fbpx
Connect with us

News

A hard day for Pornhub

On Thursday, Brown Rudnick LLP filed a landmark civil complaint in the Central District of California against Pornhub and RedTube’s parent company, MindGeek on behalf of 34 individual plaintiffs.

mm

Published

on

Pornhub was slapped with a U.S. lawsuit the same day a Canadian parliamentary committee recommended stronger law enforcement for porn sites.

On Thursday, Brown Rudnick LLP filed a landmark civil complaint in the Central District of California against Pornhub and RedTube’s parent company, MindGeek on behalf of 34 individual plaintiffs.

The lawsuit alleges exploitation and monetization of child pornography, rape videos, trafficked content, stolen content, and other non-consensual content.

The plaintiffs, some of whom are Canadian, are suing as individuals, not in a class action. The suit contains the first RICO (Racketeer influenced Corrupt Organization) allegations made against an online porn company. It claims that MindGeek, a company with offices in Montreal, is a criminal enterprise engaged in financial crimes and human trafficking. Visa is also named in the suit under allegations it serviced MindGeek’s sites despite being aware of exploitation.

“There is no amount of money that can undo what these individuals have been through, but with this suit we hope to enact industry-wide change and ensure the proper regulations are put in place so no man, woman or child can be exploited, trafficked, profited off of or abused without consequence,” said Brown Rudnick LLP Attorney Michael Bowe.

The complaint is the product of more than a year of in-depth investigation into MindGeek’s operations, organization and structure. This suit alleges the company aggressively tried to intimidate, discredit, and shame victims and advocates, and also includes allegations of:

  • illegal financial schemes (including tax evasion, money laundering and credit card fraud)
  • intentional embrace of illegal content (including mass copyright piracy and use of illegal non-consensual content) to maximize search engine optimization and advertising revenues
  • active exploitation of abusive material by avoiding moderation
  • masking of illegal content
  • stonewalling of victims
  • promoting of exploitative material to users via AI algorithms.

Also Thursday, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics tabled a report entitled Ensuring the Protection of Privacy and Reputation on Platforms Such As Pornhub. The report makes 14 recommendations for the government to prevent the proliferation of non-consensual pornographic content online, including child porn.

A key recommendation is that content-hosting platforms operating in Canada require everyone depicted in the content to affirm they are at least 18 years old and consent to distribution prior to the video upload.

Other recommendations include more resources for the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre to investigate the increased referrals of child sexual abuse materials; that the law allow more time to commence prosecution for an offence; and for a way to be made for Canadians to get online images or videos posted without their consent to be removed immediately upon request.

“The allegations against Pornhub are sobering and horrific. The witness testimony of young people’s lives being destroyed by non-consensual intimate videos and child sexual abuse material being shared on online platforms was sobering,” said Committee Chair and Alberta MP Chris Warkentin, in a committee press release,

“The government must ensure that Canadian laws are being enforced and existing tools are used to ensure more lives are not destroyed. The government must also pass legislation to make it perfectly clear that Canadian companies have a responsibility [to] provide a proactive duty of care for our most vulnerable and be held accountable when they contribute to the victimization of vulnerable women and minors.”

In the same release, Vice-Chair Brenda Shanahan gave her party a pat on the back.

“As Liberal Vice-Chair, I am proud that the motion proposed by one of our Liberal members allowed us to conduct this important study of a topic of deep concern to Canadians.”

NDP Committee member Charlie Angus wants action, not more talk, from the Trudeau government.

“We are calling on the government and police to rethink their unwillingness to apply Canadian law in the digital realm,” Angus said.

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Political Columnist for the Western Standard. He is also a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and is the former Saskatchewan Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

News

SLOBODIAN: Decade long investigation into Manitoba residential school involves nearly 100 officers and 700 interviews

The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.

mm

Published

on

A “large and complex” decade-long investigation by RCMP has been underway into allegations of sexual abuse at a former residential school in Manitoba’s Sagkeeng First Nation.


The Fort Alexander Residential School opened in 1905 on Sagkeeng First Nation, located 120-km north of Winnipeg. In 1970 it was converted to a day school that operated for several years.


Manitoba RCMP issued a press release Tuesday confirming the major crimes unit began looking into allegations of abuse in February 2010, then launched a formal criminal investigation the following year.


RCMP began by gathering information, including reviewing archival records in both Ottawa and Manitoba. They went through thousands of documents such as student and employee lists and quarterly returns.


This involved more than 80 officers who interacted with more than 700 people across North America in an effort to find possible victims and witnesses.


“After compiling and collating all this data, investigators developed an investigative plan that began with the canvassing of people whose names had been identified in the documents as well as a door-to-door canvas in the Powerview/Fort Alexander area, where the school had been located,” said the statement.


The criminal investigation launched in 2011 involved 75 formal witnesses and victim statements.
Recently, Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson said elders and survivors have long spoken about abuse at the school and children that went missing.


The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.


“Violation of the privacy rights of those involved in this investigation will not only cause further trauma to everyone involved, but also potentially compromise this highly sensitive investigation,” said Henderson. “We ask that the trauma our community has experienced and continues to live every day is respected and that those affected are afforded their privacy at this time.”

RCMP are working closely with First Nations leaders and no other criminal investigations into former residential schools are underway in Manitoba, said RCMP.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard  lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

News

BC increases vaccine efforts amid slowing rates, including ‘vax vans’

“Over the next two weeks, BC will push hard to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible.”

mm

Published

on

BC health officials want more people rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 shot, and say they will be increasing efforts in the coming weeks to do just that.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Dr. Penny Ballem addressed BC’s vaccine roll-out plan during a Tuesday morning news conference.

Among their announced efforts are “walk-in Wednesday” which will take place August 4 when 20,000 jabs will be made available with no need to book in advance.

Walk-in Wednesday is part of the “Vax for BC” campaign.

“I’d like to begin by thanking each and every one of the millions of British Columbian’s, like me, who have stepped up to be vaccinated,” said Henry.

“Because of this small act, we have been able to re-open our province.

“While we have made tremendous progress with our immunization plan, there is of course more work to do. We know that some people still struggle to find a convenient time in their day to get immunized, and others may still have questions, and be hesitant about the vaccine.

“So starting today, we are making it even easier for people to get vaccines. To help protect themselves, and their loved ones against COVID-19.”

Henry said the province will be introducing “custom vax vans” so people will be able to get vaccinated on their lunch break or “while cooling off at a lake.”

The province is also reducing the wait time between first and second doses from eight weeks to seven weeks.

There are currently 906,772 eligible people who have not received a dose, roughly 19.6% of the population older than 12, according to data from July 23.

Interior health has an un-vaccinated population of 26.2% while Northern health has 32.5% without a first shot.

On Monday, the Surrey Board of Trade wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Health Minister of Canada Patty Hajdu, BC Premier John Horgan, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix urging them to “implement a proof-of-immunization model.”

“We support a centralized, Canada-wide approach to COVID-19 proof-of immunization that could be easily used to confirm vaccination status for international and domestic use,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“Without inter-provincial harmonization, Canada risks a piecemeal approach, making life more difficult and unpredictable for individuals and employers during an already uncertain time.”

Last week, YVR airport implemented separate lines for vaccinated and un-vaccinated individuals prior to reaching customs.

The separation of lines – which was put in place as a federal policy – has since been removed following extensive public push-back.

As for enforcing proof-of-immunization policies at concerts, night clubs, and sporting events – an increasing number of British Columbian’s are cozying up to this idea.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

News

Feds silent on $120M loan to company not ‘worthy of taxpayers’ largesse”

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions.

mm

Published

on

Federal agencies yesterday remained mum about a $120 million housing loan to one of Canada’s wealthiest developers, after Cabinet earlier defended the loan as critical, said Blacklock’s Reporter.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Ahmed Hussen, minister responsible for housing, told reporters. “That’s why the government is taking action to increase the supply of rental housing through projects like the one we’re announcing.”

Cabinet on July 19 announced the $120 million loan to build 302 apartments in Brampton, Ont. The developer is Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. The company’s CEO was paid $3 million in salary and benefits last year, according to corporate filings.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Hussen’s department said in a statement. “A solid and reliable supply of rental housing is critical to ensuring more Canadians have access to housing that is affordable.”

Choice Properties is owned by George Weston Ltd. The developer’s 2020 net income totaled $451 million. The loan was approved through a federal program, the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, that extends 10-year, easy-term credit “for certainty during the most risky periods of development,” according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions. The news website Press Progress cited data from Canada Mortgage and Housing that of 302 apartments in the Brampton project, as few as 61 would rent at below-market rates. The building is scheduled for completion by 2023.

“We know that finding an affordable place to live is a challenge for many Canadians in communities across the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time. “Today’s announcement is great news for families in Brampton. The Government of Canada will continue to invest to increase affordable housing options.”

George Weston Ltd. reported net earnings of $1.6 billion last year. It also operates the Loblaw Companies Ltd. supermarket chain that in 2019 received a $12 million federal grant to install new freezers. “Canadians might wonder why the Liberals handed over $12 million to Loblaw’s, one of Canada’s richest companies,” Conservative MP Mark Strahl (Chilliwack-Hope, B.C.) earlier told the Commons.

The freezer grant was paid under a Low Carbon Economy Fund. A now-disbanded ecoEnergy program similarly paid grants to large corporations in the name of energy efficiency.

Sobeys Inc. received $1.48 million in ecoEnergy grants in the period from 2006 to 2013. Loblaw Companies received $801,000. A total $207,968 was paid to McDonald’s Restaurants and $153,960 to Sears Canada.

“These companies are flush,” Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.) said in an interview at the time. “Companies, given their financial statements, don’t seem to be worthy recipients of taxpayers’ largesse.”

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Share

Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

163 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

**your signature**



The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

Share this with your friends:

Trending

Copyright © Western Standard New Media Corp.