Recent investigations have highlighted a growing and deeply concerning trend: the rise of nonconsensual pornographic deepfakes. Notably, the technology industry, including prominent players such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Cloudflare, have been found to inadvertently fuel this surge. While many of these companies may claim neutrality, critics argue that their services are providing the crucial infrastructure for deepfake websites, thereby prioritizing revenue over ethical considerations.
For a monthly subscription fee, enthusiasts can access exclusive content from various online personalities on platforms like Twitch and OnlyFans. However, a darker corner of the internet allows viewers to access AI-generated videos, known as deepfakes, portraying these personalities in fabricated explicit scenes they never participated in. The constant appearance of such content creates an endless cycle of takedowns, making it a perpetual struggle for those affected.
Independent analyst research indicates a concerning ninefold increase in such videos since 2019. By May 2023, approximately 150,000 videos, amassing 3.8 billion views, were identified across 30 sites. Many of these sites offer libraries of deepfake content featuring the faces of celebrities superimposed onto adult actors. More disturbingly, some even offer paid services to “nudify” familiar faces, be they colleagues or acquaintances.
Prominent technology giants are embroiled in this issue. Google’s search engine is a major traffic source for deepfake sites. Platforms like Amazon, Cloudflare, and Microsoft’s GitHub offer essential hosting services. With no federal law in the U.S. criminalizing the creation or sharing of non-consensual deepfake porn, and state-level legislation proving challenging to enforce, victims find themselves largely on their own.
However, there’s growing advocacy for tech corporations to take the initiative in curbing the proliferation of such content. Critics urge these companies to establish and enforce stricter regulations. At present, a simple search for a celebrity’s name combined with “deepfake” on Google can yield numerous links to malicious websites. From July 2020 to July 2023, traffic to the top 20 deepfake sites rose by 285%, with Google as the primary driver.
Bloomberg’s review revealed that major deepfake websites rely heavily on big tech for web infrastructure. Cloudflare Inc. provides web hosting for 13 of the top 20 sites, while Amazon hosts several popular deepfaking tools. Past campaigns have successfully persuaded companies to cease association with controversial platforms, suggesting potential avenues for activists to address the deepfake issue similarly.
The tools for creating deepfakes have become more advanced and user-friendly. Open-source models, like Stability AI, allow developers to craft photorealistic videos. Though these tools’ misuse is lamented by their creators, the open-source nature means control over applications is limited.
Despite policies against manipulated media, deepfakes still circulate widely on platforms like Twitter. Moreover, apps frequently used in the creation of such content are available on mainstream mobile stores, like Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Big tech’s involvement extends further. Deepfake creators leverage Microsoft’s GitHub for hosting tools used in crafting nonconsensual pornographic content. Payment for these services often flows through mainstream processors, such as PayPal, Mastercard, and Visa.
Tech platforms undeniably hold significant influence over the trajectory of the deepfake issue. As tech permeates every facet of modern life, the need for accountability and ethical governance has never been more paramount.
Apple Vision Pro’s VR Porn Block Sparks Outrage
Apple’s Vision Pro has ignited controversy among its purchasers with its inability to support VR pornography, essentially rendering it a “$3,500 chastity belt.” This issue has led to significant disappointment within a portion of its consumer base, prompting a flurry of discussions and workaround attempts on platforms such as Reddit.
Despite being able to play standard videos from adult websites, the Vision Pro does not support the immersive 180-degree side-by-side (SBS) VR videos, which offer a deeply engaging experience by providing distinct visual feeds for each eye, a staple in commercial VR content production.
In anticipation of the Vision Pro’s February 2nd release, the VR community buzzed with excitement over the potential for a revolutionary pornographic experience, especially among long-distance couples. However, this enthusiasm quickly waned post-launch as users realized the device’s limitations in accessing high-tech VR porn.
Attempts to activate WebXR features for VR compatibility proved futile, leading to frustration and comparisons to more affordable VR headsets capable of basic WebXR functionality, such as Meta’s Quest, which boasts higher-quality screens.
The situation has sparked debates on social media and tech forums regarding Apple’s deliberate decision to exclude pornographic content, aligning with the company’s long-standing stance under Steve Jobs’ philosophy that Apple should block porn to uphold moral standards.
Readers’ comments reflect a broader dissatisfaction and a mix of humor and critique towards Apple’s pricing strategy and the Vision Pro’s capabilities. Some highlight the irony of advanced technology being stymied by content restrictions, while others jest about the unnecessary nature of VR for adult content consumption.
The sentiment among consumers suggests a feeling of betrayal, questioning the value of the Vision Pro given its high cost and content limitations. Amidst calls for refunds and predictions of the device’s commercial failure, the community’s reaction underscores a significant disconnect between Apple’s product development and consumer expectations for unrestricted, immersive VR experiences.
Interpol: Police Stations Proposed for Metaverse
Interpol has recommended the establishment of virtual police stations within the metaverse to address crimes such as sexual offenses, child abuse, and terrorism. The international police organization advises law enforcement to consider setting up online divisions to offer services like crime reporting, complaint filing, and hosting virtual community meetings. A recent White Paper by Interpol warns of a surge in virtual reality crimes, advocating for a law enforcement presence in the metaverse to curb such activities.
The metaverse consists of 3D virtual worlds where users, represented as avatars, interact. This digital realm has recently been spotlighted due to a report of a virtual sexual assault in the UK, prompting investigations into the psychological and emotional impact on the victim, akin to real-world trauma.
Interpol’s warning highlights the emergence of “metacrime” as a significant concern, with potential growth as virtual worlds become increasingly integrated into daily life. The organization suggests that police departments establish a metaverse presence, enabling users to report both virtual and real-world crimes and enhancing accessibility for individuals with mobility challenges or those living in remote locations.
The concept of the metaverse, introduced in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” is gaining traction, with an estimated 15% of children aged five to ten engaging in virtual reality experiences. These immersive environments, enhanced by technologies like haptic suits, create a lifelike experience of physical sensations. Interpol identifies over 40 potential crimes within the metaverse, including virtual sexual assault, child exploitation, financial fraud, and identity theft, and raises concerns about its potential misuse for terrorist financing and planning.
The advent of the metaverse has led to calls from British police leaders for new protective legislation for women and children and for tech companies to implement safety measures on their platforms.
MojoHost Recruits Mila Staneva as Communications Director To Enhance Strategic Messaging and Boost Audience
MojoHost, a renowned provider of advanced hosting solutions, is excited to announce that Mila Staneva will be joining the team as its first-ever Communications Director. This strategic move highlights MojoHost’s commitment to expanding its global reach, fostering stronger relationships with current customers, and enhancing brand positioning beyond its prominent industry market share.
Brad Mitchell, President of MojoHost, welcomes Mila’s communication expertise and alignment with the company’s core values. “Mila’s marketing and community-building experience, combined with her fresh perspective, is needed for promoting our portfolio of services to new audiences. 24 successful years make today’s challenge very clear, to bring our exceptional service history and values to the world stage as a prominent brand for cloud and hosting solutions. With engaging new content and relationships, we will show the world what they’ve been missing, because #ThatsGoodMojo!”
Mila Staneva, who some people know by her nickname Magrat, brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in Marketing and Communications for over ten years. With a proven track record of driving successful communication strategies, Mitchell is empowering her to play offense on MojoHost’s team, steering the much-loved brand into additional markets and presenting its self-service, hyper-scalable cloud infrastructure to compete directly against AWS, Azure, and GCP.
In this newly established position, Mila Staneva will oversee MojoHost’s internal and external communication initiatives that align with the company’s core values and business objectives. She will work closely with the executive team to ensure a cohesive and unified messaging approach across all channels, developing new strategic media relations to extend the audience reach of new MojoHost content and services. The addition of a Communications Director emphasizes MojoHost’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and effective communication as essential elements of its future strategy.
Mila commented on her new role: “I am thrilled to join MojoHost. This company’s values truly reflect my own, and I am genuinely inspired by the work ahead of me. MojoHost’s commitment to customer success, use of cutting-edge technologies, outstanding technical support, and environmental sustainability makes my marketing mission easier. MojoHost provides the essential tools for online companies to function, entertain, and inspire. One new server at a time, I aim to bring Good Mojo to the world!”
You can meet the new Mojo hires and the Industry veterans at TES Cascais in February.
With 69 awards since 1999, MojoHost is the foremost Industry leader delivering top-notch hosting solutions. Offerings include an extensive array of services such as dedicated servers, VPS, cloud compute, cloud storage, and CDN with its data center operations located in the Netherlands, Michigan, and Florida. MojoHost is committed to providing robust global service with unparalleled performance, robust security, amazing customer service, and outstanding value. Discover more about MojoHost’s comprehensive offerings at www.MojoHost.com.
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