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CSULB students protest censorship of lesbian terminology – Daily 49er – News

Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

What do you do if you're a college theater group whose hard work on an upcoming play gets silenced by the administration's refusal to let you advertise it? You find out exactly what the administrators had a problem with and then you shove it in their faces as loud as you can. At least, that's what about 24 students at California State University at Long Beach did the other day. Their play, "The Night of the Tribades, is about playwright August Strindberg's relationship with women," Stephanie Rivera writes. And despite the production being part of the graduate acting program, administrators refused to advertise it on a marquee because "tribade" is an archaic greek term for "lesbian," and when ignorant administrators punched tribade into Google, they got a bunch of references to "tribadism," the lesbian sex act more commonly known as scissoring.

So the protest very appropriately consisted of a flash mob of (clothed) scissoring grad students. So you see, the cover up always hurts more.

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Apple’s New Anti-Sexting Technology (via Gawker.com)

Posted: October 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

"The same company that keeps blocking iPhone apps over stuff like illustrations of gay dudes making out can now help overbearing parents control their children's text messages and email," Max Read reports. That company is Apple, who also thinks the Olympic uniforms are too sexy for your iPhone, and they made headlines last week when their 2008 patent for a "way to monitor and control text communications to make them user appropriate" was granted.

The tech itself seems uninspired, not very new at all, and basically a repackaging of existing techniques including word blacklists and pre-defined rating criteria. According to the patent, one embodiment would be a parental control application which, upon detection of the "objectionable" content, could alert a parent to its existence and automatically delete the sexy message.

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Official: vb.ly Link Shortener Seized by Libyan Government | techyum ::

Posted: October 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Violet Blue's link shortening service, vb.ly, was officially seized by the Libyan government recently for violation of Islamic Sharia law. "The photograph of me with my bare arms, holding a bottle, and the words 'sex-positive' were cited as obscene, offensive and illegal," Violet writes. She correctly states that "all .ly domains, and the businesses built on them internationally, should be on high alert."

This is yet another blatant attack on sexual freedom that undermines not only free speech but the fabric of the supposedly World Wide Web. However, it also highlights the well-known fragility of the Internet, and the social media landscape, with regards to sexuality. While I made use of vb.ly, I've long had doubts about the usefulness of ghettoizing sexuality with specially-branded services. Rather than build easily censorable hubs, sex-positive activists should be using non-sexuality-specific services to spread information.

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Instant Censorship, Google Style | Sex In The Public Square

Posted: September 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Google's latest feature is a results-as-you-type-them view called Instant. But in Google's world, not all searches are created equal. According to a NYTimes report, "Some words, like 'nude,' produce no results because Google Instant filters for violence, hate and pornography, the company said." Huh?

As Elizabeth Wood explains, "I certainly don't think that 'nude' should be filtered because of a possible connection to pornography. I wondered what this looked like in practice, and I also wondered what else was filtered. I went to my computer to try it out. I started typing. N (Netflix) NU (Nurse Jackie) NUD (…nothing at all!)…." She and others found an obscenely arbitrary list of censored phrases, like "masturbation" and "penis." Uncensored searches include "murder" and "KKK." Hypocritically, "don't be evil" is also uncensored.

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Apple Hides Prop 8 Tweets from Lady Gaga Promo Page for Ping (Screenshots)

Posted: September 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Apple, Inc. recently launched a new social music service, Ping. Among the features it has is social media integration that lets you view celebrity Twitter streams. In the launch, "Apple's promotional image for the new feature conveniently omits a string of Tweets from Lady Gaga's timeline in which she protests anti-gay marriage legislation Proposition 8," writes Marshall Kirkpatrick after being tipped to the inconsistency by Kevin Marks (on Twitter).

"Apple, we see you," Violet Blue writes on her blog, chiding the company. GLBT sites like The Daily Storm called the service "homophobic" and say the omission is an act of censorship. Now, Apple's certainly not the most sex-positive company, but is this homophobic censorship? That seems harsh. Either way, the controversy clearly shows that Apple's anti-porn position is a slippery slope.

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Sex and Censorship: What Recent Attacks on Online Sex Discussions Have to Do With Your Blog | BlogHer

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

With 3 stories of anti-porn's inherent pro-censorship stance, Anaiis Flox illustrates what's at stake: "This isn't an issue of us vs. them, morality versus indecency, conservatives versus liberals, [but] a matter of freedom to speak, freedom to congregate, freedom to learn about ourselves and to share that knowledge."

Anaiis discusses Facebook's rash of censorship, attacks on Jason Goldman's column and Donna M. Hughes' sex-fear-mageddon by way of attacking KinkForAll. Then she turns the "think of the children" argument on its head:

Yes, think of the children—that is, think about what you do when a child disagrees with someone. Do we tell them to make their points by attacking the dissenting opinion or by crafting an argument that is valid and useful?

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Indonesia Botches Porn Blockade, Shuts Down Regular Sites – XBIZ.com

Posted: August 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Back in 2008, to the cries of "Thank you, God!" Indonesian parliament members passed a draconian anti-pornography law. Last month, they announced their (now legal) intentions of blocking all online pornography during the holy month of Ramadan, when the religious are expected to refrain from any immoral acts, including viewing porn. (Only during that one month, I wonder?)

Unsurprisingly, the country-wide filter ran into a snag as 30 websites, including news portals, were also blocked—unintentionally, according to Indonesian Information Minister's spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto. "The speed of the operation was so huge, we hit the wrong ones," he explained, but touted that the operation had successfully shut down 80% of its intended target. The blockade is being implemented with the cooperation of the country's 300 major Internet service providers.

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Playboy censors iPad app to pass Apple’s morality test – Telegraph

Posted: August 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Nipples. That's what's "obscene" and, according to Apple, needs to be censored in the App Store. To secure a spot in the App Store, Playboy Magazine agreed to self-censor the digital version of their magazine on the iPad, Matthew Moore reports. "The Playmate of the Month, one of the magazine’s most popular photo features, will only appear on the iPad as a tasteful headshot," he writes. In addition to Playboy, Apple has also not allowed a dictionary containing swear words or an application allowing users to replace the face of Jesus with a photo of themselves to exist in the App Store unchanged, all according to Steve Jobs' self-appointed role to define "moral responsibility" for his customers.

Gee, it almost sounds like the next step is restricting iPhone users from taking pictures of their non-orthodox weddings. Of course, anyone with an iPad can visit Playboy's website where uncensored pictures are still shown, nipples included.

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Google and Verizon Near Deal on Web Pay Tiers – NYTimes.com

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

When big companies and government agencies have "secret meetings," their spokespeople always say the interests of the consumer is at heart. But consumer advocate groups rightfully point out that such closed-door decision-making leaves too many stakeholders—like you and me—out of the discussions. That's what's been happening between Google and Verizon for 10 months, as they near a deal that could spell disaster for net neutrality, the sacred Internet tenet that demands all content on the network be delivered to the end-user with equal reliability. In other words: no favoritism, no censorship.

"The fate of the Internet is too large a matter to be decided by negotiations involving two companies," Gigi B. Sohn, founder of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, said. While business analysts say the deal "could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users," Edward Wyatt reports, I'm far more concerned about the foothold such policies give to legislating sexual content—like us.

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Update: Friend of the show Nikolas points us to Google’s PR team who deny a deal is near approval. According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, “I want to make sure that everybody understands what we mean about it. What we mean is that if you have one data type, like video, you don’t discriminate against one person’s video in favor of another. It’s OK to discriminate across different types…. There is general agreement with Verizon and Google on this issue. The issues of wireless versus wireline get very messy…and that’s really an FCC issue not a Google issue.”

The Louis CK Interview That Got ‘Fresh Air’ Banned from Mississippi

Posted: July 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

"Fresh Air" is a nationally syndicated NPR talk show that we occasionally listen to. We like it—a lot—and now it's yet another reason why we don't think we'd enjoy living in Mississippi. NPR affiliate Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) recently dropped the show citing "recurring inappropriate content" but, as is so often the case, the root cause may be a vocal minority of sex-phobic zealots.

Fresh Air has been dropped by MPB before. Under some pressure to explain themselves, MPB released a statement citing interviews of an "explicit sexual nature" caused listener complaints. That complaint was sparked by comedian Louis CK talking about having sex with his shirt on. Yup, that’s clearly offensive.

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