Sex Tech: Iran Execution, Reddit Apathy, Microsoft Gay Marriage, Amazon Plagiarism

Summary:Iran to execute alleged porn programmer, Reddit's SOPA porn apathy, Microsoft wants gay marriage, erotic book plagiarism at Amazon.

The intersection of tech and sex proves both fascinating and terrifying this week.

In Iran, a programmer that has been held for over a year on pornography charges has been sentenced to death, the new king of porn is a techhie, Microsoft makes a statement to legalize gay marriage, sexy apps have been found in Apple's app store and Reddit's attempt to stage a SOPA/PIPA porn protest fails.

Iran set to execute "porn" programmer

Iran’s supreme court has upheld the death sentence for a web programmer who faces imminent execution after being found guilty of developing and promoting porn websites.

Saeed Malekpour faces imminent execution on basis of confessions he retracted in letter, saying they had been beaten out of him.

Malekpour maintains that he did nothing more than write photo-uploading software, which was (allegedly, according to the Iranian government) subsequently used by a pornographic website.

Iran began an internet crackdown on pornography in 2008, which is when they imprisoned Malekpour - to publicly fight what Iran's government describes, "the campaign launched by western governments to corrupt Iranian youth."

Since the 2008 crackdown, Iran has executed two unnamed others on alleged internet porn charges. Malekpour's Canadian wife tells Guardian UK that he was held secretly for over a year, and no one knew he had been arrested for a long time.

Execution of the web programmer for allegedly "creating pornographic websites" is imminent.

Microsoft appeals to legalize gay marriage

Yes, you read that right: Microsoft Inc. has officially appealed to the state of Washington to legalize gay marriage.

Microsoft has written a short-but-sweet letter to Washington Governor Chris Gregoire and has joined with five other businesses (Vulcan, NIKE, RealNetworks, Group Health Cooperative, and Concur) to support bills that would legalize gay marriage in Washington state, where Microsoft is based.

Microsoft states in its letter that it's hard to hire the best people in the world when the state where it's based discriminates against them.

Porn's new emperor you never heard of

Names like Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner, Reuben Sturman and Stephen Hirsh conjure up images of porn kings - of days past, at least, with coin-op arcades, the VCR and porno parodies. But who's set to be the kingpin of porn's tech era?

Fabian Thylmann isn’t a familiar name to most people outside the adult entertainment industry. The managing partner of Manwin (Brazzers, Twisty’s, Playboy online, Digital Playground, Wicked Pictures, YouPorn) lacks the glitz of Hugh Hefner, Sturman's mastery of the shell game, the drama of Larry Flynt and the Hollywood appeal of Hirsch.

But he has now become one of the most powerful people in porn over the past two years.

No one really wants a Richard Branson porn site

Mad props for a cheeky headline… Worldwide conglomerate Virgin forgot to register the richardbranson.xxx domain name, and the company wants it back.

Are there any sexy apps in Apple's prissy appstore?

We all know - and thousands of developers found out the hard way one weekend - that Apple doesn’t condone “overtly sexual content” in its 500,000+ iPhone Apps.

However, one search for the term “sex” and Valley Advocate found plenty of tired Cosmo-inspired position guides and boobie pictorials in the App Store.

They weren't very, erm, excited by what they found. Endeavoring to find actual sexy fun in the appstore, they did the tedious work and found us seven apps "for that."

SOPA protest or porn apathy?

When Reddit, Wikipedia, and many other sites decided to turn the lights out from 8 am to 8 pm in support of a free and open internet this week, some Redditors urged porn users to write an email to their favorite sex sites’ administrators, asking porn sites to join the SOPA/PIPA protest.

In fact, sites like Manwin's YouPorn had been encouraging users on every page to learn about SOPA/PIPA, and pushing visitors to take action for months.

But Manwin isn't like the other guys - they're tech focused. And based on Big Porn's history of mass-filesharing-lawsuits against its fans and communicating a deep misunderstanding of the tech-porn user landscape, I think the porn biz would be more on the MPAA and pro-SOPA side.

I did think this Reddit SOPA porn protest - Operation PornOut - was a great idea in spirit, if not in implementation.

Reddit didn’t have much luck. Reddit suggested that it was because the porn sites serve a, “largely politically apathetic userbase.”

Personally, I doubt that very much. I just think that getting adult sites to "go dark" is a whole different conversation.

Virginal Silicon Valley Sperm donor

You may remember Trent Arsenault as the DIY Silicon Valley sperm donor who also happens to be an amateur porn star.

This past week he was on Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, where he admitted to being a 36-year-old virgin with more than a dozen kids.

Amazon's erotica section - front lines for plagiarism

Amazon’s erotica section is much like its science fiction section - a place where many indie authors and self-publishers have been able to find large audiences without the creative risk-aversion found through traditional publishing.

The erotica section is also where fantasies can run wild - as apparently, can stealing free online work and selling it under a fake name. It has become a hotbed of pseudonymous "authors" profiting from copyright infringement.

Amazon doesn’t appear too eager to stop the nonconsensual violations.

Accurate sex information - yes, it's online

The bad news has always been that when young people need sex answers, they don't get safe or accurate information - and sometimes the information is critical for making crucial, appropriate live-changing decisions.

The good news is that the internet is helping more than anyone previously thought.

When young people were asked the number one way they learn about sex, their response was — you guessed it — Google.

While they shouldn’t take the place of conversations, and heart-to-hearts about your values, these resources can augment the sexuality education of your teens.

Image by Drew Coffman used under Creative Commons license 2.0.

Topics: Hardware, Apple

About

Ms. Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com, @violetblue) is a freelance investigative reporter on hacking and cybercrime at Zero Day/ZDNet, CNET and CBS News, as well as a noted sex columnist. She has made regular appearances on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show and is regularly interviewed, quoted, and featured in a variety of publications that inclu... Full Bio

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