Tag Archives: social networking

The Insanity Defense – Part 3:Loyalty,Truth and Justice in the Psychiatrist-Defendant Relationship?

In part two I explored the ethical relationship between the psychiatrist and the court system. Now I will revisit the hired gun side of the psychiatrist, defendant, and attorney relationship.

If a psychiatrist has been hired by the defense, should the psychiatrist say what the defense wants him to? Should the defense psychiatrist accept the role of a hired gun? For instance, a doctor (let us call the Doctor A), might say he has been hired by the defense, and knows the prosecution will find a psychiatrist (whom we’ll call Doctor B) who doesn’t believe the insanity defense is applicable in this case.

Doctor B will say the defense was totally responsible. Doctor A’s job is to be an advocate for the defense because he is a hired gun; therefore his job is to give the best case he can to say the defendant was not responsible at the time of the crime. Does that mean he has to lie or twist the facts? He is there as an advocate for the defendant, and if he has experience as a hired gun for defense cases, he knows why he has been hired and what is expected of him. Or, should he lean towards a higher form of truth, realizing he is there to serve justice? If he finds he believed the defendant was sane, and knew what he was doing at the time of the crime, should he then say that in court?

This is a conflicting decision to make, as it throws the questions of loyalty verses truth and justice against each other. When a psychiatrist goes into the courtroom, he swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The court system however, does not always allow the truth to come out. He is obligated to answer the questions that are posed to him. If someone does not ask him the right questions, it is out of order for him to volunteer information the court ought to know in order to make a reasonable and just decision. He could be found in contempt of court for presenting information no one has asked to comment on, but that happens to be the most important for the decision.

Given this situation, should the psychiatrist or the expert witness wash their hands of the case, knowing the truth may not be presented? Would it be ethical for the defense psychiatrist, after he has testified on his client’s behalf, to offer a statement to the court, which would help the prosecution’s case because he felt there were some important issues that should be brought out?

In this case, one can only file a “friend of the court” petition with the consent of the parties being defended. It would be doubtful that the defense would consent to having an “off the record” supplementary statement filed by the psychiatrist, saying in effect that while he testified for the defense, he personally believes the defendant is guilty. This would not normally be allowed in court. The courts are mechanisms for dispute resolution and follow their own rules. Thus, injustice is sometimes what comes out of the court, and both the prosecution and the defense would likely agree with this point.

The public may have a jaundiced view of the insanity defense. Sometimes political pressure helps create an atmosphere where the best and right decision cannot be made. On many occasions a defendant will decide not to accept an insanity defense or other psychiatric defense for fear he will have to spend more time in an institution than he would if he pled guilty to a crime.

Many people would agree that given the choice of pleading guilty or walking out of the courtroom on probation, or pleading innocent and running the risk of going to jail, it would be advisable to enter a guilty plea even though you are innocent. Experienced psychiatrists are aware of this when they evaluate patients who are under the belief that if they are innocent, they should plead innocent. Part of the psychiatrist’s job is to explain to the attorneys that the defendant may not be mentally ill – they just don’t understand the court system.

We regularly read, regarding ethical issues, that it is unethical for a lawyer to enter a guilty plea on behalf of his client who is incompetent. Likewise, it is unethical for a lawyer to enter a guilty plea for his client if he knows his client is not guilty. In reality, though, if somebody questions his client’s competence, he will be obligated to have his client spend 30 days in confinement, awaiting a determination of whether he is competent. If he is found incompetent, he will spend 90 days in a state hospital waiting to be released. If however, he enters a guilty plea to begin with, regardless of the fact that he is incompetent to enter a guilty plea, the client on many occasions will walk out the same day.

One could question why the general public complains about the insanity defense undermining public justice, when what often happens is the undermining of justice in the American legal system.

By: Peter Sabbagh


The bystander effect and online social networking

The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon in which people are less likely to offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely proportional to the number of bystanders.

With millions of Internet users communicating through social network environments everyday, the bystander theory may not remain a valid theory for online social networking.  Because people are joining social networking communities to make friends, these people are more inclined to come to the aid of a friend or distant contact if personal emergency were discovered. The challenge that we face online is how millions of nonprofessionally trained folks determine the validity of a “call for help”, and how do these users know if someone else has acted on a potentially serious “call for help”. We could have a “Digg” format where users responding to an apparent serious communication click a “helped” button making visible their response to help someone.

Does the Bystander Rule apply to Internet users? Is it time for the formalization (accountability) of “calls for help” on the Internet?

Because the social networking communities are open to all people that have a computer and Internet connection, it serves as a vehicle for expressing an individuals feelings on a regular and real-time basis. By allowing an online community member to interact with other members virtually, they can freely express thoughts and feelings they may not normally share when in a face to face situation off line. It’s like speaking with your psychologist or psychiatrist instead of a family member or friend.

A possible approach suggested by the American Psychologist to negate the bystander effect, is to pick a specific person in the crowd to ask for help rather than appealing to the larger group. For example, point directly to a specific bystander and give the person a specific task such as, “you in the red shirt, dial 911.” This clarifies the situation and places the responsibility directly on a specific person instead of allowing it to diffuse.

To counter a potential Internet bystander affect do we need a “First Responder” appointed within each social networking community? The Internet is a growing exponentially, and becoming a more formalized and less unstructured. In the future there may be increasing need for a specific point of contact in social networking communities to defuse emergency situations; a “First Responder” could be localized for language purposes on a country to country basis.

Does the bystander rule apply to online social networking communities? It may be too soon to tell, but one can assume that because a community member is not physically near the person in need of help, and because they joined a community to build and maintain relationships, the likely hood of a bystander (member) helping in a crises situation may increase as apposed to decrease.

In the future, we may see social networking environments such as FaceBook, MySpace, or Twitter employing a first level “call for help” support option within its virtual environment, or a team of around-the-clock psychologists’ on duty to review incoming “calls for help.” If this model takes affect, we may also be asked to sign a waiver that relinquishes responsibility on the part of the social networking company, so it is not responsible for interventions that do not reach authorities, or become neutralized in a timely manner.

Mental health counseling may be incorporated into the next evolution of the social networking community –

A further step in this direction may be a new social networking business model, one supporting psychotherapy counseling professionals and social networking communities that offer a “pay as you go” counseling service to its online community members. With millions of members sharing their daily woes online, this idea could be effective and profitable, and there would be no shortage of clients.

The following are internet and non internet related “call for help” situations, where some people initiated a “call for help,” and others did not.

Call for help via the internet

NPR Linton Weeks) -January 8, 2009 • Alarm bells went off Sunday night for readers of a Twitter message by a woman known on the Web as Thordora. She writes a “mommy blog” — Spin Me I Pulsate — about the triumphs and tribulations of domesticity. In a tweet, Thordora asked, “If I smother my 3 year old, who will NOT GO TO F****** SLEEP, is it REALLY a crime?”

Over the next two hours, a new kind of Web story unfolded — including a real-world visit by police to check the child’s safety. Someone plugged in to the network of bloggers and Twitter apparently knew the identity of Thordora and called the police in her locale. Thordora explained her side of the story on her blog. She was tired, she wrote, and she had “yelled, threatened and cajoled” her 3-year-old daughter to get into bed. At 11 p.m. the police came to her house. Thordora opened the door to her daughter’s bedroom and showed the sleeping child to the police to prove her child was OK. “So lesson learned ladies,” Thordora wrote. “Don’t do any venting in public. Don’t network. Don’t show anything LESS than perfect bliss…”

Suicide in front of a Webcam:

When Abraham Biggs committed suicide in front of a Webcam in November 08, some internet users texted messages egging him on.

Online intervention:

Ayelet Waldman, also a bipolar mother, received help and encouragement from people on the Internet several years ago when she admitted to suicidal tendencies in her blog. She has written a book about the experience called Bad Mother.

In an interview with NPR in December (2008), Waldman said, “I think we’re just beginning to understand how we can participate in something that is so widespread and in such a community, while at the same time being ourselves in a very intimate place. I mean, you’re home or at the office, you’re also — you are participating in a community that in many cases is much larger than your regular live-action community.”

Stanford’s Professor Fogg says, “My students tell me — and I’m starting to notice — that people use FaceBook as a ‘call for help’ quite frequently.” So what is the responsibility of someone who reads an alarming blog entry or e-mail or tweet like Thordora’s? “I would have done something,” says Fogg. “For one thing, she was talking about a child. We all feel a responsibility toward children. It makes everyone perk up. If she were to get drunk and go out driving, that would be different. Yes, it would be a concern to people — and dangerous on the road — but not in the same way.” But, suggests, in this case, “I would turn the coin over. I would tell her if she is going to post this kind of writing online, she needs to accept the fact that people will misinterpret it.” The responsibility rests on the blogger, the Twitterer, Fogg states. He suggests that people will take action and help others who sound like they are in trouble — on or off the internet. “That’s just normal human behavior.”
The Bystander Rule in the non Web space:

San Francisco Chronicle – TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) 2008

A dozen bystanders rushed in to help a 70-year-old man after he stumbled leaving a Southern California bank, causing thousands of dollars to scatter in the wind. Ludwig Geier says hundreds of bills were “gone in no time,” flying through the air and littering the First National Bank’s parking lot in Torrance on Monday. Almost immediately, about a dozen bystanders rushed in to help. The machine shop owner says about 96 percent of the money was found. Geier says he’s going to pray for those good Samaritans, adding, “If I could get them together, I’d buy them dinner and drinks.”

Wichita, Kan. (AP):

As stabbing victim LaShanda Calloway lay dying on the floor of a convenience store, five shoppers, including one who stopped to take a picture of her with a cell phone, stepped over the woman, police said. The June 23 situation, captured on the store’s surveillance video, got scant news coverage until a columnist for The Wichita Eagle disclosed the existence of the video and its contents Tuesday. Police have refused to release the video, saying it is part of their investigation.

“It was tragic to watch,” police spokesman Gordon Bassham said Tuesday. “The fact that people were more interested in taking a picture with a cell phone and shopping for snacks rather than helping this innocent young woman is, frankly, revolting.”

The woman was stabbed during an altercation that was not part of a robbery, Bassham said. It took about two minutes for someone to call 911, he said. Calloway , 27, died later at a hospital. The district attorney’s office will have to decide whether any of the shoppers could be charged, Bassham said. It was uncertain what law, if any, would be applicable. A state statute for failure to render aid refers only to victims of a car accident.

Eagle columnist Mark McCormick told The Associated Press, he learned about the video when he called Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams. He called to ask about a phone call he had received from a reader. The reader was complaining about a Police Department policy that requires emergency medical personnel to wait until police secure a crime scene before rendering aid. McCormick said Williams then unloaded on him about the shoppers in the stabbing case.”This is just appalling,” Williams told the newspaper. “I could continue shopping and not render aid and then take time out to take a picture? That’s crazy. What happened to our respect for life?”

ABC News LAUREN COX and RADHA CHITALE on June 6, 2008 reported

Yesterday’s release of surveillance video depicting a 78-year-old hit-and-run victim lying in the street but ignored by onlookers and motorists has sparked a public debate over the humanity and the responsibility of the city’s residents. Police release surveillance video of the crime in hopes of catching the driver.

Hartford, Conn., Mayor Eddie A. Perez announced his disgust Thursday after watching the footage, showing several cars swerving to avoid Angle Arce Torres, who was lying paralyzed and bleeding from the head. But while Perez calls such negligence “horrific,” those onlookers may not know how to act in such a medical emergency, or why their instincts tell them to stay put. Waiting in the Wings City officials told the Hartford Courant that four people called 911 to report last Friday’s incident — that may not always be enough in an emergency situation.

Tragically, some experts say the public’s inaction is a classic social occurrence. “It’s kind of a textbook case of bystander phenomenon,” says John Darley, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University.

Reasons why bystanders in groups fail to act in emergency situations –

There are many reasons why bystanders in groups fail to act in emergency situations, but social psychologists have focused most of their attention on two major elements. Wikipedia experts suggest that according to a basic principle of social influence, bystanders monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. Since everyone is doing exactly the same thing (nothing), they all conclude from the inaction of others that help is not needed. This is an example of pluralistic ignorance or social proof. The other major obstacle to intervention is known as diffusion of responsibility.  This occurs when observers all assume that someone else is going to intervene and so each person feels less responsible and refrains from doing anything.

The case of Kitty Genovese is the most famous example of the bystander effect. It is also the case that originally stimulated social psychological research in this area. Ms. Genovese was stabbed to death in 1964 by a serial rapist and murderer. According to newspaper accounts, the killing took place for at least a half an hour. The murderer attacked Ms. Genovese and stabbed her, but then fled the scene after attracting the attention of a neighbor. The killer then returned ten minutes later and finished the assault. Newspaper reports after Genovese’s death claimed that 38 witnesses watched the stabbings and failed to intervene or even contact the police. This event lead to widespread public attention and editorials that the United States had become a cold and uncaring society.

By: Peter Sabbagh

Style over function has taken social networking to a new level; a social networking and marketing trend without a computer or mobile technology… what’s next, sex in the sky?

If new social networking technologies like FaceBook and text messaging are not enough to keep you part of the social inner circle, there is now a new trend in social communications that doesn’t require a computer or cell phone. It is 50 meters up in the sky, and is called dinner, show biz,  marriage,  and meeting in the sky. The Europeans have pushed envelope when it comes to social networking trends, by introducing what appears to be an increasingly popular, and novel way to meet with friends and colleagues. It is a platform suspended at a height of 50 meters (164 feet) by a team of “industry professionals”. Although many of us may ask “where is the bathroom? I guess you will have to hand out umbrellas’ to the onlookers below your airborne event, or just hold on until you are lowered back down to the ground. The company response to this question was “It’s like in a normal restaurant: you ask the waiter where the toilet is and… you go down. It’s just a bit less discrete because the whole table goes down but it takes less than a minute”.

By: Peter Sabbagh

Photos via Meetings in the Sky.




Pornography online has not decreased in popularity; social networking, Hollywood, David Duchovny, and the Howard Stern gang have helped to increase its popularity. Here is a global snapshot of the porn and sex for sale business today

A recent online search study by Bill Tancer has found that because search terms used for pornography have decreased in the past ten years, and search terms used for social networking sites such as MySpace and FaceBook have increased, that on-line pornography usage has decreased. What a great way for Mr. Tancer to get publicity for his new book. While I appreciate his research, I would like to provide a broad perspective on the business of pornography today.


According to a recent review of Tancer’s book by Wired Magazine, “Tancer’s new book “Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why It Matters,” analyzes search trends of 10 million Internet users in the U.S. , (see chart below).” From this study Tancer has concluded that porn searches have fallen 10% from 20% a decade ago.

Wired went onto conducted their own search experiment and produced the following results: the Wired study found that “in a comparison of the terms “sex”, “porn,” MySpace,” “YouTube” and “Facebook” shows MySpace and YouTube skyrocketing above the lot with Facebook well on its way up as well.”
Search engines used in the Wired study:
1. lyrics
2. myspace
3. yahoo
4. weather
5. games
6. google
7. youtube
8. ebay
9. mapquest

Wired’s conclusion was that “While they may account for quite a bit, searches don’t necessarily translate into traffic. While the rise of social networks may give people more options online, until Facebook and MySpace jump into the X-rated realm it’s hard to believe that porn is facing that much of a downturn.
Perhaps the decrease in searches is just due to the fact that the porn industry and its consumers are getting smarter. As TechCrunch has pointed out, new YouTube-like porn video and microblogging sites (both links are to TechCrunch posts, i.e., SFW) have spawned, aggregating content to a central location. No need to search if you can go directly to the source.”

A comment following Wired’s article and search engine study:
“Bottom line: just because people are searching less on large search engines does not mean that the demand is dwindling. The whole hype about niche services, specialized portals, and targeted advertisement should point into that direction, too. Maybe people know after one or two searches where to go to, like pornotube, timtube, redtube, youporn, etc. and search there. Maybe SEO placement and analysis and “conversion” optimization works better for porn than for social networks, where most people are still clueless and have to search instead of discover.” Thorsten Claus – posted in Wired follow-up comment

Time Magazine

The Porn Factor

An article on pornography and relationships by Time Magazine, suggests that “ In a 2001 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 70% of 15-to 17-year-olds said they had accidentally come across pornography online.” And that       preteens and teens have replaced National Geographic and Penthouse for online pornography viewing. “Pornography is affecting people at an increasingly young age,” says sociologist Diana Russell, who has written several books on the subject. “And unfortunately for many kids growing up today, pornography is the only sex education they’ll get.”
Yet most users say sex online is nothing more than good (if not quite clean) fun. “According to a 2001 online survey of 7,037 adults, two thirds of those studied visit websites with sexual content…,” three-quarters report “masturbating while online, and majority of respondents—85% to 90%—according to Cooper, who heads the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Center, which conducted the study, are what he calls “recreational users,” people who view pornography as a curiosity or diversion.”

Hollywood, California

Fox News Blames Internet, Los Angeles for David Duchovny’s Sex Addiction. If David Duchovny is any barometer of the popularity of internet porn, it is still very much alive and well. David recently check himself into rehab for what is called “sex addiction.” David currently is the star of SHO Times Golden Globe winning Californication, which is  nominated for two Emmy Awards. Some reports believe that one of his problems was spending time on Internet porn sites.

Photo source

Howard Stern’s on-line web site, does it qualify as pornography? You decide. Also note that it is safe to say that Stern’s fans search for his web site through a direct search method, not a random porn query.

Link to the Stern website

The demand for various types on-line porn programming is reflected in the following viewer numbers, Howard Stern on Fox News…

“Multichannel News (March 9, 2006) reports that Howard Stern’s interview on “Hannity & Colmes” was pure platinum for the Fox News Channel:

Fox News Channel’s two-part interview with Howard Stern Tuesday and Wednesday made Hannity & Colmes the top news show in the adults 25-54 demo for both days, averaging 507,000 of those viewers (up 40% compared with its February average).


BNET stated that,” Howard Stern has been credited with changing the face of radio with his top-rated morning program. Certainly no radio personality has had the impact Stern has had with more than 20 years on the air. His dominance in the important 18-49 male demographic stands alone. A continuous radio market leader from coast to coast, he has registered superior ratings year after year in markets large and small.”

London’s off-street sex industry

London Revealed: the truth about brothels
A survey into London’s off-street sex industry has exposed just how widespread it is.

In Julie Bindel’s recent 2008 off-line brothel report, she finds that the business of sex is flourishing. The study was conducted through 120 hours of telephone calls to London’s brothel workers. She states that “at least 1,933 women are at work in London’s brothels; ages range from 18 to 55 (with several premises offering “very, very young girls. I would imagine that many of these Brothels have an online component (including webcams) to their business model.

Many of the businesses (85%) conduct their business in residential areas. “Almost two-thirds are located in flats and more than one-fifth are in a house. Wherever you are in the city, the likelihood is that buying and selling women is going on under your nose.”
“Our researchers contacted only brothels that advertised in local newspapers – not those that advertise on websites or on cards in telephone boxes. Because of this we only uncovered the tiniest corner of the trade. But we still encountered brothels in every London borough, with Enfield (a typical residential area of north London) having a minimum of 54, and Westminster at least 71. We estimated that the brothels we surveyed made anything from £86m to £209.5m in total per year through newspaper advertisements alone.”

In England it is a criminal offence to advertise prostitution services, apparently the law is not enforced, and this applies to pimps and punters well.

New York City
In a 2008 article by Jessica Pilo titled, Secrets of a New York City Hipster Hooker Jessica reports that her friends are “stylish, well-educated, and professionally successful young women in New York City. They also turn tricks on the side for $2,000 an hour. One day she decided to follow in their footsteps.” What about the use of camcorders in this business?

District of Columbia
PC World reported 2008 that nine city employees in the District of Columbia had been fired for using government computers to visit an “egregious” number of pornographic Web sites in 2007.
The action comes after a month long investigation of the computer usage habits of municipal employees by the city’s Chief Technology Officer, according to a statement released by Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty’s office.

Belfast via India

The Belfast Telegraph reported that India’s online comic strip porn lures thousands. Known for strict conservatism, India was the birthplace of erotica, famed for its sensual literature and carvings. “India’s cultural gifts to the world include the Kama Sutra and the sexually charged carvings that lure and intrigue tourists at Khajuraho. But the country’s reputation today is a much more conservative, buttoned-up society where couples risk opprobrium even for something as chaste as daring to hold hands in public.”

Little surprise then, perhaps, at the roaring success of 21st century India’s most recent contribution to the world of eroticism. The country’s first online pornographic comic book strip is luring tens of thousands of Internet viewers, who are logging on for a daily dose of stimulation and humor courtesy of the buxom.” Savita Bhabhi.

*There are also many BOLLYWOOD HARDCORE INDIAN PORN online sites.


Nigerian pupils browse porn on donated laptops
Reuters 2007 -ABUJA, – Nigerian schoolchildren who received laptops from a U.S. aid organization have used them to explore pornographic sites on the Internet, the official News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported on Thursday.

NAN said its reporter had seen pornographic images stored on several of the children’s laptops.
“Efforts to promote learning with laptops in a primary school in Abuja have gone awry as the pupils freely browse adult sites with explicit sexual materials,” NAN said. A representative of the One Laptop Per Child aid group was quoted as saying that the computers, part of a pilot scheme, would now be fitted with filters.”


BBC Report – Demand for Asian Porn is growing
The demand for British Asian pornography is outstripping supply. In a culture where even talking about sex is taboo the appetite for Asian porn is insatiable.

Wikipedia pornography by global region

United States

Pornography generates billions of dollars in sales in the United States alone, and economists have suggested that it has now reached the point where the outlawing of the industry, which has been tried on many occasions, could have a major negative economic impact on the country, and a prohibition-style legislated ban might spark a rise in organized crime much similar to that of the prohibition ban on alcohol did. An estimated 211 new pornographic films are made every week in the United States. With pot and porn outstripping corn, America’s black economy is flying high, The Guardian


Pornography in India is illegal and attracts several penal provisions. However, enforcement is extremely lax and pornographic materials are easily available. The law also states that only the distribution of pornography is illegal, while its creation and gaining access to it is not. Therefore, it is legal to access a pornographic site hosted on non-Indian servers. Pornographic films in India are called Blue Films and are available virtually anywhere; especially in areas where pirated material is already being sold.


Many U.S.-centric pornography websites distribute or focus on content shot in Europe or featuring actors from European (particularly Eastern European) countries. These actors (often advertised as “Eurobabes”) may conform more to a look usually identified with U.S. actresses than European ones, although they may still be considered to look “more natural.”

East Asia

The three main producers of pornography in Asia are Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Japan has a large pornography industry


Indecent exposure in Indonesia
Recently, William Sparrow of Asia Times reported that Indonesian media have reported a several distribution operations involving Internet pornographic “photos of local celebrities, including a Parliament member and ordinary citizens caught in the act on camera.”

Sex, Lawsuits and Celebrities Caught on Tape

New York Times reported that “Paris Hilton sex tape, an explicit bedroom video shot by a former boyfriend. The DVD has sold some 600,000 copies, thousand of file sharing on-line. Her notoriety paradoxically catapulted her to an even higher orbit of fame, establishing her as a kind of postmodern celebrity, leading to perfume deals, a memoir and the covers of Vanity Fair and W.” These tapes were and are still broadcast online.

Creed frontman Scott Stapp and Kid Rock
Former Creed frontman Scott Stapp has reached a settlement in his lawsuit over a 1999 sex tape featuring the rocker and ex-pal Kid Rock romping with four groupies. SFgate.com

Rob Lowe

Joe Levy, the executive editor of Rolling Stone, which covered the brouhaha over the Rob Lowe tape in the 80’s, said, “The huge difference between nearly 20 years ago and now is that pornography is more easily available, therefore there is far less of a stigma attached to it.” Yes porn is more available now particularly on the Internet.


New York Times magazine July 6, 2008

New York Times writer Virginia Heffernan stated in her article that “YouTube has managed to chasten porn-uploaders enough that they’ve been forced to create their own counterparts to YouTube, like Pornotube and Eroshare.” What about webcams, mobile devices, and file sharing?


Deaf Porn Gives Viewers an Eye-Opener

Wired (Regina Lynn) reported on porn trends for the def. “When was the last time you tuned into the dialogue while watching porn? If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, maybe never.”

“While many a hearing person has muted a porn video, it’s nice to have a choice about what you want to hear — or see — and what you don’t. Deaf Bunny (NSFW), the first deaf-owned and deaf-staffed porn company, launched in August with the mission of making porn accessible to deafies and their hearing partners in as many forms as possible.
Through subtitles, sign language, cartoonish thought bubbles, full audio and blatant use of technology, anyone can understand the complex plot and tangled relationships portrayed in the company’s first DVD release, Naughty Deaf Roommates.”


Pete Townshend Avoids Kiddie Porn Charge

CBS News reported that “The musician Pete Townshend acknowledged using his credit card to enter a Web site, advertising child pornography but said he was doing research for his autobiography.”

CNET (2008)

Porn on a plane: Flight attendants want filters
“Readers of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents some 19,000 workers including American Airlines flight attendants, asked American Airline’s management this week to consider adding filters to its in-flight Wi-Fi access to prevent passengers from viewing porn and other inappropriate Web sites while in-flight.”

World anti child online porn movement (2008)
74 nations jointly crack down on child porn

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported on an investigation in 74 countries including Japan, the United States and those in Europe, Southeast Asia and South America, to “ crackdown on child pornography video providers that use file-exchange software to distribute the images on the Internet,” The international police operation is designed to eradicate child porn, including video clips, which are proliferating over the Internet, sources said.

Online Porn

Latest and one of the fastest growing online porn company – built what is arguably the country’s most successful fetish porn company, Kink.com

New York Times article states that “Acworth has since built what is arguably the country’s most successful fetish porn company, Kink.com — a fast-growing suite of 10 S-and-M and bondage-themed Web sites, each updated weekly with a new half-hour or hour video segment. Kink has 60,000 subscribers; access to each site costs about $30 a month. Acworth founded Kink’s first site, Hogtied, while still at Columbia. He purchased licensed digital photographs for content, many of which were simply old bondage-magazine spreads, torn out and scanned. Almost immediately, Hogtied made several hundred dollars a day — then, with a few ads in place, more than a thousand.”

TI News (2008) states that “market research is relevant only to South America, and to “adult mobile content” which Signals Telecom Consulting estimates will be worth $US1.12 billion in that market by 2013. They tell us that Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela have the best images and video offering,” because in other countries ” in-house censorship imposed by the operators themselves is…holding back growth of this service. Google executives could not bring themselves to acknowledge, even when prompted by members of the press, that people might want to use Chrome’s anonymous browsing feature ‘Incognito’ to hide the fact that they have been visiting porn sites.”

As note in the above research, there are several possible reasons for the change in search engines numbers; here are some of the ways pornography is circulated throughout the world:

1. File sharing pc to pc
2. File sharing and down loading to mobile devices
3. Major porn sites are well known or established and many users do not have to search to find their favorite porn site
4. The Internet audience has grown over the past ten years, and the age of the internet user has changed. Now you have young and older users surfing the web, and using social networking sites. Before 2000 mostly hardcore pc users and people looking for general information used online search tools. Now the Internet user has matured, the number of users has increased, and they are more specific in their use of search terms
5. While social networking sites may receive many visitors because the number of users online has increased, Internet porn appears to be a thriving business globally
6. There are many high school age students, of both sexes actively viewing porn on the web and through filing sharing by mobile and PC
7. The Howard Stern Radio program is an indication of the overwhelming popularity of porn radio and on line porn
8. Bookmarking (a tool used by an online pc user) a web site will bring you right to a porn site without having to use a search term
9. Planes and airports are now spaces for a wide variety of Internet use, and these commuters are likely to be mature web users, and would know where to find a porn web site without using broad search terms
10. Webcams and mobile phone porn allows the user to broadcast or receive images from almost any location. Broad search terms use would not be necessary to locate a porn webcam broadcaster or receive mobile porn.

It is also clear that porn on and offline is still very popular throughout the world. While there may be a larger number of visitors to online social networking sites (because they are now attracting not only young users, but also the over 48 year old users including grandparents), porn usage is probably more popular today due to digital technology providing easy online access and file sharing. There are now new media channels and digital devices to search with, and receive pornographic content. It has also become common for preteens, teens, and adults to share pornographic material through their cell phones, or other digital devices.

I am not an expert on porn or porn sites, but I do know enough about online marketing, and the digital communications to determine that porn is a thriving business globally. It no longer requires you to own a computer to view it online, because today we have more communications devices to choose from that provide opportunities for porn to circulate as a viral message around the world.

By Peter Sabbagh

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Beware Investors; online social networking communities may have reached their peak –

If a recent research study by Comscore, Inc. is correct then social networking communities like Facebook have leveled off in North America, although not globally. The market for social networking has reached a point of maturity in North America, up a modest 9% in the past year. The total growth outside North America was up 25 percent. New  growth markets for social networking are currently the Middle East and Africa, where growth in the past year was up 66 percent, Europe experienced a 35 percent increase, and Latin America up 33 percent. What does this tell us about the current state of social networking? That cultural relevance is one very important element to creating online social environments. If future online social networks are to be effective they will have to have a cross-cultural theme, with natural language capabilities and full scale localization, targeting micro cultural country specific customs to allow for continued growth and longevity. If not, we will likely see the introduction of independent online micro social networks providing relevancy. This is already the case in South Korea, where culturally specific online social networking communities tailored for the Korean community exist.

Social Media has taken medical follow-up to the next level –

If your medical physician hasn’t offered to contact you by video, text or e chat, he may soon. Hello Health, a healthcare practice in the New York City area is offering an online practice option, stating that “you can talk to us as a friend: though emails, text, phone calls, instant message, or face to face, and even make appointments, and access your records on line”. Any one who knows anything about the typical medical practice is aware that they are not particularly tech savvy. For those currently using this technology, it may be a reasonable option to the dreaded office visit, particularly with the high price of gas. We may soon see more medical practitioners incorporating social media into their business model. It may not be long before your psychotherapist offers a similar option!

By: Peter Sabbagh

Twitter goes to the Democratic National and Republican Conventions

Sepia Mutiny, a cultural interest blog has introduced an event micro blog of interest to the South Asian American community, and possibly others outside the American Asian community. It is a microblog that will be covering the Democratic National and Republican Conventions with “tweets”. They hope to be able to capture and post a diversity of reactions to the event via Twitter feed. It looks like we will continue to see growth and novel applications of Twitter type services in the future, as new ideas appear on the micro blogging scene. http://www.sepiamutiny.com

By: Peter Sabbagh