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New technique to help catch sexual offenders: Scientists detect condom lubricant on fingermarks for the first time

Posted: February 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , | No Comments »

A new technique that's able to detect condom lubricants in fingerprints may offer law enforcement personnel and prosecutors new ways to establish the presence of a suspect in an alleged sexual assault. The technique, developed at Sheffield Hallam University, uses MALDI-MSI (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging), a technology used to map fingerprint ridge patterns, and is able to detect lubricant in fingermarks that have been left for several weeks before analysis.

"Offenders are increasingly aware of forensic issues and it is common now for condoms to be used and removed from the scene of a sexual assault," Dr. Simona Francese said. "If condom lubricant can be detected in fingermarks it would improve the evidence for the prosecution by establishing the assailant's presence at the scene and, crucially, having had contact with a condom. This would enable forensic scientists to provide further support to the evidence in alleged cases of sexual assault."

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Apple Originally Thought ‘PeekaBoo Tranny’ Would Be a Great App Store Addition / Queerty

Posted: October 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

"For all the difficulty developers of gay-related iPhone apps face just trying to get their product in the Apple store, one app that bashed transgender people had no problem getting through," writes Max Simon. Consumers first spotted the trans-bashing app, PeekaBoo Tranny, earlier this week, and asked Apple to pull the app. GLAAD took up the call the next day and it seems Apple has since pulled the app from their store.

The 99¢ app photobombed photos on your iOS device with a person described by some as a drag queen. The developers' "fave review" referred to the digital dopplegangers as "tranny skanks." After their app was pulled, the developers said they wished no offense.

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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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Mojowijo Lets Users Turn Their Wii Remotes Into Vibrators for Virtual Sex – San Francisco Music – All Shook Down

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

With games like "Wii Sports" and other family-friendly titles, the Nintendo Wii isn't the console most people think of when they decry video games for "corrupting the youth." (That's what Sony PlayStation or PC-based first-person shooters do.) Nevertheless, the Wii's controller, the Wiimote, offers exciting possibilities for reinterpretation, kinda like Disney.

That's what Mojowijo has done: they took the computerized, vibrating capability of the Wiimote and turned it into an Internet-controlled cybersex toy that's turning heads, opening minds and thighs, of course! The company's website touts "Mojowijo's patent pending Motion2Vibration technology, the device is able to transform the varying motions of the control into appropriate vibration signals and send them to another selected device – in the same room or over the Internet […e]ssentially turning your Wii remotes into shared, remote controlled vibrators…!" Well then. I'm game!

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China Seeks End to Public Shaming of Suspects – NYTimes.com

Posted: July 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

"According to the state-run media, the Ministry of Public Security has ordered the police to stop parading suspects in public and has called on local departments to enforce laws in a 'rational, calm and civilized manner,'" Andrew Jacobs reports. Chinese police are under scrutiny with increasing civil unrest being expressed online. "Last October, the police in Henan Province took to the Internet, posting photographs of women suspected of being prostitutes. […] The police later said they were not punishing the women, but only seeking their help in the pursuit of an investigation."

The Chinese public was not placated: "Why aren’t corrupt officials dragged through the streets?" an Internet posting read. "These women are only trying to feed themselves." Public shaming was embraced by the Communist Party. If you think America is better, think again: public shaming is actually being considered in Massachusetts.

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Groups Sue Mass. Over Newly Expanded Obscenity Law : NPR

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

Won't somebody please think of the children? That's the reasoning behind a hastily-drafted, newly passed Massachusetts law at the center of a lawsuit filed by the "ACLU, The Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and other groups," according to the Associated Press. After a "ruling in a case in February…found that the state's obscenity law didn't apply to instant messages," this new law "added instant messages, text messages, e-mail and other electronic communications to the old law," criminalizing any such communiqué that may be "harmful to minors."

The lawsuit "argues that the changes amount to 'a broad censorship law that imposes severe content-based restrictions' on the dissemination of constitutionally protected speech," including "information about contraception, pregnancy, sexual health, literature and art." Haven't we seen this before?

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Closed Court, Miller Time, and Joey Silvera’s Solidarity – Reason Magazine

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

An important trial is pitting a politically outspoken pornographer, John Stagliano, against a gauntlet of questionable legal ethics. "The case against Stagliano concerns the selling of movies performed by consenting adults to entertain adult DVD viewers who have chosen to watch these films," Richard Abowitz reports. Using taxpayer money to get obscenity convictions for consensual erotic labor is bad enough, but Judge Richard Leon "is putting great effort into limiting public access to how justice is being administered in this case. […T]he strategic placement of monitors outside public sightlines reeks of the abandonment of the presumption of innocence." The case is being prosecuted with familiar anti-porn activist rhetoric. If Stagliano's relatively tame productions can earn years in prison, don't think you're safe from such anti-porn zealots.

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