Today, The Verge is reporting that another hack of Adult Friend Finder and several related websites resulted in over 400 million accounts having been exposed. Information stolen includes e-mail and IP addresses and account passwords, but unlike a previous hack, this one apparently doesn’t include information on sexual preferences. The Verge reports that the websites stored user data in plain text or encrypted with outdated algorithms.
Anyone who ever had an account at AFF or Friend Finder Network should immediately change any similar passwords that were used elsewhere. (This breach is a great example of why people should never re-use the same password at multiple websites.) Users may also wish to check their e-mail accounts for possible breaches using the free service at https://haveibeenpwned.com/
Impact on the adult industry:
Studio Heads Weigh In on Trump as President
Donald Trump triumphed last night, and now the adult entertainment biz is trying to figure out what it all means. Read more>>
“… Trump went on record saying that pornography should be illegal,” (Penthouse owner Kelly) Holland said. “Face it, Trump is the puppet. The strings will be pulled by his ultra-conservative vice president, [Mike] Pence, his presumptive attorney general, [Rudy] Giuliani and the rest of the alt-right that will pull the strings.
Impact on the Internet:
From DSL Reports:
Trump Could Spell Big Trouble for Broadband, Net Neutrality
While Hillary Clinton was seen as overly-cozy with telecom in her own right, new President elect Donald Trump is already laying the ground work for an administration that could spell major trouble for broadband consumers, broadband competition, and the nation’s new net neutrality rules. Trump has made it clear he vehemently opposes net neutrality, despite repeatedly making it clear he’s not entirely certain what net neutrality even is.
More from DSL Reports
On a positive note for companies like AT&T, Trump has given every indication that he opposes net neutrality — despite seemingly not understanding what it is. And while his telecom policy proposals have been murky at best, a Republican-controlled FCC is likely to kill numerous policy efforts including cable box reform and efforts to bring additional competition to bear on industry incumbents.
More from Gizmodo:
Donald Trump does not support net neutrality. Actually, he thinks it will lead to the censorship of conservative media. “Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media,” he tweeted in 2014.
In the aftermath of ongoing revelations about mass surveillance and enormous data breaches, consumers have rightly become more concerned with online privacy and security. As Xbiz reports, the Center for Democracy and Technology has partnered with adult industry group Free Speech Coalition to promote the use of privacy-enhancing https technology by adult websites to reduce the erosive effects of indiscriminate dragnet monitoring programs. (This website has not yet adopted https technology because of hosting company limitations but plans to do so as soon as it is feasible.)
FSC Pushes to Make Adult Sites More Secure
The Free Speech Coalition and the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital civil liberties group, have agreed to work together to advocate use of the encryption protocol HTTPS for adult sites. Read more>>
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.
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>>
Today’s news offers two more examples of why the local ISP monopolies and duopolies in the US need to be regulated by the FCC as common carriers.
First, this is one of many recent legal cases where incumbent ISP’s have pressured state and local authorities to physically block access to potential competitors:
Frontier teams with AT&T to block Google Fiber access to utility poles
As we reported in February, AT&T sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber and similar companies access to utility poles.
Next, Kate Murphy reports at Today Online about why American ISP’s are notorious for providing hideous customer support:
Why tech support is (purposely) unbearable
The most egregious offenders are companies like cable and mobile service providers, which typically have little competition and whose customers are bound by contracts or would be considerably inconvenienced if they cancelled their service. Not surprisingly, cable and mobile service providers are consistently ranked by consumers as providing the worst customer support.
Among the many controversies which have characterized the 2016 US presidential primary season thus far, an article at financial news site Marketwatch now claims that Google’s search engine manipulates autocomplete results to conceal alleged wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, a claim that the company denies. Urban-legend resource Snopes ran its own tests and explains the apparent bias by observing that Google, unlike Bing and Yahoo, disallows all autocomplete results that disparage persons.
Even if the claim of pro-Clinton manipulation is inaccurate, however, it is worth noting that Google does have close ties with the current Administration and possibly Mrs. Clinton. For example, see this article at QZ:
The stealthy, Eric Schmidt-backed startup that’s working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House
Also see Julia Angwin at Backchannel, who states that Google did manipulate search results during the 2012 elections to favor Barack Obama.
Users who want to avoid Google search entirely may wish to use privacy-friendly search services such as https://ixquick.eu or https://duckduckgo.com which do not rely on Google to power their results.
Also of interest: this bizarre screenshot of a Google search about Adolf Hitler posted by a user at voat.co:
Some news links from this week about my favorite politician and my favorite operating system:
DSL Reports: Ted Cruz Pushes Bill to Hinder Community Broadband
Bloomberg: Boehner Would Vote for Trump but Not Cruz
“Lucifer in the flesh,” [Republican former House Speaker] Boehner called Cruz on Wednesday during a talk at Stanford University, the student newspaper reported. “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
The Inquirer: Microsoft’s heavy-handed Windows 10 tactics may be its undoing
Many Bernie Sanders supporters feel that mainstream media coverage of his campaign has been particularly negative and that his achievements in the primary season have been ignored or minimized. This has been especially acute in the aftermath of his landslide win yesterday in the Hawaii Democratic caucus, which received little media coverage.
In that context, an article in Politico from 2015 that was widely retweeted today noted that many large media corporations, including Reuters, Bloomberg, and Fox, had donated substantial amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation. An infographic, apparently from 2015, (posted below) also notes the connections between Comcast officials, senators, and regulators from the Clinton and Obama administrations.
Playboy magazine, once synonymous with naked pictures, has rebounded from a years-long slump after getting rid of nudity to become “safe for work.” In a time when the Internet seems saturated with sex and erotica, Playboy’s website visitors increased by 500% since it eliminated full nudity last year. Now its first non-nude print magazine is set for release this week:
Playboy’s web traffic went through the roof when it dropped the nudity
On a darker note, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, most of which was negotiated in secret, passed another milestone with little media attention. CNet’s Claire Reilly reports:
Dubbed by opponents as “the dirtiest trade deal you’ve never heard of,” the Trans-Pacific Partnership has finally been endorsed Thursday, with trade officials from 12 countries around the Pacific Rim signing off on the complete text of the controversial deal in Auckland, New Zealand.