Weekend Links

According to Xbiz, the UK-based Sex and Censorship Campaign has released a 2014 calendar, “Censored Girls of the UK,” with the naughty parts covered by an image of Prime Minister David Cameron’s face. While I consider the display to be in poor taste, I can certainly understand the sentiment.

A weird write-up in CNBC reports that pocket watches have been used for centuries to conceal erotic art and that an erotic pocket watch recently sold for US$1.6 million! Despite my interest in watch collecting, I had never heard of erotic pocket watches until now.

Laura Barnes from Xbiz reports that women now account for 1/3 of people who access adult content online. Many experts believe that the female-oriented erotic e-book “Fifty Shades of Grey” introduced many women consumers to online erotica. Awareness of this trend should help not only advertisers, but free-speech advocates as well.

Brazilian Bikini Wax Losing Popularity

Today.com reports that the “Brazilian line,” the near-total removal of female pubic hair for the purpose of wearing minimalist Brazilian-type thong bikinis, is beginning to go out of style. According to the article, the fashion was popularized in the US through 1980’s porn films, but is now on the decline as baby boomers, now mostly married or partnered, find the constant shaving and waxing to be too much maintenance. For my part (no pun intended), I prefer the smooth look, but as long as the foliage is trimmed, it’s all good 😉

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UK Porn Filters Break Online Game Updates

As many observers discovered in the US during the last decade, “porn” filters are notorious for incorrectly blocking non-adult content. According to DSL Reports, the latest victim of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Internet purity campaign is the League of Legends online video game.

It turns out that some of the update files for the game have names like “VarusExpirationTimer.luaobj” and “XerathMageChainsExtended.luaobj,” which were silently blocked by the porn filters because they contained the string s-e-x, causing mysterious error messages and inconvenience for players. Commenters at DSLR wondered if the filters would also block content related to the towns of Essex and Middlesex 😀

Flaw Can Turn Chrome Browser Into “Bugging Device”

A recent report warns that a flaw in the Google Chrome browser can be exploited to cause the browser to act as a “bugging device” that can record all sounds near the computer. The problem is caused when a user allows a website to access the microphone, as for a speech-to-text application. The security bug, which was reported last year, allows a malicious site to keep the microphone open even after the user has left the website and the microphone appears to be off.

I have not seen any information on how this affects the Chromium browser, but it most likely acts much as it does on Chrome. The article at Tal Ater’s blog explains how to determine if a website has retained microphone permissions and how to turn off the feature completely.

This would also be a good time to remind my readers that the ubiquitous Flash player can also access one’s microphone and camera. This guide provides more information on Flash player privacy settings.

US Court Rules Against Net Neutrality

This week, a US appeals court ruled against a Federal Communications Commission regulation that imposed limited “net neutrality” regulations on Internet service providers. Net neutrality is the concept that ISP’s should allow equal access for all types of data, such as streaming videos, e-mail, or torrents.

Strangely, the court found that ISP’s are “not telecommunications carriers at all” and that Americans have a great deal of choice in ISP’s, even though ISP’s carry a vast amount of telecommunications data and most communities have only one or two Internet providers (cable monopoly or phone monopoly).

While the case is appealed, the ultimate effects of the ruling will not become apparent for some time, but many observers think that consumers will end up paying more money for less service, or that ISP’s will use their new power to block access to competitors’ content. For example, a  CNET analysis says:

Harvey Anderson, senior vice president of business and legal affairs for Mozilla, said the court’s decision is alarming for Internet users because it will also provide broadband operators the legal ability to block any service they choose, which will undermine the once “free and unbiased Internet.”

More at Computerworld

A slightly different take at Wired.com

Quick Links

Google accused of violating Canadian medical privacy law: BGR.com

From Techdirt.com: Empire State Building owner files million-dollar lawsuit over pictures of woman’s breasts; Village Voice posts the NSFW photos

Quotable: “Globally, porn is a $97 billion industry, according to Kassia Wosick, assistant professor of sociology at New Mexico State University. Between $10 billion and $12 billion of that comes from the United States. Revenue from traditional porn films has been shrinking, though, because of piracy and an abundance of free content on the Internet.” (NBC news)

Lara Croft, “Booth Babes,” and Adult Content

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show has just concluded, although not without considerable controversy stirred up by a few technology sites about female models who present products, whom they disparagingly call “Booth Babes.” These commentators complain that the models are “demeaned,” although it seems that the columnists, in using slurs against the models, are the ones doing the demeaning.

There is nothing shocking or offensive in these sets of images from the last two CES events:

http://www.thinkcomputers.org/ces-2013-the-booth-babes/
http://www.thinkcomputers.org/the-ces-2014-booth-babes/

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The self-appointed gender warriors have been relentless of late in attacking female video game characters and product show models for supposedly being “too sexy” or “too feminine.” With US Supreme Court decisions on the legality of erotic modeling having been less than clear, it is not inconceivable that over time, boycotts and other legal harassment could force product shows out of major venues or could pressure video game makers to relocate to other countries to avoid nuisance lawsuits.

Any encroachment on the expressive rights of mainstream modeling would almost certainly embolden the gender warriors to target adult content next. Those of us who enjoy or produce adult material must remain vigilant against the radicals’ attempts to erode our hard-won rights to free speech.

Do People Still Buy Porn Magazines?

I thought that porn magazines had gone the way of cassette tapes and payphones, but apparently Glenn Frey, member of the popular 70’s and 80’s band The Eagles, didn’t get the memo  😀 The celebrity-gossip website TMZ reports that the pop-music legend was spotted buying a “hard” copy of a porn mag, with an included DVD, no less.

In this era of ubiquitous cameras, the TMZ video serves as humorous proof that buying porn at the store — especially if you’re famous — isn’t necessarily any more anonymous than buying it online.

Religious Group Claims Government Is Funding Porn

According to Xbiz.com, the religious-based pro-censorship group “Morality In Media” claims that the US government has been funding a “hardcore porn project.” The article goes on to state that the government has spent over $900,000 of taxpayer money on it. For that kind of expenditure, it must have been the most amazing collection of erotic material ever produced, right?

Unfortunately, the actual program, called the “Romance in Media Project,” is an academic study by a number of libraries which examines the different ways that love has been represented in popular media, from ancient Greece to the present day. In other words, the government has spent close to a million dollars to study romance novels. The real outrage should be about the amount of taxpayer money wasted on ridiculous projects like this, rather than the nonexistent porn.