Porn Effects Disputed in UK; Privacy Under Attack in US

I have not been able to post as much as I would like because of recurring medical issues, but two stories relevant to our community are in the news.

First, the BBC recently published a report repeating the old canard that frequent porn use supposedly causes erectile disorder in young men by desensitizing them to real-life sexual stimuli. Maxim, although generally considered more of a “lad’s mag” than a serious news publication, responded to the BBC claims with a well-sourced article citing two scientific studies showing that porn use is not inherently harmful.

Second, the dominant US Internet provider, Comcast, has indicated its desire to charge ISP customers additional fees for privacy, similar to what AT&T has been doing to certain fiber Internet subscribers. Caroline Craig has an excellent article at Infoworld explaining the current privacy situation in the US and the FCC’s new role in protecting consumers from intrusive practices by ISP’s, which, due to lack of meaningful competition, can impose onerous conditions on customers at will.

Trump Signs Anti-Porn Pledge

According to XBIZ and other news outlets, GOP presidential candidate (and former Playboy cover model) Donald Trump has signed an anti-porn pledge promulgated by a notorious pro-censorship organization called “Enough is Enough.” Most of the pledge is standard “save the children” fare with scant reference to adult erotica, but concerningly, it also affirms the false claim made this year by the Utah legislature — and now enshrined in the GOP platform — that online adult content is a hazard to public health.

The pledge also calls on private companies to partner with the government in “voluntary” efforts to reduce the supposed threat of minors seeing adult content, which sounds to me like an attempt to reinvigorate the age-verification and de-anonymization schemes which the US Government promoted in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s before they were mostly struck down by the courts. Such partnerships could also include more surveillance and data sharing by private companies, ostensibly to protect minors from being chatted at by perverts, but effectively invading everyone’s online privacy along the lines of the proposed “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).”

Trump Signs Pledge to Crack Down on Porn If Elected

In a development that could sway stakeholders in the industry, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump signed a pledge two weeks ago stating he would aggressively enforce existing laws that prevent the sexual exploitation of children, including federal obscenity laws, child pornography laws, sexual predation laws and the sex trafficking laws. Read more>>