77 posts • joined Tuesday 13th April 2010 14:46 GMT
Hmmm...to all those saying: what do i expect the NHS to do, simple. This is playing fast and loose with my/our personal data. It might be to a good end, but...it appears now to be seriously outwith any parliamentary scrutiny.
That's the worry. With power comes responsibility and, i'd hope, accountability. The set-up here omits the last component.
Re: I hoped for better from the Reg
Last up, there's this "sensitivity" thing. In one sense, the story is as it is. The comment from the bloke's lawyer is remarkably spiteful and plays on supposition, which it oughtn't to.
So let's make two observations. First, she may well be wrong about the alleged deception being grounds for annulment. Certainly, in the UK, not declaring a trans history can be grounds for annulment...in the first couple of years of a marriage. After that, the law takes the fairly pragmatic view that it is no longer.
After all, if you've lived with someone and made love to them for several years....its clear that the situation is not problematic and the question of whether some piece of information "changes" everything is again a philosophical wotsit.
That said... i think the insensitivity and maybe the problem in this piece lies in covering it in bootnotes: which is not to say that's th WRONG thing to do. Just that it positions the story in a certain way. And if you take a particular fairly dim view of domestic violence, maybe you would feel that is the wrong place for it.
F'rinstance, last night i was discussing the use of a frozen Basa as a weapon. No, honestly! But if you've ever cooked one - or indeed, watched Basic Instinct - you'll know what i mean...
They start out being almost throwing knife shape. Just sharpen one slightly and hey presto! a serious weapon...that can be eaten after the fact of the crime to hide the evidence.
Now, suppose someone actually DID follow that bright idea into reality...where would you report the story? Sure...it would be weird, funnym, unusual and more than deserviong of a Bootnotes spot. But also it would be about murder, death and killing.
Is such ever fit subject for humour? Ah...now there is another question altogether.
Re: I hoped for better from the Reg
Anyway: so much for the intersex angle. As to the deception, there's more than a few angles on that front.... but if you genuinely consider yourself to be male or female...then can you said to be deceiving anyone? There's room for a slightly philosophical angle to get your teeth into.
More to the point, i looked at this whole "deception" issue in the UK recently and spoke at length to the CPS on same. They certainly would not give any guarantee that not coming clean about your earlier lived gender was OK: in some circumstances, they suggested, it could count as rape...but that observation possibly opens a far bigger can of worms than anyone is prepared to deal with at this moment.
Where they are going with that is down the line that says: if someone would not have slept with you if they had known some particular material fact about you and you deliberately concealed that fact...then it is arguable that you managed to obtain sexual intimacy through deception.
But hang on: does the "victim" have to declare what would count? I mean, it is clear from responses here that some folks would care a lot about someone's previous gender history and others wouldn't. What if you didn't mention it was important to you?
And to those who say: of course it is...well, really?
Bubbling along nicely is the case of the undercover cop who lied about his previous employment (as a policeman) in order to get to first base...and beyond. And what if you just happened to exaggerate your wealth or job prospects or not mention your religion while trying to bed a confirmed atheist.
Its not easy, for which reason, maybe peeps should be a little more cautious about demanding total honesty...cause basically, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. And if you ever fibbed even slightly in order to get into bed with someone.... hmmmm!
Re: I hoped for better from the Reg
That's wonderfully ARCH of you, @John List and since i write a fair amount about gender and topics that don't always go down too well in some quarters, such as gender, feminism and violence against women...i can see where a link might be made.
Though i'm not sure "sensitivity" is quite the right word in this case.
Let's start with a few interesting facts. The intersex thing: the more i read and write about it, the more i find the idea that "there are just two sexes" quite problematic. There are two categories that share a lot of things, including chromosomes and bits: but there are a LOT of humans outside those categories...between point something of a percent and 4-5%, depending on point of view.
Here's a piece giving a bit more chapter and verse: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/27/gender_database_debate/
There was some debate about the %-age i quote, but i checked it out with more than a few learned bodies...which leaves me to wonder, if aliens dropped in on this planet, whether a purely empirical study of humans would decide there were just two sexes.
Re: Demonstrations or Riots -- AC 09:25 GMT
It is indeed due a massive upgrade...and i have been told off for that before. The colour scheme, that is. But its RESTFUL! :)
You can say you read it here first, but the blog as was - a detailed personal journey interlaced with a bit of politics and a touch of feminism - is pretty much retired. Coming soon is going to be something rather more like a news site focusing on the law, IT and sex and sexuality.:)
Re: Shurely shome mishtake?
No. No mistake. Well, not quite. I'll explain that in a mo.
The basic mistake was releasing as part of an FOI request material that ought NOT to have been released in the first place. They do not regularly release details of people's personal stuff...at least, i would hope not, and expect a mega inquiry if they did.
The presumption is that what they release as FOI is OK to release. Within that paradigm, there is no prob in them then releasing the FOI output to the public later on.
However, for the record, the CPS did come back to me this morning to point out that they would not automatically release EVERYTHING. Though the exact grounds for what they choose to release feel a bit fuzzy.
So it is possible that had this story not come to light they might have published the details in a month or so. Or they might not. As we agreed: tis speculation, and now subject to a fairly wide-ranging review of process.
Re: Demonstrations or Riots
As you are probably aware, not every word used in a final edit is as a journalist submits them. Stories are rarely run unedited. My opinion is to be found in blogging i do and comment pieces.
Re: Now Reality
According to Maidstone Crown Court, reporting restrictions have been lifted.
Given what we have discussed in the past, though, i'd say that the files you have access to may be covered by more than reporting restrictions.
Please be careful....
Not just about "online"
I note at least one poster assuming this is merely about the online world. No: that's not what this ruling means.
A point made to me by the CPS, which for space reasons i could not include in the article was:
"the point of the appeal against the terminating ruling was the Crown Court judge’s interpretation of “persons” not whether or not an online chat was subject to the Act, which is made clear in paragraph 21 of the judgment"
It just so happens that the most likely place for one-to-one chat to be picked up nowadays is online...and the OPA is adapting to a new digital reality.
Not where there's a grc...
...as far as i am aware, from speaking with their spokesperson on this earlier this week/late last.
IN general, name changes are tracked: however, in the specific instance where a grc is in existence, that more or less rewrites the birth certificate details.
Its complex: have recently seen probs over at the crb over just this issue.
I think you missed the bit of the article where i quote figures for intersex. Good estimates seem to lie in the range of 2% to 4% of the population.
Issues lie around definition and recording of such: for a very long time, medics have tended to erase any mention of intersex by shoe-horning those individuals with intersex characteristics into existing gender categories. In some instances, they have intervened by advising surgery on children as young as 1 or 2.
That has changed drastically over the last few years. First, while the US still opts for early intervention, the UK position tends to be no surgical intervention unless medically (not socially) necessary until the individual is old enough to decide for themselves.
As for what gets defined as intersex...figures from ISNA have instantly recognisable gender variation at birth at somewhere between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 2,000 (which is low, but still a lot higher than your figure).
However, they also add that there are other conditions that need to be taken into account (such as late developing adrenal hyperplasia) which very quickly shift the medical definition of intersex up to somewhere in the region of 2% to 3%. Add in karotype variation and you are closer to 4% (a figure quoted often by OII)...and if you also add social definitions, then 4% to 6% is not unrealistic.
In terms of medical/biological definitions of intersex, the vast majority of those who could fall within the definition will quite possibly never know unless affected by an illness that is co-morbid with an intersex variation - or are tested at the chromosomal level.
That means...think carefully about this...that a fair number of those posting may well be intersex without realising that they are....
Loads of alternatives
There are loads of alternatives - and plenty of discussion of same on the internet. A less offensive term than "it" is "they"...though that can lead to difficulty at times linguistically.
Otherwise - and i did once use this term in a story about an individual who thought they HAD persuaded the Aussie government to ungender them - there are various groups of ungendered 3rd person pronouns, including zie/ze and hir/hirs.
Try this as a basic primer:
Having had the (mis)fortune to be closely allied to the direct marketing industry for some part of my career, i can reveal that there are many, many systems "out there" that infer gender in one way or another, sometimes quite erroneously.
One route is to infer gender from first name in order to set title. Another is to use title to infer gender in order to differentiate in offers made. All sorts of uses happen: some of the uses were barely lawful then, almost certainly unlawful now.
IN fact a large part of this issue is simply about recognising pre-existing best practice. The Information Commissioner has frequently condemned organisations that collect data "on the off chance of it being useful": there needs to be a proper purpose to collecting it at the time it is collected, otherwise it runs the risk of being "excessive" within the meaning of the DPA.
The Equality Act simply precludes provision of services differentially on the basis of protected characteristics (which include gender) unless for a specified purpose. Insurance, f'rinstance: following EU rulings, at some point next year it will no longer be permissible to discriminate on basis of gender for insurance purposes...at which point, capturing gender becomes, possibly, pointless...possibly a DPA breach...and just another chance for things to go wrong.
Common sense required
Nah. There are many things in the UK system that are "strictly" unlawful, but which the law would never bother taking up. I think that if you, as individual, mentioned the name of someone who had changed their details in this way with no awreness of that fact and no link to their present name, etc. there is very little case to bring against you.
That is way different from you either, as journalist, carelessly reporting that Ms X, formerly Mr Y, did such-and-such: your words have import and you are meant to have done some fact-checking. And it is also different from an organisation with loads of HR resources to hand, plus its own legal department, exposing some individual to public embarrassment because it didn't tidy up its own procedures.
Also in play would be issues like whether the individual had a grc (these are few and far between) and whether they did, in fact, object to being outed.
So, sure, it is possible for you to break the law in this instance by accident, but very very unlikely for there to be any consequences...whereas if you are assumed to have some duty to think thru what you are doing, then the consequences may be more serious.
Excuse me if i can't quite buy this. Unless you go for the absolute free speech argument, including the right of people to shout "fire!" in a crowded cinema, then you'll agree that some speech needs to be looked at. Some speech is performative: by its very existence, it creates issues in the real world.
If you are an absolutist, fine: but i'm not.
And if you're not an absolutist and you agree that SOME speech maybe has sufficiently bad consequences that it needs dealing with, you need to ask what and on what grounds. For me, harm is a very good test. When i'm not writing i am involved in advocacy work and support for minority groups.
I've seen first hand - experienced - the awful consequences of abuse and intimidation and i don't see a page like the poundland one as much of anything else. It outs a named indivicual, exposes her to ridicule, and possibly makes her a target for violent attack. No. That's speech going a step too far.
I have a smidgeon of sympathy with you on the homophobic page. Its talking in general terms, so yes - you could view it as just an empty intellectual exercise. Though again, having seen damage first hand, i'm not easy with that view.
In cases such as these, the "story" tends to consist of official statements and what is given to us from attributable sources.
Where we don't have direct statement, we stick in signpost words like "alleged" and "reported" as we have here. A comment from someone claiming to be an election official is interesting, and worth following up if the story turns out to be more than a storm in a teacup: but since anyone can post on a site claiming to be pretty much anyone they like, comments don't generally get regarded as evidence of anything.
Unless they are from a moderator or similar.
Up to a point
The problem with the US advice is that it is only half right for the UK. Yes: it is absolutely true that talking too much to the police in the early stages of questioning could well damage any form of defence you try to run at a later date. So the obvious advice is NOT to talk to them.
Unfortunately, not talking may also damage your defence at a later date. That is because if you have an innocent explanation for your actions and that explanation is not forthcoming until long after you had a chance to give it, there is a good chance that a smart prosecutor will argue that it was concocted between you and your Defence Counsel after the event.
Damned if you do: damned if you don't.
Also complicating is that for some offences, the duty sol will be well out of their depth, and advise individuals to plead one way or another without really understanding the depth of the law they are dealing with. I'd guess the best possible way forward is to say something along the lines of above, stating you'll answer questions fully as soon as a sol arrives - and then use your phone call NOT to get someone from the local roster, but to phone a friend and to ask them to find a dedicated lawyer (i.e., an expert in the law you are deemed to have breached) to turn out.
Google is your friend
Its not that different. I just tend to write, most places, as Jane Fae....
You're sort of right: i really ought not to use the phrase, since i know that i don't have its meaning down pat - and therefore am likely to walk into bear traps. In this instance, i think there is enough of the literal meaning of that phrase hovering over the point i made for it not to be 100% wrong - but its far from right, so score one to you, Mr/Ms pedant.
On the other hand, if you follow me at all outside El Reg, you'll be aware that JF Ozimek doesn't exactly work, since its the last name that's the add-on and not exactly my surname, either.
Most of the time, i'm just plain Jane Fae - though not, i trust, an entirely plain Jane.
I hold on to the other bit, from time to time, to link back to the fact that i also have some academic reputation. So - pedanting right back atcha: its either J Fae or J Fae Ozimek. :)
oh no it doesn't...
the real prob is that many fundamentalists go back to the Old Testament for justification...and there's loads of nastiness in there.
However, the main point of being Christian, as i learnt it, ws compassion and acceptance. And an over-turning of a load of the OT bollocks.
The key teaching is the bit where Jesus specifically picks out the old doctrine of "an eye for an eye" and proclaims it dead, urging people to "turn the other cheek".
I did a piece not that long back (for the Catholic Herald) looking at these sort of issues . Sadly it is not online. However, i spoke to one of the UK's foremost theologians and he had very little to say on the subject that most people would consider "hateful".
He was working with exactly the same doctrine as the fundies...but came to some very different conclusions.
Which i think is the point others on this thread have made: being christian does not inevitably mean buying in to the fundy approach.
Fruit of the poison tree
As someone with a fascination for all things legal, this story intrigues me in two ways. First, is the exact nature of the technology that allowed this to happen. Although i have asked the questions, i am not gettin 100% clear answers - and may never do.
Second is a clear difference between UK and US legislatures in this area.
In the US, many cases founder on the doctrine known as "fruit of the poison tree". That is, where a search of an individual, their premises or their property was carried out without sufficient legal justification, any evidence turned up by such a search may be thrown out wholesale by the courts.
Not always: where someone is clearly a rapist, murderer, etc. US judges will look for ways to bring evidence in. But the principle - and the danger - is well known and makes US police that much tighter in their search and chain of evidence procedures.
In the UK, the informal understanding is that where evidence is relevant, courts will seek to find ways to bring it into play. So you have far less protection against improper search in the UK than you do in the US.
Strangely, this approach seems recently to have been reversed in respect of documents turned up in the financial leg of divorce proceedings. Hitherto, courts had been very happy to look at documents turned up by, say, an unlawful search of a partner's computer if they revealed evidence of financial impropriety.
Now their admissibility is rather more limited.
Nope. Under UK legislation, young persons are children until they turn 18. That dovetails neatly with the UN's view of things, which also has young people as children up to that age.
This is the source of a great deal of legislative confusion, including some of the dodgier provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Thus, it is lawful for two 16-year-olds to sleep together and indulge in various sexual hijinks - but photograph the event and hand out pics...and the recipients of those pics, even other 16-year-old friends - are instantly criminalised.
Hence, too, a lot of the strange surveying by charities like BeatBullying which talks of "children" receiving sexual material over their phones and over the internet.
er, yes: seeing as the little darlings are lawfully sexually active for a couple of years before they reach the magic number 18, its hardly surprising that they get into all manner of sexual stuff. They can, of course, also get married at 16 and, i believe, travel to far off exotic places and kill people at 17.
Nonetheless, they may not buy booze or ciggies until a year later.
If you think of youth as reaching adulthood at 16, you will be very confused. Rather, see them as reaching adulthood at 18, with certain privileges (like sex) granted a couple of years earlier and the picture will be a bit clearer..
In the UK...
its the concept that content can be regulated by ISP's amongst others, which is a view of regulation analogous to that taken in respect of film censorship. It derives from the demand for pre-filtering of content.
The difference - the problem -is the sheer volume of stuff.
Compare and contrast the number of films that appear each month with the number of new images, new pages that appear on the net every day.
Those responsible for net content can then choose: whether to censor post-complaint; or to pre-censor. The first produces all the inconsistencies that Facebook encounter and which does their reputation so little good.
The latter, though, is equally problematic. Just imagine: 50,000 new pages a day; 5,000 decisions to censor - and presumably 500 long-winded appeals to follow.
That is the debate that is just beginning - and where that goes will affect a lot of the net to come.
The WI do bdsm? Now that i HAVE to see.
Not in England
This case comes from Scotland - and may also be partly the reason why the Scottish legal review of the SOR is slightly milder than the one Theresa May just announced.
The difference is that a peculiarity (?) of the offence of Breach of the Peace in Scotland - but not throughout the rest of the UK, is that a guilty verdict may be followed with your addition to the Scottish SOR. The bike guy got done for doing something strange in his hotel room...was surprised by two cleaning ladies (who in their turn were extremely surprised by what he was doing to his bike)...and done for BotP.
The SOR notification followed.
That would be much less likely in the rest of the UK (and not just because of the esteem in which those south of the border hold their bikes).
..as someone whose partner has just rented out "TheHuman Centipede".
i shall not even be in the room when that is on.
Sorry to disappoint, but idid indeed read - or at least skim thru the law, all 200 pages plus of it, last week. I also noted the bits about fines that were imposeable upon those who breached it...that, too, is in there.
Just for the record, since i have receved several comments on this issue - some direct to my inbox.
It is fairly standard practice to publish an indiviual's address details. They are a matter of public record and in most cases are given out freely by the courts.
The reasons for doing so are not some peculiar vindictiveness on the part of our publication (or any other): they are purely legal. To wit...publish jus a name, and it is open to any other individual of the same name to claim that they have just been libelled.
Unlikely. But in a career of writing up court reports, chances are that if one is continually careless over such details, sooner or later someone WILL sue.
That may be tough for the individual concerned: but it is also a fundamental principle of English justice: that not only should justice be done, but it should be seen to be done,which means that individuals found guilty of particular offences should be openly and publically identified in court - and that the press may report on this.
If you read thru the FOI correspondence, you will see that TfL originally released a sample file (containing a few hundred records) to Adrian to check compatibility. I suspect that this is what is referenced here.
In respect of the rest of the story: I spoke to Arian yesterday, who confirmed he had not got the data he wanted...and also spoke to TfL who said they hadn't given it to him, so...i rather think we are talking about a quite diffeent data set.
(Either that or Adrian and TfL have got together to stage a perfectly bizarrepublicity stunt).
...but specifically asked. Adrian likes the idea of "some day" creating a real-time app... but i think he acknowledges this would be a wholly different ball game.
This was a one-off request for data at a point in time. End of.
Twas TfL that decided to start adding bells and whistles, including regular updates.
Not s muchchicken and egg as parallel lines of development, and touching on issues that will have significant future implicatons for lgal developments in this area.
Organisations have, since the beginning of FOI, attempted to get round it by using copyright as a means to restrict the use of material post-publication. Most infamously, the long-running dispute between parliament and requesters – but also various university cases that have been reported in El Reg.
Personally, I think this is wrong-headed: but it springs from two quite separate motivations. On the one hand, it is just an obstruction tactic. On t’other, I suspect some bodies genuinely believe they are doing their job when they do this, and protecting ip that they have a duty to protect.
This case merely takes the argument one step further on. The data that Mr Short wants does have a commercial value: but there is also no earthly reason why that should stop it being publically available. My sense, from talking to TfL, is that they regarded this as morally, ethically wrong: those who support open access and the various common release projects out on the web will obviously take a diametrically opposed view.
Personally, I see no issue with someone attempting to profit from publically available data. A couple of years back, I modelled up the outlook for people to be drawn into the government’s vetting scheme. I used publically available stats on the Labour market and, I gather, almost certainly re-invented an approach and method used by KPMG on behalf of the Home Office.
I stuck the whole result into excel underneath a VBA shell and made it available to anyone who asked. The whole probably took me about a day’s work and cost zilch.
I bet KPMG charged a load more! But their argument would be that they deserved some payment for the work required to build the model.
The only irritation with this process is that the HO kept saying that KPMG had “modelled the outlook” – which was nonsense. They’d worked out an outlook, based on feeding one set of parameters into their model – and then they had chosen not to reveal to the public what would happen with different parameters. Anyone using my model could have played endless what-if games by changing parameters…so in principle, mine was better value for the public.
Would you like to tell me a bit more about this by sending a message to me off-board (just click on my name in the piece). Would be very interested.
...the Express admin appear to have got their act together and done something to remove the offending material. So nothing to see here after all.
Oh. But what's this "cached" button do?
Well, i never....
Quite the opposite...
...being of Eastern European descent myself.
No: there is no such “language” as Eastern European – but there is the slavic group of languages, in which many many words appear in similar form across several different languages.
There’s enough similarity for me to be able to work out the content of a Polish conversation from my knowledge of Russian – and vice-versa. I don’t know the exact etymollgy of “proverka”: I’ve encountered it in a russian context…but it’s the sort of word that almost certainly crosses over. So, not knowing the actual language of origin, I was playing safe: if anyone knows it is DEFINITELY linked to one country rather than another, would be interested to know that.
Mmmm. That's why i wrote:
"The federal government in Ontario is in a lather after the Superior Court of Justice struck down laws against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade."
The numbers aren't exactly anything, since at various points throughthis process, the DCSF was quoting dfferent approximations and ranges. The start figure, in one place, was 320k...which would give the lift to 400k as 25%. However, they didn't even forecast a definite rise to 400k: it was a range.
The bottom line is: at one point they were suggesting about 300k. At another, they were suggesting about 400k. If you take bottom of lower range to top of higher range, you are probably looking at an increase of the order of 40-something percent. If you take top of lower to bottom of higher, you are closer to 20%. Guess i may be letting them off lightly by notgoing for the most extreme figures.
Really? I mean REALLY?
i wrote "mild" and i meant "mild" - and i did that from the persepctive of having read both the IPCC FAR and the Stern Review pretty much cover to cover - plus various helpful documents from the US DOE, the UK government and the like. Bonus points for you if you did the same: points away if you haven't.
You also need to pay attention to the detail: I am not taking issue here with the judgement delivered by the ASA, as with the poor quality of the complaints. If you read the ASA report, you will see they are in such general terms, and critical of the whole climate change edifice to the extent that they don’t really add up. There IS a consensus that extra CO2 causes warming…and there is also conssensus that a chunk of the current increase is anthropogenic.
Now go find me a decent model that puts quantifiable bounds around those two measures. And the difficulty is you can’t. What you get (courtesy of Stern) is 13 different reviews that come up with the range I quote. You also have the IPCC stating that a 2 degree rise in temperature is not ideal, but manageable. So whilst it would not be ideal, I think it justified as being termed “mild” by comparison with some of the other scenarios out there.
And again, if you know your climate science, you will know that a projected increase in atmospheric CO2e to 1000 ppm above pre-industrial levels is presently considered way outside likely outcomes. Not impossible: but a very extreme outcome, when the majority of medium-term projections out there right now are suggesting an increase of 450-550ppm.
So what’s my point? DECC, then Act on CO2, then ASA and finally Ofcom have all agreed that the ad in question was OK “because” scientists have said it “could” be possible. Sure: I agree it “could”. But this strikes me as a very very bad principle indeed. Becauze you end up saying that you can say pretty much stick anything in an ad and have it deemed non-political if one of the outcomes you highlight “could” just remotely happen.
As for being a sceptic…? Yes, in terms of the detail: no, in terms of the trend. It might help if you check out my publishing record OFF the record before you toss that sort of word across my bows in future.
I’d certainly describe myself as an expert on the issues around climate change (though not a scientist)…and the fact that I am likely to be publishing extensively in that field over the next 12 months suggest that others agree with me.
First, i am going to aplogise for mis-reading a figure. The range should be 2.8 to 17.1. The figure comes not from the Exec summary, but from table 1.1 in "Part I: Climate Change – Our Approach". I am not saying that 2.2 - or even 2.8 - per se, is a wonderful outcome. Just that for the most extreme outcome currntly being modelled, the range of associated tempeatures is so wide as to be almost meaningless in practical policy terms.
If you look even at the mid-range of current forecasts (450 ppm to 550 ppm) you are predicting a change ini temperature between 0.6 and 9.1 degrees celsius.
Yes. As several people have commented in debate on this matter elewhere (i can't remember if Ms Featherstone made the link herself), the chances of a young white boy being picked up for the same reason are significantly smaller - or at least believed to be such.
So in this instance, the colour is relevant.
Thanks. For the record, i use the term beause it is what many - but no, not all - sex workers seem to prefer.
Partly becaue there are serious negatve connotations with the p-word, as it finds is way into language pejoratively in the sense of "to prostitute oneself", and also because of the now abolished offence of "common prostitution".
Second, because not everyone presumed to be turning up at these games, trafficked or otherwise, would be necessarily there as a "prostitute"...which does have current legal definition which includes oneor other forms of penetrative sex.
Someone providing "extras" in a massage parlour is a sex worker but not technically a prostitute. A dominatrix - at least in the UK - may be a sex worker but probably is not a prostitute.
And so on.
Overall, though, my touchstone is courtesy. I don't believe the law should proscribe against using particular words or phrases. I emand the right to be tactless, insulting or offensive. But in general, i really don't believe i should be any of those.
If people who do sex work prefernot to be referred to as prostitutes, i consider it common courtesy not to refer to them as such - and the fact that i have the privilege of writing for a widely-read site makes that courtesy more, not less, necessary.
I mean otherwise, i might start suggesting that some IT workers were prostituting their talents...and then where would we be? :)
I'm sure this story is just WRONG...in loads of ways.
Yep. I’d more or less buy this. I freelance. At any given time, I maight be writing pieces for the Register, Erotic Review, Index on Censorship, Business Insights, Police Review…to name but a few.
The way it goes is: I pitch an idea…two or three sentences. If an editor likes it, they’ll say yes, give me a wordcount, and off I go. I am expected to check out the publication so I have some idea of style, permissible content, etc. though there are things that don’t appear in the editorial guidelines for a lot of publications that, in time, you just get to know.
I know, therefore, that a proportion of my court pieces don’t get picked up because I get excited by ongoing trials…whilst editors are very wary of contempt of court. I also know, in respect of one top-shelf mag, that I may not submit pieces that in any way explore issues that might be considered to skirt the borders of non-consexual sex.
That is interesting, because there is an odd sensitivity there based on context: cosmo, f’rinstance, did a fairly insightful piece on “rape play” and why women even contemplate it. I wouldn’t bother pitching that to a mag like Foreplay, because even if I did it as serious insightful treatment, they would be far more concerned at being seen to advocate non-consensuality, whilst Cosmo can trade on its reputation and “everyone knows” it wouldn’t.
Another mag – not the Register, but I ain’t saying who – drives me up the wall with their nit-picking corrections. Some editors are secret sub-editors! Though at the end of the day, they usually do a good job and I can see how their input improves the quality.
On t’other hand, humour is a minefield and there have been times when I and even the world’s greatest sub-ed’s have fallen out on this one.
Hmmm. I write tis after reading the early comments, so maybe the overview changes. However, i get the distinct sense that i have failed in this piece. Because a fair few people haven't got what i was getting at and, in the end, it is my job as a writer to communicate my meaning clearly.
This s not having a go at anyone in particular (americans, puritans, anglo-saxons). Nor is it particularly advocating any single moral stance. Rather, this piece was intended to explore the question of whether it might be damaging, culturally, if some of the world's largest social media all tend to be managed or owned by representatives of one cultural strand.
Facebook and Apple are good exemplars of that strand.
Its certainly not about whether theit take on censorship is good or bad. I am informed that my outpourings tend to be regularly blocked in the Middle East. Fair enough: i don't agree with tha view, but if the authorities in Dubai don't wish to permit their populace to access my subversive writings, that is between the people of Dubai and the government of that country.
What would be far more contentious would be if Dubai controlled a major media channel, and censored off the air all mention of a particular debate...or certain sorts of images.
That is compounded in this case by the fact that the world's largest social networking site is US controlled: the world's fastest advancing mobile technology is US-conrolled...and so on.
Its not a particularly US phenomenon: probably, as some have sugested, more of a corporate one. TheUS, culturally, is far more tolerant of speech than many European countries...but far more squeamish about imagery we would probably consider quite acceptable. (I am reminded of comments from another context altogether: UK legal representatives incapable of understanding what particular imagery they have declared extreme and pornographic could be if NOT produced for sexual titilation).
Perhaps a far more mundane example - but maybe even more insidious - is the fact that many spell check programmes are set initially to the US version...creating a generation of UK schoolkids who believe the US spelling of various words is the "correct" one.
Personally, i think nudity is pretty much a non-issue, and find Facebook's obsession with it to be laughable. It worries me a little, though, as it contributes to sexualisation of imagery that is often not meant to be sexual.
Back to Apple and corporatism: the arguments going on are between Apple and news media owners in the US, in Germany and in the UK, because Apple is close o demanding they censor their news in order to be published on Apple. Acceptable? A lot of people thnk not.
To be honest, at the end of the day, i felt that the bigest issue out of all of this is the way in which accounts get banned on a simple complaint: if the corporatesare teaching anything, it is that offense = power. Get offended and you have a right to dictate things to othrs...not a good result.
What a wonderfully self-revelatory post. "Filth"? Not sure that was what i ws writing about at all. Rather, my focus was on the differeing values adopted by different cultures and questionng whether itis a good thing if one culture's hegemony, technologically, resulted in those values being pushed around the world.
Probably not something many americans worry about at present...but imagine if the boot were on the other foot...and the US was being systematically "swamped" with Chinese cultural values.
One prime area where this issue comes up is in respect of nakedness. There is no a priori reason for considering nakedness to be "filth": the focus of a lot of my commentary was not on pornographic action, but simple display of the human form.
That was why i raised the issue of Germany, where two different cultures, reunited after years apart are struggling to come to terms with their differing attitudes to nudity.
So what is the issue? Presumably ac, in this instance, finds nakedness in any context to be "filth". I am not going to persuade him (or her) of the wrongness of that point of view. It is merely worth noting that that is not a position held by everyone: indeed, in some quarters, that position might be considered downright disturbed.
Actually, you have it in a nutshell, and there is no good answer...(and just wait for my next piece on this subject!).
There are problems whichever way you leap. If you allow journalists to "self-identify", then anyone with a blog gets to be a journo...and the exemption spreads very wide.
However, if you go the other route, with increasingly draconian rules about accreditation, you can end up with a situation akin to that in some highly authoritarian countries where a journalist can be kept in line by a threat to remove her accreditation.
Which do you prefer?
...yet more evidnce that anything slightly fancy is wasted!
The original quote, of which i am well aware is "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". Comes from Matthew 26:41 .
I was trying to be ever so slightly clever by inventing a variation on that. I see now that i shouldn't have been. :(
And oops...my original version went: "whose spirit may have been all too willing, but whose flesh proved that bit stronger". It was a delibrate play with the original.
That said, i rather think i prefer the subbed version, which maintains the allusion, but still inverts the idea.
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