Sorry to break into a non-programming rant. No python today.

Over the past week or so, there has been a small war within journalism. Charlotte Laws, a reporter, discovered that another reporter was writing about her daughter. Specifically this reporter (Hunter Moore) discovered, via dubious sources, compromising information about her daughter accepting bribes in her political job.

Well, apparently the reporter Charlotte Laws doesn't agree, at least when her relatives are involved. So she began using the DMCA to force the other reporter to take down the photos of the bribe. Taking the site down didn't work very well. The site was hosted in France, so she started targetting his lawyer, his advertisers and his mother's employer. When Hunter Moore attempted to spread his story via Facebook, she used her connections to get Facebook to muffle him. She used a private security company to block access to his site, posted his personal contact info online, and eventually had the FBI raid his home.

To justify her actions, she cites the language from Moore's site, www.is-anyone-up-for-corruption.com. Moore described himself as "pure evil" and commenters taunted the corrupt politicians he exposed as "fat cows" and "whales".

Note: If google took you here but you are looking for something entirely different, this might be what you are looking for.

Ok I lied slightly. Charlotte Laws' daugher wasn't a corrupt political agent taking bribes. Actually, the only thing the photo of her revealed is that, like many women, she has a left breast. (The existence of a right breast can be neither confirmed nor denied.) But everything else is true according to Charlotte Laws. I really have no desire to criticize Charlotte Laws - while I disagree with her actions, they are certainly understandable. And Hunter Moore is certainly not the stereotypical reporter revealing the truth (TM) I portrayed in my first two paragraphs - he's actually a great big jerk and his website is full of assholes.

Generally speaking, when free speech comes under attack, it happens under the guise of muzzling great big jerks. Jerks like Stephen Boisson, who is opposed to homosexuality, Ezra Levant who is a racist far right Jew, and Anna Hazare who is proponent of flogging drunks.

I'll single out Anna Hazare as a real jerk since his crusades personally affected me (I'm neither gay, Muslim or Canadian, so the other jerks I mention don't personally affect me). I'm a drinker myself and I used to live in Anna's home state of Maharashtra. The intolerant culture he and others like him created was terrible - high taxes on alcohol put it out of the reach of most people and the drinking age of 25 was ridiculous. Of course, I'm being a bit unfair here - the real reason people want to muzzle Anna Hazare is that he is one of India's biggest crusaders against corruption.

Or consider the case of Aseem Trivedi who published sexual and derogatory material which is, by the standards of his home state of Maharashtra, highly offensive:

sexual and derogatory material

The fact is that when the politically powerful are given the power to stop jerks from speaking, they will use this power. They will target jerks filming innocent civil servants and making them look bad.

Lets bring the topic back to revenge porn. Revenge porn can ruin lives. On May 27, 2011, an innocent man named Carlos playfully sent scantily clad photos of himself to a friend of his. People who disliked him posed as women online in an effort to discredit him. At some point Carlos accidentally sent a public tweet, and eventually several of his ex girlfriends publicly posted scantily clad photos that Carlos had shared with them. As a result, Carlos was hounded by the media and forced to quit his job. The incident haunts him to this day - in 2013 he applied for another job and was rejected due in part due to the revenge porn posted about him two years prior. At this point his career is likely over and his life is ruined.

revenge porn revenge porn

When free speech is attacked, the attacks always begin with great big jerks, racists, hackers and the like. If we give the politically powerful the ability to hide a left breast from the public, we also give them the ability to hide Carlos Danger's wiener, and we give the Mumbai Crime Branch the ability to hide offensive cartoons of a corrupt politician fellating a mobster. If we give them the ability to hide a nip slip, we give them the ability to hide police officers shooting someone's dog for no good reason. As techies, we all know that once it starts, it rarely stops. That's why I'm standing with Hunter Moore. He's a great big jerk, but he needs to have the right to post facts that politically powerful people like Charlotte Laws want to keep hidden. Because if Hunter Moore loses that right to speak, then Anna Hazare, the NY Daily News, and the rest of us will too.

P.S. Relatedly, consider the utterly messed up case of 4chan vs Scooby. He was a really nice guy and he helped me to get my pushups right. I hope one day to have a chest like his. Someone on reddit summed up my feelings on the matter: "WTF why scooby?!?! He's all about how to deadlift, not how to suck cock." But unfortunately, I don't see a way to simultaneously preserve free speech and protect Scooby from 4chan. And that really sucks, because Scooby was pretty cool.


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