This edition of Sex Tech Weekly includes Valentine's Day warnings and tips for the tech-inclined single, obscenity is used as a foil for extreme internet censorship in Pakistan, a scary Facebook sexual predator, and more...
If you're thinking that dating and matchmaking sites might be a truly private way to make the most of Valentine's weekend and beyond, think again.
Or, at least make an informed decision about which sites you'll trust with your data and security.
The EFF has just published extensive reviews of data practices, standard encryption practices and retention terms from Ashley Madison, Zoosk, Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, Match, Adult Friend Finder, OkCupid and Lavalife.
Helpfully, the EFF has also put together a user-beware gude for using dating websites.
They outline cautions about photo facial recognition, that Google can index your dating profiles, that sites such as OkCupid can leak your data to advertising partners, and the recent reminder from Grindr that mobile sites are riddled with exploitable security holes.
- Six Heartbreaking Truths about Online Dating Privacy (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
- Comparing Privacy and Security Practices on Online Dating Sites (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Matchmaking and science? Not so much.
Dating sites like OkCupid, Match.com, eHarmony and ever-expanding Nerve Dating are certainly popular, and claim to use secret scientific formulas to make matches.
However, a group of psychologists and sociologists are about to go on the record that the sites are not using scientific methods.
Harry Reis, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and other psychologists and sociologists have published a sweeping review of scientific studies that have been done over the past decade on online dating. It will be published in the February edition of the Psychological Science in the Public Interest journal.
- Dating site matches not so scientific (ITworld)
Pakistan: extreme censorship in the name of "obscenity"
Pakistan has just blocked 13,000 "obscene" (read: "blasphemous" and "pornographic") websites.
Earlier, authorities had blocked popular portals like Facebook and YouTube but the move was criticized: Following protests, authorities began selectively blocking only pages that contained blasphemous and pornographic materials.
The Pakistani government already forces Internet service providers (ISPs) to report customers who use encrypted virtual private networks (VPNs).
It is preparing to take additional steps to prohibit access to thousands more based on a "complaint". The complaint submitted a list of 170,000 websites to the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan directing them to stop providing access to porn sites.
- Pakistan blocks 13,000 'obscene' sites (ZDNet Asia News)
- Court asked to ban porn sites (Express Tribune)
Teensy sample of flirt app reviews
The mini-review of flirting apps in this NYT article are in no way complete (many apps have been left out) and one could say it is naive - categorizing gay hookup app Grindr with relationship site eHarmony is amusing, at the very least.
If you want a very light look at flirting apps for both Apple and Android, the information in this article might provide a touch more to your Valentine's weekend 'game.'
Elaborate and frightening Facebook underage sex scam
Prepare to feel angry and repulsed. A Pennsylvania man is being charged with 68 felony counts after he created an elaborate scam to manipulate underage girls with a series of fake Facebook accounts and invented relationships.
Investigation into the activities of William R. Ainsworth began back in September of 2011, after he was arrested for attempting to engage in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl.
After he was arrested, they found that this one lascivious meeting was just the tip of the iceberg.
After combing through thousands of online communications, performing 18 searches, and interviewing over 30 children, the state has put together one hell of a story about Mr. Ainsworth.
Porn filesharing site's voluntary shutdown
After Megaupload was taken offline last month, filesharing site Filesonic shocked filesharing communities and observers by voluntarily shutting itself down.
Now FilePorn, one of the longest standing adult BitTorrent trackers, has gone dark as well - though not from fear of American feds.
A copyright infringement lawsuit put a solid nail in FilePorn's coffin. This comes just after the shutdown of huge adult torrent site Cheggit. According to TorrentFreak,
After more than 6 years online, the site’s operators say they were forced to shut down due to the threat of legal action.
“Unfortunately we have to terminate our tracker services due to a ‘copyright infringements’ lawsuit,” the site said in an announcement.
- FilePorn Adult Torrent Site Joins Cheggit, Shuts Down (TorrentFreak)