So now that the USA has overturned Net Neutrality, Congress has moved on to selecting a target for censorship. You’d think, given how much the yammer on about their first two amendments they might think that this was not such a bright plan, but nope apparently not.
They’ve now passed an amalgamated version of SESTA and FOSTA, which are in that category of legislation which no one wants to vote against based solely on the name of it. After all, what kind of politician seeking reelection would vote against sex trafficking or child sex trafficking?
So where’s the problem?
Well, America is, as we all know, a nation founded by protestant zealots and it still shows. Prostitution is still illegal in most of the states (Nevada is an exception and there might be one or two others now, but I’m not sure) and, somewhat unsurprisingly, consensual commercial sex activities are already being targeted under the new legislation; even where it’s clearly got nothing to do with any form of human trafficking.
So there’s that, but this is America we’re discussing and they just love to go above and beyond. So this legislation is aimed at eliminating the “safe harbour” provisions for telecommunications, Internet and hosting providers/carriers.
Which is why various companies are already acting in anticipation of the legislation to come into force to purge their networks of anything that even might be related to sex or the sex industry.
Apparently that already includes:
- Sexually explicit personal images being arbitrarily deleted from Google Drive storage with no recourse.
- Banning or shadow banning on social media networks, including Twitter.
- Entire subreddits have been removed from Reddit.
- Craigslist has removed the entire personals section.
- Microsoft now intercepts Skype calls and messaging, Outlook.com and Live.com communications in order to detect and censor any nudity or use of profanity. Any individuals transmitting either will be banned (presumably third parties sending email with either will be blocked, but that has yet to be confirmed).
- YouTube is deleting all sex education videos.
- And many more, expect it to increase once Trump actually signs the damned thing. A partial list is available here
Of course there’s no indication yet as to how much this will be enforced against everyone outside of the USA, but I expect it will be enforced quite broadly, just like they already attempt with the DMCA.