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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

How do we know it won’t happen again?  –  Lacy Lennon

I Spy (#930)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Google received more than 20,000 geofence warrants in the US in the last three calendar years…[this fascist surveillance technique allows cops to] carve out a specific area and time period and [demand]…information about the devices that were present during that window.  The information is anonymous…[until cops demand more details, at which time]…Google [happily violates] those users’ [privacy]…In 2018, Google received 982 [such] warrants.  The following year, it rose to 8,396.  Last year, it jumped to 11,554.  In all, Google received 20,932 geofence warrants…since 201[8]…

Business As Usual (#1011)

The media are still downplaying the crimes of this psychopathic rapist-murderer cop:

A federal judge has set a new trial date for a [typical and representative] Columbus…vice [pig who murdered a sex worker when she wouldn’t submit to rape]…Andrew Mitchell is [only being] charged with…federal [conspiracy and perjury-type crimes even though]…he…had [a long history of raping] prostitutes…Mitchell also faces state charges [for shooting 100-pound] Donna Castleberry [eight times at point-blank range] after she [fought back] during an [attempted rape by] Mitchell, who has [described the wanton murder of a woman half his size]…as self-defense…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1012) 

How is this surprising when TikTok is owned by the Chinese?

TikTok has quietly expanded how much information it will collect from its more than 100 million users in the U.S. to include “faceprints and voiceprints.”  In response, [US politicians want a piece of the action]…The U.S. does not have a federal law regulating the tracking of biometric data by technology companies, but…TikTok…is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese [company owned in part by the Chinese government, which also controls 1/3 of its board]…Earlier this year, TikTok paid $92 million to settle dozens of lawsuits [in response to] the app[‘s]…harvesting personal data…including…facial recognition…without user consent.  That data…was [shaed with Beijing] and sold to advertisers in violation of state and federal law.  In 2019, TikTok was fined nearly $6 million by the Federal Trade Commission for [violating] the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires apps to receive parental permission before collecting a minor’s data.  The Trump administration[‘s attempt]…to ban the app was abandoned by the Biden administration in June

Policing for Profit (#1096)

No matter how little their victims have, cops will steal it and fuck up their lives in the process:

The city of Longmont [Colorado] has [finally] paid the $1,592.72…toll bill [the state tried to stick] a [disabled] woman [with after]…a [city cop named Stephen Schulz stole her] license plate…and put [it] on his [disguised pigmobile]…Debra Romero…[was] left…without the use of a vehicle…[because] the [state]…refused to waive the toll charges even after Romero filed a report…declaring her license plate as stolen…the state of Colorado [also] barred her from renewing her registration until the toll bill was paid…the city [didn’t care about Romero’s plight until]…the…situation [made the news]…

The Prudish Giant (#1104)

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

A poster for Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s new film Parallel Mothers…was [censored by Facebook-owned] Instagram for depicting a lactating nipple…[after public outcry] Instagram…reverse[d] its censorship…[but] given Instagram’s exception for artistic context, the rationale for the poster’s initial removal remains unclear…

To Molest and Rape (#1165)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative] Massachusetts [cop] has been arrested on child pornography charges…Francis Hart…[was caught] upload[ing] a file with numerous images of child pornography…

I’m not sure what will happen here; Massachusetts cops who forcibly rape actual children get less than one year per victim, or no penalty at all plus being rewarded with a powerful cop gang position for repeatedly raping children of both sexes for decades.  But Massachuseets puritans are very uptight about porn, so who knows?

The Next Target (#1165)

Those who shift with the wind can be counted on to continue doing so:

OnlyFans says it has suspended a plan to ban sexually explicit content following an outcry from its creators and advocates for sex workers…the planned ban was “no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators”…[however, an authoritarian circle-jerk made up] of over 100…[politicians are still howling for sex workers’ blood, cit]ing the[ir own disgusting fantasies about]…sex…with children

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Any time [cops use] an AI system…[to] affect an outcome for a human, it’s probably harmful.  –  Tristan Greene

First They Came for the Hookers…

The only thing unusual here is that the molester cop actually got in trouble:

The resignations of two top officials and a [lying, deceitful cop] at the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control this year are linked to a bungled undercover operation at Scottsdale’s Skin Cabaret, in which the [cop molested a dancer]…Director John Cocca and Deputy Director Mike Rosenberger resigned in April with no public explanation…[after pig] Mike Sanchez…[groped] her genitals during a…[strip club visit conducted using the pretext of]…COVID-19 health and liquor violations…in a VIP room…Sanchez…claimed [molesting the woman wasn’t a crime because] he “was never at any time sexually motivated” [when he groped her]…

Apparently, cops believe molestation and rape are OK as long as they pretend that they were thinking about ruining lives rather than getting off.

The Lesser of Two Evils (#414)

Principled Christians understand that prohibition is evil:

For years, my faith system told me that all forms of sex work were immoral and should be a crime, and the only way to eliminate the sale of sex…is [for the state] to impose heavy consequences that discourage the behavior.  Most people I know share similar beliefs…[but] the more I learn, the further I move away from this popular opinion…my prayers, my research and simply listening to those who trade sex, revealed that the greatest problem was the unnecessary burden society was placing on this community by criminalizing consensual sex work…criminalization has failed…to eliminate or even reduce the sex trade, nor has it improved the moral fabric of society.  If criminalization is not accomplishing any of these, then why does this remain our approach?…We eventually reversed [alcohol] Prohibition, so we should now be asking ourselves “why haven’t we reversed other laws like it, including those against consensual sex”?…

Disaster (#1000)

It’s so nice to hear this from someone whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill:

…if you’re talking about FOSTA/SESTA…someone, at some point, will [claim] that it was aimed at combatting sex trafficking [and] had unintended impacts on…sex work[ers]…there’s a law review article…called “good intentions and unintended consequences”…a…2018 OC Register article called “The Unintended Consequences of a Well Meaning Anti-Sex-Trafficking Law”…and [multiple examples of political bloviation]…But…the narrative of “unintended consequences” is utter nonsense.  Negative effects on sex workers (and there were many) were not “unintended.”  The text of the law explicitly criminalizes the promotion of prostitution and it’s hard to argue that an interpretation of the law that was clear from its text is unintended…this narrative is [even] contradicted by what the organizations that supported FOSTA say about their own goals

Guinea Pigs (#1079)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Hundreds of thousands of [cops] in the US have the authority to use blackbox AI to conduct unethical surveillance, generate evidence, and circumvent our Fourth Amendment protections.  And there’s little reason to believe anyone’s going to do anything about it…[because these] systems are a goldmine for startups, big tech, and politicians…Any cop, regardless of affiliation or status, has access to dozens (if not hundreds) of third-party AI systems…he…can…install…Clearview AI on [a] personal smartphone…take a picture of anyone and [find] their identity…then runs th[at]…through an app from a company such as Palantir…without a warrant, officer Friendly now has access to your phone carrier, ISP, and email records…medical and mental health records, military service history, court records, legal records, travel history, and…property records…[with] absolutely no oversight whatsoever…Predictive-policing is among the most common [of these] unethical AI systems…The[y]…claim to use “data” to determine where crimes are going to happen.  But…all [they] can [actually] do is determine, historically, where police tend to arrest the most people…

One small nitpick: hey headline writer, Pandora wasn’t in the box; she was the one who opened it.

To Molest and Rape (#1090)

“Police explorer” programs are nothing but grooming schemes for predatory cops:

Two NYPD cops [raped] a vulnerable teen [victim via] the police youth program, taking advantage of the underage girl to “satisfy their depraved interests,” an internal department judge has ruled….[after] Sanad Musallam and Yaser Shohatee [enjoyed a paid vacation for four years [after getting caught in]…2016…the case f[ell] apart [because] the [15-year-old victim was too afraid of her rapists]…to continue to cooperate with investigators…

The Next Target (#1127)

It was only a matter of time before “sex trafficking” fetishists extended their pet fantasy to OnlyFans:

…”[OnlyFans] is just one more avenue that traffickers can use to make money,” [bloviated a Texas cop named]…Joseph Scaramucci…[who] has spent more than a decade [masturb]ating [to fantasies of] sex trafficking…in recent months, much of his [wanking material has come from]…OnlyFans…”there was [sic] very obvious signs of people that were under 3rd party control, “Scaramucci [fantasized while making furtive movements in his pants]…He has [jerked off to] many pornographic images that [were] consensual, but…he…[fantasizes] that the females in…the pictures may be victims that have been coerced by sex traffickers…[especially] teenagers…

The Next Target (#1130)

Prohibitionists’ next target isn’t just porn; it’s all online sex work:

“Sugar dating” apps will not be allowed on the Android Play Store from September 1st, Google has announced…Google’s Play Store policies already prohibit apps that promote “services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.”  But the updated wording expands this definition to explicitly include “compensated dating or sexual arrangements where one participant is expected or implied to provide money, gifts or financial support to another participant (‘sugar dating’)”…

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Prostitution is normal.  –  Carmen Kleingeris

Dutch Threat (#349)

Every few years, Utrecht thinks of a new way to harass sex workers:

Utrecht’s…Tippelzone…[has been] clos[ed by prohibitionist politicians.  Activist] Carmen Kleingeris…said…”Politicians are now actually saying by closing the tolerance zone: ‘sex workers do not belong’…this mentality…legitimize[s]…rape”…[The politicians specifically] decided to close the Tippelzone in 2018 [in order to gentrify the area]…

Monsters (#616) 

“Gender-critical feminists” are also virtually always prohibitionists:

The [UK] High Court has rejected claims that housing trans women who’ve committed sexual or violent offences against women in female prison facilities is discriminatory to cis women…The landmark case was brought by an unnamed cis female inmate…who…argued that her human rights were violated by having to be in the same prison as trans women prisoners who have convictions for sexual or violent offences against women, [but not by having to be in prison with]…cis women [who committed similar crimes]…The…case was supported by several so-called “gender-critical” groups…

Going After the Pimps

Your periodic reminder of what “going after the pimps” actually means:

A nurse accused of living off the earnings of the prostitution of his wife…in 2018…was fined €600 and did not appeal the decision.  [But now a busybody h]as [complained] to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland…and [David] Navarro is now facing an allegation of misconduct for allegedly bringing the nursing profession into disrepute [by failing to stop his wife from having a job]…

Between the Ears (#966)

Any internet-connected device can and will be used to spy on you:

Google Assistant records your conversations even when not in use, the company…admitted to an Indian government panel…even without saying the word “OK Google,” the AI Assistant still listens to your conversations…[even though] Google has…previously…cl[aimed otherwise]…Google [further] admitted…that their employees listen to such recordings…[but claims] it is not being done in a creepy way, [as if there is some non-creepy way to eavesdrop on strangers]…

Remember, Google has a long history of complying with surveillance and other police-statery.

R.I.P. Margo St. James

A “Celebration of Margo’s Life”:

Margo St. James…fought for sex workers at a time when the mainstream U.S. feminist movement was hostile to them and leftist organizers mostly wanted to portray them as victims…St. James still helped position the sex worker rights movement as a broad and classical liberal battle for civil rights, sexual freedom, economic liberty, and bodily autonomy, while advancing the idea that decriminalization would be good for women and good for sex worker safety.  In May, a group of COYOTE’s 21st century descendants released a video memorial to St. James, who died in January 2021.  Celebration of Life for Margo St. James features archival footage, photos, and interviews plus new commentary on and paeans to her life and work from an international and intergenerational squad of admirers. You can find the whole thing at margostjames.com

The Course of a Disease (#1118)

When a politician does the right thing, it’s usually for the wrong reason:

Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed legislation that would have made the state the first in the nation to [impose Swedish-style]…criminaliz[ation because]…she wasn’t convinced that the bill [taught dirty whores a lesson and she shared her masturbatory fantasies about how]…the state is a trafficking hub where victims are recruited and sent to major cities…such as New York and Boston…

As usual, the ignorant fuckwads who infest US journalism swallowed prohibitionist vomit about the Swedish model being “partial decriminalization” instead of consulting actual experts on the subject.

Property of the State (#1149)

Women with young children should avoid Alabama if at all possible:

Erika…Prock’s husband was smoking a cigarette outside the[ir] car…[when] an [Alabama cop pretended he] smelled marijuana on his breath.  Todd Prock [foolishly] told police he had [legal] marijuana [from their home in Michigan] in the trunk of the car.  The…[pigs therefore] arrested both adults and [abducted] the[ir toddler]…Weeks [later] the…Prock[s]…were charged with felony chemical endangerment, a law originally [represented to useful idiots as necessary] to target parents whose children were near meth labs…Instead of returning to Michigan, Prock and her husband moved into a tent behind her in-laws’ trailer while they fight a[ccus]ations in [both] criminal and [so-called] family court.  Her child has been [given away to] an Alabama foster family…Alabama courts have ruled that drug use can’t be the sole reason for [abducting people’s] child[ren], but [that doesn’t stop cops and prosecutors from maliciously attempting to destroy their lives for months or years until a court finally dismisses the charges]…

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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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Think of the ramifications…if everyone who searched something…was subject to interviews by federal agents.  –  Todd Spodek

To Molest and Rape

Given that the badge is a weapon, most rape by cops is “on duty”:

Purcell [Oklahoma cop]…Jason Baca [raped a] woman…in [August and was rewarded with a]…paid [vacation until] an arrest warrant was [finally] issued [on October 7th] and he turned himself in at the [jail]…

Served Cold (#797) 

This megalomaniac’s antics have grown so bizarre even prohibitionists can no longer ignore it:

A Utah prosecutor is investigating Operation Underground Railroad – one of the best-known organizations [profiting from hysteria over] human trafficking.  Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings…[declined to] specif[y] why O.U.R…is under investigation.  However, in recent posts to his Instagram account, Rawlings implied a local nonprofit was conducting illegal fundraising efforts by taking credit for arrests made by [cops]…Rawlings suggested some witnesses have been hindered by nondisclosure agreements…“Just because someone claims they are called of God when asking for your money does not necessarily mean they actually are.”  Rawlings ended that post with the hashtags: “#fraud #scam #crime.”  In a later post, Rawlings included copies of Utah’s statutes against communications fraud and witness tampering…

I Spy (#930)

Curiosity offends the state, comrade:

…Google has provided police information on users based on keyword searches….[pigs demanded] the company…disclose the IP addresses of everyone who had looked up words relevant to their [snooping, rooting and prying]…The troubling practice came to light when police in Florida investigated an incident where a woman who had accused singer R. Kelly of sexual assault had her car vandalized outside her home…police “sent a search warrant to Google that requested information on users who had searched the address of the residence close in time to the arson”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Illinois readers can get $400 from the copZucker:

Facebook users in Illinois can now apply to collect from a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit…filed over Facebook’s collection and storing of biometric data…without…consent.  As part of the $650 million settlement, claimants may be eligible for payments of between $200-$400, depending on the number of valid claims filed…by…users…for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011…Claimants must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 183 days (six months) to be eligible.  Claims must be filed by November 23, 2020…

You Were Warned (#1073)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

U.S. [politicians]—who have been tossing whatever claims of bad deeds they can at Big Tech for a good while—are now angling for antitrust law changes that they say are necessary to [control] Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google…the House…antitrust committee put out a 450-page report on the subject…result[ing from] a 16-month-long investigation [during which]…representatives barraged the CEOs of all four companies with inane and irrelevant questions in a public hearing…There’s scant evidence of elements…necessary for an antitrust violation…[so] the…report calls for “for sweeping changes to federal laws so that government regulators can [control] Silicon Valley”…The whole thing has followed the bipartisan playbook previously in use with Backpage and Craigslist…That is: Pick the biggest examples of a tech company or phenomenon that the government wants to curb or stop, subpoena a bazillion internal documents under some trumped-up pretense of criminal activity, and go fishing for something that can be spun into a call for congressional action…changing the underpinnings of internet and business and speech law in a way more friendly to federal control

The Widening Gyre (#1078)

The hysteria over Cuties keeps growing:

Netflix is now facing felony charges for Cuties, as [hysteria over]…the…film [spins out of control]…A Tyler County, Texas, grand jury indicted the streaming giant…for promoting…material that “depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child…younger than 18 years of age” for the “prurient interest in sex.”  The document also [pretends] that the film held no serious “literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”…[meanwhile, Utah politician] Mike Lee…said…he was “unsatisfied” with Netflix’s response to his letter [demanding censorship]…of the film [on his say-so]…

Social Distancing (#1081)

Are physicians finally standing up to authoritarian ideas about public health?

The World Health Organisation [i]s…calling for world [politicians] to stop locking down their countries and economies.  Dr. David Nabarro from the WHO…[told politicians] to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method…Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer…The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it…It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year.  We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition”…

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Do you have any idea why some people’s Twitter follower count either stays the same or slowly drops?  Mine used to climb pretty steadily, but lately I’m losing followers even though I’m not doing anything different.

Most internet companies are more subtle than censorship-happy Facebook, which openly and proudly censors posts and bans users using a set of “community standards” so bluenosed they’d make a Puritan swoon.  Google is only slightly less censorious, using secret algorithms to monkey with search results in order to boost its advertisers and “de-weight” any site containing “adult content” (which is why my traffic to this blog from Google is only about 1/6 what it was seven years ago); it also “demonetizes” videos on YouTube (ie, makes them ineligible for moneymaking ads) using similar esoteric criteria.  Twitter, by contrast, likes to represent itself as the most free-speech-friendly of the social media sites, and to a degree that’s no empty pose; it’s the only one left which still allows (some) nudity, frank sexual discussion, and the open presence of sex workers.  But behind the scenes it still has a number of secret mechanisms, most of which it denies the existence of, that are intended to push nasty, dirty, sex into the shadows to make room for nice, fully-clothed bigots.  One of those is the shadowban, a blanket term for a number of occlusions which can be secretly installed by the corporation on the accounts of (mostly but not only) sex workers so as to make their accounts much harder for new readers to find while allowing them to appear normally to those who already follow them:  Twitter used to deny that there was such a thing as a shadowban, but as of January 1st its TOS states that it “reserves the right to limit distribution or visibility of content”, IOW to shadowban users.  But what you’re describing is different.  According to the shadowban checker I linked above, I’m not shadowbanned; yet my follower count, which used to increase by hundreds every month, has now been static for over two years.  I get at least 10-20 new followers every day, yet my count just bobs gently back and forth like a buoy on a calm sea, as though something were draining away followers at the same rate I gained them.  Then since about April, I’ve been slowly losing followers; it’s very gradual, about 220 followers so far, yet I’m still gaining a dozen to a score new followers evey day.  The only thing I can figure is that this is part of their anti-bot campaign; apparently, the site is methodically checking every account over time, and when an account trips some condition that Twitter has decided makes it “suspicious”, that account is either closed entirely or at least “disqualified” as a follower.  I know I’ve had a number of people tell me that Twitter has “unfollowed” me for them without their permission, such that they wondered if I had left the site until they saw someone else retweet me; I suspect a lot of the lost followers are due to a similar process.  But riddle me this:  if it’s an innocent by-product of that kind of routine site cleaning, why are all the people who have noticed it either “adult” or otherwise “controversial”?

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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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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Governmental mechanisms to frame policy based on lies are not uncommon.  –  Laura Agustín

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín on “sex trafficking” snake oil:

Swindle, chicanery, skullduggery, con.  There’s no one perfect word to describe how trafficking came to be hailed as one of the great problems of our time.  Excess in rhetoric has known no bounds, with campaigners saying theirs is the new civil-rights movement and claiming there are more people in slavery today than at any time in human history, amongst other hyperbole.  And there was me thinking it was about folks wanting to leave home to see if things might be better elsewhere…I was asking reasonable questions about a social phenomenon and refused to be fobbed off with explanations that made no sense.  My trajectory as a thinker happened to coincide with a piece of governmental legerdemain that switched the topic of conversation from human mobility and migration to organized crime, like peas in a shell game…

Shame, Shame (#649)

Gee, who could’ve anticipated draconian “revenge porn” laws would be used this way (except all the free speech activists who have opposed them for years)?

Bethany Austin did nothing society would reasonably call wrong.  She received, without asking, sexually explicit images that her fiancé’s paramour sent to a shared cloud account.  She quietly called off the engagement…[and] her former fiancé [responded by] spread[ing] a hurtful and untrue rumor that he had ended the relationship because Ms. Austin was crazy and refused to cook and clean for him.  To clear her good name, Ms. Austin wrote a letter to her friends and family explaining what really happened.  She attached some of the images as proof.  Now the ex‐​fiancé and his paramour are using Illinois’s “revenge porn” law to punish her for speaking, and the state is happily obliging…The trial court found the law unconstitutional, but the Illinois Supreme Court reversed.  Cato, joined by DKT Liberty Project, has filed an amicus brief supporting Ms. Austin’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court…

I Spy (#1001)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Google will use its mammoth collection of mobile location data to [spy on] people across the globe [to see whether they are obeying] government [orders] to remain at home [until politicians deign to let them out again]…or are venturing out to [live their lives]…Google will provide county-level percentages that are updated every few days, but summarized in a way that the company [claims] will not reveal any individual’s travels [until politicians demand such information…

A Moral Cancer (#1002)

Crypto-moralists always pretend their lust to ban things is about “health” or “safety”:

With the economy tanking and families locked together because of stay-at-home orders…domestic violence rates appear to be soaring.  This requires an urgent response:  States should immediately order the closures of liquor stores.  They can reopen when [politicians declare that] home isolation is no longer needed…

Like Houses (#1025)

And guess who gets to declare that an “emergency” exists?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom thinks that [the] right [to self-defense]…is…”nonessential”…a…decision…which allowed Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to unilaterally ban the sale of firearms and ammunition…Villanueva…[was forced to] rescind…his ban…[in the face of a lawsuit and]…new federal guidelines.  New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy…[and] Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf [made similar defeated attempts]…their reluctance to respect [Constitutional rights does]…not bode well for civil liberties at a time when many people seem to think that fighting the pandemic trumps all other concerns…Cornell law professor Michael Dorf argued…Congress should suspend the writ of habeas corpus…[so] people [can be indefinitely] detained by the government…[and a recent poll showed] sizable majorities of [useful idiots]…favored confining people to their homes, [caging] sick people…government takeovers of businesses, [enslavement] of health care workers…and even criminalizing [speech that the government disapproves of]…

Like Houses (#1027)

Oh Maggie, you’re paranoid; this is about keeping people SAFE!

Under a motion passed by the city council in Laredo, Texas…residents…face a fine of up to $1,000 for not wearing some form of covering on their nose and mouth [until politicians declare] the coronavirus outbreak [over]…all residents over the age of 5 are required to have their nose and mouth covered when entering public buildings, using public transportation and when pumping gas…residents will also be required to adhere to a daily curfew or possibly face a fine or jail time…the curfew…lasts from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m…and may only leave for…work…[if they have a permission slip] from their employer…

It’s not about expanding the police state at all!

…New York [cops] arrested three people in Brooklyn…after they allegedly “failed to maintain social distancing”…despite [politicians] promising that those disregarding the lockdown would face fines at most…the individuals [were]…charged with obstructing governmental administration, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct…one…woman…[was mobbed by pigs] wearing no masks…[who] pepper-sprayed [her and her boyfriend]…she…was…then [locked in a filthy cage]…with two dozen other women for the next 36 hours.  Only women who already had masks when they were arrested were allowed to keep them…The woman was…[fired] because [her employer]…fears she was exposed to the virus while in [the disgusting, unsanitary cage]…

Government officials can be trusted not to take it too far!

Louisville residents [accused of]…contact with coronavirus patients [whom cops also accuse of] refus[ing] to isolate themselves are being [forced] to wear ankle [monitor] bracelets…there are [four] known cases so far…

Social Distancing (#1028)

American anti-sex work attitudes have slowly caught on in Japan:

Advocates for bar hostesses and [other] sex workers have urged the government to reconsider its exclusion of them from compensation for parents unable to work because of school closures, noting they are among the most vulnerable members of society.  A support group for such workers submitted…a letter asking the government not to discriminate by occupation and to protect the lives of all families as the coronavirus takes its toll on the Japanese economy…

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I was recently talking to Paul Johnson, director & producer of my documentary The War on Whores, about our next plans for disseminating the movie; one important part of those plans is getting onto platforms like iTunes and Google Play.  Unfortunately, unlike Vimeo and Amazon, the only way to get onto those sites is to be placed there by middlemen called “video aggregators”, who naturally charge for the privilege.  I don’t quite have enough left from the fundraiser to do it, so I asked Paul to explain what we need.

Thanks to your generous support to help market The War on Whores!  This has been nothing short of a great success so far:  we have held screenings from to coast to coast in the U.S., in Canada, Austria and Thailand and more to come.  Video downloads have been purchased by viewers in 19 countries so far,  and this is all thanks to YOUR help.

We have one more ask from you:  we are working to get the film on two new distribution platforms to broaden this movement even further.  We are now trying to raise $1800 to cover the cost of a video aggregator making the film available on itunes and Google Play.  This will allow a whole new universe of viewers to see the film and understand more about the critical fight for decriminalizing Sex Work among consenting adults.

Thanks for your any help you can give to this important project!

Don’t forget the gifts I offered are all still good!  And if you donated already but didn’t receive your gifts, please let me know; my summertime anxiety may have addled my brain enough to overlook you!  Here’s a reminder of them:

$30 or more – Donor
Permanent inclusion in blog-supporter deals (free stories, etc).

$60 or more – Friend
Autographed DVD of The War on Whores

$125 or more – Sponsor
Autographed copies both of my books, plus The War on Whores DVD.

$250 or more – Patron
When I’m in your city, I’ll have coffee with you and hand-deliver the Sponsor-level gifts!

$500 or more – Angel
When I’m in your city, I’ll have a leisurely dinner with you and hand-deliver all the Patron-level gifts!

$1000 or more – Producer
I will make a special trip to the city of your choice and give a full screening of the movie, with Q&A session, to the group of your choice!  If you have no special group, I’ll give you the Angel package without your having to wait until I reach your city!

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(There’s) little [government] interest in the importance of consent and choice.  –  Martin Drago

Dirty Whores (#44)

Here’s an interesting article about how the UK’s horrible Contagious Disease Acts – laws which infringed on human rights so severely they actually inspired English church ladies to fight on the side of whores for a while – affected the landscape of sex work in India, with special attention to Calcutta.  While the article does get some things wrong (as is nigh-universal among articles about sex work written by amateurs), most of the errors are minor and the author appears pretty solidly on the side of the whores, even to the point of describing how 19th-century whore stigma is still alive and harming Indian sex workers to this day via other vestiges of British colonial law.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Shannon Maley [of Airdrie, Scotland] had a…vendetta against a 20-year-old man with learning disabilities who was dating her sister.  She barely knew him, yet claimed he sexually assaulted her and her friends.  Maley then created multiple social media accounts under the young man’s name and sent herself disturbing and threatening messages in order to frame him.  She has since pleaded guilty to “perverting the course of justice and also to harassing witnesses”…Maley’s messages to herself included threats “to set you on fire and watch you burn alive”…Maley had apparently intimidated her friends into making accusations against [the young man] as well.  One of those friends eventually admitted that…he…had not sexually assaulted her and that Maley had harassed her and tried to influence their testimony…Maley’s story unraveled after she accused [her victim] of sending a threatening message while he was in prison without access to the Internet…

A Modest Proposal (#527)

Women make pragmatic decisions to survive!  Other cultures have different sexual and marital traditions than white Europeans do!  The age of consent varies from country to country!  Clergymen often believe religious law trumps civil law!  Islamic laws are usually pretty shitty toward women!  Lots of men are exploitative fuckwads who take advantage of naive young women!  Laws don’t stop people from exploiting each other!  Opportunists will use unpopular laws as excuses to make money!  And the BBC is on it!

The Widening Gyre (#735)

Nigerian sex trafficking juju mafia terrorists.  I am not making this up:

Stockholm police [are trying to spread hysteria about]…the “Black Ax”, [which they claim is] a Nigerian criminal gang connected to drug trafficking and prostitution involving illegal migrants…The Nigerian mafia is…[fantasized by racist Europeans] to use juju, a Nigerian equivalent of voodoo, to force migrants to become drug traffickers or prostitutes. This [racist fantasy] has been [claimed]…in…Italy…where…earlier this year…police [fantasized]…that the influence of terrorist groups like Boko Haram was spreading among mafia members…

I especially love that the Swedish police are clearly right at home on Breitbart.

Check Your Premises (#809)

Yes, this really is as stupid and evil as it seems at first glance:

[Pigs oinked that] many of the women arrested…in a [prostitution sting] in [Houston] are likely victims.  Many are asking why they were arrested if they are victims themselves.  “They’ve been brainwashed, they’ve been threatened, they’ve been physically abused,” [oinked spokespig] John Wall [while making furtive movements in his pants pockets]…“Certainly we know there are women who choose a life of prostitution, but more often than not…women are prostituted,” s[lurped copsucker] Rania Mankarious…[who] said it’s up to a district attorney to decide if a prostitution suspect is actually a sex-trafficking victim [because women are much too stupid to know that for ourselves]…Trafficking [fetishists] said many times the victims are unwilling to cooperate with [disguised predators who hunt, rape and cage them]…“’It’s going to be better,’ ‘You won’t have to do this much longer,’” are things pi[g]s tell their victims…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#817) 

Another slap on the wrist for a sexually-entitled cop:

A [typical and representative] NYPD cop [who hired] a 15-year-old prostitute [on at least ten occasions] and record[ed] their [sessions, plea-bargained]…felony rape and sex abuse charges [down to]…official misconduct and witness tampering…Raul Olmeda…refused to admit that he knew his victim…in…photos…found on his computer and cellphone.  Nor would he identify his bedroom and living room furniture, which were in the photos [and because he’s a cop, his self-evidently false denials were enough]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#899)

You know how wannabe “civil liberties advocates” keep bleating that the main problem with facial recognition systems are that they’re less acurate on dark-skinned people?  Yeah, about that:

In July, Google admitted it has employees pounding the pavement in a variety of US cities, looking for people willing to sell their facial data for a $5 gift certificate…But…a Google contractor may be using some questionable methods to get those facial scans, including targeting groups of homeless people and tricking college students who didn’t know they were being recorded…a contracting agency named Randstad sent teams to Atlanta explicitly to target homeless people and those with dark skin, often without saying they were working for Google, and without letting on that they were actually recording people’s faces…

Subtle Pimping (#903)

Yet another “virtual reality” game based on lies about us, this one intended to teach pigs racist fantasies about Asian sex workers:

A team of Cal Poly students is using virtual reality to [lick cop boots and endanger sex workers]…”We’re building a…[racist fantasy of an Asian] massage parlor in virtual reality to [indoctrinate pigs into misinterpreting even the most innocuous]…things [as ‘evidence’ of ‘crime’]” said Marco Zuniga…he researched [prohibitionist propaganda]…as he developed the VR [game instead of talking to sex workers]…“What do massage parlors even look like?”…he asked himself [moronically, instead of actually going to find out]…The [game] has other object[s] for its [players to find, just like players of other video games can] find [magic potions, creatures to enlave, and other fantasy treatures]…

The Crumbling Dam (#917)

Those who gain power from opioid hysteria aren’t going to like this:

A judge has ruled that a Philadelphia nonprofit group’s plan to open the first [public] site in the U.S. where people can use…opioids under medical supervision does not violate federal drug laws, delivering a major setback to Justice Department lawyers who launched a legal challenge to block the [life-saving] facility.  U.S. District Judge Gerald McHugh ruled…that…”The ultimate goal of Safehouse’s proposed operation is to reduce drug use, not facilitate it,” McHugh wrote in…the first legal decision about whether supervised injection sites can be legally permissible under U.S. law…”The Department of Justice remains committed to preventing…drug [users] from [accessing basic harm reduction],” said Bill McSwain, U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania…

A Broker in Pillage (#935)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

The city of Chicago says retired grandmother Allie Nelson owes it $6,000 in fines and fees after [it stole] her car…in 2017, even though the criminal case that led to [the seizure]…was dismissed, and even though she wasn’t driving her car, or even in the state…Nelson was in fact…in Houston, recuperating from cancer treatment, when she got a call from a family member saying [cops had stolen] her car…[when they] found her granddaughter’s boyfriend driving [it], allegedly along with some marijuana…Nelson is also one of two named plaintiffs added this week to a class-action lawsuit challenging Chicago’s [extortion scam, which]…violates residents’ guarantee of due process, as well as protections against excessive fines and unreasonable seizures, under both the Illinois and U.S. constitutions…

Pyrrhic Victory (#946)

As I keep saying, it’s already far too late to stop this tyranny:

France is poised to become the first European country to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a [supposedly] secure digital identity — whether they want it or not.  Saying it wants to make the state more efficient [like Communist China, the]…government is pushing through plans to roll out an ID program, dubbed Alicem, in November…the program breaches the European rule of consent and a privacy group is challenging it in France’s highest administrative court…France [lies that] the ID system won’t be used to keep tabs on residents…[and pretends] the facial recognition data collected will be deleted when the enrollment process is over…the app [clearly] violates Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which makes free choice mandatory…Authorities say the security of Alicem is at the “highest, state level”.  Yet in April, Robert Baptiste, a hacker who goes by Elliot Alderson on Twitter, was able to access one of the government’s “highly secure” apps within 75 minutes…

Pyrrhic Victory (#961)

Where “public safety” is used to mean “accessibility to government snooping”:

Attorney General Bill Barr, along with officials from the United Kingdom and Australia, is set to publish an open letter to…Mark Zuckerberg asking [Facebook] to delay plans for end-to-end encryption across its messaging services until it can guarantee the added privacy does not reduce [what the politicians absurdly label] public safety…the letter raises concerns that…encryption i[s a mathematical process which]…will prevent [government busybod]ies from [spying on people in the same way it prevents other malware]…The letter calls on Facebook to prioritize [government snooping even though that will also enable non-government snooping]…

Little Boxes (#975)

The puritans are already arguing a federal court ruling doesn’t apply to them:

Tilli Buchanan and her husband had been installing insulation in their garage, and had stripped off their clothes just inside their home to get the itchy materials off their skin.  She was topless when her stepchildren bounded down the stairs…but Buchanan told them they shouldn’t treat her differently because she was a woman…But [the children’s biological mother found out and reported her to pigs, who]…filed criminal charges…of lewdness involving a child…If convicted, Buchanan could…[be condemned to] the sex offender registry for the next 10 years…her attorney Randy Richards plans to ask a judge to find that Utah’s lewdness statute is unconstitutional because it discriminates against women…her husband was also in the same state of undress and is not charged…the…10th Circuit Court…which includes Utah [recently made the incredibly-obvious ruling that laws which single women out for]…condemn[ation]…as…child sex offender[s discriminate]…on the basis of sex…But…prosecutors argued…that…Utah’s lewdness statute [prohibiting only female toplessness somehow] does not discriminate on the basis of gender [and that even if it did that would be a good thing]…

Grown adults are trying to destroy a woman’s life for getting undressed to shower in her own home, and using public funds to argue that a clearly-discriminatory law isn’t discriminatory, but the US isn’t a police state, no sirree.

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