All television and radio adverts for gaming are set to be removed during the Covid-19 lockdown by members of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) in a voluntary move by the gambling industry trade body. The measure will run from May 7 to at least
June 5, but in princip lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
Existing advertising slots will be replaced by safer gambling messages, donated to charities or removed from broadcast where contracts permitted.
The UK government has been putting
pressure on the betting industry to do more to protect vulnerable punters during the lockdown. Advertising for sports betting will be reviewed separately
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, sex workers who have gone online to make a living are discovering the market is saturated with performers, whilst at the same time many subscribers are canceling their subscriptions due to their own financial
According to Newsweek reporter Ewan Palmer's article , established online performers are losing customers or receiving
less money from fans who are experiencing their own financial struggles as the economy continues to spiral downward. As many go online to make ends meet, those without an existing online profile are finding a glut of performers and difficulty trying to
In addition, American sex workers are barred from the government's effort to help small businesses whose incomes were severely impacted by the pandemic. The Small Business Association's Economic Injury Disaster Program prohibits anyone who
presents live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derives their income from the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature from receiving benefits.
Japan has reportedly reversed its decision to discriminate against sex workers who are economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNN has reported that Health and Labor Minister Kazunobu Kato declared that Japan's legal sex workers will be
eligible to receive government assistance as part of the nation's economic relief package.
Japan's original COVID-19 relief plan initially barred sex workers, along with bars, restaurants and gangsters, from receiving any economic aid and was
widely criticized for being discriminatory in its application
The financial relief will be paid to businesses and it is still unclear how self-employed sex workers would be treated under the new plan.
British MPs have claimed that that measures to reform and regulate the porn industry have faltered, putting vulnerable people at risk.
Last year attempts to introduce age verification systems into open access porn sites to stop children being able to
access extreme online content stalled, and MPs are warning that regulation proposed in a new online harms bill, currently at consultation stage in parliament, does not go far enough.
Tracy Brabin, the shadow culture secretary, whinged:
The online harms bill doesn't go far enough. We have to get control over this industry, said We have a duty of care to young people whose videos are being shared who might not want them shared, and ... to potential
victims of sex trafficking and rape.
MPs from both sides of the political divide agree. Conservative MP Maria Miller, chair of the women and equalities committee, said: These are hugely important issues and [the online harms bill] is
taking too long, we have been talking about this for two years now. She said the promised duty of care should include a way to hold companies to account if unlawful material is posted.
Activist Laila Mickelwait, part of a group of activists at Exodus
Cry, told the Guardian: Pornhub handing out 'free' premium content is a way for them to cash in on those around the world impacted by the pandemic. Pornhub is collecting an incredible amount of user data including IP addresses by allowing web beacons and
other special information targeting technology on all user devices, and monetising it for their own gain.
The popular porn website Pornhub has made its premium services free till April 3. Initially the offer was restricted to covid hotspots Italy, Spain, and France, but noe the service has been made free all over the world.
PornHub has has also announced
that it will be donating a portion of its income to helping out with the coronavirus crisis.
Pornhub also released a chart showing how porn viewing has increased at the time of lockdown.
Since the COVID 19 outbreak became a fast-spreading pandemic, governments from across the globe have implemented new policies to help slow the spread of the virus.
In addition to closing borders to non-citizens, many governments
have also mobilized digital surveillance technologies to track and contain visitors and citizens alike.
On Wednesday, the Hong Kong government announced that all new arrivals to the city must undergo two weeks of self-quarantine,
while wearing an electronic wristband that connects to a location tracking app on their phones.
If the app detects changes in the person's location, it will alert the Department of Health and the police. Prior to this new policy,
only people who had recently visited Hubei province in China were required to wear a monitoring wristband during their quarantine period.
While surveillance technologies and measures may give the public a sense of security in
controlling the spread of the virus, we must remain mindful and vigilant of their continued use after the pandemic subsides.
European and North American countries like Italy, Spain, and the US are currently being hit hard by the
coronavirus. Meanwhile, Asian countries have been praised by international media for their swift responses and use of surveillance technologies to control the outbreak.
The Singaporean government, for example, implemented policies
that can effectively and rigorously trace a complex chain of contacts . As of February, anyone entering a government or corporate building in Singapore will have to provide their contact information.
In addition, the government
has been gathering a substantial amount of data detailing not only each known case of infection but also where the person lives, works and the network of contacts they are connected to.
While these measures have thus far seemed to
yield positive results, they have highlighted the technological capacity and power of the government to monitor the movements and lives of every individual.
In China, where Covid-19 was first detected, the government has been
deploying not only drastic lockdown policies but also a variety of surveillance technologies to ensure public compliance with self-quarantine and isolation.
In addition to using drones to monitor people's movements and ensure they
are staying home, police in five Chinese cities have taken to patrolling the streets wearing smart helmets equipped with thermal screening technologies that sound an alarm if a person's temperature is higher than the threshold.
The government has also collaborated with the company Hanwang Technology Limited to finesse their existing facial recognition technology, so that it can work even when the person is wearing a face mask
When connected to a temperature sensor and the Chinese government's existing database as well as state-level intel, this technology allows authorities to immediately identify the name of each person whose body temperature is above
38 degrees Celcius.
According to Hanwang Technology, this refined facial recognition technology can identify up to 30 people within a second.
While the use of surveillance technologies like these has been
effective in lowering the number of confirmed cases in China, it is not without risks.
Beyond the pandemic, both the Chinese government and the company have substantial interests in further developing and deploying this
technology: the government can make use of it to track and suppress political dissidents, and the company has much to gain financially.
This technology can also be co-opted by China's counterterrorism forces to further monitor and
regulate the movement of the Uighur people, who are categorised as terrorists by the Chinese government and are currently being forced into mass detention camps and subjected to forced labour.
Outside of Asia, Middle Eastern
countries like Israel and Iran have also been deploying similar surveillance technologies , citing the need to control the spread of the coronavirus.
The Israeli government now makes use of technologies developed for
counterterrorism to collect cellphone data, so that the government can trace people's contact network, and identify those who need to be quarantined.
The geolocation data gathered via people's phones will then be used to alert the
public where not to go based on the pattern of infection.
Not only is it unprecedented for Israel to deploy counterterrorism data to combat a public health crisis, but the existence of this data trove has also, according to the
New York Times , not been reported prior to this.
On March 6, researcher Nariman Gharib revealed that the Iranian government had been tracking its citizens' phone data through an app disguised as a coronavirus diagnostic tool.
Security expert Nikolaos Chrysaidos confirmed that the app collected sensitive personal information unrelated to the outbreak -- for example, the app recorded the bodily movements of the user the way a fitness tracker would.
Google has since removed the app from Google Play, but this case demonstrates the need for ongoing public vigilance over government use of surveillance technologies in the name of public health.
public health has historically been used as a justification for mainstream institutions and government authorities to stigmatise, monitor, and regulate the lives of marginalised people -- such as immigrants, racial minorities, LGBTQ+ people, and people
living in poverty.
If we do not hold our government accountable for its use of surveillance technologies during the current pandemic and beyond, we will be putting those who are already marginalised at further risks of regulation,
suppression, and persecution.
Most Germans are spending much more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means good news for some in the sex industry and bad news for others.
Rising sales figures at many online erotic shops suggest what some healthy Germans told to
lock down at home are doing in some of their free time. But on the flip side, the crisis is hitting the livelihoods of many sex workers hard.
Sex toys, for example, are selling particularly well. The number of orders placed with the online erotic
shop EIS has doubled since Covid-19 hit Germany in late January. Vibrators are particularly popular at the moment. A spokesperson for erotic outlet Orion said its online shop had also seen increased sales.
Erika Lust, a producer of feminist porn,
has reported that more people are viewing her films than usual. Since the outbreak, streaming times on her platforms have increased by 20 to 30% globally.
But for many sex workers in Germany and worldwide, the pandemic has had drastic
consequences. I simply don't have a job, said German sex worker Marlen, who did not want to give her full name. She has some money saved and could at least take a few weeks off. But others cannot afford to, even though the German federal and state
governments have decided to close brothels.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced countries into lockdown, and maybe sharing the time with a guaranteed virus free partner has its attractions. But just at the same time sex doll sellers are facing a shortage as most are are shipped in from Chinese
factories that themselves have been affected by lockdowns.
Jade Stanley, who owns a sex doll business called Sex Doll Official, revealed that there has been a major slowdown due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation in China. They've gone home, been
quarantined and been unable to return to factories.
The pandemic has also led to a worldwide increase in sales of sex toys. With the prospect of long periods at home either alone or with your partner, people are exploring new ways to make the best of
the time available.