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>>
Online media have been atwitter about a recent guest on the Maury Povitch show, 21-year-old Searcy Hayes, who some people think bears a striking resemblance to Republican candidate and open-Internet foe Ted Cruz. According to “If Only You News,” Huffington Post says that the porn company X-Hamster has offered Searcy US$10,000 for a 6-minute sex tape:
Being an internet meme doesn’t pay the bills, though, so the “female Ted Cruz” is hoping to capitalize on her newfound internet stardom by filming a porn scene.
X-Hamster, a popular porn website, has offered to pay Hayes and her fiance $10,000 for a 6-minute sex tape.
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, who has recently become a GOP establishment favorite, has long opposed consumer rights and protections for Internet users. This week, reports have surfaced about a legal brief he wrote in which he claimed that “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.”
According to urban legend site Snopes.com he did in fact write those words, although it was in his capacity at the time as solicitor general of Texas in defense of an absurd ban on dildos. Nonetheless, the brief has generated much humor, including the following tweet from his former college roommate Craig Mazin:
Senator Ted Cruz, once hailed as the “intellectual” of the US Republican 2016 presidential primary field, continues to provide amusement. Mediaite reports that the Cruz campaign pulled an ad after finding out that they had accidentally hired a softcore porn actress, Amy Lindsay, to promote the religiously conservative senator. (Perhaps surprisingly, Lindsay says she is “a conservative and a Christian” who plans to support Cruz or Donald Trump.)
I have previously criticized Cruz for flamboyantly opposing Net Neutrality despite his not knowing what it was.
Amy Lindsay, via Mediaite.com
According to USA Today, cybersecurity guru and Cyber Party US presidential candidate John McAfee announced that he has accepted the Libertarian Party’s invitation to run for its candidacy for the 2016 election. Unlike the Cyber Party, the Libertarian Party has ballot access in all 50 states, and the LP’s nomination would lend a higher level of credibility and seriousness to his innovative campaign.
McAfee has emphasized the importance of maintaining a free and open Internet and improving cybersecurity without infringing on individual rights and freedoms. While he opposes Title II reclassification of Internet service (which I support), he does advocate the principles of Net Neutrality.
I support John McAfee’s bid for the Libertarian nomination, and if he wins it, I plan to support his general election campaign.
John McAfee’s position statements: https://mcafee16.com/issues/
Last week, legendary antivirus pioneer and all-around rebel John McAfee jumped into the crowded US presidential race by announcing his bid to run as a third-party candidate for the newly formed “Cyber Party.” His platform, not surprisingly, will focus on promoting cybersecurity. His official campaign twitter account is at https://twitter.com/mcafee2016
McAfee, who sold his eponymous antivirus company many years ago, made a stir with his hilarious 2013 video “How To Uninstall McAfee Antivirus (LD)“
The renowned novelist Anne Rice became embroiled in a controversy over fake book reviews being posted at Amazon.com by so-called “social justice warriors,” many of whom also promote a feminist anti-porn agenda. Rice objected to slanderous content and smear campaigns against authors who had written about controversial themes like sex and gender.
Boing Boing ran a profile of a recent Facebook post by Rice about the phenomenon of de facto censorship by Internet lynch mob, in which Rice noted that careers and personal lives are being destroyed by perhaps well-intentioned but irresponsible online hate campaigns that are meant to intimidate writers of material that offends “progressive” ideals.
She says, in part:
We must stand up for fiction as a place where transgressive behavior and ideas can be explored. …. I think we have to be willing to stand up for the despised. …. [I]nternet campaigns to destroy authors accused of inappropriate subject matter or attitudes are dangerous to us all.
(Edited to add link about fake book reviews.)
Privacy. Credit: Eiren @ Flickr, CC 2.0 BY-SA
In the aftermath of the recent hacking incident involving Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities, this is a good opportunity to share some links about privacy, online storage, and the question of non-consensual porn.
First, an excellent overview by Forbes privacy columnist Kashmir Hill about why we should not blame the victims of hacking: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/09/01/sext-abstinence-education-doesnt-work/
“Humans are going to do sex stuff. And in this era, that means digital sex stuff,” tweeted jokester-turned-lead-leak-investigator InfoSec Taylor Swift. “‘Don’t do it’ is not a solution.”
Two articles from AP:
Finally, another take from Kashmir Hill, noting that public opinion is now more sympathetic to victims of sexy-image hacking than in the past, but also citing an “academic” spokeswoman for the “revenge porn” anti-Section 230 movement:
The recent hacking incident involving unauthorized disclosure of private photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities comes amidst an emotionally charged debate over how to deal legislatively with so-called “revenge porn.” Right before this incident, defense lawyer Scott Greenfield had blogged about a law student’s proposal to require a new, DMCA-like takedown scheme for websites to deal with user-posted content that was claimed to be revenge porn. Although it would avoid third-party criminal liability, the particular proposal would significantly burden small websites which lack the funds for paid moderators and legal staff. However, if it exempted non-commercial sites, I feel that the idea could at least represent a starting point for a conversation about whether new legal remedies are needed.
Nonetheless, I share Greenfield’s caution about modifying Section 230:
Not that an exception to Article 230 of the CDA is anything to be taken lightly. It could well be a slippery slope, particularly with initiatives that seek to silence “hurtful speech,” perhaps the most insidiously destructive idea put forth by the fragile teacups of the web. But with the caveat that such an exception be subject to strict constitutional scrutiny, it offers a far better solution than creating crimes.
Or does this open the door to a takedown regime for every new butthurt that the internets create?
An opposing view at Vox repeats a number of unproven feminist tropes as fact and dismisses the “public interest” exception as merely an obstacle proposed by free-speech supporters, although the interview does address some of the practical difficulties in relying solely on current copyright and civil law to deal with genuine invasions of privacy:
NBC’s serious-voiced, Peabody Award-winning newsman Brian Williams showed off his humorous side in a broadcast last week, in which he explained a Washington, D.C. “baby boom” which occurred nine months after the temporary government shutdown:
How long until someone on television points out that during the shutdown the folks in Washington are apparently doing at home what Washington has been accused of doing to the American people? We’re guessing someone will say that on television before long.
The video wasn’t working when I last checked, but credit to Mediaite.com for the story 🙂
Image credit: Peabody Awards