Today, Pornhub took down all videos from unverified accounts after a New York Times report documented instances of nonconsensual pornography can child sexual abuse material on the service.

But the Times editorial isn't what spurred the shutdown: rather, it was the decision by Visa and Mastercard to withdrawn Pornhub's payment processing that prompted Pornhub to take action.


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You may count that as a win. No one with any kind of moral center endorses nonconsensual pornography, especially when it involves children, and the less there is out there, the better the world is. I agree.

But we should also be worried about the growing monopolization of payment processing, and the role that payment processors are coming to play as gatekeepers for all kinds of activities.


Mastercard and Visa are not qualified to make those calls. More importantly, no one elected them to make those calls. No law requires them to make those calls, and any law that tried would likely be unconstitutional.

If you want a sex industry based on consent and dignity, this should doubly worry you. After all, the first group of people shut down by payment processors' arbitrary judgements about what speech should and should exist were independent sex-workers.


It took years for the payment processors to work their way up to the monopolistic, sprawling porn empire behind Pornhub - a Canadian company called Mindgeek that maintains the pretense that it is headquartered in Lichtenstein,a notorious tax-evasion jurisdiction.


There's an old saw that the sex industry are early tech adopters. That's not quite true - rather, people with disfavored views are the first people for whom it's worth figuring out new technologies, since the old ones are unavailable to them.


Porn got into home films because most big cinemas wouldn't screen pornography. They got into VHS because it was easier to duplicate than film. They got into the net because it offered access without social costs of being seen in the adult section of the video rental place.


But while pornographers aren't early adopters, they ARE leading indicators. Pornographers' fights with novel censorship tactics are also trial-runs for using those tactics against OTHER people - and payment processors have already been pressed into service.

Visa and Mastercard threats have been used to block or shut down journalism, self-published books, dating services.


Mindgeek and Pornhub don't need our sympathy, but hard cases make bad law.

With only a few payment processors online, our ability to engage in legal conduct will always be at the mercy of Visa, Mastercard and a handful of others.


@pluralistic a much better example of #Visa & #Mastercard abusing their power is when they teamed up with #PayPal in a blockade against #Wikileaks donations. It perfectly foreshadows what it'll be like after the #WarOnCash wins and we lose our freedom & independence from banks.

@pluralistic what we need them is decentralised, privacy-orented payment processing.

The reason I've been such a long term supporter of is because it was never just about decentralised storage, or privacy, or democratising development and infrastructure provision, or payments and business models, but all of the above.

It remains the only project aiming so high, and with the potential to do so. There's a new test network due any day now, so this is a good time to get to know it.

@pluralistic "You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat."

@pluralistic Makes it very difficult to follow your posts as such...
@pluralistic Cory your posts are very interesting and I'm following you from Friendica (fediverse), but please if you can use an instance of mastodon that doesn't have a character limit or move to Friendica (can't recommend it enough). Cheers mate!
@tio I think his account is mostly a mirror of a Twitter account.
@sean Could be...but at one point he said he wants to create his own Mastodon instance and move there. He needs no character limit. The Twitter style with a lot of replies to your post, is confusing to me. Difficult to follow... 😛
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