Sort of breaking: 80 percent of blogs contain “offensive” content

the internets are scary

So basically, ScanSafe’s Monthly “Global Threat Report” for March 2007 means that 20 percent of you *are not doing your jobs*. Don’t make me get out the ruler. You know, the one that has “blogger” studded in reverse on one side. Snip from Ars Technica:

Blogs are known to be a free-for-all for “expressive” content, but according to a new report by ScanSafe, a vast majority of blogs host content that is considered “offensive” and potentially “unwanted.” ScanSafe’s Monthly “Global Threat Report” for March 2007 says that up to 80 percent of blogs host offensive content, ranging from “adult language” to pornographic images. The company suggests that businesses should be aggressive about preventing users from accessing some or all of this material. And of course, they’d hope that you’d use their products to do so.

ScanSafe says that it discovered the “offensive” nature of blogs by analyzing more than 7 billion web requests coming from their corporate customers. In doing so, they apparently learned that the so-called blogosphere is a lot like a George Carlin performance: diverse, sometimes entertaining, and loaded with “bad words.”

In addition to so-called offensive content, about six percent of blogs analyzed in March also hosted some sort of malware. “Blogs are a great vehicle for self-expression and the exchange of ideas,” said ScanSafe’s VP of Product Strategy Dan Nadir in a statement. “Employees visiting these sites can unknowingly expose corporate networks to legal liability, viruses, and loss of proprietary information.”

But what’s really considered “offensive” content? A blog merely has to contain a single instance of profanity to be considered offensive, according to ScanSafe. “There were as many blogs with the ‘F-word’ as the word ‘China’,” Nadir told Techworld.

Link.

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Vivid sued in STD/used sex toys case

Seems to me this is a case for OSHA. But it’s actually no laughing matter. Porn star Kira Kener was fired by Vivid “the same day she told management she was concerned about having to work with previously used marital aids, the lawsuits stated.” She sued, and they now have settled.

Used. Marital. Aids. Ew. She believes she caught her STD off a dirty sex toy. What kind of conditions are going on that women are even exposed to this possibility? The kind with no accurate sex information about safer sex and sex toys.

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Sex and free wifi don’t mix in Utah

violet blue :: self portrait

Update!: Print your very own Universal Response Form for Internet Content Filtering Suggestions (jricher.jricher.com)!

Or rather, Utah lawmakers want to ban free wifi and penalize those with open networks to “protect children form porn”. They’re also proposing to punish and out Utah ISP’s who don’t voluntarily police (read: don’t publish, take down) “obscene material”. They’re just doing it for the kids, of course. Which, as with every other free speech attack cloaked in “saving” kids from porn, whenever someone says they’re doing something to protect the children, you should immediately consider their reasoning suspect and examine their other motivations. In this piece, they are pretty blatantly mixing child porn with adult porn (that might be seen by minors), as usual. And it’s frighteningly clear that the people making the decisions don’t even vaguely understand the technology. Grit your teeth and read this pro-restriction piece, snip (thanks Jonathan):

Utah lawmakers have tried various methods of controlling questionable Internet content, especially the availability of pornography to children.

Little has been successful.

But a legislative committee studying the issue this spring and summer heard Wednesday about some real-world alternatives that Utah lawmakers can adopt.

Local Internet providers, like locally based XMission, have raised concerns about state legislators trying to control a medium that answers to Congress and is protected by constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and interstate commerce.

But those advocating controls told lawmakers there are ways to restrict access to child pornography – already illegal in the United States – and keep minors from accessing adult-only-legal sexually explicit Web sites.

Among the proposals were penalizing those who leave their wireless networks open and rewarding Internet providers that self-police access to pornography.

The discussion in the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Study Committee was often technical, with committee members having to be brought up to speed on various terms and applications.

“My brain is on the edge of frying, trying to understand” the technology involved, said committee co-chairman Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City.

Link.

Update: Reader Mike Place from XMission emails me with chilling details and more background on this story. It looks like the scope of these people’s agenda is not limited to Utah — it’s basically another flavor of COPA (and there are sane people there trying to raise awareness about it). Mike emails,

Hi Violet,

I enjoy your blog and I just caught your post on the wi-fi story
brewing here in Salt Lake City. As one who’s been chasing this story
down for a while now (I was the one who posted it to Slashdot last
week), here are a few items worth pointing out to your readers:

* The issue was just discussed on the local NPR affiliate earlier
today here in Salt Lake City.

* Here’s a link to the Slashdot story that I submitted a few days
ago. The story itself contains a link to the audio from the actual
Senate meeting where the idea was proposed.

* Here is the organization responsible for all this idiocy.

* The owner of XMission (and my boss) who is fighting to preserve
open wifi here in Utah is Pete Ashdown. He ran for Senate against
Orrin Hatch last year.

The important thing to realize here is that this isn’t just limited
to wireless. These guys at CP80 are pushing for anti-porn regulation
across the board — state, federal, you name it. They want to sue
pornographers in order to keep them off of their proposed “clean”
Internet and they actively propose suing/jailing people who provide
“circumvention” measures that run counter to their proposal — think
anon proxies, Tor, etc. These guys aren’t just local to Utah. They’re
actively working behind the scenes to craft federal legislation. You
can bet that lawmakers are looking for another attempt at COPA and
this might just be it.

They even produced a film about their quest (I’m really not making
this up).

At any rate, I thought I’d pass along all that info to you. There are
plenty of us working hard over here to keep Utah’s reputation out of
the gutter. :]

Thanks Violet. Keep up the good work.

Update (4.25.07): Jacques Richer writes me with the most brilliant response to all of this — a Universal Response Form for Internet Content Filtering:

Fortunately or unfortunately I’ve been on the Internet long enough to
have seen just about every stupid harebrained content restriction scheme
discussed at one point or another. It’s gotten to the point where my
responses to them have become mostly automatic. In honor of this 🙂
I’ve decided to put together a version of the “spam-solutions” response
form for content filtering solutions (attached).

In a way, using these types of forms makes it clear – in a way few other
ways can match, that the vast majority of these approaches are just
rehashes of already discussed/rejected old ideas. Hopefully, this will
help to discredit the approach.

Keep up the good work.

— Universal Response form for —
— Internet Content Filtering Suggestions —

Your

( ) post
( ) group
( ) legislative proposal

advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to restricting access to objectionable content. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won’t work.
(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Website operators can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Sex education and other legitimate web uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It slows down/eliminates/damages deployment of infrastructure widely desired/supported by users
( ) It will slow down access to some content slightly for two weeks and then we’ll be stuck with it
( ) Users of the web will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from content providers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many website operators cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers/clients
( ) Your plan penalizes compliant websites without any countervailing reward
( ) It’s effectively impossible to differentiate between allowed and disallowed content
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else’s career, business or website
( ) The existance of legitimate differences of taste and opinion with respect to the broad range of content you would restrict
( ) Failure to account for religious differences among internet users
( ) Fundamental differences of opinion as to what subjects are harmful to minors
( ) Lack of consensus as to the harmfulness of content in general and/or this content in particular
( ) Lack of research/scientific rigor with respect to: ______________________________________

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for the internet
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Wide availability of VPS services
( ) The existence of wide reaching anonymity services like TOR
( ) The ability of anyone with $20 in their pocket to put up a website with proxy capability
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) The international nature of the Internet
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in HTTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than HTTP to attack
( ) Ability of content providers to move to protocols other than HTTP
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of the content you would restrict
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with content providers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of content providers themselves
( ) The objections raised in RFC 3675 (“.sex Considered Harmful”)
( ) People with strong philisophical/religious/ethical/moral objections to filtering information, who would be more than willing to create/maintain circumvention tools
( ) The effect of this approach on people in other jurisdictions
( ) Other: ______________________________________________

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) People under the age of 18 may have a legitimate need for information their parents do not approve of
( ) The internet should not be reduced to a child’s level merely to protect children
( ) Port use should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about any subject without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) In order to be even minimally effective, it would require licensing web servers
( ) This approach is incompatible with first amendment and constitutional tests/limits
( ) Other: ______________________________________________

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don’t think it would work.
( ) This approach raises the bar for technical and sociopolitical naivite
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you’re a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) I have added you and/or your organization to my personal bogon filter
( ) Other: ______________________________________________

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Nope, won’t be sneaking in this year

I see that Wired just posted their Rave Awards gallery, so I cruised their picks for mavericks. There’s a phrase that means a lot to me — it’s “feed the poor, starve the rich”. Wired couldn’t have it more backwards. Especially when their crowning pick is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, *that* Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“To find the 22 innovators, instigators, and inventors to honor with a Rave Award this year, we started by looking for the most intriguing breakthroughs in the world today — then tracked down the individuals who made them happen.”

Talk about the disgustingly out of touch fantasies of MSM.

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Greencine’s Sex in the Movies guide

anno1930.jpgI’ve long adored local Netflix-style (and VOD, w00t!) movie service GreenCine for a million reasons; local, small business, incredible selection of movies, tons of indy films, oodles of hard-to-find sexploitation films, and the best cult and horror selection I’ve ever seen in a service like this. I often recommend them to people looking for great vintage softcore and those ever-lickable lesbian vampire films… Today they published their Sex In The Movies guide, and it’s fantastic; it’s not so much a guide to movies with sex in them, but rather a huge, well-researched and reference-ready article about the history of sex in film. Period. It covers the first known adult film, to grindhouse and sexploitation, to the beginning of modern porn and stops at the present. Here’s a great snip:

By the 1950s, these films were being referred to more often as “stags” since they were shown at men-only “stag parties.” Luke Ford, in his book A History of X: 100 Years of Sex in Film – an extraordinarily frustrating piece of work; poorly written, misogynist through and through, and yet weirdly useful – quotes William Rostler’s outline from his 1973 book, Contemporary Erotic Cinema, tracing the common plotlines in these early flicks that would be played out again and again for decades:

1. A woman alone becomes aroused after handling a phallic-shaped object. Masturbation follows. A man arrives, is invited inside, sexual play begins.
2. A farm girl gets excited watching animals copulate. She runs into a farmhand, or a traveling salesman, and sexual play begins.
3. A doctor begins examining a woman and sexual play begins.
4. A burglar finds a girl in bed or rapes her or vice versa.
5. A sunbather or skinny dipper gets caught and seduced.

Recently, there’s been an interest in rediscovering these vintage films and collections have appeared with names such as Olde Time Erotica, Antique Erotica, Authentic Antique Erotica, Vintage Erotica – Anno 1930 and Vintage Erotica – Anno 1940. What surprises many expecting to see something rather tame and sepia-toned is the revelation that our grandparents and great-grandparents did just about everything we thought we come up with on our own. But after all, sex is sex.

Sexploitation and the Grindhouse

In the early and mid-20th century, there existed a fascinating limbo between mainstream movies, most of them coming out of Hollywood, of course, and no-holds-barred porn. The “sexploitation” phenomenon in the US has its roots in the 1910s, with the big stand-out year being 1913. That was the year of Traffic in Souls and The Inside of the White Slave Traffic, both promising to reveal the lurid underbelly of the world of prostitution (and here, it’s interesting to note that the original, literal definition of “pornography” is “writing about prostitutes”). (…)

Link.

Also — they’re good peeps; check out their Blue Cine porn VoD, with lotsa new hardcore Hentai. Mmmm, tentacles. Image: Cult Epics’ Vintage Erotica Anno 1930 — trailer.

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Bloggers Undressed: Margaret Cho

DSC01788

Um… Margaret Cho rocks harder than Judas Priest! We had a great time today, and I interviewed her for my column; aaaand we chatted about porn, anal sex, makeup, sock garters and tattoos (we have lots of cherry blossom tats between us). We did an episode of bloggers undressed — yay! Embedded after the jump.


* * * * * * *


Click To Play

beloved comedienne, actress and burlesque performer Margaret Cho tells me about blogging undressed (or not), and sexy geeks.

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Sex and technology conference: Arse Electronica call for speakers and sponsors!

violet blue :: self portrait

It’s time to let this genie out of the bottle: I’m helping to organize an international conference and festival all about sex and tech, with experts from the fields of science, economics, art and technology — Arse Electronica. It will take place here in San Francisco on October 5-7, 2007 at the Porn Palace of Kink.com. The premise isn’t the question of whether or not sex affects tech and culture, but *how* it does.

We’re looking for speakers and presenters, and researchers. If you have an interest in speaking or sponsoring, please email: arseelektronika AT monochrom.at

I’m helping Monochrom to organize this — a serious conference with a fun attitude about sex and tech. There are a number of speakers I’d love to invite and have fly in from various parts of the globe — this could be amazing, and could change many cultural conversations about sex and tech, and my hope is to try and smash the stereotypes that impede the organic evolution of sex and tech. This is not a corporate con; this is by and for the people who are active in sex, sex culture, and technology, and all those interested — not companies hawking products or startups trying to launch another gimmick. We’re looking at talks, presentations, demonstrations, and panels. We’re ready to evolve sex and tech: the conversation starts here.

*We need funding and sponsors*. We’ve secured the location, now we need to not worry about money while we set everything else up — and I’ll post here the minute tickets are available. Please consider funding or sponsoring our very ambitious, exciting conference. (And yes, I’ll be speaking. I can’t wait!)

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