Today the e-mail marketing service provider MailChimp pulled the plug on SexcusÃ© Moi, a high-end online boutique that offers sensual products ranging for adults. In an e-mail to the boutique’s founder, MailChimp said, “Nothing personal against your content or industry; there are just some very strict spam filters and ISP rules that we have to comply with to maintain the best possible sending environment.”
Over the past few weeks, Chase bank has been mailing members of the adult industry informing them that the bank is closing their accounts. While we’ve seen this kind of attitude from financial institutions before, we’ve never seen anything of this magnitude. Banks and payment processors have become incredibly risk-averse in the wake of efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat fraud, but some suspect this exaggerated response is a ploy from financial institutions to garner bipartisan support and get the government off its back.
The “manifesting” prostitution statute in Phoenix is more than a wacky law that gives law enforcement a wide margin to interpret pedestrian behavior — in practice, it’s effectively turned race, and gender identity into evidence. If you’re a person of color — especially if you’re trans — it doesn’t matter if you’re walking to Sunday mass. Your very existence is a manifestation of prostitution, and you’re fair game to get picked up. This happened to Monica Jones. But she’s fighting back.
A U.S. citizen was detained by Customs and Border Patrol agents without grounds and interrogated twice over the course of five hours, a recent lawsuit reveals. She was asked personal questions about her relationship with a foreign national friend who was legally visiting the U.S. on a business visa, including whether they were sleeping together. The agents said they had access to their year-long e-mail exchanges. What had the guy done to get this much attention? He must have done something, right? Nope.
Increasingly, Twitter has come to realize how difficult it is for social networks to allow people to self-express in today’s sex-negative and panic-prone environment. Despite refusing to do away with porn after the “Dildoplay” incident that infuriated Apple, Twitter nevertheless began to hide results for certain hashtags on Vine, like #nsfw and #boobs. And now, a year later, it has finally decided to give in and ban the porn.
Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ hoped to use the still frames they captured from millions of Yahoo chat users to develop facial recognition software in order to monitor targets and ferret out new ones. But what they discovered during Optic Nerve shocked them: “It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.”
“When we’re too scared to defend sex work, because it’s not our battle, because there’s a legal gray area we’re scared to touch,” writes sex educator Sabrina Morgan, “we’re saying it’s okay to let the sex workers — our front-line sex educators — take the bullets as long as we get to play the game. And we get to play the game only as long as we play it safe. Playing it safe means being afraid to show what it is that we’re teaching.”
The intent to make the subset of men interested in the revamped My Little Pony franchise acceptable to the mainstream has ignored a very real — and often vilified — aspect of “brony” culture: sex. The outlet for self-expression created by this fandom is vast and, as with other fandoms, this will necessarily include the natural biological aspect of sex. The reaction to this, however, has been overwhelmingly negative. A whole new word has been created for them to set them apart from brony culture: they’re cloppers.
Last month, a California man initiated a petition asking the Obama administration to erect filters that automatically block pornography online. “We are asking for greater protection and responsibility from Internet Service providers and our country,” wrote the author. “We are asking that people who are interested in porn should have to seek it and choose it.” You’ll be glad to know that the petition failed miserably.
Last Friday, the United States National Security Agency (NSA) admitted that it was aware of willful violations of agency protocols on the part of its officers. According to the Wall Street Journal, “National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests.” The practice of using surveillance technology to acquire information relating to a relationship is known in intelligence as “LOVEINT.” Tax dollars hard at work, folks. This is definitely the kind of security we gave up our privacy for!