Friday, December 27, 2019

California law requiring therapists disclose patients admitted downloads of c.p. now can be challenged in court

The California state supreme court, voting 4-3, has allowed to go forward litigation of a 2014 law that requires therapists to report patients who admit to downloading child pornography even though they did not disseminate it.

Therapists argue, reasonably, that this would stop people from seeking therapy.

Maura Dolan has a detailed article in the Los Angeles Times (paywall) Dec 26.

I recall there had been some controversy about the law at the time and I recall hearing about the proposal in 2013.
But the issue also reminds me of the “confessions” that James Holmes in Colorado made to his therapist before the violent theater rampage in 2012, and that the therapist thought she had a serious ethical dilemma.

Picture: Sacramento at night, my picture, Sept. 2018 

Monday, December 23, 2019

New York Times reports major c.p. busts of hosted sites based on the detective work of Canadian non-profits

Gabriel J. X. Dance has a long and detailed and heavily formatted front-page article (“Fighting the Good Fight”) in the New York Times today about hosted sites (as opposed to social media platforms) serving child pornography.  Most of these are hosted overseas, surprisingly in Europe (such as the Netherlands) where everyone thinks censorship and illegal content laws are stricter.

The article makes it appear that Cloudflare hides these sites from law enforcement, a claim that the CEO will surely challenge.

A number of non-profits, formed by victims, have hunted these sites down. Some of the non-profits are in Canada, with one of the largest in Winnipeg, Manitoba (north of Minnesota and socially and culturally similar) and it uses a detection program called Arachnid.

The busts will add to the count of watermarked images that NCMEC can check against.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Another look at Tumblr's porn ban a year ago

Recently, there have been some conversations where people remember Tumblr’s porn ban of Dec 17, 2018 (about a year ago), TOS document here

Vox had explained the action in a piece by Aja Romano that day.  
Apparently the reason was related to Apple’s pulling an iPhone app after child pornography was detected.  This was quite damaging to the company.

There are other possible reasons.  Banks are getting skittish about doing business with companies with high risk exposure, and porn poses that kind of risk.  Bostwiki had explained this in a video a few days ago. 

And during 2019 there has been at least one major international bust, which will add more watermarks to NCMEC’s database for companies to check against, for uploads, email attachments, or even conceivably cloud storage.
I included a Wochit video about this in yesterday’s GLBT blog posting that talked about several quirky topics.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Parents need to be careful about kids' video game playing (NYTimes series this week)

Nellie Bowles and Michael H. Keller have a detailed and disturbing series starting in the Sunday New York Times on December 8, 2019, “While they play online, children may be the prey”.  The series is called “Exploited: virtual ‘hunting grounds’”. 

The article starts online with chat samples, and describes intrusions into kids playing video games, often those “made for kids”, sometimes from Discord servers, as discovered by some alert parents.

The story reminds me of a New York Times article by Kurt Eichenwald about Justin Berry in 2005. 
The video above by Chubbyemu describes how a young man dropped dead after playing video games for 73 hours unstopped. He died of acute pulmonary embolism.  In South Korea people are treated for gaming addiction.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Reminder: submit comments to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) this week if you're a YouTube content creator or have other concerns about COPPA

I have just made a formal comment to the FTC regarding the implementation of its new settlement with YouTube on January 1, 2020 and the potential impact on YouTube creators.  I have a writeup of it here.  You can use this link to make your own comment, not later than Dec. 9, 2019.    
Essentially, I acknowledge that even non-monetized videos indirectly depend on behavioral ads and their visitors could be targeted later with advertising even for visiting me, and that my own videos are normally intended for access through blogs, where the audience is likely to be adult and likely academic or professional.  I use some train videos in a metaphorical manner.
I also suggested that the FTC exempt video channel owners who accept YouTube’s own ratings as MFK or not, and that YouTube consider age-gates.  These may not save the income of many creators with youth-oriented content.
I also suggested that industry consider the idea of router age-gates, which would involve FCC approval (not FTC) and startup development and funding.
There is a discussion of whether YouTube’s restricted mode is an age-gate here. 

Obviously, what would actually work deserves discussion and I expect to find a lot more material on this soon.

John Fish has some programmatic (“lexical”) ideas in this mid 2018 video (well before the settlement) that seem to point to some clues as to how an effective gate might be developed.

I see some videos about the CCPA (California) popping up on YouTube and will look into these soon.