Sex, lies, and surveillance: Something’s wrong with the war on sex trafficking

Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have partnered with a single organization to fight sex trafficking — one that maintains a data collection pipeline, is partnered with Palantir, and helps law enforcement profile and track sex workers without their consent. Major websites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and others are working with a nonprofit called Thorn (“digital defenders of children”) and, perhaps predictably, its methods are dubious.

Thorn offers internet companies its content moderation tool “Safer,” and for law enforcement, its separate data-mining and user-profiling tool “Spotlight.” Both use data sources and AI to automate policing of sex content. Of Thorn’s 31 nonprofit partners, 27 target adults and vow to abolish consensual sex work under the banner of saving children from sex trafficking.

via Sex, lies, and surveillance: Something’s wrong with the war on sex trafficking

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Missouri Republicans Force Pelvic Exams Ahead of Abortions

In Missouri, where the state’s last remaining abortion clinic is in a legal battle to keep its doors open, Republicans have imposed another invasive and unnecessary requirement for anyone obtaining an abortion: now, patients must undergo a pelvic exam at least 72 hours prior to the procedure.

A pelvic exam “includes putting your fingers and other instruments in the vagina, when really that gives no medical information,” Dr. Colleen McNicholas of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services, Missouri’s last abortion clinic, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “It doesn’t do anything to help the patient, or myself, choose what is the best approach for their abortion care.”

via Missouri Republicans Force Pelvic Exams Ahead of Abortions

After Rickie: 5 of our favorite LGBTQ+ teens on TV today

This August marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of My So-Called Life, the short-lived but influential teen drama that was also one of the first network shows to have a gay character as a series regular. Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz) faced some of the same adolescent woes as his peers Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer), but as an out teen, he also faced homophobia at home and school. Despite the show’s limited run, Rickie became a beacon for queer teen viewers, especially queer teens of color who’d waited a long time to see themselves on TV.

via After Rickie: 5 of our favorite LGBTQ+ teens on TV today

Taiwan Celebrates Same-Sex Marriage With Big Wedding Banquet

Last week, Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriage. And on Saturday, over a thousand people celebrated that landmark ruling with a massive wedding banquet.

According to NPR, the celebration included a big group wedding, with about 20 couples tying the knot in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. In addition to the couples, there were about 1,600 supporters and other guests in attendance, all of whom watched the newlyweds walk down a red carpet. There were rainbow flags, lots of food, and festivities galore.

via Taiwan Celebrates Same-Sex Marriage With Big Wedding Banquet

UK Police Want Rape Victims to Hand Over Their Phones

In the U.K.—like in the U.S.—rape is a dramatically underreported crime, and, once reported, few cases go to trial. In 2018, only 1.9 percent of reported rapes in the UK were prosecuted, and a figure that in 2019 fell to a five-year low. So now, police in the United Kingdom have introduced a measure that they believe will improve the likelihood of these cases going to trial: a national consent form, requiring anyone reporting sexual assault hand over all of their text messages, emails, photos, social media accounts, and from their phones, laptops, or smart watches.

via UK Police Want Rape Victims to Hand Over Their Phones

Why are rape prosecutions falling? – BBC News

Recorded rape offences have been rising in England and Wales, but the proportion of offences making it to court has fallen significantly over the past few years.
Police and prosecutors are asking complainants in rape cases to agree to hand their phones over or face the prospect of prosecutions being dropped – something victims’ commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove has said is “unlikely to do anything to help reverse the fall in prosecutions for rape and sexual violence”.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decides whether cases investigated by the police go to trial. In September 2018, it said the proportion of reported rapes being prosecuted had reached their lowest level in a decade.

via Why are rape prosecutions falling? – BBC News

Anger at rape victims being asked to hand phones to police – BBC News

There has been strong criticism of a move to get rape victims to hand over their phones to police – or risk prosecutions not going ahead.
Consent forms asking for permission to access information including emails, messages and photographs are being rolled out across England and Wales.
Prosecutors say the forms make clear investigators should not go beyond “reasonable lines of enquiry”.
But Labour’s Yvette Cooper said there were “no safeguards in place at all”.

via Anger at rape victims being asked to hand phones to police – BBC News

London bus attack: Arrests after gay couple who refused to kiss beaten – BBC News

Two women say they were subjected to a homophobic attack and left covered in blood after refusing to kiss on a bus.
Melania Geymonat, 28, said the attack on her and partner Chris happened on the top deck of a London night bus as they were travelling to Camden Town.
A group of young men began harassing them when they discovered the women were a couple, asking them to kiss while making sexual gestures.
Four male teenagers aged between 15 and 18 have been arrested.
They are being questioned on suspicion of robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm.

via London bus attack: Arrests after gay couple who refused to kiss beaten – BBC News

Birmingham LGBT row: ‘Homophobic protests must stop’ – BBC News

Protests against LGBT teaching at a Birmingham primary school are “homophobic” and must “stop now”, the West Midlands mayor has said.
Andy Street said he was in “disbelief” at material distributed by protesters outside Anderton Park Primary.
The mayor, who is gay, told the BBC he had thought homophobia was a “non-issue in our city”.
A High Court injunction is in place banning protests, which have been going on for months, outside the school.
Parents started to gather at the gates over concerns children were “too young” to learn about LGBT relationships. They also said the lessons contradicted Islam.

via Birmingham LGBT row: ‘Homophobic protests must stop’ – BBC News

Google will work with LGBTQ+ groups on harassment policies

In the wake of YouTube’s controversial decision not to pull videos containing homophobic and racist attacks, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote an internal email acknowledging that “the LGBTQ+ community has felt a lot of pain and frustration over recent events.” While a few Google execs have already apologized for YouTube’s decision, Pichai’s email carries more weight given his position. The email, obtained by The Verge, also suggests that Google plans to conduct more internal discussions aimed at addressing its harassment policies.

via Google will work with LGBTQ+ groups on harassment policies