Young and Unemployed? You could become a Pornographer, says DWP.

I want to share a document with you, a page from Chapter 20 of the Department of Work and Pensions recently revised guidance for Work Programme providers, one which deals specifically with the provision of wage incentives to employers under the Youth Contract – i.e. this is where the DWP pay employers a bounty of up £2,275 for taking on a young person aged between 18 and 24 who has been unemployed and claiming benefits for at least six months. Now I’m guessing that even the title of that page “Jobs within the Adult Entertainment Industry” will have given a few people a WTF??? moment, but it should be stressed that the DWP does not provide wage incentives to employers in the adult… Read more »

On the banning of revenge porn

There is a new petition up at calling on David Cameron to ban revenge porn:

Revenge porn is the intentional sexual humiliation of ex partners by posting intimate and naked photos/videos on-line. The jilted ex often writes malicious and damning remarks about the subject and provides they personal information to open them up to further abuse from website users. This is a phenomenon that usually affects women but does affect men also. The abuse of trust, and public humiliation that is associated with acts of revenge porn is something that should be illegal. Women/men affected are made into involuntary porn stars and the abuse that follows, from users of revenge porn websites, adds to the distress of… Read more »

Domestic Abuse Statistics and Margins of Error

Today’s Observer is running a story on research by Citizens Advice which, more than anything else, serves to demonstrate just how easily statistical information can be abused to present an alarming but potentially inaccurate picture of reality…

Domestic abuse: half a million victims ‘too terrified to come forward’ Study uncovers hidden casualties of violence, many of them too scared to report the crime More than half a million victims of domestic abuse are too terrified to come forward and report their experiences, according to provisional estimates of research that specialists hope will quantify the true extent of the crime. Citizens Advice has conducted research over the last year that reveals a higher level of abuse than previously reported. A pilot… Read more »

One Flew Over The Hemming’s Nest

Before getting into this I should explain that this particular article was to have been on the subject of the so-called ‘forced caesarian section’ case, which has of course been one of the more prominent news stories of the last few days, and the article was to have focussed on a number of matters I’ve been discussing on Twitter with various people, notably The Heresiarch, in regards to what some may see an discrepancies and/or inconsistencies in the information contained in the two legal rulings relating to this case that have been published to date*. *See Re: AA: Approved judgment of Mr Justice Mostyn (PDF 99kb) and P (A Child) [2013] EW Misc 20 (CC) (01 February 2013) In regards to the role… Read more »

How to Filter Twitter Abuse from Ask.FM

Okay, this is a quick public service post for Twitter users who are currently receiving unblockable abusive messages sent by trolls via Ask.FM. Any permanent fix for this issue will have to come either from Ask.FM dealing with their troll problem or from Twitter pulling the plug on Ask.FM’s Twitter API access, but in the meantime, some relief can be gained by using filters to clean up what you see in your timeline. The key to filtering these messages is to realise that they all contain a link to the original message on Ask.FM which starts with “”, so… If you use a third party Twitter client, like Tweetdeck, Seesmic, etc. then most up to date clients include a mute… Read more »

Sex Selective Abortion and the Public Interest

Okay, time to get back in the saddle after a short break to recharge my batteries and we’ll start, as so often seems to be the case, with abortion and an editorial which finds the Telegraph in somewhat conspiratorial mood:

The decision of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to prosecute two abortion doctors who allegedly broke the law by offering gender-specific terminations raises a host of questions that need urgently to be answered. The apparent abuses were exposed by a Daily Telegraph undercover investigation into suggestions that clinics were prepared to offer “sex-selection” abortions to women who were carrying girl foetuses. After an 18-month police investigation, the CPS agreed there was sufficient evidence to bring charges and a realistic… Read more »

Straight Pride UK v Oliver Hotham

No matter how often people run afoul of the Barbara Streisand effect, there are some people – and some organisations – who never quite get around to understanding the futility of their own censorious instincts. Take a rather curious organisation by the name of ‘Straight Pride UK‘, a rather ridiculous and absurdly premised ‘campaign for straight equality’ that’s so out and proud that it’s domain name is registered through a commercial domain privacy service to conceal the identity of the site’s owner(s) and the only other contact information given is an 07010 telephone number, which is essential a personal telephone redirection service. Look at the organisation’s website you could easily be forgiven for thinking that it’s a Poe, but apparently… Read more »

Tackling Twitter Abuse and the value of Geolocation

So, while we’re waiting for Twitter to update its systems with a ‘report abuse’* button let’s give some thought to a very simple and non-intrusive change that Twitter could easily make to its platform that would help take the edge off some of the recent issue with rape and other threats that have directed towards women. * I’m not going to comment on the ‘report abuse’ button thing directly. Suffice to say that any such system is only ever going to be as good as the amount of time, effort and money that Twitter choose to put into dealing with reports of abusive behaviour, particularly as such systems are themselves, and by definition, wide open to abuse by people who think… Read more »

Cameron ‘Porn’ Advisor’s website ‘hacked’ – Threatens/Libels Blogger

I’m perhaps one of the last people you’d expect to see stepping up to defend Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) but you’d be wrong because there are principles that come into play whenever a blogger, even one as notorious as Guido, is subjected to an unjustified, hectoring attack by a bullying politician for reasons that have never been better expressed than by the playwright Robert Bolt:

Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law! More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that! More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on… Read more »

Harriet Harman, the BBC and Those ‘Disappearing’ Female Presenters

A little over a month ago you may recall that there was a bit of a short-lived furore over claims that female TV presenters routinely disappear from our screens once they reach the age of 50. The source of this claim was a Labour Party policy review group with the rather ostentatious title of the “Commission on Older Women” and, more specifically, Labour’s current Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman who, let’s be honest, has more than enough previous form when it comes to statistics abuse to justify checking her figures yourself even if she were to tell you that two plus two equals four. To give a quick recap, the headline claims that appeared just over a month ago in the New… Read more »