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Anti-Choice Trolling Fail | Blog of the Moderate Left

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

Pete and Alisha Arnold made an online poll prank where, they say, "You can vote and choose whether we abort or keep our unborn child. For the first time, your vote on the topic of abortion can make a difference." And that tagline is what gives it away. As Jeff Fecke says, "Anyone who’s truly pro-choice would understand why putting a woman's right to choose up for a vote is wrong." A little digging shows Pete and Alisha are anti-choicers whose web acts are easily traced to vandalizing wikis and supporting Glenn Beck.

So why this prank? "It’s not surprising," Jeff writes, "Being anti-choice means that you want to decide for others what they must do when faced with the decision to have a child. It’s only natural for them to assume that pro-choicers must want to force women to have abortions against their will. After all, to an anti-choicer, 'against their will' is how women should do pretty much everything; it’s just a question of who’s making the decisions for them."

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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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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 Both/And of the Porn Wars | Charlie Glickman

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

Once again, Charlie Glickman offers a well-thought out summation surrounding the current debates over pornography issues, sexuality and the Internet. This time he speaks to the recent arguments between proporn and antiporn contingents, and between different factions of proporn folks. He points out that not all people nor all porn were in fact created equal, and it's true that some porn sometimes has a negative affect on some people—and some peoples' experiences with porn have been exclusively negative and even harmful. Glickman reminds us, however, that that being the case doesn't mean that all porn is always bad for all people, and urges people on both sides to consider that this might be one of those "both/and" issues. He also reminds us, once again, that neither hurling vicious and untrue accusations, fighting amongst yourselves, or attempting to engage with out room in your head for new ideas are helping anything either way. Right. Got it. Thanks!

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FDA Committee hearing on Flibanserin tomorrow (18 June) – how you can keep up with the meeting

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

Medical professionals have been warning against Flibanserin, a new drug created by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to address "hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women," or low sex drive. As Dr. Petra Boynton writes, "concerns have included the measures used to assess sexual satisfaction, the trials undertaken to assess the product, safety/efficacy questions, marketing strategies aimed at practitioners and the public, and the fact the research has not been made available within a peer reviewed journal. […] These issues are part of a wider anxiety over the increasing medicalisation of reduced female sexual desire."

Dr. Boynton and other practitioners have been critical of the blasé attitude with which mainstream media have treated their concerns, calling it "a pity that journalists covering this story could not have perhaps applied a more critical lens," and touting the use of Internet activism on blogs and Twitter for ensuring the FDA asks BI the tough questions.

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Update: Dr. Boynton has published a followup article that informs us of Flibanserin’s rejection by the FDA. She says, the FDA was “concerned about the materials used in trials to measure sexual response, the trial outcomes (which suggested Flibanserin did not perform much better than placebo) analysis of the data, and overall management of the trial. The FDA did not, however, dismiss HSDD generally and indicated it was a problematic condition they recognised.” Boynton details some lessons to be learned from the media coverage and reminds us that “we need to be aware that while there is now some critical coverage about the medicalisation of sexuality there is also a long way to go to get journalists to ask basic questions about drug company funded research in this area.”

Scare tactics, blocking sites can be bad for kids | InSecurity Complex – CNet News

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

"Schools often filter sites or block social networks, believing it is in the best interest of the students," Elinor Mills writes at CNet, but "blocking the sites can have a negative effect on student safety," according to the 148-page "Youth Safety on a Living Internet" report commissioned by the US government. Among others, the report debunks the myth of widespread child sexual predation on the Internet, noting that "use of MySpace and Facebook by adolescents did not appear to increase their risk of being victimized by online predators."

While "'new' issues" like sexting have grabbed headlines, cyberbullying—particularly against GLBT youth—is a far bigger problem. Other under-reported problems are identity theft and loss of reputation. The report says child safety concerns, particularly around sexually explicit material, should be approached by promoting "media-literacy education," not "scare tactics."

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Maybe Maimed but Never Harmed › EdenFantasys’s unethical technology is a self-referential black hole

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

The websites of Internet sex toy retailer Web Merchants, Inc., which bills itself as the “sex shop you can trust” under the name EdenFantasys, interferes with their contributors’ content, intercepts outgoing links and alters syndicated content so that links in the original work are directed to themselves. This makes EdenFantasys’ website a self-referential black hole, providing no reciprocity for contributors, nor for any website ostensibly “linked” to from article content. These techniques are widely regarded as unethical and are arguably in violation of major search engines’ policies. Authors of sites with which EdenFantasys and their publications, such as SexIs Magazine, have “an ongoing relationship,” like AlterNet.org, other large news hubs, and individual bloggers’ blogs are upset that community members who asked questions on the EdenFantasys forums have been censored or banned.

Kink On Tap will endeavor to no longer cite or link to Web Merchants, Inc. content in the future.

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