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Posts Tagged ‘Pyrrhic Victory’

You don’t address issues in a broken criminal legal system by layering technology on them.  –  Jumana Musa

Permanent Record

Surely you didn’t think this would only be used to punish sex workers?

Erick Adame says that he has been fired from his position as the morning meteorologist on Spectrum News NY1 for a leaked appearance on an adult cam site.  Adame [said he was]…aiming to “share [his] truth rather than let others control the narrative of [his] life”…[and] not[ed] that his psychiatrist has called his actions “compulsive behavior” and that he is “not in a position to disagree”…Adame made a point to highlight that while he regrets his appearance on the website, he rejects any criticism that may come about his sexuality…He also filed a lawsuit against Unit 4 Media Ltd. to seek the identity of the anonymous user who leaked the content of him on the adult site…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#754) 

Just another study showing the same results as every other one:

A recent study published in the academic journal Crime & Delinquency suggests that sexual offenders rarely replicate what they see in pornography as a driver of sexual aggression…the research suggests that “sexual scripts learned through pornography use are not present in patterns of sexual offending behavior,” reports Craig Harper in his recurring column “Articles of Heterodoxy” for the Psychology Today directory website…Other research has arrived at similar conclusions.  The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Stetson University in Florida, in a paper published in the summer of 2020 for the academic journal Trauma, Violence, & Abuse found that pornography does not cause violent sex crimes.  Harper referenced this study in his Psychology Today column, as well.  The researchers, Chris Ferguson…and Richard Hartley…found that there are scores of poorly designed studies that “tended to be more likely to support a link between pornography and sexually assaultive behavior…Our evidence suggests that policymakers should examine other causes of sexual aggression and that beliefs about pornography may be driven more by methodological mistakes than sound science”…

Welcome to the Future (#944)

Fascists are trying to destroy young people’s lives before they even get started:

For a few thousand dollars a year, Social Sentinel offer[s] schools across the country sophisticated technology to s[py on] social media posts from students…[thus] allowing campus police to surveil student protests…as more students have embraced social media as a digital town square to express opinions and organize demonstrations, many college police departments have been using taxpayer dollars to pay for Social Sentinel’s services to monitor what they say.  At least 37 colleges…collectively educating hundreds of thousands of students, have used Social Sentinel since 2015.  The true number…could be far higher…and…the company has been moving in a new and [even] more [dangerously] invasive direction — allowing schools to monitor student emails on university accounts…a…private Ohio-based company…acquired Social Sentinel in 2020…and…changed the name…to Navigate360 Detect earlier this year…

Choke Point (#993) 

In a fascist system, politicians’ inability to pass a law doesn’t stop them from getting what they want:

Government officials continue deputizing private businesses to implement restrictive policies that can’t win traction through the political process or are forbidden by the Constitution.  The latest…development comes in the form of a specific merchant category code for retailers of firearms and ammunition, breaking them out from the broader category of specialty retailers in which they were previously included.  The code makes credit card purchases from such businesses much easier to track and potentially exposes buyers and sellers to harassment…That has industry insiders worried that politicians are again weaponizing the financial system to target activities they don’t like but haven’t been able to ban through law…such as abortion…

To Molest and Rape (#1103)

It took 35 years of evil for the government to notice a serial rapist:

A [typical and representative] Kansas [cop] who had long…rap[ed] and terroriz[ed] Black women as he p[row]led the streets of Kansas City has been indicted on federal charges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted two women over several years while on duty…Roger Golubski, 69…face[s] a maximum possible sentence of life in prison…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1229)

Clearview is once again trying to rehabilitate its reputation among useful idiots:

…Andrew Grantt Conlyn…[was] the passenger…[when] his [drunk] friend drove [wrecked the car at] approximately 100 miles per hour…When he came to, his friend was gone, the car was on fire and his seatbelt buckle was jammed.  Luckily, a good Samaritan intervened, prying open the driver’s side door and pulling Mr. Conlyn out of the burning vehicle…that Wednesday night in March 2017…[after] the police…found the body of his friend, Colton Hassut, in the bushes near the crash…[they decided to try to railroad] Conlyn…[because they believe no tragedy should go unexploited as an excuse to destroy someone]’s life.  If Clearview AI…hadn’t granted his lawyer special access to [its] facial recognition database…Conlyn might have spent up to 15 years in prison because the police [didn’t care whom they crucified]…Clearview…now plans to offer access to public defenders.  Hoan Ton-That, the chief executive, said this would help “balance the scales of justice,” but…“I think it’s a rare situation in which most defense attorneys would want to use it,” said Jerome Greco, who oversees a forensics technology lab at the Legal Aid Society, in New York City.  “This is mostly being done as a P.R. stunt to try to push back against the negative publicity that Clearview has about its tool and how it’s being used by law enforcement”…

Thought Control (#1268)

I never would’ve thought my first profession would become as much a target for authoritarians as my second:

The Greenville County [South Carolina] Republican Party wants [politicians] to investigate who ordered and displayed a number of LGBTQ children’s books at public libraries earlier this year.  It also wants the county to ban books that mention LGBTQ topics from the children and juvenile sections of the county’s libraries…The resolution names a handful of children’s book titles…[including] Twas the Night Before Pride, My Shadow is PurpleThe Rainbow Parade, I’m Not a Girl, and My Own Way: Celebrating Gender…Jeff Davis, GCGOP chairman, said party members have checked the books out of the library and plan to [steal them so as]…to prevent them from being displayed for children to see…“They’re downstairs here at the (GCGOP) headquarters,” Davis said…

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen would-be censors advocating the actual theft of books from libraries, and I suspect it won’t be the last.

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Senator Klobuchar…is deliberately seeking to destroy [the internet].  –  Mike Masnick

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from predatory cops:

A Prairie Village [Kansas cop] was allowed to stay on the job for 19 months after department officials were alerted that he had [pressur]ed a woman for sex after arresting her…Attorney Brandan Davies said he reported to Prairie Village police in March 2020 that…Rolando Swaby had arrested his client in a DUI case and later sent text messages asking her to meet him at a hotel for drinks and sex ahead of a court hearing in her case…Davies…thought the [cop] would be fired…[but he] was allowed to remain on the force for more than a year and a half until he was investigated in an unrelated domestic violence case in October 2021.  He later resigned and lost his Kansas police license…

You Were Warned (#1116)

Monkey see, monkey do:

…a law…[pushed by] Senator Amy Klobuchar and Rep. David Cicilline…[is another] link tax bill, similar to the one written in Australia to appease (and enrich) Rupert Murdoch.  It basically says that publishers can band together, with an antitrust exemption, to demand fees from bigger, more successful internet companies…Klobuchar…is [known for]…pushing bills that fundamentally break the internet…[and her] new version of the JCPA…[does so doubly by] only appl[ying] to smaller news orgs — those with under 1,500 employees …We’re at a time when hedge funds — most notably Alden Capital — have been buying up newspapers and laying off tons of people while trying to squeeze cash out of the remaining husks.  And, this bill basically says “buy up large newspapers and cut them to under 1,500 employees”…here’s Amy Klobuchar saying…“you get free money just as long as you fire enough people first“…But, the much bigger problem is that the bill is trying to break the internet…[by] allow[ing] news orgs to…force internet companies…to pay the journalism organizations for…sending them traffic…This is ludicrous.  News orgs beg these sites for traffic.  They hire SEO people to try to get more traffic.  Now they’re also getting to FORCE the internet companies to PAY them for that traffic too?…

Torture Chamber (#1207)

Give brutal, sexually-aggressive men total power over women, then act surprised when the eminently predictable happens:

A North Carolina [screw]…was fired and arrested for [rap]ing [female prisoners]…Khalim Jovan Battle…[raped at least] two [women powerless to defend themselves from him].  He…anally [raped]…one [and]…oral[ly raped both]…

Opting Out (#1214) 

Authoritarians believe that the people they want to impose their evil upon are either very stupid or very gullible:

…California’s AB 2273, the “Age Appropriate Design Code” bill that the California legislature seems eager to pass…seemed to be getting very little attention, but after a few [Techdirt] posts started to go viral, the backers of the bill ramped up their smear campaigns and lies…and…the “Age Verification Providers Association” decided to show up in the comments to defend themselves and insist that their members can do age verification in a privacy-protective manner.  You just have to let them scan your face with facial recognition technology… they insist it’s not “facial recognition” software because it’s not matching you up to a database of your identity…it’s just using “AI” to guess estimate your age.  What could possibly go wrong?  But, more to the point, they’re basically saying “don’t worry, you’ll just need to scan your face or ID for every website your visit.”  Normalizing facial scans…seems pretty dystopian, frankly…

Thought Control (#1252)

Of course, the politicians have already got what they wanted: positive attention from censorious asshats:

The [obscenity] trial in Virginia Beach, Virginia…of…two books has ended in dismissal.  Neither Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe nor A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas meet the legal definition of obscenity…Two lawsuits…sought to get both books not only removed from schools and libraries, but removed from private sale through bookstores across the state…Th[is] outcome…will help in setting a standard…that books like these…do not meet the legal definition of obscenity [regardless of what pro-censorship fanatics may claim]…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1262)

Fentanyl is being inserted into every popular scare myth:

The…DEA…[is fantasizing about] an “alarming” trend of brightly-colored fentanyl made to look like candy that is being used to attract children…The agency [claims collaborator pigs, in other words the same people who fantasize that casual contact with fentanyl produces instant overdose that exactly mimics the symptoms of a panic attack,] began s[teal]ing brightly colored “rainbow fentanyl” [from its owners last] month…in 18 states so far…“Rainbow fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes — is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst [people who cannot pay for the product, because they’re EEEEEEEEEEVUL!]” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram [bloviated]…

This is, of course, the same old nonsense cops vomit out in the approach to Halloween every year, only with “fentanyl” inserted in place of “marijuana” or other drugs, Mad Libs style.  Given that we’ve also recently seen fentanyl being inserted in place of magic “sex trafficking” drugs in social media scary tales, I’d say it’s safe to declare that fentanyl is now the subject of its own moral panic.

To Molest and Rape (#1268)

“Having inappropriate contact with a minor” is such a nice way of saying “molesting a kid”:

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Denham Springs [cop who molested]…a minor…Joseph Reid Copeland…is believed [to have fled]…the…area…

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Consider this, then, a canary’s song.  –  Olivia Snow

If Men Were Angels

Another “youth pastor”, another string of underage victims:

A [typical and representative] youth pastor was convicted…of sexual assault against four boys.  William Stefan Wahl, of Port Huron [Michigan] was found guilty…of [molesting two boys] younger than 13, two [boys]…between 13 and 16, [and showing the boys porn]…

Guinea Pigs (#881) 

First it was supposedly about “terrorists”, then “sex trafficking”, and now:

…For sex workers, Section 230 had provided a foothold, however fragile, to exist on the internet.  FOSTA…was the first crack in a foundation that supported not only sex workers but also other marginalized, criminalized, and otherwise disenfranchised demographics.  The effects of FOSTA have…rippl[ed] beyond social media and payment processors to the most quotidian of technologies.  “Facilitating” sex work—language in later bills revised to “aiding and abetting”—could also implicate landlords renting to sex workers, ISPs that we use to advertise…By casting such a broad net…the bill essentially outlaws sex workers’ presence on the internet by criminalizing proximity to sex work.  Under this level of scrutiny, talking about sex work at all is a risk…A FOSTA-like ban would have violated Roe, but…[the] removal of federal protections gives [politicians] a path to criminalizing any online discussion about abortion, restrictions that can easily extend to include reproductive health entirely…Big Tech will use the artificial intelligence currently shadowbanning and suspending sex workers’ accounts to target users it suspects are seeking abortions…

Winding Down

The war against drugs other than nicotine continues to wind down:

The Supreme Court…unanimously sided with two physicians who were convicted of drug trafficking based on opioid prescriptions that federal prosecutors p[retended were] medically inappropriate…The decision in Ruan v. United States sends both cases back to the lower courts so they can assess the defendants’ arguments that the instructions received by the juries that convicted them misstated the law seriously enough that they are entitled to new trials.  But whether or not they prevail on those claims, the ruling represents an important limit on prosecutions that have long had a chilling effect on pain treatment…

The Prudish Giant (#1104) 

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

Facebook is removing the posts of users who…say abortion pills can be mailed and in some cases temporarily banning those users…a Motherboard reporter attempted to post the phrase “abortion pills can be mailed” on Facebook using a burner account.  The post was flagged within seconds as violating the site’s community standards, specifically the rules against buying, selling, or exchanging medical or non-medical drugs.  The reporter was given the option to “disagree” with the decision or “agree” with it.  After they chose “disagree,” the post was removed.  Motherboard was able to post the phrases “painkiller pills can be mailed,” “pills,” and “abortion” without issue.  Motherboard posted “abortion pills can be mailed” a second time, and it was flagged for removal, and this time the reporter “agreed” with the decision…and…the reporter’s Facebook account was suspended for 24 hours…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1114)

Remember, Clearview specifically markets itself to entities which claim a monopoly on violence:

Clearview AI is best‐​known as a…faci[litator of police violence]…the company has secured a patent for recognition systems that would allow users to scan someone’s face in order to determine whether that person does drugs, is homeless, or suffers from mental illness.  The same technology could also be used to determine someone’s education history or contact details.  Such technology could put members of the transgender community who wish to conceal their gender transition at risk of social sanction, public humiliation, and violence…Given ongoing policy fights over who should get to access gender‐​segregated spaces such as bathrooms and changing rooms, it is possible that private businesses, universities, and schools might choose to use AGR technology under the guise of security enhancement and privacy protection.  It is not hard to imagine AGR technology at train stations, bathrooms, and changing rooms prompting encounters where a member of the transgender community would feel embarrassed, unsafe, humiliated, and exposed…

Feudalism Redux

The crusade to reduce Americans to serfdom continues:

Several national antiabortion groups and [pet politicians]…are advancing plans to [try to] stop people in states where abortion is banned from seeking the procedure elsewhere…The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization, is drafting model legislation…that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of a state that has banned abortion from terminating a pregnancy outside of that state.  The draft language will borrow from the…Texas abortion ban enacted last year in which private citizens were empowered to enforce the law through [nuisance] litigation

The Vultures Descend

This vulture feeding frenzy is going to get a lot uglier:

…antiabortion activists are eager to capitalize on their momentum by enshrining constitutional abortion bans, pushing Congress to pass a national prohibition, blocking abortion pills, and limiting people’s ability to get abortions across state lines…By the end of the year, abortion could be outlawed across roughly half the country…Democrat-[run] states are scrambling to enshrine protections for abortion, and President Biden has [bloviated about doing] everything in his power “to protect a woman’s right”…but Biden has also ruled out the more extreme remedies, such as [pack]ing the Supreme Court, and key Democrats remain opposed to [burning down the house to roast the pig as some very silly people are demanding]…

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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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Prison officials like to censor anything…to do with minority anything.  –  Paul Wright

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

A…youth pastor who [claimed] he began sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl [because] he mistook her for his wife, [yet] continued abusing her for more than two years, was sentenced…to…more than four years in prison.  David Walker…gasped as…Judge Ashley Kilbane announced the sentence.  Walker also must register as a sex offender…Walker was also a math teacher, baseball and basketball coach at Cleveland Christian Academy at the time…Investigators spoke to several women who were teenagers in the church around the same time as the abuse, and four of them said that David Walker also committed sexually inappropriate behavior with them…

I view shocked reactions in these cases as evidence of severe sociopathy; they really can’t believe they’re actually suffering consequences for their actions.

Damned If You Don’t (#442)

But picket-fence gays say cops aren’t our enemies:

The [cop shop] that [harasses people in] New York City’s main bus terminal has agreed to stop sending [disguised cops]…to [lurk in] its public bathrooms to [frame] people [for supposedly] propositioning strangers for sex, a [creepy] type of sting…aimed at gay men.  Under a legal settlement…the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will…only reinstate the so-called public lewdness patrols…if approved at the highest levels…the charges were [nearly always]…brought by [cops] who targeted men…they perceived…as gay, largely to inflate their arrest statistics.  The two named plaintiffs, Cornell Holden and Miguel Mejia, [were both victimized by cops] at the bus terminal in 2014…Both [were]…arrested…[for] public…masturbati[on because they were holding their penises in order to urinate]…

As a NY Times reporter phrased it at the time, “the Port Authority’s interpretation of the law [seems] to criminalize the use of public urinals“.

To Molest and Rape

I guess cops are never too old to rape:

An 81-year-old Walker County [Georgia cop named Jerry Glover]…has been arrested and charged with rap[ing a woman while wearing his magical clown suit]…

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

[Prison] officials in…Michigan…ha[ve] banned dictionaries in Spanish and Swahili under claims that books’ contents are a threat to the state’s [cage stacks].  “If certain prisoners all decided to learn a very obscure language, they would be able to then speak freely in front of s[crews]”…said Chris Gautz, the spokes[mor]on for the Michigan Department of [Torturing]…prisoners …If staff is unable to find a translation [of any] book…[it] is placed under the list of banned books – even when these are in Spanish…A 1989 Supreme Court ruling allows prisons to ban any book – as long as [the censors belch out the magic word “]safety[” first]…

Gautz’s moronic definition of “obscure” includes languages spoken by roughly 592 million and 90 million people, respectively.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1022)

I don’t think petitions like this do any good, but they don’t hurt:

We, the Tech Equity Coalition, including members of the former Port of Seattle Biometrics External Advisory Group…write to urge you to post clear and accessible signage in both visual and auditory forms in the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) regarding the collection of biometric data from travelers and the rights available to travelers.  Such signage should be present and discernible prior to an individual’s biometric data being collected.  Since Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not posted such signage themselves, then the Port of Seattle must step up to do so…the…lack of clear and accurate signage violates all seven of the Port of Seattle’s Principles for Public-Facing Biometric Technology, which were adopted in Motion 2019-13.[2]  The Port of Seattle can and should post signage making it clear that CBP intends to collect biometric data from travelers and that U.S. citizens have the right to opt out…

Tissue of Lies (#1231)

The latest pig fad: collecting a bunch of unrelated raids, arrests & record updates and calling the resulting dog’s breakfast a “human trafficking operation”:

ICE…[crowed]…that 70 missing children were recovered following a three-week long operation in Texas.  [In reality, the lugubriously-named] “Operation Lost Souls” [was largely a review of records which dis]covered 70 [legal minors who had been reported] missing…[most of whom had already returned home.  The others were] victims of…physical…and sexual abuse…[whom police captured and returned to their abusers, under the direction of] Homeland Security…El Paso…

Winding Down (#1236)

British Columbia is better on prohibition issues than its neighbor to the south:

British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in North America to decriminalize possession of “hard” drugs such as…heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.  Effective Jan. 31, 2023, British Columbians 18 and older will be able to carry up to a cumulative total of 2.5 grams of these [state-stigmatized] substances without the risk of arrest or criminal charges.  Police are not to [steal] the drugs, and there is no requirement that people found to be in possession seek treatment.  The production, [sale] and exportation of these drugs will remain illegal…The change comes six years after B.C. declared a public health emergency in response to skyrocketing overdose deaths [due directly to the drug war]…Close to 10,000 people have died since 2016 in B.C. alone, and advocates have put pressure on governments to re-examine drug laws [politicians pretend] were intended to minimize harms but have [always] had the opposite effect…

Judging by the number of dysphemisms I needed to edit, the Globe and Mail does not approve.

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The nuisance comes from drinking and drunkenness, but no one is saying close the bars.  –  Brenda, Dutch sex worker

The Notorious Badge 

I wonder when Hollywood will catch up?

The brothels look brighter, the alleyways are cleaner, and a stirring soundtrack accompanies the protagonists, but a new Bollywood film set in Mumbai’s red-light district has struck a chord with India’s roughly one million sex workers.  Gangubai Kathiawadi is a biopic telling the story of a sex worker of the same name who went from being a [coerced underage sexworker] to fight[ing] for the rights of women working in the trade in the 1950s, a battle still being fought today…Many sex workers in Kamathipura…and across India say the film starring celebrated actress Alia Bhatt shows rare understanding of their everyday struggles…“There have been so many films on women like us, but none that raised these issues,” said Kiran Deshmukh, president of National Network of Sex Workers.  “People believe what they see in Bollywood films. And this film has shown that sex work is work…that…helps us live our lives and feed and raise our children”…

Guinea Pigs (#757) 

And it can find you just as easily:

Cher Scarlett, a software engineer…uploaded some images of her[self]…to PimEyes, a facial-recognition website meant to be used to find pictures of yourself from around the web — ostensibly to help stamp out issues such as revenge porn and identity theft…the results [included]…porn…[she was coerced into making as a 19-year-old] addict…in New York in 2005…She has since tried and failed to get all of the explicit photos removed from PimEyes’ search results, despite the site saying it would scrub images of Scarlett from results…Giorgi Gobronidze…the current owner and director of PimEyes…[deflected blame by saying] “The problem isn’t that there is a search engine that can find these photos; the problem is…people who actually uploaded [the photos] on purpose”…Scarlett’s saga starkly shows how easily facial-recognition technology, which is now available to anyone with internet access, can lead to unexpected harms that may be impossible to undo…

The Prudish Giant (#1104) 

Instagram and TikTok users, take note:

Digital studies and sexuality researcher Dr. Carolina Are is asking sex workers, adult performers and others who have experienced discrimination to participate in a study investigating Instagram and TikTok’s approach to malicious flagging or reporting of “gray area” content, including nudity.  Are is seeking participants over 18 years of age who have received negative comments and simultaneously had their accounts and/or content removed…Are plans to circulate an anonymous survey and then interview specific case studies.  Those wishing to share their experience with social media discrimination can fill out the survey here

Dutch Threat (#1136)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

In November 2020, Mayor Femke Halsema announced plans to [forcibly] relocate sex workers to a purpose built “Erotic Center” on the city’s outskirts in hopes of luring bands of drunk men and general carnality away from residents to make space for new cafés, art galleries, and designer boutiques…according to the mayor’s office…“We want less dominance of cheap nightlife”…if built, it will be the most extreme measure taken to “clean up” De Wallen, which has, in recent years, already been subject to a raft of new regulations and s[urveillance]…Amsterdam’s sex workers are ambivalent about the city’s plans to relocate them.  Brenda, a sex worker…[who] met me at the Prostitution Information Center…said sex workers were soft targets in the city’s gentrification push…Iris, a coordinator at the center, said the “so-called nuisance and antisocial behavior” was just another excuse to get rid of sex workers and free up lucrative real estate in the sought-after inner city

Winding Down (#1148)

Over half of Americans now live in states with legal cannabis:

Rhode Island…became the 19th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use…[the] bill…immediately allows adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis in public and grow up to three plants at home.  State-licensed recreational sales are supposed to start on December 1, beginning with the state’s three existing medical marijuana dispensaries.  The law also requires automatic expungement of marijuana possession convictions…public consumption…will be legal in any place where cigarette smoking is allowed…The law caps the number of retailers at 33, which amounts to about one store per 32,000 people…Rhode Islanders may find it easier to buy pot from black-market dealers or from stores in Massachusetts or Connecticut, both of which have legalized recreational use.  Like California, Rhode Island will allow local governments to ban pot shops, but only through referendums and not in the three cities (Providence, Warwick, and Portsmouth) where medical marijuana is already being sold…

Opting Out (#1199)

French law provides some defense vs religious activism:

A Paris court of appeals rejected…the attempt by local War on Porn groups, led by an extremist Catholic organization, to use France’s media authority and the courts to block the most popular adult tube sites in the country…following months of…threats pressuring tube sites to implement vaguely defined age verification schemes, French media regulator ARCOM went to court…to demand that French ISPs block Pornhub…and [a number of similar sites, but]…the Council of State…issued a ruling rendering null all the activities taken up by…ARCOM in connection with the…block…the Council…specifically pointed out the role played by extremist Catholic organization Civitas in orchestrating the campaign…

Civitas is associated with the Society of Saint Pius X, the reactionary organization founded by Archbishop Lefebvre to fight modernization efforts such as performing the Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin.

The Mob Rules (#1231)

The number of laws empowering busybodies to harass victims with nuisance lawsuits will only keep growing until they’re ruled unconstitutional:

Shortly after the nation’s latest mass shooting…at an elementary school in Texas, the California Senate passed a bill…to allow private citizens to file suit for at least $10,000 — a bounty-hunter provision modeled on a Texas abortion law — against makers or sellers of [3-D printed firearms] or [rifles banned under California law]…

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In its attempts to target an ever-growing number of people for detention and deportation, ICE has reached into the private homes and lives of almost every person in America.  –  Nina Wang

Pyrrhic Victory (#1045)

Allowing Clearview to continue arming those who claim the “right” to spy on you, violently assault you, and destroy your life, is nothing like a “big win”:

Under a legal settlement filed in court today, Clearview AI…has agreed to a new set of restrictions that ensure the company is in alignment with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…Clearview will be permanently banned from granting paid or free access to its gargantuan face recognition database to private entities [but not to governmental entities, including ICE, CBP, the FBI and local cop shops]…except…in Illinois [and even that restriction is only]…for a [mere] five years…Clearview will maintain an opt-out request form on its website, allowing Illinois residents to [give this unscrupulous business yet another] photo [in exchange for a politician’s promise that]…their faceprints will be blocked from appearing in Clearview’s search results…

Quiet Genocide (#1105)

Here’s another firsthand account of the ongoing genocide of the Uighur people by the Chinese communist regime, told in comic strip form.  Since finally escaping after years of brutalization, Zumrat Dawut has bravely told her story despite attempts by the Chinese government to terrorize her even though she now resides in the US.  Please read her story, edited by Anthony Del Col and illustrated by Fahmida Azim; it is imperative Westerners stop looking away and pretending these atrocities are not happening.

I Spy (#1155)

Nothing infuriates violent, self-important busybodies more than private affairs that are none of their business:

…the European Commission [is] seeking to end encrypted communications…[using the popular excuse] of child sexual abuse imagery…messaging services and web hosts would be required to search for, and report, child abuse material – even in the case of encrypted messaging services…that cannot be scanned in such a way…[politician] Ylva Johansson…[bloviated a lot of self-contradictory nonsense about] “strong safeguards guaranteeing privacy of all”…[while constantly harping on the word] “children”…But the plans [are in reality]…an attack on privacy…Joe Mullin of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)…[pointed out that because what the politicians demand is literally impossible in encrypted messaging…“This would be a massive new surveillance system…[which] would require the infrastructure for detailed analysis of user messages”…It is a similar approach to that proposed…by Apple…Patrick​ ​Breyer, German MEP for the​ ​Pirate​ ​party, called the proposals “fundamental​ ​rights​ ​terrorism​ ​against​ ​trust,​ ​self-determination​ ​and​ ​security​ ​on​ ​the​ internet”…

To Molest and Rape (#1178)

Not even a rapist cop’s own daughters are safe:

A 10-year-old girl called police in March [to report that] her father, a Chicago [cop, had]…sexually abus[ed] her…but when he was [arrested and] charged…it was only for domestic battery, a misdemeanor…

I Spy (#1200)

All federal cop shops and spook houses are part of the police-state blob:

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement…has built a vast digital surveillance system that gives it access to the personal details of almost every person in America, a two-year investigation by Georgetown University law center…conclud[ed] that the…organisation has strayed well beyond its [official] duties as an immigration body to become…a domestic surveillance agency…[with] capabilities that allows its agents to “pull detailed dossiers on nearly anyone, seemingly at any time”…includ[ing]…driver’s license data…utility records…[license plate reader data and] facial recognition [data on roughly 75% of US adults]…and…weaponised through the use of powerful algorithmic tools for searching and analysing data…all…[secretly and] in the absence of warrants…

The Implosion Begins (#1211)

The New York Times uses terms like “far-right conspiracy theory” to describe the moral panic they’ve aggressively promoted for 18 years:

Jason Frank…and his [QAnon] group…have been camping out near Sasabe, Ariz., as a self-appointed border force [in an elaborate fantasy roleplay]…of protecting the thousands of migrant children who have been arriving from the evils of sex trafficking — a favorite QAnon theme…wh[ich developed] over the years [from fantasies about]…pedophilia rings [heavily promoted by cops, fanatics, politicians, and journalists – especially the New York Times – since the early Oughts despite mountains of evidence that organized]…sex-trafficking schemes [of the sort featured in these fantasies are highly] unusual…migrant children [and adults are]…overwhelmingly people who paid to be smuggled…

Policing for Profit (#1230)

I reckon Empyreal felt letting this crime boss save face was a cheap way to get their property back:

Empyreal Logistics…has reached a settlement with the San Bernardino County, California, Sheriff’s Department, which had [robbed] more than $1 million from Empyreal’s armored cars.  The Justice Department, which was holding the money pending federal forfeiture, agreed to return all of it last month…Empyreal a[lso agreed to endorse a statement] the sheriff’s department issued on Friday, [absurdly claiming that the sheriff and his henchmen were]…”acting in good faith when the[y conducted pretextual traffic] stops w[ith the specific intent of robbing a corporation conducting business that was 100% legal under California law]”…

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The fact that a reporter has to call and tell me…is the issue.  –  Luis Correa

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Everyone involved in this story, excluding the sex worker but including the reporter and headline writer, is garbage:

A…Boston attorney who once [worked to destroy people’s lives for the State]…was caught literally with his pants down on [a stroll pigs think it’s funny to label] Methadone Mile with a prostitute…Bruce Singal…asked to speak to a police supervisor…but when he further asked for “lenience and consideration,” [cops vomited a lot of disgusting, misogynistic “sex trafficking” propaganda all over him]…The woman…was not arrested, but taken in to be connected with services…

“Not arrested, but taken in to be connected with services” is a euphemism for “arrested”.

Torture Chamber 

Your “leaders” refer to wanton murder as “correction”:

Three Florida [screws] were arrested on murder charges for [brutal]ly beating an inmate to death, while a fourth [fled the consequences of his actions]…Christopher Rolon…Kirk Walton…and Ronald Connor…were arrested…following a monthslong [attempt to cover up the murder] at the Dade [Torture] Institution…The [murder] occurred on the morning of Feb. 14, before the [victim] was scheduled to be transferred to a [different cage stack] in Lake County…the [attackers claimed that the murder was justified by their]…mental[ly-ill victim supposedly throwing urine]…at…the[m]…”The[y]…beat…[him] so badly he had to be carried to the transport van…During a stop in Ocala…over 300…[miles away, the murderers discovered their victim had died from their brutality.  An autopsy later revealed]…the [victim]’s death was caused by a punctured lung leading to internal bleeding…The incident initially led the Florida Department of C[ages to reward]…10 [screws with paid vacations]…

The Face of Trafficking

Note that cases of actual coercion don’t look much like the myths:

Gawain Baxter was 6 years old when he signed a contract agreeing to work for the Church of Scientology for 1 billion years…he spent his childhood doing manual labor at Scientology’s Flag Land Base in Clearwater, [Florida] and getting no education beyond basic reading, writing and math.  At 15, Baxter attempted to leave by writing a letter to a superior about constant abuse and intolerable living conditions.  Instead…church officials sent him to Scientology’s Freewinds ship in the Caribbean, where he worked for little or no wages for 14 years.  Through its highly regimented Sea Org workforce, Scientology officials systematically trafficked Baxter, 39, and others by indoctrinating them as children and making it financially, physically and psychologically impossible for them to leave as adults, according to a lawsuit filed…in Tampa federal court against Scientology leader David Miscavige and five church entities…on behalf of Baxter, his wife…Laura…and Valeska Paris, who all were raised in Scientology and worked on the Freewinds, where…the church [stole] their passports and identification documents…

To Molest and Rape

An armed robber is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

A [typical and representative cop from] the [violently-corrupt Alabama] town of Brookside has been arrested on a rape charge in Jefferson County.  Deshawn Mark Cook…[forcibly] rape[d his]…victim…on May 22, 2021…Cook was [previously] indicted in 2019 on a charge of strangling his girlfriend…[but a] judge dismissed that case when the woman failed to show up for court…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1212)

Undermining of civil liberties only starts with “undesirables”; it never stops there:

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be paying surveillance…company Trust Stamp $7.2 million annually to develop tech to track migrants [who enter the US] at the southern border…Trust Stamp…provid[ed] ICE with 10,000 smartphones that include the company’s app with facial recognition and GPS tracking…ICE then gives these…to migrants in order to surveil their whereabouts and behavior daily…migrants…are expected to complete “biometric check-in” once a day, meaning they scan their faces…An ICE [spook] looks at the result of each check-in, as well as the migrant’s location…[and] the…[phone] also…track[s its holder via] geolocation…

The Cop Myth (#1223)

Sleeping with a cop is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do:

A [typical and representative]…Massachusetts [cop]…threaten[ed] to kill his estranged wife in a brutal attack…Tomas Morales…showed up at his family’s home and said he wanted to talk to his [victim] about Christmas presents…after trying to kiss her, Morales threw her to the ground…forced her into a bedroom…said, “You’ll always be mine”…threatened to kill her, then strangled her and punched her in the face…Woburn police Chief Robert Rufo [thought the most important thing to tell reporters was that Morales wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume at the time]…

The Last Shall Be First (#1229)

Politicians are competing to see how many rights they can violate with one law:

Missouri [politicians are]…seeking to restrict access to gender-affirming care [not just to] minors…[but also] young adults under the age of 25…[in support of the scheme, they trotted out a quack] psychologist…[named Laurie] Haynes [who] also…support[s the discredited form of conditioning called] conversion therapy.  [This is merely the latest attempt to undermine the civil rights of young adults using the excuse]…that the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for executive functions like decision making – is not fully developed until roughly the age of 25…[a claim which is notably absent when politicians discuss voting, marriage, criminal responsibility, and enlisting in the military]…

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The decision of whether or not to install surveillance cameras at a business should be up to the owner.  –  Erica Smith Ewing

To Molest and Rape

Protecting and serving rapists:

A…Vicksburg, Mississippi…[cop named]…Derrick Dotson…resigned about a week after being [given a paid vacation for raping a woman.  Another cop named Jessie Harris]…who was already on probation from an earlier incident, was fired for [trying to cover up his buddy’s crime].  The [assault came to light when]…the…victim[, Ejeane Lewis, reported]…in a now-deleted Facebook post that she was sexually assaulted in the back of a p[igmobile]…behind an “abandoned hospital” by the [rapist cop], who “turned his cameras and radio off”…

Panopticon (#914)

Houston isn’t satisfied with waiting for useful idiots to grant them access:

…the Institute for Justice (IJ) calls on Houston officials to repeal an Orwellian ordinance that requires various businesses to install surveillance cameras at their own cost and turn footage over to the police without a warrant…Any business that does not comply…would be subject to fines of $500 per day.  The law requires “bars, nightclubs, convenience stores, sexually oriented businesses, and game rooms” to install surveillance cameras with sufficient lighting at all places where customers are permitted, keep the cameras running 24/7 and store all footage for at least 30 days.  Upon [demand] from police, businesses will be forced to turn their footage over within three days…some local bar owners raised concerns that it was arbitrarily targeting their businesses, and that many could not afford to comply if it becomes law…

The Cop Myth (#1178)

How long will America ignore the costs of its sick worship of state-sanctioned violence?

Police in the US have [murdered] nearly 600 people during traffic stops since 2017…including…a…disproportionate…[percentage of] people of color, according to data collected by Mapping Police Violence…About 10% of the roughly 1,100 people [murder]ed by police each year involve traffic violations, the group found…There has been renewed scrutiny of traffic stops since the 4 April killing of [Patrick] Lyoya…[who] was shot in the back of the head…for having a mismatched license plate…Daunte Wright…was [murdered]…for…a hanging air freshener; Sandra Bland…was [murdered] for failing to signal; and…Philando Castile [was murdered because a racist cop claimed he couldn’t tell black people apart]…Some of the deadly traffic cases tracked this year include a Miami man [murder]ed for an expired tag, a Milwaukee man [murdered for] failing to signal and an Oregon man…[murdered for pulling out of] a parking lot…

Creepy Coppers

Seems like a significant fraction of child porn is spread by cops:

A Daytona Beach [cop named]…Brandon Fox…is facing seven counts of possession of child pornography…[after he was caught] sharing…images and videos of sexual acts involving children under 10…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1214)

There won’t be any shortcut to stopping Clearview:

…Scraping publicly accessible data is legal, according to a…ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals…in a long-running legal battle brought by LinkedIn aimed at stopping a rival company from web scraping personal information from users’ public profiles. The…Court…found that scraping data that is publicly accessible on the internet is not a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act…which governs what constitutes computer hacking under U.S. law.  The…decision is a major win for archivists, academics, researchers and journalists…But there have been egregious cases of web scraping that have sparked privacy and security concerns.  Facial recognition startup Clearview AI claims to have scraped billions of social media profile photos, prompting several tech giants to file lawsuits

Torture Chamber (#1229) 

Your “leaders” refer to this as “correction”:

…For incarcerated persons, few experiences are as degrading as the strip search…a…humiliating…reminder of your total inability to control access to the most intimate parts of your body.  Even worse is what people in prisons call the “credit card swipe,” the practice of sliding a gloved hand between a person’s buttocks.  [It] is…indistinguishable from sexual assault…especially…[because] guards use this practice…as a form of punishment…a means of control…and provoking a reaction that might lead to pretext for a beating or other punishment…these degrading searches almost certainly undermine institutional security, to say nothing of rehabilitative goals.  Ultimately, rather than cowing the defiant, unnecessary strip searches are likely to inflame opposition and defiance of authority – exactly the opposite effect intended…

The Last Shall Be First (#1229) 

At least Florida’s anti-trans crusade isn’t as psychopathic as Texas’:

…the Florida Department of Health [has] released guidelines that advise no treatment of gender dysphoria for children and teenagers outside of counseling…[it advises] against…prescription of hormone therapy or puberty blockers…[and even] things like using a different name, pronouns or style of dress…It…[is un]clear what effect the state’s guidance could have on physicians treating children and teens with gender dysphoria…research shows that gender-affirming care like social transitions and hormone therapy can improve the mental health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents…

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Expanding the use of facial recognition doesn’t hurt authoritarians like Putin — it helps them.  –  Evan Greer

A Broker in Pillage

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

Police in Rochester, New York, s[tole] $8,040 from Cristal Starling during a raid on her apartment in October 2020…[in] the…process of…[harass]ing her former boyfriend, who[m they had decided to accuse] of dealing drugs.  The police didn’t find any drugs in the apartment, but they did find and [steal] Starling’s cash…Starling, who runs a food cart and…was saving up for a food truck, began trying to fight the [robbery] without a lawyer…[but] the Rochester [cop shop] had [laundered] her money t[hrough] the…DEA…and [byzantine]…federal court…[procedures allowed a crooked judge to rule that]…her money [was not hers]…the Institute for Justice…will file an appeal on her behalf…if successful, Starling’s case will be kicked back to district court, where she will have the opportunity to challenge the seizure [with IJ’s help]…

Torture Chamber 

Your “leaders” refer to this as “correction”:

Los Angeles jail guards have frequently punched [caged] people in the head and subjected them to a “humiliating” group s[exual assault after which] they were forced to wait undressed for hours [outdoors], according to a new report from court-appointed monitors documenting a range of abuses.  The Los Angeles sheriff’s department (LASD)…[also regularly refuses] to provide information to the monitors…The report…adds to a long string of scandals for the department…The [mass molestation was excused by claiming that there was a rumor]…that a firearm “might have been smuggled” into…jail.  Guards responded by…tak[ing their victims] out of their cells in the morning, g[roping them using the pretext of a]…search…then walked naked en masse through the jail…to the room with the X‐ray machine…they…were [then] taken to a yard where they were forced to wait for hours until they returned to their cells later that night…

Property of the State

Since they’re claiming this was a “mistake”, there’s nothing to stop them doing it again and again:

Texas…jail[ed] a woman…for an alleged self-induced abortion.  Lizelle Herrera was arrested Thursday [of last week], charged with murder, and [caged]…for two nights before Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez said he would dismiss the charges.  While a state law passed in Texas last year bans performing an abortion on another person after six weeks pregnancy, it does not apply to self-induced abortions, nor does it allow for criminal charges.  Its mechanism of enforcement is through civil lawsuits brought by citizens, not agents of the state…[though] Ramirez…dismiss[ed] the charges…he…did not…condemn…the Starr County Sheriff’s Office…and [even made excuses for their behavior]…Herrera…was in the hospital and had a miscarriage and divulged some information to hospital staff who then [tattled] to police…

The most horrifying part of this is, unfortunately, not new; it’s that thanks to the ongoing war on bodily autonomy, American women cannot trust medical professionals to respect patient confidentiality.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1104)

Clearview is once again trying to rehabilitate its reputation among useful idiots:

In the weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine…Hoan Ton-That…[CEO] of…Clearview AI, began thinking about how he could [exploit the tragedy for his own profit]…Ton-That drafted a letter [to the Ukraine government] explaining that his app “can instantly identify someone just from a photo” and that [pigs and spooks]…in the United States used it to [further police-state surveillance]…He said the tool could identify people who might be spies, as well as deceased people…less than a month later…Clearview has created more than 200 accounts for…Ukrainian government agencies, which have conducted more than 5,000 searches…Critics warn…that [Clearview is]…taking advantage of a crisis to expand with little privacy oversight…Evan Greer…[of] Fight for the Future [explained]…“War zones are often used as testing grounds not just for weapons but surveillance tools that are later deployed on civilian populations or used for law enforcement or crowd control purposes…Companies like Clearview are eager to exploit the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine to normalize the use of their harmful and invasive software”…

Creepy Coppers

Seems like a significant fraction of child porn is spread by cops:

A Miami-Dade [cop] has been arrested and relieved of duty following his arrest on child pornography charges…David Jay Behney…[was snitched on by] Kik messenger [which is now apparently scanning]…upload[s]…a search warrant…revealed a video montage of 11 prepubescent girls…If he posts bond, he must surrender his passport and is not allowed to have any contact with minors, including his own children…he…has three…between the ages of 8 months and 6 years…

The Last Shall Be First (#1216) 

Alabama can’t let Texas beat it in the psycopathic cruelty department:

Alabama…passed a bill making it a felony to provide transition-related medical care to transgender minors and mandating prison time for th[e newly-invented “crime”]…S.B. 184…also [demands] that [all school employees snitch on the gender dysmorphia of any legal]… minor [that comes to their attention, regardless of possible consequences]…Another measure (H.B. 322)…would ban transgender students from using sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.  And an amendment to the bill limits school-based discussions about gender identity or sexual orientation (in the manner of a recent Florida law that opponents dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill)…

Opting Out (#1223) 

The “Online Safety Bill” is becoming a UK version of FOSTA:

The Online Safety Bill [had]…the stated aim of cracking down on “harmful” content online.  A clause has now been added to the bill to include the offence of “inciting or controlling prostitution for gain” as one of the priority offences that tech companies…[are] obliged to remove…from their platforms…this would…would undoubtably lead to…platforms clamping down on sex workers’ advertisements.in order to avoid any chance of being prosecuted – essentially criminalising the online advertising of sex work…

If you’re in the UK, click on the headline link to send a message to your MP via the ECP site.

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