big it isn’t even accountable to its own shareholders:

A shareholder resolution aimed at halting Google’s  efforts to bring a censored version of its search engine to China has failed.  Shareholders tabled a resolution to demand Google put the brakes on its controversial search engine efforts in China.  The program, internally dubbed “Dragonfly”, is…a censorship-friendly search engine with the capability to hide results at the behest of Beijing…Google chief Sundar Pichai…describ[es] China as an “important” market…

Whereas just not being evil (as Google used to claim in its motto) is not so important.

The End of the Beginning (#915) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

The Supreme Court of Alaska ruled on Friday that Alaska’s sex offender registration statute violated the due process rights of out of state offenders by requiring them to register as sex offenders without allowing them to be heard.  The court…concluded that the statute…was overbroad and violated due process because it did not provide them an opportunity to demonstrate they were no[t]…a threat to the public.  The court elected not to invalidate the ASORA but rather to allow…the individual who brought the case…to file a civil action in the state’s superior court in an attempt to prove that he no longer poses a risk…

Uncommon Sense (#916)

Because whores are morons whose lives and businesses must be micromanaged by governments:

A flurry of recent media reports have suggested the Prostitutes Protection Act (herafter ProstSchG) had failed to achieve its stated goals and would not sufficiently protect people engaged in prostitution.  Voice4Sexworkers…firmly rejects that notion:  The ProstSchG is well on its way to achieve all of the federal government’s desired goals and effects…Germany’s Basic Law…which grants the inviolability of one’s home…no longer applies to sex workers.  Occupational freedom…is being undermined through the registration procedures…It was clear from the outset that the law would be particularly problematic for people from countries where prostitution is illegal, such as Bulgaria or Romania.  If they register as sex workers in Germany, they risk receiving mail in their countries of origin, despite the promised option to have any related mail delivered to a different mailing address…Tax offices flout this provision knowingly and deliberately, and in doing so, they greatly endanger the lives of sex workers in their countries of origin…The entire construct of the ProstSchG is intended to deter people from entering prostitution and render sex work impossible in most places…

Opting Out (#926) 

Any non-politician would have given this up as a bad idea by now:

The government is under pressure to delay its controversial online pornography age verification scheme for a third time [from July 15th to October 15th], or risk “nefarious” companies “using this opportunity to harvest and manipulate user data”…the Digital Policy Alliance…[ex]plains that…unless the scheme is delayed there will be “less protection for public data”…

Here’s more detail on that from the Open Rights Group:

New age restrictions on pornography…are a “privacy timebomb”…[because in typical government fashion] the data protection in place to protect consumers is “vague, imprecise and largely a ‘tick box’ exercise”…The UK government claims the new measures are necessary in order to prevent children and young adults from accessing adult content online…[even though] the new rules are unlikely to prevent tech-savvy children from reaching restricted websites…

Watershed (#934)

It took prohibitionists two months to freak out over an article saying everyone has human rights:

Teen Vogue tweeted an article titled, “Why Sex Work Is Real Work,” and many clutched their pearls at the audacity of talking to teens about sex work…sex therapist Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng[‘s]…central argument was that sex workers provide services that help people meet and understand their sexual needs in the same way that her sex counseling does…[prohibitionist] talking heads quickly posted their disdain:  “Why is a teen magazine promoting prostitution to their 13-year-old readers?”  Others falsely equated sex work with sex trafficking…One commenter pointed out that Teen Vogue is a part of Condé Nast in [a bizarre stretch] to falsely equate discussing sex work with pedophilia…Of course, Dr. Mofokeng’s article defends nothing other than the safe exchange of sexual services between consenting adults…Furthermore, scandalized reactions to teens learning about sex work are out of touch with reality.  About 40% of high school teens report to be sexually active, making conversations about sexual health and women’s issues crucially relevant in teens’ lives…

Dangerous Speech (#942)

Another deep dive into the facts of the persecution of Backpage:

…In the years before their arrest, Lacey and Larkin had successfully beat back charges like these in court.  They took refuge not only in the First Amendment but also in Section 230…Congress’ great gift to the internet….[which] wouldn’t exist without it.  After all, you can’t build or sustain a giant network if you’re getting sued every time a user says or does something objectionable…Lacey and Larkin…won case after case, with the support of Big Tech and civil libertarians alike.  But by the time the Feds descended on Paradise Valley that morning in the spring of 2018…the tech industry…had thrown them under the bus.  Their top lieutenant had flipped.  And Congress had used them as an excuse to finally accomplish what it had been trying to do for more than 20 years—tear a hole in Section 230…Silicon Valley had better hope they win.  United States v. Lacey is a dangerous case, with potential consequences far beyond the freedom of two aging antiauthoritarians…

There’s a lot of good info here, but watch for the writer’s bias; she seems to be a crypto-prohibitionist and it’s visible in a few places (such as calling Lacey & Larkin “digital pimps”).  That’s hardly unusual for Wired, which seems unable to publish an article about sex work that lacks major issues.

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