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back to article Google acts against prostitution app after complaints from Congress

Google has removed a sex trade app from its Google Play marketplace – but only after pressure from Members of the US Congress. The Udoopi app bills itself as ‘the first Escorts 2.0 app’ and promises ‘All the paid sex of your city geolocated and always available on your mobile, iPad and computer. JOIN THE SEX CLUB.’ The …

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Anonymous Coward

damn

how am i going to get a date now? i guess I'll have to start crusing bars off of Metropolitan Avenue again.

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Pint

Government has no right to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body. At least that's what I've heard.

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Re: Government has no right

If you bother to read the article, you'll find that it is traffickers who are telling a woman what she must do with her body.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Government has no right

Prostitution and human trafficking are two different things. Stopping trafficking has nothing to do with it being removed, it's the 'moral guardians' who wanted it gone.

The most effective way of stopping trafficking would be to legalise and regulate prostitution. All of the issues with prostitution, exploitation, danger, etc, are caused by it being illegal!

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Headmaster

Re: Government has no right

No, Ken, if you actually read the article you will see they carefully avoid actually saying that, because it isn't true. It's the old murder-and-jaywalking argument. They lump prostitution together with slavery and call it "trafficking" in an attempt to make it look like the two are somehow interchangeable, when of course they're not. If you press them, they won't be able to come up with even a single example of slaves being sold (or rented) through Google apps.

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Right to tell...

In the UK, prostitution is legal. (And this applies for men as well as women). You can sell sex to someone. The legal restrictions come in two areas. One area is to do with "decency". So you can't necessarily solicit people walking down the street legally. You can't go into bars and start 'harrassing' the customers. Morality of the government interfering in this way is debatable, but it's about where you can conduct the business rather than whether or not you can. That can be a bad thing, but equally, you probably wouldn't want to find your street was suddenly an advertising and picking up point for prostitution. These laws allow control of that.

The second and more significant area, is that it is not legal to profit from another person's prostitution. "Living off immoral earnings" is an old-fashioned term, but if a woman is selling sex to people and you are taking a cut of that (or all of it), then you are breaking the law. This too is reasonable. There are various laws in this area, e.g. that define a brothel, etc.

The legal approach to prostitution in the UK was actually reasonable (even if implementation was variable) up until Jacqui Smith got involved in 2008. Jacqui Smith (as Home Secretary) tried to introduce a law that made men who paid for sex from those "controlled for gain" criminals. Basically, if a person was made to be a prostitute by someone else, formerly, the pimp was the criminal, the prostitute a victim (in theory) and the customer sent away without necessarily being charged (ways they could be, but it wasn't an intrinsic element). Jacqui Smith's proposed law changed that. If you (as a John) bought sex from someone and she turned out to have been "controlled for gain", then you would be charged. That's good in theory, but in practice, how can any person know that this is the case. You're naive if you think asking is feasible. Certainly a lot of times a customer ought to or will know, and such people are rapists and should be ashamed of themselves. If you know that a girl has been locked up, threatened, drugged and made to have sex with you, you share the blame for her state. But innocents get caught in the net - how can you know that this is the case in all circumstances? The legislation was watered down a year later (when the Daily Mail had lost interest) and now it's just a mess that is filled with loopholes and ambiguity.

If you ignore the Jacqui Smith fiasco and that implementation of these laws is patchy and inconsistent, the legal approach to prostitution in the UK is a good one.

The best thing that can happen for postitutes in the UK, is to take the power out of the hands of brothel landlords, pimps, "boyfriends", etc. and put it in the hands of the prostitutes themselves. The more a woman can put up her own profile on some online site, the more easily she can be paid directly and even be sure of that payment, the less others can insert themselves between her and the customer which is where the greatest harm often comes in.

I don't know about this particular app. But a popular, known, online prostitution site where women (and men) manage their own profiles and ideally can manage payment through it, e.g. by some pay in advance or escrow or credit points system, is actually a good thing, imo.

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@Old Handle

Er, no. The article absolutely *does* state that the motive for the complaint is that Google is being used (however unwittingly) to traffic women.

"The National Association of Attorneys General (pdf) says sites that use Google’s ad network “show the tell-tale signs of trafficked victims” and are not mere ‘online dating’ sites which are permitted by current Google Adwords policies."

As you say, if you press them, they may or may not be able to prove this case, but it *is* their case.

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Anonymous Coward

But if they're paying, they usually get to choose ;)

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JDX
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All of the issues with prostitution, exploitation, danger, etc, are caused by it being illegal!

What a load of bilge.

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Facepalm

AC @08:44 - Re: Government has no right

Wrote :-

" The most effective way of stopping trafficking would be to legalise and regulate prostitution"

Why on earth would legalising it stop trafficking? Trafficking is moving people around the world under false pretences, like promising a well paid "respectable" job, but their ending up in something different . Making the end activity legal is hardly going to reduce that traffic, more like increase it as there is one less obstacle for the crook.

Oh I see! Your definition of "trafficking" is moving people under false pretenses to do something illegal at the destination. So if you make that thing legal it ceases to be trafficking! Brilliant.

As for "regulating" it, that's hopeless. The UK has been cutting down on government regulators in all areas in recent years, eg Factory Inspectors, and the few that remain cannot begin to cope with the workload. I know the owner of a small engineering company who runs rings around the Factory Inspector.

But how on earth could a brothel owner bribe an inspector I wonder?

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Re: Right to tell...

"...the less others can insert themselves between her and the customer..."

unless, presumably, they've paid extra for that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Right to tell...

A good summary but ... the law in the UK is still deficient in many many ways e.g. if the police are feeling nasty they can get the partner of a prostitute for "pimping".

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Paris Hilton

Sex sells

A platform that does not allow sex, will have a hard time on the market.

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Anonymous Coward

cops did the same thing with craigslist

With this app Google (and Craigslist before that) handed the police an easy way to locate prostitutes and their customers. Shutting off the app doesn't stop the prostitution, just makes it much harder for the police to find it.

Nice job. FAIL!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cops did the same thing with craigslist

Would you say the same thing if it was contract killing services at question? If not, why not? Perhaps the primary point is to stop prostitution, rather than catch people involved in it?

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Re: cops did the same thing with craigslist

And then the police do what exactly? I'm curious. I don't approve of the trade, but the point where an actual crime is committed is subtle, and in some places in the U.S. crime doesn't arise. Thus, various television fly-on-the-wall documentaries on the subject...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: stop prostitution

Yes preventing online advertising of prostitution will definitely stop it. Historians all agree there was no prostitution before the internet.

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Thumb Down

Re: cops did the same thing with craigslist

Funny.. I do approve of the Trade.. As long as people involved aren't forced ( which opens a whole other can of whoop-ass..).

There's plenty of Ladies of Negotioable Affection plying their trade from home in my town. And at least they are more honest ( and affordable) compared to the rather...involved.. Rules of Dating that has been in vogue since Sex and the City and it's ilk started spreading their poison.

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Re: cops did the same thing with craigslist

Why not? Well one involves killing people, the other doesn't. Engage brain before posting, dude...

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FAIL

Re: if it was contract killing services

Contract killing is illegal. Prostitution isn't. Further, with contract killing there is necessarily a victim. Prostitution (as opposed to trafficking, which is different) need not have a victim.

The goal should not be to stop prostitution.

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Facepalm

Re: cops did the same thing with craigslist

Misread that as "...from my home in town..."

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Devil

There's an app for that?

I'm sure this one wont be added to Apple's collection of ethical & righteous apps

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Facepalm

I like how they accuse Craigslist of profiting from "prostitution ads" even though it was the Fun Police that insisted they start charging for ads in the erotic serves section in the first place.

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Facepalm

Meanwhile...

... I'm sure that lots of other actually exploitative ads still appear, but since they're nothing to do with sex, they're ok in the eyes of American politicians.

And of course the fact that many of the ads that are being banned are placed by women who can work independently *without* having to deal with pimps and thus are safer from exploitation etc is ignored...

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Anonymous Coward

Damn!

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Gimp

This is the whole reason print media still isint dead

...Those classified ads in the back pages for 'massage' and 'executive relief'! We can't have smart phone apps coming along and stealing the very lifeblood of local newspapers can we!

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Joke

Let me guess...

First the brasses used this app themselves and then all of a sudden either weren't pleased with the results or finally realized that this could put them into a rough spot.

And so the app had to go...

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Bronze badge

Geography 101

Mailorder brides from Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, Thailand.... Errm... Thailand is in Asia. And, though they hate to hear it, the Ukraine might as well be in Russia. (That sound you hear backstage is the heads of Ukrainian nationalists exploding.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Geography 101

I was going to upvote for catching the Asia / Thailand thing, but you have spoiled it with your ignorance of Ukrainian history, and its social and political reality.

Not an Ukrainian nationalist... or a Ukrainian at all for that matter. I was just thinking about stones and glass houses, Mr. Geography 101.

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What about the rights of

those of us who live in countries where prostitution is legal - shouldn't we be able to access an app that makes it easier for us to locate businesses we want to deal with?

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Joke

Re: What about the rights of

I'll think you will find that it is still illegal in your country. America says so.

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Anonymous Coward

They were just angry...

The CongressCritters were just angry that an application designed to show who was whoring themselves out for money kept showing the Capitol building as a hotspot....

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FAIL

Ironic...

....that Congress wants to ban an app for prostituting people. Is Congress trying to protect its monopoly?

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Coat

Re: Ironic...

This is only about prohibiting *sex* for money. Getting paid for passing legislation is still fine.

//large bills in every pocket

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Paris Hilton

Selfish Politicians

I guess the US Congress members want to keep all the prostitutes and escorts for themselves, the selfish greedy feckers.

For this one, it could only be Paris!!!

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Re: Selfish Politicians

Yep, it is all about supply and demand. If the app creates an increase in demand then prices will rise and the congressmen will have to pay more!

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FAIL

The crushing self-discust regarding sexual issues in the US never fails to amaze me.

Shame the US government can't find a way to talk openly and progressively about prostitution.

In the meantime, prostitutes will have to ply their trade in secrecy, in backstreets and advertise in the dodgy corners of the Internet and conveniently (for the authorities, that is) out of the public eye. That way, they don't have to deal with the issues in a grown-up manner.

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Anonymous Coward

UM...name any subject the US Government can talk openly and progressively about?

The difference between the USA and Saudi Arabia is basically that one of them is a country obsessed with backward religious ideas, repressive social practices, money and oil; and so is the other, but they exploit women a bit less.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't know, but it looks like we're missing part of the story in the congresspersons[*] statement

"Apart from Google’s donations to large human rights organizations,[...]"

Ok, so they're already doing something. Basically giving some of their own money to people who hopefully helps out human rights abuse victims, as opposed to giving someone else's money to various cronies and relatives. But this is beside the point.

"[...]what is your company doing internally to ensure that sexually exploitative advertisements do not appear?"

The point is this: if those ads are "sexually exploitative" [**], is that not because of the unlawful nature of sex occupations in most of the US? It is not the State marginalising those workers, is it?

I mean, "what is your company doing"? Well, what are *they* doing, apart from writing silly, grammatically dubious letters to high-profile companies. Surely not trying to score a cheap point with mindless voters there?

Just wondering.

[*] Since they appear to be a bloke and a lass, I expect this is how this two would like to be addressed. I hope this is PC enough.

[**] I take it that neither of the concerned congresssentientbeings holds a degree in English, neither are they as worried about grammar exploitation as sexual exploitation.

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Anonymous Coward

The walls around Android's garden grows.

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Anonymous Coward

No

The wall GROWS

The walls GROW

Isn't this pre-school stuff?

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Coming soon, an app that only works in Nevada?!?

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The 'tell-tale signs' of trafficked victims?' What exactly might those be, that they can be spotted just from advertising?

Surely it couldn't be National Association of Attorneys General, an organisation composed entirely of polticians, might be shouting 'trafficking!' at the slightest excuse in order to give its members a political boost? Their full letter provides no more of an explanation.

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Joke

Mail-Order Brides

My wife doesn't understand me: one of the drawbacks of mail-order brides.

My previous one got lost in the post and the one before that was broken when it arrived, having suffocated on the bubble wrap.

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The mail order bride, an in app purchase?

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Coat

"publicly disclosed and then disgorged"

*snigger*

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That app sounded like a really good idea!

I really can't see any good reason why anyone would want to ban it.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't get Google...

I really don't get Google: They have a zero tolerance approach to nudity on You Tube, but are happy to host video of Saddam Hussain being executed, they're also have to be pressured to not host an app which advertises something which is illegal...

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"on your mobile, iPad and computer"

I've seen this expression a few places now - it makes about as much sense as saying "on your mobile, tablet and Dell" or "on your Galaxy, tablet and computer". Given it's on Android, clearly they do support other tablets - so why a special product-placement advert just for Apple?

No idea on the rights or wrongs of this case. But it's good that, unlike one platform, a single entity does not have ultimate control over software distribution - even in cases where we might disagree with it, I'm not sure a private company should have that control (and if the software is actually illegal in some way, the Governments can still deal with distribution channels in the usual way).

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Devil

Google & Craigslist actually help stop the Pimps, so could this App!

If prostitution is legal in the UK and Canada (now), allowing prostitutes to use Google or Craigslist will actually help to cut out the Pimps (middleman) that are usually responsible for the violence to women and "trafficking".

The girls get the best "Work from Home" scheme avaialble and they get to keep ALL the money becuase they don't have to pay off cops, lawyers or pimps. If they could band together, they could afford health care too!

When can we get rid of all laws that are based in puritanism? Should have happened with the separation of Church & State.

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