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Posts Tagged ‘scams’

If there is one thing more powerful than shame, it is the need to find someone else to blame.  –  David Flint

It Looks Good On Paper

Yet another state touts bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

The Virginia General Assembly unanimously passed two bills to [pretend to] help [wwomen labeled] sex trafficking survivors [when it’s convenient for the state.  The bills will]…allow…[“perfect victims”] to have convictions related to [sex work] removed from their personal records…[if they can jump through enough hoops to] prove t[o authoritarian busybodies that they were passive, doll-like “victims”] forced…to commit crimes…

Send In the Clowns

Not a clown, but still about kids hoaxing credulous adults:

Merseyside Police ha[d]…to reassure [gullible parents th[at no]… “plague man”…dressed in all black and wearing a crow-like mask similar to that of a 17th-century plague doctor…was…[lurk]ing in parks…to kidnap [their brats]…the sightings…turned out to be…a…hoax…[perpetrated by] students [falsely] reporting sightings…

To Molest and Rape (#956)

At least the BBC uses the word “rape” when a cop is the rapist:

A [typical and representative cop] has been charged with rape and sexual assault…Ben Lister…has been suspended from [West Yorkshire Police]…

Whither Canada? (#1017)

Sex workers ask the Canadian Supreme Court to uphold its own judgment:

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform — an alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups across the country led predominantly by and for sex workers — along with several individual applicants, have filed a Notice of Application seeking to strike down the [laws establishing Canada’s Swedish-style] sex work prohibitions…because they violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality…National Coordinator Jenn Clamen [said] “This government has spent five years paying lip service to human rights and to feminism, and it’s time for them to act.”  In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled three prostitution prohibitions in criminal law to be unconstitutional because they caused harm to sex workers and contravened sex workers’ rights to liberty and security.  This was the federal government’s opportunity to recognize sex workers’ rights and well-being by decriminalizing sex work.  Instead, the government…created a set of laws…that reproduce those same harms…

Rotting Fruit (#1055)

Given the filth spewing from every aspect of this affair, there’s no way to tell whether Maxwell’s conduct could legitimately be considered “sex trafficking”:

Prosecutors added two charges against Ghislaine Maxwell in a case accusing her of grooming and abusing young women and girls for Jeffrey Epstein…The new counts against Maxwell now include sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor…the new charges…prolong…the length of the alleged conspiracy and adds a “Minor Victim-4”…

False Witness (#1121)

Sunlight really is the best disinfectant:

…Texas [pigs have been shamed into]…end[ing]…the [monstrous] practice of using hypnosis to [manufacture “evidence”]…more than forty years after its inception…The decision [seems to be the result of unwel]come…[public attention due to]…The Dallas Morning News…series, “The Memory Room,” which [showed how]…Texas…repeatedly doubl[ed] down on the practice despite scientific evidence that hypnosis can distort witness memories and lead to false convictions…Texas officers continue[d] to [use]…the debunked technique…[t intentionally] send…dozens of men and women to prison and some to their deaths.  The Texas Rangers are among the most [egregious offenders]…performing at least 1,700 hypnosis sessions since the 1980s.  The…[most] recently [w]as October 2020…Even without the program, local police departments may still be using hypnosis to [manufacture]…evidence [which Texas law still allows] to be used in courts…

Predictable Consequences

I wish I could believe that this tragedy would finally put a stake into the heart of the “sex addiction” myth once and for all:

…the press and the authorities…have spent years not only pushing the idea of sex addiction…[but also] portraying…sex workers and…sex-positive academics as evil, corrupt enemies of the state, traffickers and the wreckers of civilisation…they are complicit in crimes like this…[because] their constant demonisation of consensual sex between adults…has stoked the fires of hysteria, anger, social shaming and violent retribution…men who visit sex workers or masturbate to porn and then feel disgust afterwards are going to hold the sex workers…responsible, because it deflects blame from themselves…Often, this transferred disgust and unwillingness to accept responsibility for sexual desire shifts into campaigning against the sex industry…We see this in assorted anti-porn, NoFap, incel and rescue movements, dominated by very angry and aggressive men who want to punish women (and men) for giving them erections.  Are we surprised that some people are taking this anger beyond online rape and death threats and into the real world?  Yet these people have been indulged, encouraged and supported by politicians and the media…Set yourself up as anti-porn, anti-trafficking or anti-sexualisation, and you can pretty much say whatever you like without having to provide evidence, while your aggressive and exploitative responses to anyone who questions you will be glossed over…

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It’s complete and utter bullshit.  –  former member of OUR

Choke Point (#593) 

Prohibitionists love victim-blaming sex workers:

On March 3rd…Scott Stedman and Aaron Parnas published a hit piece on Forensic News lobbing accusations of fraud, theft, and money laundering at several adult sites…Stedman is rehashing old, baseless accusations for attention…it’s the banks, not the adult sites, which are responsible for sex workers losing access to their funds…Sex workers certainly have their gripes with adult sites…But accusations that [they] are particularly rife with fraud, theft, and money laundering seem to be entirely without merit…the only evidence Stedman and Parnas can point to are Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)…[which] anyone can file…without any proof or evidence.  Banks have claimed that certain adult sites “may be operating in areas where underage children…might be forced to provide services.”  Yet not only did no bank report a single instance of underage activity, their only evidence was the fact that MyFreeCams serves users in “high-risk” areas such as Colombia, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, the Philippines, and Russia…In fact, all evidence points to all of these “suspicious” transactions being from adult platforms to content creators abroad…

To Molest and Rape (#869)

The “sex offender” registration is the only serious consequence:

A third Louisville [cop]…has [received a slap on the wrist]…for sexually a[ssault]ing a minor [he groomed via]…the department’s youth Explorer program.  A U.S. District Court judge…[let typical and representative cop] Brad Schuhmann [walk with a mere] six months of home incarceration and two years on probation.  In addition, Schuhmann will have to pay a $2,000 fine and register as a sex offender…The [lenient treatment was in spite of the] victim…calling Schuhmann a “monster” and a “predator” who has ruined her life…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1045)

Far too little, far too late:

…four individual civil liberties activists and the groups Mijente and NorCal Resist [have filed suit against] Clearview AI [because it] “engages in the widespread collection of California residents’ images and biometric information without notice or consent”…The plaintiffs argue Clearview AI enhances [cop shops’] efforts to monitor…activists…and [marginalized people]…

Lack of Evidence (#1052) 

Removing excuses cops use to persecute people is always a good thing:

[New York’s] “walking while trans” law…was repealed…in [Februar]y…It could prompt other states and cities that have similar laws on the books to follow suit.  California could introduce a bill to repeal a prostitution loitering law this year, and activists in Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans have organized to reverse similar ordinances.  Last summer, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to repeal drug trafficking and prostitution loitering laws…

Working From Home (#1052)

Another step toward a fully-independent demimonde:

…for many sex workers, corporate platforms aren’t revolutionary at all.  Censorship, technology failures and heavy-handed fees are just a few of the drawbacks of using social platforms for sex work.  Rather than rely solely on mainstream services such as OnlyFans, which keeps 20 percent of performers’ earnings, some sex workers use corporate networks only for advertising and conduct their real business on their own websites, which they build and control…

Served Cold (#1100) 

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

…Operation Underground Railroad…had arrived in a remote village seeking a missing child, acting on what founder Tim Ballard had promised was a solid tip from a source…But the missing child was nowhere to be found. And then…Ballard produced his source: a psychic medium from Utah…Soon after…the villagers became suspicious and increasingly upset as he began circulating through the village with a camera crew…The villagers began to gather, some of them armed with old shotguns, and…elders soon asked the[m]…to leave.  Several cars followed them out of the village to make sure they’d gone…The day was…indicative of a larger pattern for OUR…People who participated in and witnessed OUR operations overseas recounted blundering missions…that seemed aimed mainly at generating exciting video footage…Experts and advocates for sex workers and trafficking survivors also questioned whether OUR’s ties to a corrupt Thai police agency could lead to repression of pro-democracy activists…one person with extensive experience working overseas with OUR…said…nothing OUR did seemed recognizably informed by professional military or intelligence practice…no meaningful surveillance or identification of targets; no development of assets; no validating that people they sought to rescue had in fact been trafficked, or that people they were targeting were indeed traffickers…“They’d go and just push for pimps to show up with girls.”  If presented with sex workers of legal age, OUR would insist on younger girls…“He was creating demand…They conflate sex work and trafficking…They’re making it worse”…

Safe Position (#1110)

Even columns like this one by Steve Chapman are no longer rare:

Eliza Orlins…could be remembered for…moving the nation toward decriminalizing sex work…If elected, she says, she will “advocate for the full decriminalization of consensual sex work. This will begin with declining to prosecute all cases of consensual sex work.”  She is finding plenty of allies.  Five other candidates in the eight-person field have taken the same position…Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez is not in favor of full decriminalization, but he has stopped prosecuting sex workers on prostitution charges and recently vacated more than 1,000 warrants…A poll last year found that 52% of Americans think we should “remove criminal penalties for adults to sell and pay for consensual sex”…Among Democrats and voters aged 18 to 44, 2 out of 3 take th[at] view…

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I recently saw this young woman’s story on Twitter, and immediately asked if she would be willing to retell it in a guest column; even most people who support sex worker rights don’t really understand the extent of the ugliness and depravity of what cops and their prohibitionists co-conspirators call “rescue”.  I’m also very concerned to see that these FBI stings violate a lot of our safety indicators; they’ve clearly figured out how to subvert our procedures, clearly demonstrating that, as I’ve said many times, these pogroms are specifically intended to harm us no matter what their copaganda claims

I was arrested 2 years ago in one of the FBI’s “Operation Cross Country” stings.  I was really inexperienced and working for an agency at the time, and there probably wasn’t much screening done (if any).  The appointment was booked a week in advance, unlike local cop stings where the appointments are often rushed and same day; it was for a couple, which is also unusual for a sting, and they made adjustments to the appointment date.  When I arrived, I parked on the street and was alarmed to see 4 cop cars drive past me, stop about a block behind me, and then pull into the parking garage.  I called the agency and told them about it, but they told me to go in anyway; this is not to put all of the blame on them, because I really should have just listened to my gut and left (as I would if something similar happened today).  But I had only $25 in my bank account and a $600 bill the next day, so I felt I had no choice but to go against my better judgement.

I met the couple outside of the apartment complex; there was almost nobody else around, and I later learned that this was a newer complex that the owners were allowing them to run stings out of before any actual tenants moved in.  The woman hugged me and we went upstairs; she was an excellent actress, which helped to mislead me even though the guy was acting a bit weird, such as hesitating when I asked them what they did for work.  There were boxes everywhere in the apartment, and they claimed they had just moved in.  We sat down, and they handed me the money and started asking questions like “What is included with the rate?”, “Will you eat me out while he is fucking you?”, and “How much of a cut does your agency take?”  I now know better than to answer such questions, but as I said I was inexprienced at the time.  After the questions the woman excused herself, and the guy asked if I wanted water; suddenly the door opened and 5 or 6 cops came in, and before I knew it my hands were in handcuffs.  They started aggressively interrogating me, asking me where I had put the money and how I got there, asking for the passcode to my phone, and threatening that they were going to impound my car.  Meanwhile the woman was patting me down, supposedly checking for a weapon.  I was in a state of shock, but I remember wondering why the fuck there were so many cops there when I was just a single woman that had no chance of taking them down; months later, after watching Maggie’s The War on Whores (which I recommend you check out), I realized that they are just there for the show.  And what a show:  I was having a full on panic attack, crying, and although I was luckily not naked yet, it was completely humiliating.  I distinctly remember some of them lounging on the couch while I was panicking.

They hustled me out, and two of them took me to a car in the parking garage while I remained handcuffed.  I was then driven to the police station, where there were snacks laid out and clothes to change into; I think this is rare and solely due to the FBI being involved.  There was also a “human trafficking advocate” there for me to speak to; she was of no help whatsoever, but at least she was nice.  The cops tried talking to me, saying they wanted to catch me specifically because I looked so young; I don’t show my face in ads, so this didn’t make any sense.  But I wasn’t giving them the information they wanted, so the FBI agents tried to interview me and the woman asked what would ever compel me to “sell my body” and put myself in a dangerous position.  Then the county cops came back in, told me they wouldn’t be recording (I realized this was a red flag), and asked me why I didn’t just get a job as a substitute teacher to make money (???) and if I do this for the “sexual thrill”.  Later, they asked me about my relationship with my dad and told me they were keeping my (really expensive) iPhone as “evidence”.  The whole time the kept referring to my escorting as “pimping myself out” and “self-pimping”.  It made no sense.

I was really lucky in that I had a friend to lend me cash for bail and a lawyer.  Since I was a first time “offender” I got a “human trafficking” pretrial diversion; I had to take a class and promise I would never do sex work again, and if I had been arrested again for anything while out on bail the diversion would have been out the window.  The cops later asked a few questions through my lawyer; they were really, really interested in whether or not I had a P411 or Eccie account, or if any of my clients did; they flat-out told me they wanted to take over client accounts so as to book providers with them.   Because of this, I will NOT see anyone with only P411 and no further info; I know for a fact these accounts get compromised, because cops will offer a plea deal to clients or providers that hand them over.  I also won’t go to personal residences anymore unless they’re an established client, and I have learned to trust my gut; I saw the cop cars that day, yet ignored my instincts and paid for it.  Thousands in bail, lawyer fees, and pretrial diversion fees, and at the end of the day I still couldn’t pay my bills and couldn’t work either.  But it could’ve been much worse:  one other woman I knew had a driver and a child waiting in the car for her, and the cops charged her driver with “sex trafficking” and gave her child to CPS.

I hope nobody reading this ever has to endure what I did, but if you do please don’t talk to police except to ask to speak to a lawyer, and to make it clear you’re invoking your right to remain silent.  I know it seems like common sense, but when you’re having a panic attack or sitting in an interrogation room, they will try anything to get you to talk. They will lie, ask stupid or silly questions, and do anything to use your words against you.  Cops are not your friends; no matter how many snacks and “victim advocates” they put in front of you, at the end of the day they are just trying to lock up as many people as possible.

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How disconnected from reality are [censorious] Senators?  –  Mike Masnick

If Men Were Angels

Is a “small group leader” the same as a “youth pastor”?

…California church leader…Drue Mordecai, a…“small group leader” at New Vintage Church…sexually abused a juvenile…for approximately four to five years…beg[inning] when the victim was 12 years old…

Broken Record (#559) 

Irish versions of the “gypsy whores” myth always seem quaint:

[Pogroms against sex workers and their clients are] being prepared [using the popular myth that]…demand for such services [increases] around the time of major sports fixtures and other events…[fact-free propaganda promot]ed by the Garda shows the demand for prostitution increases around major events…[spokespigs oinked a lot of silly nonsense about]…victims…gangs…vast majority…[are] trafficked…[they also lied that] the Garda is not interested in treating [sex workers] as criminals, [despite ample evidence to the contrary]…

Above the Law (#866)  

The fact that the woman reported him tells me this wasn’t a coercion-free offer:

A Florida lawyer [sentenced to probation] in 2019 on charges that he was using female clients in two county jails to make pornographic films has been disbarred…Andrew Bennett Spark…was arrested Dec. 17, 2017, and charged with [minor offenses including]…soliciting for prostitution.  He…now lives in Flushing, New York…Spark went to visit with a woman…in the Pinellas County Jail…[who] had not requested a visit with him, and she was represented by a different lawyer…the…w[oman was an] adult film actress…whose arrest and conviction [had been] widely publicized…Spark…asked…he[r to let him take video of her giving him head]…in exchange for putting money in her jail account…[but when he gave her a measly $10 she] told her family about the unsolicited visit, and her family c[alled the pigs]…

Morality Lessons (#908) 

Utah hasn’t learned from this unconstitutional bill failing in over a dozen states:

…Utah [politicians]…discuss[ed the latest version of a censorship bill]…requiring all “new electronic devices” sold in the state to have pornography filters turned on by default…the…hearing…ended with putting the bill on hold…[following expert testimony] that… “compliance would not be possible…[and] the constitutional problems …are numerous”…

Chris Sevier, the pro-censorship crackpot who wrote this bill and has shopped it to almost half of US states, appears to be keeping a low profile since Elizabeth Smart threatened to sue him for slapping her name on previous versions without her permission.  Or maybe it’s because a federal judge in Utah threw out his lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop.  Or perhaps it’s due to the warrant for his arrest in Tennessee?

Something Rotten in Sweden (#910)

California’s annual anti-whore pogrom did a lot less damage this year:

Riverside County [pigs deceived and abducted] 64 [peaceful citizens] over the course of four days [label]ing [the pogrom] an anti-human trafficking operation…[under the sophomoric name] Operation Reclaim and Rebuild…The statewide operation [destroyed fewer lives this year, down from]…518 [last year, including] 87 [sex workers; this year only 2 sex workers were brutalized]…

Theatrics (#914) 

Fake “sex trafficking” ads dreamed up by prohibitionists demonstrate the depravity of their lurid masturbatory fantasies about our lives and work:

A…Swed[ish prohibitionist organization]…has set up a [fake] call girl service…Unsuspecting men [looking for adult consensual sex] dial the [fake] hotline set up by [the “rescue” profiteers called] Talita, only to be…[non-consensually subjected to ugly tragedy porn] stories…Josephine Appelqvist, co-founder of Talita, says: “We wanted them to [violate their consent by tricking them into] hear[ing our disgusting sexual fantasies]”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1056)

Canada pretends to care about privacy, but has plenty of other snooping tools:

Clearview AI violated Canadian privacy laws when it collected photos of Canadians without their knowledge or permission, the country’s top privacy watchdog has ruled…the startup…scrap[ed] social media sites…without their permission, prompting Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to send cease and desist letters…Clearview rebuffed the allegations, claiming [it is above the] law…and that consent was not required because the images it scraped were publicly available…The Canadian privacy watchdog…said it would “pursue other actions” if the company does not…stop…the collection on Canadians and delet[e] all previously collected images…

Paint By Numbers (#1086)

The dumb “awareness raising” stunt field is being taken over by hack artists:

“Goats are empowering women in the poorest parts of India,” said Rob Canton, founder of Project Goat. “A Goat is essentially an ATM in these communities, keeping them from a life of sex…trafficking.”  That’s how Canton came up with the Global Offensive Against Trafficking also known as Project Goat.  During the months leading up to the Super Bowl…goats, decorated by different artists, were showing up everywhere…“Super Bowls and events like them, World Cups and Olympics, they are the types of events that generate a lot of human trafficking,” [lied] Canton…Canton is now in the process of corralling all these [propaganda] works…They will be part of a large art auction taking place the day before the Super Bowl at Zoo Tampa, with a portion of the proceeds going to [the rescue industry]…

You Were Warned (#1107)

The bipartisan war on the internet continues without even a pause:

For the past few months we’ve been seeing a ton of terrible/ ridiculous/awful/unconstitutional bills coming from mostly Republicans to try to wipe out or undermine Section 230.  Most of those were focused on trying to force websites to do less content moderation.  Now that the Democrats are back in power, it appears we’re going to be getting the opposite.  Senator Mark Warner has introduced…the SAFE TECH Act (“Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism, and Consumer Harms Act” co-sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar), and it is one of the worst Section 230 bills I’ve seen.  It is difficult to explain just how bad this bill is concisely, because it has so many bad ideas crammed into one single bill.  It’s as if none of these three Senators or their staff spoke to anyone who actually understands how the internet works, or how content moderation/trust and safety works.  It’s stunning in the ignorance it displays…Basically, this bill takes nearly every single idea that people who want there to be less speech online have had, and dumped it all into one bill.  There’s a lot in there, and nearly all of it is bad…This bill…does not come from a well meaning place.  The drafters…are either malicious or ignorant…

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In the name of protecting women, [Kamala] Harris has pushed sex workers back onto dangerous street corners.  –  Cherie DeVille

The Puritan Recrudescence

A deep dive on the history of the current US pro-censorship cabal:

Adult content [i]s now routinely described…by both sensationalistic tabloids and supposedly liberal establishment papers as “a scourge”…“a danger,” “harmful,” “exploitation,” and “infestation.”  Newspapers and TV news segments f[eed] this rhetoric to politicians around the world…who happily regurgitate…exaggerations, deliberate obfuscations and outright cant such as “porn is a form of human trafficking,” “no person can consent to be a sex worker,” [and] “all sex workers are victims”…Porn, they declare…is not free expression protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. and by long-standing traditions of freedom of speech in other lands.  It is “a public health crisis,” “a drug” and “slavery.”  This language and these notions are, of course, not new.  They have been brewing for years — in some cases decades — in well-funded, religiously-motivated think tanks and lobbies.  These groups literally have an agenda: to shut down, by whatever means necessary, online porn…

To Molest and Rape (#843)

It took four years for a serial rapist to actually be tried. Guess his profession:

Roger Golubski…w[as a Kansas City cop for]…35 years…before retiring in 2010.  But it was[n’t until] 2017, when Lamonte McIntyre was freed from prison after serving 23 years for two murders he did not commit, that [“authorities”] began to…[final]ly [pay attention to stacks of complaints] about the [typical and representative]  cop who…had [used threats and sexual violence to] cultivate…a vast network of informants…Golubski, whose [lies] led McIntyre to prison…used his police badge to [threaten] vulnerable Black women [into submitting to rape] and coerced some of them into fabricating testimony to c[age innocent human being]s he [targe]ted.  In at least one instance, he…repeatedly rap[ed] a woman whose children he’d promised to help get out of legal trouble…[in a hearing for] the civil lawsuit filed by McIntyre and his mother, Rose McIntyre, who[m] the [typical and representative cop brutally raped]…Golubski [took the Fifth]…555 times…the McIntyres’ law[yers demonstrated that]…Golubski’s superiors in the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department [well] kn[e]w…[that he was a serial rapist of women stigmatized as] prostitutes [by the state]…and either look[ed] the other way or tacitly endors[ed the rapes.  Reports of]…Golubski[‘s behavior] date back 25 years…[but] “The Department never accepted] any formal complaints regarding misconduct” [said a spokesow]…the suit names [as accomplices]…Wyandotte County/Kansas City, detectives W.K. Smith, Clyde Blood, James Brown, Dennis Ware and the estates of…[cops] Dennis Barber, Steve Culp and James Krstolich…

Everything Old is New Again (#863)

This absurd language and association of sex work with pizza is not limited to Christian prohibitionists:

It is hard to believe the testimonies of Israeli tourists returning from the UAE, in which they describe Dubai as the Las Vegas of the Middle East…8,000 Israelis travelled to Dubai to celebrate the New Year.  They apparently took hashish and marijuana with them…the…dark reality…[is] gangs of Israeli men who set out for the new holiday destination with prostitution in mind…any Israeli tourist in Dubai can…pay $1,000 and jump into the pool of iniquity…The[y] can sit and eat next to a swimming pool while watching frenzied scenes of sexual activity…”Everything is open, like a menu with pizza toppings”…it is…an extension of the Israeli sex industry, with prostitution apps advertising women…The fruit of normalisation is that Israelis are now heavily involved in the whole shameful business…

The “swimming pool of iniquity” may be my favorite Middle-Eastern ludicrosity since “the dangerous cycle of prostitution”.

I Spy (#1001)

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

In recent years, [cops] have realized that automobiles — particularly newer models — can be treasure troves of [surveillance data].  Their onboard computers generate and store data that can be used to reconstruct where a vehicle has been and what its passengers were doing.  They reveal everything from location, speed and acceleration to when doors were opened and closed, whether texts and calls were made while the cellphone was plugged into the infotainment system, as well as voice commands and web histories…Privacy4Cars…makes a free app that helps people delete their data from automobiles and makes its money by offering the service to rental companies and dealerships…[Pigs mostly root] in…two main information sources: the telematics system — which is like the “black box” — and the infotainment system.  The telematics system stores a vehicle’s turn-by-turn navigation, speed, acceleration and deceleration information…when and where the lights were switched on, the doors were opened, seat belts were put on and airbags were deployed.  The infotainment system records recent destinations, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, pictures, videos, web histories, voice commands and social media feeds.  It can also keep track of the phones that have been connected to the vehicle via USB cable or Bluetooth, as well as all the apps installed on the device…

The Widening Gyre (#1019)

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter.  I find them both funny and sad;  funny because Chicken Licken here doen’t realize that there has never been a single case of an adult woman abducted by so-called “sex traffickers” from any public place (much less a crowded retail store), and sad because the hysteria feeds weak-minded panic over ordinary social interactions such as conversation and nodding “hello” to strangers (which I do almost every time I pass someone in public).  Add to that the uncritical acceptance of utterly absurd “King of the Hill” propaganda (“[Atlanta is] the human trafficking capital of the world“) and we have a nearly perfect cross-section of late-stage moral panic; all that’s missing is an actual violent attack on the people to whom she’s attached this waking nightmare.

I Spy (#1035)

I’ve been saying this would happen since politicians started belching about “contact tracing”:

Singapore has admitted data from its Covid contact tracing programme can also be accessed by police…Officials had previously [lied in order to trick as many people as possible into “voluntarily” downloading a surveillance]…programme, which is used to [track people’s movements and] also monitors who [the patsy has] been in contact with…To encourage people to enrol, Singaporean authorities [lied that] the data would never be used for any other purpose…But Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan told parliament [last week] that it can in fact also be used “for the purpose of criminal investigation”…

Top Cop (#1065)

Sex workers cannot let people who claim to be allies forget about this psychopath, now only an old man’s heartbeat from the power she so desperately craves:

Kamala…Harris’s hatred [of sex workers] goes back to her days as San Francisco District Attorney.  In 2008, Harris opposed a San Francisco ballot initiative to legalize prostitution.  “I think it’s completely ridiculous”…Harris told The New York Times.  She proclaimed the law would roll “a welcome mat out for pimps” and…“compromise…the quality of life in a community.”  In other words, sex work looks terrible.  As a district attorney, senator, and presidential candidate, Harris has trafficked in outdated sex-worker cliches.  Out reports that California Attorney General Harris fought in court in 2015 to ensure the state continued criminalizing sex work…[claiming that] sex…[workers are] disease…[vectors]…

Working From Home (#1079)

When a headline asks a question, the answer is nearly always “no”:

…the great sex boom of 2020…has been…widely publicized.  Outlets that usually skirted such tawdry subjects published how-tos for aspiring online sex workers.  Masturbation made The New York Times headlines, and reports of sex toy sales enjoying a 200 percent increase (tripling in New Zealand) were heard around the world…Then…no matter your age, race, gender or even perceived good looks, for the financially upended by Covid-19, OnlyFans became The Promised Land…and porn began to feel like yesterday’s news…especially once the celebrities caught on.  Bella Thorne elicited immediate backlash from online sex workers after [scamming] a record-breaking $1 million dollars in her first day on the platform…prompting OnlyFans to cap tips and pay-per-view charges.  While the move may have infuriated existing cam girls, it brought the platform widespread attention…

To Molest and Rape (#1098)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Chatham County [Georgia cop]…Christopher Crick was [arrested for raping]…a minor…he was booked on three felony charges: aggravated child molestation, sodomy and statutory rape.  The victim is apparently someone previously known to Crick…

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This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors.  –  Danny O’Brien & Rainey Reitman

Down Under (#410)

This is what prohibitionists call the “failure” of decriminalization:

New Zealand sex worker has won a six-figure payout as part of a settlement after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a b[rothel] owner…The settlement was an important reminder that all workers, regardless of the type of work they did, have the right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, said Michael Timmins, director of the office of human rights proceedings…the woman[‘s]…identity, and all other details in the case, remain…confidential…

The Gun in the Room

All laws, even “progressive” ones, are more heavily enforced vs minorities:

…of the [tickets Seattle] police have i[nflicted using the bike helmet law] since 2017, at least 43% were given to people struggling with homelessness…Since 2019, that number was 60%.  The total is almost certainly an undercount…In total, Seattle police have issued only 117 helmet citations since 2017, at least 50 of which were given to [homeless] people…Last summer’s protests served to amplify a growing [but long-overdue] skepticism of the criminal justice system’s reach, particularly when it comes to nonviolent [behavior arbitrarily defined by the state as] crime.  The wide-scale rejection of the so-called war on drugs typifies the shift most dramatically, but…all…citations — for drug use, traffic stops or bike laws — tend to reveal most clearly the disparities of the criminal justice system…In Seattle, for example, one in four jaywalking tickets issued between 2010 and 2016 went to a Black pedestrian

A Procrustean Bed (#965)

Authoritarians pretend this is more humane than prison:

Passages [is] one of eight privately-owned pre-release facilities in Montana…To [be sent to] Passages means to submit a 24-hour schedule for each day, subject to approval, accounting for every single minute, around the clock.  There’s little privacy; the women sleep four to a small hotel-sized bedroom…Their possessions are rigorously inventoried…inmates…of[ten]…wind up back in prison…because…of…infractions [that] are not crimes on the outside…The…program effectively requires women to be inmates and low-wage workers at the same time.  Either role is difficult, but trying to do both at once is mentally and physically crushing…“Honestly, most people would rather just stay in prison because once you’re done with prison then you’re done,” said…former [inmate Tara Norman…Room and board is $15 a day, so if you start your stay with 90 days of drug treatment, you could be starting your pre-release over $1,200 in debt.  You can’t complete the program until your drug treatment fees are paid off…There are endless fees for room and board, counseling, instructional materials, laundry, and other necessities.  Months can pass where the inmate is working but has no money left from her check because it’s all going to pay for fees and expenses…

Permanent Record (#1036)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A medic was outed by the New York Post…for posting…pictures on OnlyFans for extra income…The article…attempted to make something scandalous out of the fact that the 23-year-old had posted nude photos to the popular subscription site.  It…quoted an anonymous FDNY paramedic turned morality cop who snarked that other first responders “make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes”…The [hit post] was quickly decried by critics on Twitter, including [politician] Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…who tweeted at the publication, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.’” The tweet received over 300,000 more likes than the Post’s tweet of its story….one of Kwei’s friends started a GoFundMe page in her name, writing that [Lauren] Kwei had turned to sex work in order to support herself and her family and was now at risk of losing her job…A representative for SeniorCare EMS [said]…Kwei is still employed and it does not intend to let her go over this issue…[but] the GoFundMe…attracted more than 1,500 donors and raised $33,000—far above the stated goal of $5,000…

As I wrote last week, “many more people than ever before are watching, and increasing numbers of them do not at all like what they see“.

The Course of a Disease (#1088) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

Parliament has passed a controversial bill proposing the UK adopts the “Nordic model”…[which] is opposed by sex workers and [human rights] groups including Amnesty International…who [explain] that the legal model it proposes is driven by ideology, not evidence and puts workers’ lives at risk…In [prohibitionist propaganda], the Nordic model criminalises clients and third parties in the sex trade, leaving workers unharmed, whilst supporting them to leave the industry.  However, evidence from countries where it is [impos]ed shows that it has created more dangerous working conditions, whilst still criminalising workers and not supporting exit for those who want to leave the industry…

You Were Warned (#1095)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politician] Lindsey Graham…[has] introduced legislation that would…implement a sunset for Section 230, the 1996 law that grants legal protects to tech platforms for third party content posted on their sites.  The law has come under fire from [pro-censorship politicians including]…President Trump[, who] has said he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act…the annual defense policy bill, because it does not include a Section 230 repeal…[politicians] have long [made absurd claims]…against [the law that]…they have failed to back…up with evidence.  [Politicians pretend]…repealing the law could serve as a check on increasingly powerful companies such as Facebook…

The Next Target (#1097)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

…the campaign against Pornhub appears to be more about moral grandstanding and leveraging generalized shame around pornography than addressing the real problem of child abuse and exploitation…Morality in Media…and Exodus Cry have been teaming up to portray Pornhub as a uniquely prolific and unrepentant purveyor of smut featuring minors and abuse.  But [because facts]…do not support this contention…crusaders…resort to using statistics in weaselly ways…for instance…Shared Hope International peppers its calls to shut down Pornhub with general stats about child sex abuse material…they [all] suggest that the only feasible solution is to take drastic aim at porn or digital privacy more broadly—sometimes both…Conflating role-playing with actual abuse is also a common feature of anti-Pornhub advocacy …In the past few days, Pornhub announced new policies surrounding content and removed all videos from non-verified accounts…these changes have long been on the list of porn performer and producer demands…[but] little coverage has acknowledged this…nor the broader labor and intellectual property issues behind it…

The EFF and Vice also published strong criticisms of this latest front in the War on Whores.

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Analysing the content of all [electronic] correspondence….[is] as if the post office opened all letters in search of illegal content.  –  Patrick Breyer

Unreal Princesses

Pretending to be a sex worker gets attention, without the stigma of really being one:

If you spend a lot of time on TikTok…you’ve probably come across ItsImperial…an 18-year-old with high cheekbones, a septum piercing, and intense, dark eyebrows…[who] has racked up an impressive 1.9 million followers in less than a year, typically posting…wild stories about her [supposed] stripping career…[but] many on StripperTok don’t believe Imperial’s stories are actually true…Jessica Kind…who…has been in the industry for 11 years, says that Imperial’s florid accounts of life as a sex worker facing a litany of abusive or lascivious clients do real harm to an already-stigmatized community…One of the most glaring red flags, says Kind, was the fact that on her TikToks Imperial rarely makes references to the presence of security or a bouncer, which is standard to prevent dancers from being mistreated. (One exception is the TikTok where she discusses having a gun pulled on her, and she says security intervened)…The presence of a bouncer…would theoretically prevent many of the incidents Imperial describes in her videos, such as being pelted with feces or being attacked by a jealous wife who smells her perfume…Imperial [claims]…that she works private parties, not at clubs…[but] most privates are booked through connections made at clubs. Imperial’s website also doesn’t allow potential patrons to book her, and her Instagram, where she has 181,000 followers, doesn’t promote upcoming appearances…She also doesn’t appear to follow the local clubs in her area, nor do they follow her, as is common in the industry. “I don’t see how it would be possible for her to advertise and make money off private parties during a pandemic,” says Bebe Gunn…

Above the Law  

FBI thugs are just federal cops, and behave accordingly:

An assistant FBI director…drunkenly grop[ed] a female subordinate in a stairwell.  Another…sexually harassed eight employees.  Yet another…blackmail[ed] a young employee into s[ubmitting to rape]…An Associated Press investigation has identified at least six s[uch cases]…over the past five years, including two new claims brought this week by women who…were sexually assaulted by ranking agents.  [As is typical for rapist cops,] each of the…officials…avoided…[any meaningful consequences], and several were quietly transferred or retired, keeping their full pensions and benefits…Beyond that, federal [rapist] officials are afforded anonymity even after the disciplinary process runs its course, allowing them to land on their feet in the private sector or even remain in law enforcement…

Pretext

More cops using non-consenting people as props in a propaganda show:

…Instead of writing tickets, some deputies with the Richland County [South Carolina] Sheriff’s Department [played a sick practical joke and called it] spread[ing] Christmas cheer.  [Cops] patrolled the Eastover and Gadsden areas, pulling over [people on various pretexts and giving them] gift cards…

As usual, reporters obediently parrot the pigs’ press release without any counterpoint from a lawyer or civil rights advocate.

Torture Chamber (#928) 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

After more than a year of warnings that Alabama’s gore-soaked prison system violates the Constitution, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state…for its failure to prevent violence and sexual assault against…men [it keeps locked in cages]…Alabama’s prison system…is overcrowded, unsanitary, and…deliberately indifferent to the frequent and often deadly assaults against inmates, violating the Eighth Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution…

I Spy (#1000)

Anyone who doubts that politicians are deranged megalomaniacs should be following this:

…the European Parliament’s Civil liberties Committee voted to restrict the ePrivacy Directive…[in order to] generally and indiscriminately…screen and monitor all private electronic communications in the absence of any suspicion in order to search for [supposed] child pornographic content and “child grooming”.  On 10 September 2020, it presented a draft law to this effect.  Providers of e-mail, chat and messenger services would be…[forced to] search…the content of all private messages.  Looking for as yet unknown material would mean that even intimate photographs of adults will frequently be exposed.  In addition, error-prone algorithms are to search text messages for “solicitation of sexual contact” with minors.  Supposed hits are reported to the police.  A second law planned for next year will make this mass surveillance procedure compulsory, even where secure end-to-end encryption is [currently] used to protect private messages…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1096)

Prohibition never eradicates the prohibited thing; it just helps shady participants:

…the DOJ helped shut down law-abiding American porn producers, paved the way for Pornhub to dominate the market for online porn, and made the problem of illegal pornography worse…The Bush-era Obscenity Task Force started shutting down American porn companies right and left in 2005.  Pornhub launched in 2006.  The DOJ jailed Pornhub’s competition (and those who didn’t get arrested shut down their sites in fear by the hundreds) while allowing Pornhub to flout copyright and 2257 requirements (which establish that porn performers are citizens and of age)…By doing this, the DOJ helped move the adult industry away from a thriving competitive marketplace of independent American porn producers who were legally required to prove their performers were consenting adults toward three or four offshore tax-evading secretive companies with zero requirements to prove the porn they host is created by consenting adults.  Does anyone seriously think this made the porn industry safer or better in any way, shape, or form?…

To Molest and Rape (#1096)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Mike Wilson, a [typical and representative cop] with the Trenton [Missouri] police department, was arrested…and [charged with] statutory rape…[he is also being investigated for trying to talk a different underage girl into bed]…

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[NOPD] argues the word “employ” means something else when it’s misleading the public.  –  Tim Cushing

The Puritan Recrudescence

No, Parler doesn’t have a “porn problem”; it has a spam problem:

Anyone following the #sexytrumpgirl hashtag on Parler…got an eyeful one recent Thursday evening as images of topless women and links to hardcore pornography websites appeared at a rapid-fire rate, often more than one per minute…The site’s lax moderation policies…have helped it become a magnet for pornographers, escort services and online sex merchants using hashtags…such as #keepamericasexy and #milfsfortrump2020.  The pornography…has the potential to complicate hopes the site may have to expand advertising…[because uptight] major companies typically avoid having their sales pitches appear alongside [sexu]al imagery…Parler once banned all pornography but in recent months revised its terms of service to permit essentially anything that’s legal, making its policy close to Twitter’s…[but] Twitter…has automated systems that prevent excessively rapid posting, as well as other spammy behavior…

I think most normal people would be just as annoyed by rapid-fire tweets hawking car warranties, miracle cures, get-rich-quick schemes, or political theater, but of course that wouldn’t be as lurid as focusing on porn.

Morality Lessons (#921)

Australian cops are envious of the FBI, and want permission to run their own kiddie porn sites:

[Australian pigs and spooks] will be [allowed] to take over the online accounts of [people they accuse of being]…paedophile[s], terrorists and drug-traffickers…under new laws to be introduced in Federal Parliament.  The [pigs and spooks] will also be a[llowed] to hack into people’s computer networks [to watch, steal and trade]…child [porn]…The new capabilities will give [pigs and spooks] unprecedented powers to [spy on people and justify it with all kinds of doubletalk about how “]criminals operating on the dark web…can more easily evade traditional law enforcement or investigation methods[“]…Under a new “account takeover power”, [pigs and spooks] will be able to take control of a person’s online account for the purposes of [creating false] evidence about criminal activity…

Pyrrhic Victory (#992) 

Why I keep telling you local laws banning facial recognition are feel-good bullshit:

…”The New Orleans Police Department has confirmed that it is utilizing facial recognition…despite years of assurances” t[o] the…contrary…this report by The Tenth Amendment Center makes the NOPD’s relationship with the tech more explicit…“the NOPD has…relied on technology operated by the Louisiana State Police…[via] the state fusion center”…the NOPD…”does not employ facial recognition software”…in the sense that the PD does not own the tech…It clearly does use it.  It just outsources that work to other agencies — including federal law enforcement — that do own the tech…The city is considering a facial recognition ban.  But this admission the PD outsources its facial recognition work means it won’t be enough to simply forbid the PD from buying and utilizing its own tech.  The proposal would need to be rewritten to prevent the PD from sending its photos to state or federal agencies for proxy searching.  The vote on the proposed ban has been delayed as city council members process the NOPD’s lies about its facial recognition use and decide what to do with this new information…now the city knows it can’t trust its own police department to be honest with it…

Take it from someone intimately acquainted with how things are done in New Orleans:  the city council already knew.  The vote has simply been delayed so they can think up good butt-covering lies.

A Moral Cancer (#1017) 

When government loses one excuse for violently intruding on private lives, it will invent another one:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has banned people from smoking in their own apartments…the board voted 10–1 in favor of a bill…to prohibit smoking tobacco inside private dwellings in buildings with three or more units.  Violators…could receive fines of up to $1,000…The…bill…at [first]…also applied to smoking legal cannabis…[but] an amendment…exempts marijuana…be[cause] cannabis [is politically correct but tobacco is not]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1062)

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

Civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the government to s[teal] property…without ever charging the owner, are fundamentally rigged in favor of the [cop shops] that get a cut of the proceeds.  Even when an owner manages to challenge a forfeiture…he has the burden of proving his innocence, and the process often costs more than the property is worth.  Adding insult to injury, the government can drag out the process for so long that even innocent owners feel compelled to surrender.  The Institute for Justice (I.J.) challenges that aspect of civil forfeiture in an appeal it filed this week, asking the Supreme Court to rule that due process requires a prompt post-seizure hearing…The…case involves Gerardo Serrano, a U.S. citizen and Kentucky resident whose pickup truck was s[tolen] by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in September 2015, while he was on his way to visit relatives in Mexico.  The official, patently absurd justification: The truck was suspected of involvement in international arms smuggling, because Serrano had forgotten about a handgun magazine and five rounds he had left in the center console.  He waited two years without a hearing until CBP suddenly decided to return the truck in 2017, a month after I.J. filed a lawsuit on his behalf.  The circumstances…strongly suggest that Serrano was punished for asserting his constitutional rights…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

…Legislation to limit or abolish Section 230 has become popular in Congress…but with the exception of the 2018 sex-ad law FOSTA, most of these have gone nowhere.  Now, some [politicians] are taking a different tack.  Instead of pushing a standalone attack on Section 230, Sen. Roger Wicker…will allegedly introduce an anti-Section 230 bit into the latest defense spending bill…

And guess who’s actually behind it?

Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defense policy bill unless it [allows]…internet companies t[o be sued or prosecuted]…for material posted by their users…Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against [him]…the…veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defense policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers…

Winding Down

A big step toward ending the disastrous War on Drugs:

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs…[has] accepted a World Health Organization…recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  The historic vote in Vienna could have far-reaching implications for the global medical cannabis industry, ranging from regulatory oversight to scientific research into the plant and its use as a medicine…it could help boost medical cannabis legalization efforts around the globe now that the CND tacitly acknowledges the medical utility of the drug…

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I looked down there this morning at my willy and there’s a fucking flea bite on it.  –  Johnny Rotten

It’s not often that I laugh out loud at a video, even from The Onion, but this one was hilarious (at least to a literature nerd).  The links above it were provided by Amy Alkon, Jesse Walker (x3), Mike Chase, and Walter Olson, in that order.

From the Archives

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James Randi, AKA, “The Amazing Randi”, died last week at the age of 92.  If you don’t know who he was, watch this short video for an introduction; there’s also a full-length documentary on his life’s work, An Honest Liar.  The links above the video were provided by Mistress Matisse, Nun Ya, Franklin Harris, Radley Balko, Cop Crisis, Walter Olson, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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