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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Bounty-hunters can buy information about where we are, in real time…and come after us.  You don’t need to be a replicant to be scared of the consequences.  –  Thomas Rid

A Broker in Pillage

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Chicago…regularly pulls residents into a nexus of ticket-related debt and car seizures that is stunning in its scope.  In 2017 alone, Chicago booted more than 67,000 vehicles for unpaid tickets.  In about a third of those cases, the driver couldn’t afford to remove the boot, and the vehicle was later towed to a city impound lot…[and] sold off, with the owners receiving none of the sale proceeds…the city and its towing contractor pocketed millions of dollars, while residents were left with ticket debt…there have been nearly 50,000 of these sales since 2011…the vast majority…from low-income and minority communities…The city…[calls] those who owe ticket money…“scofflaws”…conflating the inability to pay debts with criminal activity…workers or contractors sometimes [illegally] issu[e]…multiple tickets on the same day…[and] just two or three outstanding tickets will prompt the city’s revenue workers to boot a car.  Owners have just 24 hours to pay $100 to remove a boot…if the window’s missed, the car’s towed, and the owner [is also assessed]…a $150 towing fee…cars can [then] be sold in as little as three weeks, but not before drivers rack up [daily] storage and other fees…

Buried Truth 

Not quite an example of the McNeill Rule, but close:

Donnie Romero, a Baptist pastor in Texas who has a history of making…anti-LGBT…[remarks], told his congregation last week that he would be resigning from his post…Though Romero did not provide details to his congregants…[another preacher] Steven Anderson…weighed in on his “grievous sins” in a [YouTube] video…“The major sin involved was being with prostitutes, and then there were also marijuana and gambling”…Romero, who has called gays “scum of the earth,” also came under immense scrutiny in 2016 after he said he was praying that victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando who were injured would not survive “so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children”…

Sex Rays

The puritanism just keeps increasing:

Organizers of the Consumer Electronics Show…in Las Vegas selected a sex toy called Osé as one of a handful of honorees in its robotics and drones Innovation Awards program.  But two weeks later, they disqualified the device and banned its exhibition at the event — because it’s an adult product…Osé…(formerly called Vela) is a sex toy developed in partnership with an engineering professor at Oregon State University that uses “biometric mimicry” for hands-free vaginal and clitoral stimulation…It’s unclear why the CTA made the Osé an honoree in the first place, before backtracking on its decision…The trade show gave a sex toy a similar award three years ago, and other companies have exhibited sex toys and adult products at the show over the years…

Bottleneck (#414)

Canberra is infested with prohibitionists, many of them in the police.  Articles like this one typically spout similar “rescue” and “sex trafficking” nonsense; the rebuttal from actual experts is way down at the end:

…Jules Kim from the national sex worker’s union, The Scarlet Alliance, doubted that human sex trafficking was as widespread in Canberra and Australia as police claimed…a 2017 federal government inquiry…found no sex workers were tricked into the job out of the 14 sex-work-related trafficking convictions nationally since 2004…despite this, there [i]s “a continued focus on framing issues” in the sex industry, particularly those involving South-East Asia migrants, as trafficking…”police raids…ha[ve] been proven to create worse conditions for sex workers, resulting in…barriers to accessing police in the event of a crime“…Ms Kim said the “illegal brothels” police referred to were often situations where more than one worker was working from a premises in order to share costs — which is illegal in some states and territories, including the ACT…


The Last Shall Be First (#785)

Anti-trans bigots often claim transwomen will sexually assault ciswomen in public toilets:

Two North Carolina women…were charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexually battery of a transgender woman in a ladies room of a Raleigh bar…the…victim had just entered the women’s restroom at the popular Milk Bar when Amber Harrell…and Jessica Fowler…followed her in and locked the door….[then] verbally and sexually assaulted her…Both women are also accused of exposing their breasts and genitals to the victim, who eventually escaped the bathroom.  The two…then followed her to the bar and continued the abuse, a bartender testified to police…

It’s not coincidental that this happened in a state where politicians openly encourage such bigotry.

To Molest and Rape (#842) 

Another pig uses a traumatized woman’s fear as leverage:

In one of the first releases of records under a new [California] law that [removes the previously-existing laws which allowed]…police [departments to hide] misconduct, documents show the Burlingame Police Department fired a [rapist cop] last year after…he [pressured] a woman [for sex by claiming he would interfere] with [her] DUI [case] if she would [not]…David W. Granucci…was later found to have made similar proposals to two other women, one [of] who[m submitted to letting]…him [rape her]…Granucci…obtained her phone number and address and went to her house the…day [after she was arrested] and made the [threat]…She rejected Granucci’s advances and reported him to police.  Granucci was [miraculously] fired [probably because Bay Area police departments are covering their arses due to the Celeste Guap affair]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#864)

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

Whereas it’s common knowledge that [pigs] can track phones with [stingrays or] a warrant to service providers…at least one company, called Microbilt, is selling phone geolocation services with little oversight to a spread of different private industries, ranging from car salesmen and property managers to bail bondsmen and bounty hunters…this spying capability is also being resold to others on the black market…mobile networks and the data they generate are…open to surveillance by [cops], stalkers, and [other] criminals, and comes as media and [informed citizens] are paying more attention than ever to how location and other sensitive data is collected and sold

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#879) 

Truly dedicated prohibitionists never let the fact that a thing doesn’t actually exist stop them from banning it:

…Bryan [Texas]…put…the definition of a sex robot into the city [zoning] ordinance….[so] any [sex doll arcade]…would be required to be located only in the area of the city that’s zoned for adult-type businesses.  The move comes mostly as a precaution after someone tried to open a similar type of business in Houston…

Censor Chic (#894)

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

Li Chengzhi had a lot to learn when he first got a job as a professional censor…Now, after training, he knows what to look for — and what to block.  He spends his hours scanning online content on behalf of Chinese media companies looking for anything that will provoke the government’s wrath.  He knows how to spot code words that obliquely refer to Chinese leaders and scandals, or the memes that touch on subjects the Chinese government doesn’t want people to read about.  Mr. Li, who [has been well-brainwashed, believes]…his job…“helps cleanse the online environment”…For Chinese companies, staying on the safe side of government censors is a matter of life and death.  Adding to the burden, the authorities demand that companies censor themselves, spurring them to hire thousands of people to police content.  That in turn has created a growing and lucrative new industry: censorship factories…

Imaginary Victims (#896)

Naturally, he had to show how big his dick is by delaying her release for seven months:

Cyntoia Brown…is due to be released on Aug. 7…She has [been kept locked in a cage] since she was 16…Gov. Bill Haslam…granted Brown a…commutation to parole…for 10 years…Brown will be required to participate in regular counseling sessions and to perform at least 50 hours of community service, including working with at-risk youth.  She also will be required to get a job [with a murder conviction on her record].  Her Aug. 7 release marks 15 years since the date of her crime.  Brown’s attorneys said 15 years is a typical sentence for a second-degree murder conviction…

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All the excitement and hand wringing about [sex robots] was…pointless because [they] just don’t exist.  –  Mark Hay

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

The head pastor of a Methodist congregation in Orange County [California]…was charged…with two counts of molesting a girl under 14 years old…John Rodgers McFarland…was arrested…Dec. 18…San Diego County prosecutors filed two counts of lewd acts on a child…stem[ming] from incidents in 2012 and 2013…Police in Fountain Valley, where McFarland worked as a pastor at a Methodist church for 26 years, said there is “evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach”…He was the head pastor from 1988 to 2014 at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church, and a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014…McFarland was also the youth pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981…

Backwards into the Future (#425) 

I wonder how long it will be before the US abandons “re-education” for sex workers and clients?

China looks set to abolish a controversial system that lets police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients for up to two years without trial for “compulsory education”.  The “detention and re-education for those involved in prostitution” program, which has existed for 27 years, was recommended for abolition…by the Legislative Affairs Commission…scholars, legal practitioners and members of the public…have long lobbied for the change on the grounds such administrative detention is unjust, extrajudicial and particularly punitive.  Sex work will remain punishable …by a penalty of up to 15 days’ detention.  The parallel custody and education system [h]as…[since] 1991…authorized police to force sex workers into various forms of long-term “education” which included morality lessons, written confessions, forced labor and other humiliating activities designed to “remove evil habits”…

Shift in the Wind (#530)

More and more, the media in many countries are siding with sex workers:

On December 17th, sex workers…and…activists from Macedonia held the 11th annual “Red Umbrella March” in Skopje…The Macedonian march was organized by STAR-STAR, the first sex workers collective in the Balkans…participants demand changes to in the Criminal Code which has remained unchanged for three decades since the fall of Communism…with exception to increasing penalties for sex workers…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…a darkening wave of internet censorship…started when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in March…Long before these laws were passed though, sex workers and advocates spoke out against them, [explaining] that their terms were vague and overreaching and would…decimate the digital platforms that have specifically provided a space for workers to meet, vet clients, and engage in consensual business in an online environment far safer than working on the street…The sex workers’ fears did materialize. Craigslist immediately deleted its Personals section…and Backpage…was seized by the FBI.  Multiple sex work forums disappeared immediately…harming and isolating queer people…Over the past few months alone Recon, a fetish dating site for gay men, saw their Youtube temporarily suspended…Naked Boys Reading saw their Facebook page temporarily banned…In October, Facebook was revealed to be blocking many LGBTQ+ ads as part of its new advertising policy…Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also appeared to be censoring the queer community with algorithms that, intentionally or otherwise, flag queer content at a higher rate than non-queer content…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

I wish writers would stop these pandering claims that censorship attempts are “well-intentioned”:

…a string of civil lawsuits [has] intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.  Several federal trial courts dismissed such suits [last] year, but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones.  If these suits are successful…platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow…these cases…threaten the availability of open online forums and Internet users’ ability to access information.  That’s why EFF filed legal briefs in 2018 asking two different federal appellate courts to dismiss material support cases against social media platforms…So far, courts have been quick to toss out these material support lawsuits…As well-intentioned as these cases are, they pose a threat to…online communities…[they] threaten Internet users’ and the platforms’ First Amendment rights…[and] jeopardize one of the Internet’s most important laws, Section 230…

Censorship and prohibition are not, and by their very nature cannot be, “well-intentioned”.  They are attempts to control other people’s minds, bodies and lives and are thus intrinsically evil no matter how they’re excused by authoritarians.

Disaster 

It’s good to see so many journalists recognizing how dangerous the War on Whores has become.  This Forbes article on “The 9 Most Important Sex Trends Of 2018” includes the following:

…FOSTA-SESTA…opens internet platforms to liability for…user-generated content, creating a major legal risk for sites used to facilitate sex work…[and] adds to the popular, yet false, conflation of sex work with sex trafficking…The law has led to the shutdown of a number sites, groups, and forums sex workers used to facilitate their operations…[and] share safety information…and…has also…accelerated a wave of sexual censorship online…FOSTA-SESTA “is causing major havoc,” argues [sexologist Jill] McDevitt, for “anyone who uses the internet to read, research, or express themselves sexually in any way”…[experts] are worried that Twitter, the last major bastion of sexual speech online, may fall to this wave of censorship in the new year…

Imaginary Victims (#864) 

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones:

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled…The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life…[claiming] Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had [actually followed the “safe harbor” law as it was required to do]…

Gorged With Meaning (#877)

Ignoring student sex workers would be fine; the problem is that universities are actively harming them:

Universities must stop ignoring the plight of a growing number of students turning to sex work and should start offering non-judgemental support, campaigners demand.  Students and experts have accused institutions of “simply burying their heads in the sand” over the issue…many universities are…actively blocking groups trying to support students involved in sex work.  In one case a student…sex work[er] was evicted from her home and threatened with expulsion by her university…The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…have fought a number of cases recently where universities have threatened to throw out students if they do not stop doing sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Israeli access to…sites presenting adult-related materials…the bill demands web-service providers to send a message to house-holds with internet access asking if they wish to have such sites blocked or not…Should they decline the offer they will be asked to provide personal information [which will then be shared with the government] proving that they are adults and are the ones paying for the service…The Knesset also approved adopting the Nordic Model…which…is…a state intervention on people’s right’s and bodies as well as a criminaliz[ation of] human activity that will be very hard to prevent…

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Endings to be useful must be inconclusive.  –  Samuel R. Delany

It’s a good thing that this year wasn’t nearly as hard for me personally as the past three were, because it has been absolutely catastrophic for sex workers as a group.  And since we’re the canaries in the civil liberties coal mine, that presages bad times on the horizon for everyone, especially (but not limited to) marginalized communities, who always suffer most when government declares war on human rights.  When FOSTA was enacted and a full-scale attack on Backpage was launched back in the spring, whores and our allies warned the rest of y’all that it was only the beginning of an all-out assault on the internet, which politicians in the US and Europe have been trying to bring under government control for a quarter-century now.  And if FOSTA isn’t reversed, that assault will succeed; its censorship provisions have already frightened dozens of web platforms into shutting down, and those which haven’t are either self-lobotomizing or attempting to turn their sites into massive walled gardens, like AOL writ large across what was once a free and open internet.  It’s inevitable that new platforms will appear in countries which are interested in neither US sex hysteria nor European attempts to police human emotions, suppress speech and enrich corporate copyright holders, but in the meantime things may get a lot worse before they get better.  So I suggest you enjoy your parties tonight and resolve to persevere in the coming year, because I don’t think it’s going to be very much fun for anybody.

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Facial recognition…will turn members of the public into walking ID cards.  –  Silkie Carlo

The Red Umbrella 

As tourists shopped for Christmas gifts in the brightly lit Westlake Center, sex worker and performance artist Vee Chattie sat half-naked in the rain on a towel…[covered in] fake blood…poured…from a vessel marked “FOSTA-SESTA“…A few bicycle cops rode up to make sure they weren’t actually bleeding.  A passerby asked if they were okay.  Another stopped by to voice his agreement…these Seattleites showed more human concern for Chattie than many show for sex workers on a regular basis.  It was effective performance art…

Real People 

A good profile of veteran trans & sex worker rights activist Ceyenne Doroshow:

…As a Black trans woman I see progress, but not that much…we have a government fighting against our very existence…Are we gonna go back to the Stonewall days where you need to have on two male articles [of clothing]?…I will never go back to those times, I’m sorry.  When I had to be Eddie Morales, it was for survival.  When I had to do sex work, it was definitely survival.  Because even working a part-time job for a non-profit where I’m saving lives was not paying me enough to sustain in life…And we’re still seeing that today in not-for-profits.  We’re being tokenized…We can systematically turn people off when we let a government ordain what femininity looks like, what women’s rights looks like, what protection looks like…

Above the Law  

Even being related to a cop may be enough:

Rape and sodomy charges against the son of Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton were dismissed by a…grand jury…Patrick Melton…[raped the drunk] victim on July 7 at his residence on University Avenue in Lexington [Kentucky]…The woman…tried to squirm, push and kick Melton…[and] multiple witnesses confirmed the victim’s statements that she was intoxicated and passed out prior to the [rape]…

Watershed

When the magazine founded by Gloria “Body Invasion” Steinem publishes an anti-Swedish model article, the handwriting is on the wall for “feminist” prohibitionism:

…the “Nordic Model”…is often touted as a compromise between the criminalization or decriminalization of sex work, and one that decreases prosecution against sex workers—but, like all criminalization approaches to the regulation of sex work, the Nordic Model is underpinned by a moralistic framing of sex work that is inherently harmful, to sex workers and to society at-large…it applies an oversimplified macro-economic framing of supply and demand to an industry that consists of fundamentally discrete, personal and often isolated or irregular interactions.  December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers—and we’re demanding an end to “End Demand”.  Here are three reasons why…

Japanese Prostitution (#435) 

More accurate headline: “Enjo kosai girls get better at protecting themselves from busybodies”:

More than half of youths involved in [what is now labeled] child prostitution in Japan’s three biggest metropolitan areas last year had shown no signs of delinquency, attending schools normally and having never had criminal records, a survey shows.  The finding suggests it has been increasingly difficult for parents and teachers to detect a change in the attitude of juveniles, the National Police Agency said…[yet still insisted on describing them as]…victimized…[even though] most…were involved in [sex work]…for financial reasons, with 84.5 percent saying they wanted “money for leisure and other activities,” while 5.7 percent and 2.6 percent pointed to “living expenses” and “tuition,” respectively.  Other reasons included “out of curiosity” and “invited by friends”…

“Compensated dating” has existed in Japan for decades, but Japanese “authorities” have only started imposing a “crime and victimization” narrative on the activity within this decade.

The Prudish Giant (#789)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Facebook gave more than 150 companies, including Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and Yahoo, unprecedented access to users’ personal data…[the] New York Times…obtained hundreds of pages of Facebook documents, generated in 2017, that show that the social network considered these companies business partners and effectively exempted them from its privacy rules.  Facebook allowed Microsoft’s search engine Bing to see the names of nearly all users’ friends without their consent, and allowed Spotify, Netflix, and the Royal Bank of Canada to read, write, and delete users’ private messages, and see participants on a thread.  It also allowed Amazon to get users’ names and contact information through their friends, let Apple access users’ Facebook contacts and calendars even if users had disabled data sharing, and let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts “as recently as this summer,” despite publicly claiming it had stopped sharing such information a year ago…

The article then goes on to list the denials & prevarications of Facebook and many of its “partners”.

Stupor Bowl (#811)

Prohibitionists are trying to subvert our debunking of the gypsy whores myth by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is always sky-high:

[Prohibitionist profiteer] Bob Rodgers [said] “The Super Bowl doesn’t cause sex trafficking…Conferences and conventions, like so many we have in Atlanta, don’t cause sex trafficking.  It is already occurring in every metro Atlanta county and it will still be happening when the Super Bowl leaves”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#871)

The biggest problem with this ridiculous failure rate is that it won’t stay inaccurate for much longer:

London cops have been slammed for using unmarked vans to test controversial and inaccurate automated facial recognition technology on Christmas shoppers…in…Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square…the tech will be attached to vans and run for eight hours on each day…In May, a Freedom of Information request from Big Brother Watch showed the Met’s facial recog had a 98 per cent false positive rate…a subsequent request found that 100 per cent of the so-called matches since May have been incorrect.  A recent report from Cardiff University questioned the technology’s abilities in low light and crowds – which doesn’t bode well for a trial in some of the busiest streets in London just days before the winter solstice…

Disaster (#895) 

Never forget that “filter” is merely a euphemism for “censor”:

According to Tumblr, its new adult content ban doesn’t effect [sic] images of “female-presenting nipples” that involve medical situations, are related to political speech, or appear in artwork.  Tumblr itself, however, apparently can’t come up with four examples of [nipple pictures]…its porn filter actually allows…Tumblr’s staff account published a message  aimed at “clarify[ing]” the new policy…[including] a gif providing several examples of nudity that is “still permitted within our policy”…but…when Gizmodo posted the gif to Tumblr ourselves, it was immediately flagged as a potential violation and hidden by the…filter.  When the images…were uploaded individually, two of the four examples…were similarly flagged and hidden…In recent days, the platform has allegedly flagged a picture of a finger, historical bus photos, and Great British Bake-Off gifs…

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Every so often, I’m forced to narrow my contact parameters a little bit more.  First I started turning down requests for me to do unpaid guest posts, then requests for written interviews.  More recently, I asked readers with questions to put them in a more concise form so it doesn’t take quite so much effort to read and answer them.  And now I’m afraid I need to add another one, about interviews this time:  if you want one, you’re going to need to conduct it in a way that doesn’t stress me out and require me to decode the bizarre “logic” of software engineers.  If you want to talk to me on the phone, that’s completely fine.  If you want to get together in person for an old-fashioned pad-and-pencil interview, or to record me for a podcast (either audio-only or with video) on your own equipment, we can do that.  And there are even a couple of online interview tools (Zoom and Google Hangouts) that generally work OK, though I’ve had problems with both of those (especially Hangouts) when the person who wants to interview me tries some kind of fancy thing.  If you want to use one of those, you need to assume all responsibility for technical details because I’m a whore, not a programmer; don’t think if something goes wrong I’m going to be able to figure it out on my end, because it’s very unlikely that I will, and the attempt will frustrate me and possibly even make me cry.  Skype?  Won’t work on my Chromebook.  I’m reasonably sure Facetime won’t either, because Apple, and I’m not going to try so don’t ask.  Nor will I respond well to requests that I “just download the whateveritis software” or “watch this YouTube video, it explains how to do it”.  Nope.  If you want to interview me, you need to handle the technical details of anything more complicated than “click here”, “please look into the camera” or “answer the phone”.  In short, the only part I want to have to deal with is “show up and be fabulous”, because that I’m good at.  And crying makes my makeup run.

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I am more frightened of the police than I am of [a rapist].  –  Sipho

Surplus Women 

Stick to sex worker victims, and you can murder as many women as you like without cops giving a shit (or even noticing):

Convicted killer Samuel Little, 78, could turn out to be among the country’s most prolific serial killers in history, and one that, until now, law enforcement didn’t even realize existed…after being convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2014 for three murders in Southern California between 1986 and 1989, Little recently began confessing to dozens more [as part of a bargain in which he will be moved to a prison in Texas].  In total, Little has confessed to killing 90 women  across more than a dozen states between 1970 and 2005…and…the FBI…has been able to link 34 unsolved murders to Little’s confessed crimes…While Little is fuzzy about dates, he has a chillingly detailed memory of…what his victims looked like and how they were killed…Little targeted marginalized women, many of them women of color, and the FBI has admitted that many of the murder cases they’ve linked to Little were not just unsolved, but barely investigated; some of his victims haven’t even been identified.  And although Little, a former competitive boxer, usually beat his victims and then strangled them while masturbating, according to the FBI, “many of these deaths were not classified as homicides [because NHI] but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes”…

Secret Squirrel (#344)

How to totally destroy your relationship with your teen offspring:

…“We offer a variety of options for parents whether they are simply looking out for their teens overall safety or concerned for the teen that may be sneaking out of the house at night or at risk of running away,” a sales video for Florida’s Tampa Bay Monitoring informs prospective customers…Frank Kopczynski, the owner of Tampa Bay Monitoring…also runs Action Plus Bail Bonds…“We provide a bracelet that is near-impossible to cut off,” Kopczynski [said]…[a microphone allows] staff [to] monitor the teen covertly…A competing teen GPS monitoring service says of their systems, “This device is also great if your juvenile goes on spring break!”…Tampa Bay Monitoring also offers an “optional, hardened steel encased security cuff for high-risk teens”…

Property of the State 

People with children are uniquely vulnerable to state coercion:

Child Protective Services workers…pressured a Harris County investigator to file charges against the mother whose case prompted a $127,000 sanction against the agency…Dillon and Melissa Bright [sued the state]…after CPS [abducted]…their children…[using invented claims] of child abuse…Following an October court hearing in which a CPS caseworker repeatedly pleaded the Fifth Amendment on the stand [to avoid admitting prior perjury], the family ultimately won back their kids and last month Juvenile Judge Mike Schneider slapped the state with what may be the largest-ever sanction against the agency.  [The pressure to file further spurious charges started soon after]…

Little Boxes (#576)

US media reporting this fail to mention that many US jurisdictions have very similar laws against revealing clothes for women:

An Egyptian actress [was]…charged with public obscenity after she showed up at the closing ceremony of a film festival in Cairo wearing a see-through dress that revealed the entirety of her legs.  Rania Youssef’s trial, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 12, follows a complaint to the chief prosecutor by a group of [busybody] lawyers…Youssef faces up to five years in prison if convicted…

Sex Work is Work (#603)

Amateurs could learn so much about business from whores:

…Why [do] sex workers show so many more leadership attributes than a business leader?  The answer is straightforward—out of necessity.  A business leader has as many leadership attributes as he needs to have, and…just one or two might suffice…Rarely does he have to be an all-rounder…because he has enough people to cover for him.  The female sex worker does not have this luxury.  Her world is far more complex, much more challenging.  She must deal with emotional, health, and financial crises all the time.  There is the constant threat of violence, and her first mission is really to survive.  She has no power, but still must stay in control.  She has no support system, but she must cope.  She simply cannot win with just one or two shots in her game; she needs a whole repertoire…

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

The only “mistake” here was that the victim wasn’t actually trans:

A woman is suing employees of a Florida jail after they…forced her to spend…[many] hours in a cell surrounded by dozens of men, because they suspected she was transgender…Fior Pichardo de Veloz had come to Miami from the Dominican Republic to witness the birth of her grandchild in 2013, when she was arrested at the airport on an outstanding drug charge…Due to her history of high blood pressure, Pichardo de Veloz was examined by a nurse as a precaution.  The nurse saw she had been taking hormone pills and questioned her about her gender.  Despite Pichardo de Veloz’s denial of being a man, the nurse added a note to her file that read: “Transgender, male parts, female tendencies.”  The nurse notified a doctor, who reclassified Pichardo de Veloz as male without an examination…[she] was transferred to…an all-male jail, and shared a cell with about 40 men, who jeered at her…for 10 hours and said she was terrified to go to the bathroom and “urinated on herself instead”…[when] family members [complained]…she was…given a new examination [while]…several male [cops watched]…laughed at her and…took a photo…

Understand what happened here:  the nurse fully intended to put a transwoman into a situation where she was likely to be raped.  She could easily have determined the woman’s genitalia by examining her, but then she couldn’t have claimed it was a “mistake” to put her with men.

To Molest and Rape 

Can you imagine any non-cop getting only three months for aggravated rape?

A Colorado [pig] who [raped] a handcuffed woman…was sentenced to 90 days in jail followed by four years on probation…His victim was left with PTSD…Curtis Lee Arganbright…[was supposed] to take the woman home [after a minor incident at a hospital, for which the hospital declined to press charges]…on the way to her house…he…stopped his…car…and [vaginally raped] her…on the [hood] while she was still cuffed.  He then…oral[ly raped her]…before [threatening her if she told anyone]…She returned the hospital the following day [to report the]…rape…Addressing the incident when it first came to light in August 2017, Westminster Police Chief Tim Carlson [tried to divert attention from the crime by talking about his sadfeelz]…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#778) 

Toasters have no “virginity” and cannot “consent” to anything:

Sex robots [do not exist] at the moment…but [that doesn’t stop reporters from calling sex doll rental arcades]…“robot brothels”…feel out the market in the US and Canada.  But if a [doll] hasn’t “had sex” yet, does that make it a virgin?  A crowdfunding campaign to open the world’s first consent-focused [sex doll rental arcade]…launched by Abyss Creations employee Unicole Unicron last month would argue that it does indeed…a $155,000 funding target [failed miserably by reaching only $2659 even though]…backers [could] pledge $10,000 to be the first person to [masturbate with] a [doll] at Eve’s Robot Dreams…in California…is putting a price on a robot’s virginity really the best marketing strategy for a [fake] brothel that’s focusing on the idea of [fake] consent?…

I’m sorry, that’s all  can quote; it’s just all too stupid even with my extensive editorialization.

The Rape Question (#806) 

Why do men not get that an informal contract without a lawyer witness would offer no protection?

…women [are] being asked to record “consent videos” before having [amateur] sex with men who fear they will be accused of assault afterwards…this then allows the person who recorded the video to use it as “evidence” that their partner gave consent before having sex…barrister Kate Fortescue [said]…”In this digital age, a jury is nearly always asked to look at material from phones and computers to help them decide the issue of consent.  Evidence of pre-recorded consent is clearly relevant and something a jury could consider.  However, even if consent was freely given, such recordings could never provide a blanket defence”…

Seriously, guys, if you’re really this worried just stick to pros and leave the amateurs alone.

The Prudish Giant (#818) 

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

Curator and art historian Ruben Cordova [foolishly] thought that Facebook was the perfect platform to archive the photographic materials equivalent to almost a decade’s worth of his research.  He created a network of albums, links, commentaries, and comparanda online, sometimes using those resources for his lectures at universities and galleries.  This abundance of scholarship even included materials necessary for Cordova’s forthcoming publication.  But…in the early morning of November 16…Facebook…permanently disabled his account due to an alleged violation of community standards banning sexually explicit content…[because an] algorithm in[correc]tly identified the nude woman in John De Andrea’s hyperrealistic Self-Portrait with Sculpture (1980) as a living human being…the image…was just one of about 240…he uploaded from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s popular Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body exhibition…[and even] included a link to the museum website, which would presumably allow a human moderator to fact-check Cordova’s appeal against his ban…when the art historian did try to appeal Facebook’s decision, he found that none of his messages reached the social media giant through his computer, receiving multiple error messages instead…

Disaster (#829)

We did warn you this wouldn’t stop with sex workers:

Tumblr will permanently ban adult content from its platform on December 17th in [celebration of the infliction of violence on sex workers]…The new policy’s announcement comes just days after Tumblr was removed from Apple’s iOS App Store over a child pornography incident, but it extends far beyond that matter alone…Banned content includes photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations…The new guidelines exclude text, so erotica remains permitted.  Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos…[existing] posts with [censored] content will be set to private, which will prevent them from being reblogged or shared elsewhere…Users who run adult blogs can also export their content before the change takes place in order to save what they have…Since Tumblr was founded in 2007, it has largely turned a blind eye to adult content…[which made it] a safe place [for gender and sexual minorities] to enjoy, share, and discuss…adult content…

Business As Usual (#845)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

One in three of the 57 sex workers surveyed [in South Africa] reported they had been raped by policemen, and more than half said police officers had demanded bribes from them in exchange for escaping arrest or abuse…From interviews with a further 61 sex workers, the Sonke and Sweat researchers documented horrific examples of police forcing the women to have sex with animals, compelling them to eat used condoms and refusing to assist them after they had reported abuse at the hands of clients…in November 2015, [when] a sex worker…was found dead at “The Bush” [a scrub-covered field where sex workers take clients]…police…refused to take…statements [from her friends]…Instead…the police raided “The Bush” two weeks later, setting fire to their shacks and destroying their personal possessions…

Worse Than I Thought (#852)

While Virginia lags in inventing inflammatory anti-whore rhetoric, it makes up for it by inventing truly awful anti-whore laws:

Members of the Virginia State Crime Commission endorsed a package of anti-sex-[worker] legislation…that would…create “John schools” for people caught [in cop stings] and make it illegal to charge for “masturbatory services”…“Happy endings”…are currently not included in the state’s prostitution statutes, but local governments can individually act to define the transactions as illegal sex acts…[prohibitionists quoted some racist propaganda]…from…Polaris Project [that infantilizes Asian migrant women so as to deny them agency]…Another piece of legislation approved by the commission would create a [new anti-whore bureaucracy]…and…proposed “John schools” [to indoctrinate ordinary men in anti-whore propaganda]…Another…would define [any associate of an underage sex worker] as caretakers…and allow social service agencies to take emergency custody of [those declared] victims, [imprisoning them indefinitely under the guise of “protection”]…

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The issue with filters starts with the fact that their purpose is to block content.  –  Michael Stabile

They Just Don’t Get It

Pittsburgh-area cops are among the most aggressively ignorant and pompously stupid in the US on the topic of sex work:

Prostitution rings are becoming more sophisticated, and that’s creating new challenges for police…Greensburg police investigators say the internet has [magically transformed into] a vast sea of sex for sale [complete with ships and tentacled hentai monsters]…[unusually stupid pig] Robert Stafford [oinked that]…the sites used to advertise such services…“always seem to be the same website…there always seems to be a drug habit involved”…when [sex workers] are [locked] up [often after being raped by cops], there is a genuine effort to save them from the street and in reality from themselves…

So many dysphemisms, so much bullshit.  “Sophisticated prostitution rings” is the most popular cop excuse for raping sex workers, a practice that Pennsylvania aggressively defends.  As for the bizarre cop fantasy that there is only one ad website, this is the first I’ve heard of it; usually the claim is exactly the opposite, that there are dozens or even hundreds in every city.

Judd Not, Lest Ye Be Judded

I’m always glad to see this wannabe savior get egg on her face:

Ashley…Judd’s…anti-trafficking activism [ignorantly and intentionally]…conflate[s] sex trafficking and sex work.  Judd also serves on the advisory council of Demand Abolition…[after a series of ugly anti-sex worker tweets last week] Judd’s social media was quickly inundated with criticism, causing Judd to double down on her anti-sex work platform…writing…I believe body invasion is indeed inherently harmful…Buying sex…commodifies…girls and women’s orfices [sic]”…Unsurprisingly, real-life sex workers took issue with Judd’s numerous…assertions…@BrookeBrou was a vocal participant in the thread, tweeting, “You are harming people with your ignorant ideas about what sex work actually is”…Brou…explained that, “I find [Ashley Judd’s] posts rendering a SW to her orifices incredibly disgusting…What is apparent is that Ashley Judd is not only misguided, but also simple-minded…it looks like Ashley lacks the cognitive ability to fully grasp the complexity of…SW voices and experiences”…

That weird sci-fi “body invasion” nonsense was invented by Gloria Steinem; this isn’t the first time Judd has incompetently parroted it.

Backwards Into the Future (June Updates)

A strip club defeats part of a stupid “sin density” law:

In New Jersey, clubs and restaurants that do not have licenses to sell alcoholic beverages may nevertheless allow customers to bring beer or wine to consume on the premises.  But they [we]re not allowed to tell customers about that option…until…a federal judge ruled that a state ban on advertising BYOB policies violates the First Amendment…Stiletto, a strip club in Atlantic City…[has no] liquor license…[because] strip clubs that feature total nudity are not allowed to have [one]…New Jersey offered no [defense to the club’s suit other]…than boilerplate about “protect[ing] the health, safety, and welfare of the people…through the promotion of temperance.”  It did not explain how letting people know they can bring their own beer and wine is more likely to promote intemperance than advertising the sale of alcoholic beverages, as businesses with liquor licenses routinely do…

Scapegoats (#15) 

Six and a half years after I first heard the tale, and 15 years after it is supposed to have happened, the story of the “prostitute” orangutan named Pony gets enough detail to tip my opinion from “probably not true” to “probably at least partly true”.  This version of the story actually has the name of a Danish conservationist, Lone Droscher-Nielsen, who cared for Pony after she was rescued from a village near a palm-oil plantation in Indonesia; the story talks about a “brothel” but other details seem to indicate that she was the pet of the whole village, and that the men who paid to fuck her appear to have viewed the experience as a novelty.  It’s in The Sun, which is not exactly known for journalistic rigor; however, there are pictures of the ape and quotes from the conservationists explaining the rehabilitation process.  My guess?  Basically true but embellished to increase luridness.

Monsters 

This could also be filed under “Torture Chamber”, but I suspect she was targeted for being trans:

A transgender woman who died [after being caged by] Immigration and Customs Enforcement…was likely physically abused [by screws]…and died after several days of severe, untreated dehydration.  Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez…died on May 25…[from] “severe complications of dehydration superimposed upon HIV infection”…the…autopsy…also found evidence of physical abuse, with “deep bruising” on her hands and abdomen, evidence of blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object”…as well as extensive hemorrhaging on [her]…wrists, which…[a]re “typical of handcuff injuries”…

If Men Were Angels 

Most rapes by clergymen are much more subtle:

A former pastor…kidnapped three women and [raped] two…Thomas Bruce…had a history of going on social media rants against “gun-free zones”…[he] posed as a customer of a Catholic Supply store in [Missouri]…When he saw that there were two female employees and one female customer in the store, Bruce…forced the three women to go with him into a back room at gunpoint…he ordered them to strip and “perform…sexual acts on him”…One of the women, Jamie Schmidt refused to give in to his demands, and Bruce…killed her with a shot to the head.  This prompted the other two women to begin complying with his requests, and Bruce eventually fled…

Grow the Hell Up! (#644)

Sometimes “sex trafficking” bullshit is too much for even politicians to pretend to believe. The Dallas Morning News printed this “editorial”:

A [pig leader masturbated while fantasizing that]…a person trapped into “the life”…is left with little hope and no sense of what it means to trust another person, experience joy, or even know friendship.  It is gratifying then to know that this week the Dallas Police Department will…unveil…a new strategy…to [persecute peaceful adults using the excuse of]…human sex trafficking…On November 28, the department is relaunching its vice unit, which was disbanded last year amid an internal investigation…a new philosophy…will [lock up sex workers and call that]…serving the victims…those who [are labeled] trafficked will face prosecution [anyway]…[blah blah] those who traffic in the sale of human flesh…

While on the same day, the same paper printed this:

…The Dallas Police Department’s beleaguered vice unit will soon be back in action after a year off the streets.  But the…details were a little murky to some members of the [city] council’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee…members…wanted to know how the department’s new approach differed from the unit’s previous iteration — and why the vice unit was disbanded in the first place…Police Chief U. Renee Hall in November 2017 disbanded the vice unit amid what she called “serious issues”.  Since then, she has given few specific details about what those issues were [except vague statements about]…policy violations, accounting discrepancies…and a general lack of accountability.  But [the names of cops]…accused of violations [are still being hidden and there have been no]…criminal charges…The [old vice pigs]…will not be returning to the unit…council members said police officials were still too vague in their descriptions of both the problems and the [supposed] solutions…

Whore Madonnas (#734) 

An interview with a pregnant sex worker:

Sex work is arguably the single most stigmatized profession in the world.  Add pregnancy and motherhood…and that stigma increases one-hundred fold.  Last year, when Summer Sebastian announced that she would be working at the Bunny Ranch…throughout her pregnancy, it made for international headlines.  [Maxine] Holloway hasn’t even given birth yet and she’s already been harassed online by people saying that she’s harming her future child.  I visited Holloway at her home in Oakland, California to talk about pregnancy fetishes, mommy role-play, and the stigma of doing sex work while pregnant…

Opting Out (#822) 

UK politicians have been forced to delay their ridiculous censorship scheme again:

For the past year and a half, the UK government has been promising…a nationwide age verification system that would require would-be porn consumers to demonstrate their adulthood before accessing adult content…A few years ago, the country attempted to block adult sites at the ISP level, requiring users to opt in to access adult content…[of course the censorship software] ended up blocking far more than just porn.  The Digital Economy Act…puts the onus on [websites], who must comply with the policy or risk getting banned by major payment processors.  Yet…the age verification system’s rollout — which was initially scheduled for this past spring — was postponed yet again, as [politicians] continued to grapple with the [impossibility] of creating a system that [censors content for people under 18] without [blocking]…other sex-related content…Since the dawn of the internet, tech companies have promised [censorious] parents an easy way to [maintain] their children’s [ignorance about sex]…while allowing them to freely browse the [rest] of the internet…however, these porn blockers aren’t nearly as…effective as advertised, largely because figuring out what is and is not pornography is rarely a simple matter.  Apple’s recently launched…parental controls…produced results that were inconsistent at best…innocent items like a search for a dulce de leche recipe wound up blocked, as did numerous sex education sites.  Teen Vogue’s entire site wound up blocked, as did sites offering assistance to queer youth…

Disaster (#865)

Even the perennially-obtuse Rolling Stone recognizes that FOSTA has galvanized sex worker activism:

…It wasn’t until the passage of the so-called Online Trafficking bill SESTA-FOSTA last spring that many workers began to [participate in activism]…not just to oppose the bill but also to support sex work decriminalization efforts more broadly…Christa Daring, the executive director of [SWOP-USA, says]…“SESTA-FOSTA didn’t make prostitution any more illegal than it was before, but it…really threw into stark contrast the amount of criminalization that people were facing”…“Now you have coalitions rising of people who care about criminal justice and racial justice and immigration issues all working together,” says [activist Lola] Balcon…“I’ve never seen sex workers begin organizing in the way they did following SESTA-FOSTA,” says activist Siouxsie Q. “Enough was enough”…

End Demand (#872)

At least one journalist at the Graun appears to get it:

…Under the guise of “anti-trafficking” efforts, police practices in northern California and a new federal law have broadly affected adult sex workers both online and in the streets.  The result…is…increased violence and suffering for the very women whom lawmakers [pretend] they are rescuing.  There have been two such anti-“human trafficking” sting operations in Sacramento this year, most recently in August, in which [sows role-play sex workers]…16 men were arrested for soliciting…police also arrested 25 women for “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” or “disorderly conduct”…[spokespigs] insisted the women’s arrests were separate from the stings, even though some happened on the same day and location…But Alix Lutnick, a researcher with RTI International…said that there is growing recognition that john stings don’t actually help victims…The crackdown, in a state that pre[t]en[d]s [to be] a progressive leader in social justice and women’s rights, has come at a time in which sex work is being aggressively criminalized across the US…Democrats in California have spearheaded the [persecution]…Kamala Harris, a rising star in the party, fought for the shutdown of Backpage.com…when she was the state’s top prosecutor…For one woman caught up in the [recent] arrests, police cited as evidence that she was wearing a “lace bralette”, “shorts” and “flip flops” and was carrying four “unused condoms”.  Despite the “trafficking” label, the stings have led to no trafficking charges.  [A] Sacramento [spokespig admitted]…the stings were [really] about punishing “males who were trying to pick up prostitutes”…

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