Monday, September 29, 2008

Corporate Censorship of Audacia Ray

Author, director and sex blogger Audacia Ray is the latest prominent netizen to run head-on into increasing private regulation of online sexual speech. From Chris at Sex in the Public Square:
  • First of all, Dacia tried last month to open an account at Citibank for her business, Waking Vixen Productions. After filling out the preliminary paperwork, she received a voicemail delicately informing her that her line of business made them unable to take her account.
  • Then, early this month, she got a similar notice from iTunes, notifying her that her podcast, Live Girl Review, could no longer be included in their directory. ITunes was less direct than Citibank, saying only that podcasts could be excluded "for a variety of reasons." On checking out their podcast spec sheet, she found "strong prevalence of sexual content" included among the possible reasons that Apple can kick you to the curb.
  • And just last week, Google yanked her Google Checkout account, barely twenty-four hours after she'd put her new short film The Love Machine up for sale. According to the e-mail Google sent Dacia, "the products or services [she's] selling on [her] website are considered ‘Restricted’ per our policy- Adult goods and services."

Policies like these appear far broader than necessary to achieve legitimate goals such as shielding minors from pornography. As Chris points out, they serve instead to push sexual speech into a suffocating online ghetto. And as long as sexual speech is ghettoized, it will be dominated by crass commercial porn, and robust, diverse, and challenging discussions of sexuality will never find a broad public audience.


Alexa said...

Google seems to be hell bent on restricting access to adult information/media. Not a good sign with as much of the Net as they control.

Harper Jean Tobin said...

No kidding.

Just visited your blog; it's neat and you have a nice site design.