TSCE #9(F)(2): 2021 Parliamentary Hearings On Pornhub, CSAM, Digital Fingerprinting, Databases

When the issues of internet privacy and child protection intersect, sorting things out can be fairly tricky. It was only a decade ago when “Conservative” Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, decided that having basic protections of browsing history amounted to coddling pedophiles. Nonetheless, these concerns don’t go away just because someone else is now in office.

Now, it’s the group Pornhub that is under the public spotlight. It is just one such site owned by MindGeek. The porno empire of MindGeek includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Pornhub
  • RedTube
  • YouPorn
  • Brazzers
  • Digital Playground
  • Men.com
  • Reality Kings
  • Sean Cody
  • WhyNotBi.com

Allegations have come up that actual sexual abuse as been published on this site, as well as revenge porn, and videos featuring minors. All of that is illegal. As for the hearings:

The above videos are clipped from the this hearing. The transcript of that day’s hearing is available here.

From January to June 2021, there were Parliamentary hearings held in Ottawa based on what was happened with Pornhub. It turned out that a very large amount of their content involved non-consenting parties, or minors, or both. After an outrage in December 2020, and threatened with the loss of payment processors like Visa and Mastercard, there was some serious damage control.

To be clear, the whole pornography uploading industry is disgusting. This is especially true as it’s fairly easy to allow content of minors to be included, and non-consensual content as well. That being said, the hearings were interesting, but for additional reasons.

One notable topic was the level of software available to scan images and videos, to implement “digital fingerprinting”, and to collaborate with other social media sites. Furthermore, Mindgeek explained they knew exactly who is uploading to their site, and where it’s happening from.

(February 5, 2021, 13:05)
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We are also working to ensure that once content is removed, it can never make its way back to our platform or to any platform. The revictimization of individuals when their content is re-uploaded causes profound injury that we are working fiercely to prevent. We are attacking this problem in two ways. First, our people are trained to remove such material upon request. Second, we digitally fingerprint any content removed from our website so that it cannot be re-uploaded to our own platform.
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For the last two years, we have been building a tool called “SafeGuard” to help fight the distribution of non-consensual intimate images. As I sit before you today, I am pleased to report that this month we will be implementing SafeGuard for all videos uploaded to Pornhub. We will offer SafeGuard for free to our non-adult peers, including Facebook, YouTube and Reddit. We are optimistic that all major social media platforms will implement SafeGuard and contribute to its fingerprint database. Such co-operation will be a major step to limit the spread of non-consensual material on the Internet.

(February 5, 2021, 13:10)
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
How do you know?
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Mr. Feras Antoon:
It’s because every single piece of content is viewed by our human moderators. Number two, it goes through software that we have licensed from YouTube, like CSAI Match, and from Microsoft, like PhotoDNA for pictures. It goes through a software called Vobile.
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Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
But then why, for example, do Pornhub’s terms of service say, “we sometimes review Content submitted or contributed by users”?
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Mr. David Tassillo (Chief Operating Officer, Entreprise MindGeek Canada):
Mrs. Stubbs, I would like to add to what Feras mentioned.
I’m not too sure where it says that in the terms of service, but I can guarantee you that every piece of content, before it’s actually made available on the website, goes through several different filters, some of which my colleague made reference to.
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Depending on whether it comes up as a photo or as a video, we go through different pieces of software that would compare it to known active cases of CSAM, so we’ll actually do a hash check. We actually don’t send the content itself over; they create a digital key per se that’s compared to a known active database. After that, it’s compared to the other piece of software that Feras mentioned, Vobile, which is a fingerprinting software by which anyone can have their content fingerprinted. Any time MindGeek would find the piece of infringing content, we’d add it to that database to prevent the re-upload.
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Once it passes the software queue…. If anything fails at the software level, it automatically doesn’t make it up to the site. Once that piece has gone through, we move over to the human moderation section. The human moderators will watch each one of the videos, and if they deem that the video passes, it will be—

Essentially, all of the material, whether uploaded or not, will become part of a huge database. Who will have access to it, and for what reasons could content be released?

And software is used, including stuff provided by YouTube and Microsoft. Will they have access to it? Can the material be stored somewhere else?

The Adult Industry Laborers and Artists Association wrote to Parliament, essentially arguing that the porn industry was better at regulating itself than the Government. Also, it was a large sector of the economy which people relied on to provide for their families.

The Sex Workers of Winnipeg Action Coalition actually wrote to Parliament advising AGAINST mandatory identification for using and uploading onto such sites. They argue that it’s too easy to compile and save the data to be used to nefarious purposes (and cite Clearview AI). In terms of material uploaded without consent, they actually have a point.

The Free Speech Coalition wrote to the hearing and recommended working with sites like Pornhub. They claim that illicit material will just be shared elsewhere if this were shut down.

In MindGeek’s written submissions, they spelled out — at least broadly — the technical tools they had to combat illicit material and keep it from being shared:

Our human moderators are supported by a growing suite of technical tools, which fall into two broad categories: those that detect previously identified CSAM and non-consensual content using a fingerprint technology and those that use artificial intelligence to detect unreported CSAM content.

MindGeek’s fingerprinting tools rely on a unique digital fingerprint to match a video or photograph to those already identified in a database of banned content. These tools include YouTube’s CASI Match, Microsoft’s Photo DNA, Vobile’s MediaWise, and MindGeek’s own SafeGuard. All items caught by these tools as CSAM or non-consensual are immediately blocked from the website and handled by our second level review team.

That’s quite the list of electronic tools. And keep in mind, Pornhub knows exactly who the people are uploading to their site. How exactly would this artificial intelligence work, and what would it be programmed to look for?

The Parliamentary Report has also been issued on this subject. Now, this smut shouldn’t be around at all. However, if it can’t be removed, these are some decent recommendations to help the problem somewhat.

Recommendation 1 concerning liability
That the Government of Canada explore means to hold online platforms liable for any failure to prevent the upload of, or ensure the timely deletion of child sexual abuse material, content depicting non-consensual activity, and any other content uploaded without the knowledge or consent of all parties, including enacting a duty of care, along with financial penalties for non-compliance or failure to fulfil a required duty of care.

Recommendation 2 concerning the duty to verify age and consent
That the Government of Canada mandate that content-hosting platforms operating in Canada require affirmation from all persons depicted in pornographic content, before it can be uploaded, that they are 18 years old or older and that they consent to its distribution, and that it consult with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada with respect to the implementation of such obligation.

Recommendation 3 concerning consultation
That the Government of Canada consult with survivors, child advocacy centres, victim support agencies, law enforcement, web platforms and sex workers prior to enacting any legislation or regulations relating to the protection of privacy and reputation on online platforms.

Recommendation 4 concerning section 3 of the Mandatory Reporting Act
That the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the provinces, amend section 3 of An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service to make the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre the designated law enforcement agency for the purpose of reporting under that section and that it ensure that the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre has the resources it needs to investigate the increased referrals of child sexual abuse materials

Recommendation 5 concerning reporting obligations
That the Government of Canada invest resources to ensure the compliance of access providers, content providers and Internet content hosting services with their reporting obligations under An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service through education and awareness initiatives.

Recommendation 6 concerning section 11 of the Mandatory Reporting Act
That the Government of Canada consider amending section 11 of An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service to extend the period of time to commence prosecution for an offence under this Act.

Recommendation 7 regarding compliance under the Mandatory Reporting Act
That the Government of Canada call upon the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police services to ensure the compliance of Internet service providers, as defined in An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, with their reporting obligations under that Act, and that compliance be absolute with no means for providers to opt out

Recommendation 8 concerning requirements for uploaders of content
That the Government of Canada set requirements for uploaders of content to provide proof of valid consent of all persons depicted and that the new regulations include penalties severe enough to act as an effective deterrent.

Recommendation 9 regarding pornographic content and age verification
That the Government of Canada develop clear regulations that require Internet service providers, as defined in An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, to utilize a robust process for age verification of all individuals in uploaded pornographic content, including content generated by individuals, studios or contract partners.

Recommendation 10 concerning proactive enforcement of Canadian laws
That the Government of Canada proactively enforce all Canadian laws regarding child sexual abuse material and the posting of non-consensual material and that in particular, it enforce section 3 of An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service by requiring all Internet service providers, as defined in the Act, to report child sexual abuse material directly to an officer, constable or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace.

Recommendation 11 concerning accessible mechanisms for the removal of online content
That the Government of Canada develop accessible mechanisms that ensure that Canadians victimized by the posting of an image or video online without their consent on sites like Pornhub have the right to have that content removed immediately and to be given the benefit of the doubt with respect to the non-consensual nature of the content, and that the Government of Canada provide all the necessary resources required to put in place these accessible mechanisms.

Recommendation 12 concerning a potential new pattern of sexual violence
That the Government of Canada work with key stakeholder groups such as Canadian sexual assault centres, women’s rights organizations and representatives from LGBTQ2 communities to determine if the posting of non-consensual material depicting sexual violence on sites like Pornhub is reflective of, and contributing to, a new pattern of sexual violence, and that it report its findings, including recommendations for further action, to Parliament.

Recommendation 13 concerning the accountability of websites regarding the downloading and re-uploading of pornographic content
That the Government of Canada hold accountable websites that allow the downloading and re-uploading of pornographic content that erases the identity of the source material, thereby preventing authorities from assessing those accountable for the material.

Recommendation 14 concerning a new legal framework to impose certain obligations on Internet service providers hosting pornographic content
That the Government of Canada create a legal framework that would compel Internet service providers that host pornographic content to:
• implement and use available tools to combat the flagrant and relentless re-uploading of illegal content;
• hire, train and effectively supervise staff to carry out moderation and content removal tasks at an appropriate scale;
maintain detailed records of user reports and responses that can be audited by authorities;
• be legally accountable for content moderation and removal decisions and the harm to individuals that results when efforts are inadequate; and
• build in and design features that prioritize the best interests and privacy rights of children and vulnerable adults

Admittedly, these are some good proposals. Will anything come of these hearings when the next Parliament sits? I guess we will have to wait and see in the new session.

Again, this is not defend this disgusting industry. However, even with safeguards, there are still plenty of children and non-consenting people who are victimized here. It’s not much of a consolation to say that “it will just go elsewhere” if these sites are shut down.

Even for young adults, what happens in 5 or 10 years when they grow up and realize they’ve made a serious mistake? How easy (or possible) will it be to get this information scrubbed?

(1) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/ETHI/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=11088039
(2) https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/ETHI/meeting-19/evidence
(3) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/432/ETHI/Reports/RP11148202/ethirp03/ethirp03-e.pdf
(4) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Adult Gender Equality LEAF
(5) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Adult Industry Labourers
(6) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Christian Legal Fellowship
(7) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Free Speech
(8) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings MindGeek
(9) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Non State Torture
(10) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Ntl Center For Exploitation
(11) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Stop Exploitation
(12) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Winnipeg Sex Workers
(13) Pornhub Parliamentary Hearings Your Brain On Porn
(14) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/10/pornhub-mastercard-visa-rape-child-abuse-images
(15) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MindGeek

Bill C-11: CPC National Secretary Lobbied For Big Pharma To Get Easier Access To Your Medical Data

Bill C-11, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, is currently before Parliament. At the time of writing this, it has still only undergone the first reading. Some of the more disturbing sections of it were covered previously.

Contrary to what the name may imply, “Digital Charter” doesn’t refer to antiviolence activity, spawned by the Christchurch psy-op. Instead, this is an end run around privacy as we know it.

This piece will focus on big pharma getting its hands on Canadians’ medical information. If this were to pass, then potentially all of this, minus your name and address, would be available to anyone will to purchase it.

What’s particularly disturbing is that one of the people pushing for this is Amber Ruddy, the Secretary of the National Council of the Conservative Party of Canada. She’s also CURRENTLY an employee at Counsel Public Affairs, the lobbying firm, and has Emergent BioSolutions, the company making the AstraZeneca vaccines, as a client.

A November 23, 2020 press release by the Federal Government summarized what it expected to accomplish with Bill C-11. Very interestingly, there will be new exceptions to requiring consent in order to obtain personal information.

CPPA will also promote responsible innovation by reducing regulatory burden. A new exception to consent will address standard business practices; a new regime to clarify how organizations are to handle de-identified personal information, and another new exception to consent to allow organizations to disclose personal information for socially beneficial purposes, such as public health research, for example.



There is nothing ambiguous about this. Public health research could be considered a “socially beneficial purpose” and your records handed over. But in fairness, this has probably been happening for a long time already. This Bill would make it a specifically permitted reason.

Among other things, Ruddy (and her colleagues) wanted to make it easier for drug companies to access “anonymized health data”. What this would mean is that your medical records could be send off to third parties, with the only caveat being that your personal information is removed.

Items like date of birth (showing age), and postal code (showing region) would likely still be included. As would the details of your visits, procedures, medications, and dates performed. Keep in mind, even anonymized accounts can be re-identified based on just a few clues.

Search “GlaxoSmithKline” and “Digital Charter”, it shows 35 registrations over the last few years, including Ruddy.

Transfer to service provider
19 An organization may transfer an individual’s personal information to a service provider without their knowledge or consent.
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De-identification of personal information
20 An organization may use an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent to de-identify the information.
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Research and development
21 An organization may use an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent for the organization’s internal research and development purposes, if the information is de-identified before it is used.

Public Interest
Individual’s interest
29 (1) An organization may collect an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent if the collection is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way.
Use
(2) An organization may use an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent if the information was collected under subsection (1).

Statistical or scholarly study or research
35 An organization may disclose an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent if
(a) the disclosure is made for statistical purposes or for scholarly study or research purposes and those purposes cannot be achieved without disclosing the information;
(b) it is impracticable to obtain consent; and
(c) the organization informs the Commissioner of the disclosure before the information is disclosed.

Socially beneficial purposes
39 (1) An organization may disclose an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent if
(a) the personal information is de-identified before the disclosure is made;
(b) the disclosure is made to
(i) a government institution or part of a government institution in Canada,
(ii) a health care institution, post-secondary educational institution or public library in Canada,
(iii) any organization that is mandated, under a federal or provincial law or by contract with a government institution or part of a government institution in Canada, to carry out a socially beneficial purpose, or
(iv) any other prescribed entity; and
(c) the disclosure is made for a socially beneficial purpose.
Definition of socially beneficial purpose
(2) For the purpose of this section, socially beneficial purpose means a purpose related to health, the provision or improvement of public amenities or infrastructure, the protection of the environment or any other prescribed purpose.

The entire Bill is quite long, but those are a few points. While claiming that this legislation gives members of the public wide control over their information, it lays out ways that same private info can be shared with 3rd parties, without the knowledge or consent of that person.

It’s interesting that Conservatives pretend to care about free speech and Bill C-10, but are silent about the erosion of privacy with Bill C-11. Have to wonder if their Secretary is the reason for this.

This is hardly the first such privacy intrusion has been brought forward. A decade ago, Vic Toews gaslighted Canadians who opposed warrantless seizures of their internet data as “standing with the child pornographers”. Seems not much has changed.

For more on Emergent BioSolutions, and other lobbying, check the links below. It’s quite the cesspit, and Ruddy is up to her neck in it.

(1) https://www.conservative.ca/
(2) https://www.conservative.ca/team-member/amber-ruddy/
(3) https://www.parl.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&billId=10950130
(4) https://parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/bill/C-11/first-reading#ID0E0XB0BA
(5) https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/eng/00120.html
(6) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=367534&regId=908352
(7) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/advSrch?V_SEARCH.command=navigate&time=1624013972454
(8) https://canucklaw.ca/bill-c-11-digital-charter-implementation-act-of-canada/

CV #25(E): Canadian Government Seeking Bids For “Biometric Vaccine Passports” System Creation

Where it started: Vaccine passports are just a ridiculous conspiracy theory. Stop with the tin foil hat nonsense.
Where it’s going: We need a company to develop vaccine passport system, and an authority to manage it.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has an urgent need to secure the services of a global organization (the “Contractor”) with knowledge of and expertise in biometrics. The Agency requires this organization to assist with the immediate establishment of an Office of Biometrics and Identity Management and to work with the Agency in researching, planning for and rapidly developing a strategy and roadmap related to the use of Digital solutions enabled by supporting technologies in biometrics, in response to the COVID 19 situation and other operational priorities. The Contractor will bring knowledge, capabilities, and experience to support CBSA’s urgent need to establish a biometric strategy, biometric foundation and ultimately a Biometrics Authority (Centre of Excellence). Specifically, the “contractor” will assist the CBSA with the development of a comprehensive approach and plan to manage, evolve and adapt in using biometrics to deliver the mission of the agency while considering our interrelationship and joint ventures with other federal government departments and agencies and our international partners.

Also, what is the “Office of Biometrics and Identity Management” that this refers to? Who will run it? Who will have access to this data? Will the information be used for commercial or research purposes. There are of course similar questions concerning this “Biometrics Authority”.

Come to think of it: the Privacy Commissioners’ joint statement doesn’t exactly discourage the creation of vaccine passports.

At its essence, a vaccine passport presumes that individuals will be required or requested to disclose personal health information – their vaccine/immunity status – in exchange for goods, services and/or access to certain premises or locations. While this may offer substantial public benefit, it is an encroachment on civil liberties that should be taken only after careful consideration. This statement focuses on the privacy considerations.

Vaccine passports must be developed and implemented in compliance with applicable privacy laws. They should also incorporate privacy best practices in order to achieve the highest level of privacy protection commensurate with the sensitivity of the personal health information that will be collected, used or disclosed.

For businesses and other entities that are subject to private sector privacy laws and are considering some form of vaccine passport, the clearest authority under which to proceed would be a newly enacted public health order or law requiring the presentation of a vaccine passport to enter a premises or receive a service. Absent such order or law, i.e. relying on existing privacy legislation, consent may provide sufficient authority if it meets all of the following conditions, which must be applied contextually given the specifics of the vaccine passport and its implementation:

Can we now expect some new order or law to give businesses the power to refuse people entry based on not sharing this information? And what guarantees do we have that this will not be abused or shared anyway? There are safeguards (on paper at least), but what are those actually worth?

The Vaccine Credential Initiative, which includes Microsoft, seems poised to push such a global version. This should surprise no one at this point. A cynic might wonder if the whole thing was planned.

(1) https://buyandsell.gc.ca/procurement-data/tender-notice/PW-21-00958775
(2) https://buyandsell.gc.ca/cds/public/2021/06/07/c375d34f163718ff11b06433e7b68d71/1000357607_-_npp_eng.pdf
(3) Vaccine Passport Notice Of Proposed Procurement
(4) https://priv.gc.ca/en/opc-news/speeches/2021/s-d_20210519/
(5) https://vci.org/

Canada Gives Marie Stopes Another $25 Million For Foreign Abortions, Media Silent

There are 2 entries listed for Canada on recent foreign abortion spending. One was for $19,959,594.00 in Mali, and the other was for $4,985,000.00 in Ghana. Together, these grants make up nearly $25 million. The records are publicly available.

At a time when we are (allegedly) in the middle of a global pandemic, killing African children abroad is apparently still a priority for this Government. Interesting. How come this hasn’t been mentioned in the media, or by “opposition” parties? Are they unaware of this?

Marie Stopes International is a leading provider of family planning and reproductive healthcare globally. It works in 37 countries around the world delivering services to over 20 million women and men every year to ensure the rights of women to have children by choice, not by chance.
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As a part of reproductive health services, MSI Reproductive Choices provides surgical abortions by using the safe and simple technique which called manual vacuum aspiration (MVA).
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MS HEALTH PTY LTD is MSI wholly owned subsidiary in China and the exclusive distribution agent in China and overseas for Marie Stopes® MVA product line.
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With mission to ensure women the rights of women to have children by choice, not by chance, MS Health is promoting the MVA products and other products on women reproductive health.

Marie Stopes International is an organization that provides birth control, but also has a significant enterprise in abortion. The terms of the Canadian grants specify that at least some of the money will be used for abortion. In 2018, Canadian taxpayers shelled out $15 million to this group

This organization holds several patents, including for equipment to perform abortions. It has been doing this for a very long time.

In 2009, Marie Stopes received a $50 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates Sr. is a former Head of Planned Parenthood in the U.S., so this ideologically lines up.

Marie Stopes would definitely be worth a deep dive, as she frequently gets compared to Margaret Sanger. However, that will have to be for another time.

And what are “conservatives” saying about this? It seems they don’t actually oppose the killing of children ideologically. However, they do try to score points for claiming to oppose sex-selective abortion. In other words, snuffing out children is okay, just don’t be a bigot.

(1) https://search.open.canada.ca/en/gc/
(2) https://search.open.canada.ca/en/gc/id/dfatd-maecd,064-2020-2021-Q4-00403,current
(3) https://search.open.canada.ca/en/gc/id/dfatd-maecd,064-2020-2021-Q4-00314,current
(4) https://search.open.canada.ca/en/gc/id/dfatd-maecd,GC-2018-Q4-00093,current
(5) http://www.mariestopeshealth.com/
(6) http://www.mariestopeshealth.com/about/
(7) https://www.gatesfoundation.org/ideas/media-center/press-releases/2009/06/unprecedented-scaleup-of-voluntary-male-circumcision-begins-in-swaziland-zambia
(8) https://www.hli.org/resources/who-was-marie-stopes/

Using Artificial Scarcity, Product Placement, Market Manipulation, To Drive Up Demand

This article will get into some of the advertising and marketing techniques employed to get people to purchase products and services. There is quite a lot of science and research behind it.

1. Important Links

Alex Cattoni On Creating Scarcity Conditions
Justin Atlan On Scarcity To Create Sense Of Urgency
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_scarcity
Psychology Today: The Scarcity Mindset
Investopedia On Suggestive Selling
Product Placement Strategies, History
Marketing Plans Should Include Sponsorship
Psychology In Advertising: Common Methods
CTV: Culture Shift On Wearing Masks

2. Techniques To Create Scarcity Illusion

  1. Price Scarcity — the price will increase
  2. Quantity Scarcity — limited amount available
  3. Premium Scarcity — limited time bonuses
  4. Offer Scarcity — relaunching a temporary product

Now, these specific techniques can be used individually, or in some combination, depending on the circumstances. The point of this is to put pressure on people to act now, or else the offer will never be better. While the creator, Alex Cattoni, says to be honest, artificially creating scarcity can be very manipulative nature. This type of pressure can be applied almost universally, although the specific methods vary. Justin Atlan talks about using scarcity in order to drive up sales.

Of course, artificially creating scarcity can be done for many reasons, and several of them are quite valid and legitimate.

  • Cartels, monopolies and/or rentier capitalism
  • Competition regulation, where regulatory uncertainty and policy ambiguity deters investment.
  • Copyright, when used to disallow copying or disallow access to sources. Proprietary software is an example.
  • Copyleft software is a counterexample where copyleft advocates use copyright licenses to guarantee the right to copy, access, view, and change the source code, and allow others to do the same to derivatives of that code.
  • Patent
  • The Agricultural Adjustment Act
  • Hoarding, including cornering the market
  • Deliberate destruction
  • Paywalls
  • Torrent poisoning such as poisoning bittorrent with half broken copies of music and videos to drive up prices when instead streamed from places the author has deals with
  • Planned obsolescence
  • Decentralized digital currencies (e.g. Bitcoin)
  • This is from Wikipedia. There are perfectly valid reasons to engage in the creation of scarcity, such as intellectual property, and not undercutting your own prices. That said, there are unscrupulous ones as well.

    Economics is the study of how we use our limited resources (time, money, etc.) to achieve our goals. This definition refers to physical scarcity. In a recent book titled Scarcity, Mullainathan & Eldar (2013) broaden the concept of scarcity by asking the following questions: What happens to our minds when we feel we have too little? How does the context of scarcity shape our choices and our behaviors? They show that scarcity is not just a physical limitation. Scarcity affects our thinking and feeling. Scarcity orients the mind automatically and powerfully toward unfulfilled needs. For example, food grabs the focus of the hungry. For the lonely person, scarcity may come in poverty of social isolation and a lack of companionship.

    The scarcity mentality is well known by social psychologists. It forces being to think in finite terms, and to ask what they are missing out on. This can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances.

    3. Fear Of Missing Out On A Benefit

    FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is commonly used to pressure people into buying good and services now. Notice, it doesn’t have to be the product itself. It can just be having their life back to the way that it used to be. Perhaps something happened recently to change what was considered normal.

    4. Suggestive Selling/Upselling

    Understanding Suggestive Selling
    The idea behind the technique is that it takes marginal effort compared with the potential additional revenue. This is because getting the buyer to purchase (often seen as the most difficult part) has already been done. After the buyer is committed, an additional sale that is a fraction of the original purchase is much more likely.

    Typical examples of add-on sales are the extended warranties offered by sellers of household appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, as well as electronics. A salesperson at an automobile dealership also generates significant add-on sales by suggesting or convincing a buyer sitting at their desk that the buyer would be much happier with the car with a few or several add-on options.

    Investopedia explains that upselling it often considered a better use of a person’s time that focusing solely on new customers. After all, the person is already buying something, so why not take the minimal amount of effort to see if they will purchase anything new?

    There is of course the idea of a volume discount. For example, take the BOGO (buy one, get one) free or greatly reduced. Often, people who may not have been willing to take multiple products now will, if it appears to reduce the price per unit.

    5. Product Placement As A Sales Strategy

    Product placement is a marketing strategy that has accidentally evolved a few decades ago. Nevertheless, the efficiency of the product placement has been spotted by professionals and since then various companies engage in product placement activities in various levels with varying efficiency. One of the main differences of product placement from other marketing strategies is the significance of factors contributing to it, such as context and environment within which the product is displayed or used.

    Implementing an efficient marketing strategy is one of the essential conditions for a product to be successful in the marketplace. Companies may choose different marketing strategies including advertising, channel marketing, internet marketing, promotion, public relations, product placement and others. Each of one of these marketing tools has its advantages and disadvantages and the rationale behind the choice among these tools relates to the type of the product, type of the market and the marketing strategy of the company.

    Product placement is a long recognized trick for getting a product into another production, without directly admitting that it is a form of advertising. This may be a substitute for more blatant ads, or may work in conjunction with it.

    6. Keep Repeating Your Talking Points

    This comment was (supposedly) in the context of pushing the climate change agenda on Canadians, but the principle can be applied much more broadly. It’s a variation of “if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth”. Unfortunately, this is all too true.

    7. Including Sponsorship In Marketing Plan

    1. Shape consumer attitudes.
    2. Build brand awareness.
    3. Drive sales.
    4. Increase reach.
    5. Generate media exposure.
    6. Differentiate yourself from competitors.
    7. Take on a “corporate citizen” role.
    8. Generate new leads.
    9. Enhance business, consumer, and VIP relationships.

    Sponsoring a group or event can bring several benefits to your group, and those are outlined pretty well. Yes, the benefits are more intangible and difficult to measure, but it’s commonly believed to be an effective practice.

    8. Pay For Advertising, Sponsoring In Media

    (a) Subsidization Programs Available For Media Outlets (QCJO)
    (b) Political Operatives Behind Many “Fact-Checking” Groups
    (c) DisinfoWatch, MacDonald-Laurier, Journalists For Human Rights
    (d) Taxpayer Subsidies To Combat CV “Misinformation”
    (e) Postmedia Periodicals Getting Covid Subsidies
    (f) Aberdeen Publishing (BC, AB) Getting Grants To Operate
    (g) Other Periodicals Receiving Subsidies
    (h) Still More Media Subsidies Taxpayers Are Supporting
    (i) Media Outlets, Banks, Credit Unions, All Getting CEWS

    Paying for advertisements in newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and online, is a long accepted way of getting a message out. It’s an effective way to promote a product, service, or ideology. Of course, Governments can go the extra mile and just outright subsidize such outlets. It’s a way to create financial dependence, and ensure that they will be obedient to whatever is needed.

    9. Psychology Used In Selling To People

    1. Branding
    2. Give, Give, Give, Give, and Ask
    3. Power of Scarcity, FOMO
    4. Perceived Value & Pricing
    5. Power of Persuasion
    6. Power of Convenience
    7. Appeal To Morality
    8. Changing Language, Misusing Terms

    Advertising is much more complicated than simply being interesting and visually appealing. There are plenty of mental and psychological ways to do this. After this, it’s impossible to view ads in the same way ever again.

    10. Have Credible Actors Promote Message/Brand

    One of the keys to an effective marketing program is to have believable and realistic actors selling the message. Getting caught out like this doesn’t help at all. From a casting perspective, Ontario Deputy Medical Officer Barbara Yaffe was an extremely poor choice. Health Minister Christine Elliott wasn’t a great selection either.

    When the stakes are high, it’s essential to have actors and actresses who have read and understood their scripts. They will be better able to improvise when asked difficult questions. See here and here. Remember, even though the media questions are screened, sometimes they will accidently be curveballs.

    BC Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry is also a bizarre choice. While she seems likeable, and has the fake trembling nailed, she frequently jokes about the “no science” part. Perhaps she was never informed that this is serious.

    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney may have topped them all. He admits there could be 90% error — and hence, no pandemic — but then defers to the experts.

    Granted, these are difficult roles to play, given the scrutiny they are under. But still, the casting left a lot to be desired.

    11. Why Does This Marketing Info Matter?

    Even back in May 2020, the MSM in Canada was openly talking about “shifting the culture” to get everyone wearing masks for the foreseeable future. Of course, this sort of predictive programming is not limited to masks, but spread to other areas.

    Imagine a group of people not driven by money, but by ideology. They wanted to convince the general population to inject — en masse — an experimental mRNA vaccine, to cure a disease they don’t know exists.

    Such a task would be very difficult to accomplish, without using brute force. An alternative solution would be to apply some of the techniques outlined above, and get people to take it willingly.

    As for appealing to morality, does this sound familiar?
    “My mask protects you, and your mask protects me”.

    Words and terms are redefined in false and misleading ways.
    It’s not “martial law”, it’s “sheltering in place”.

    Healthy people should not be viewed as normal.
    Instead, they are “potential asymptomatic spreaders”.

    The Federal and Provincial Governments are not buying off media outlets and businesses into compliance. Instead, they are handing out “emergency relief”. See the difference?

    FOMO, or fear of missing out is being applied as a hardball tactic to get more people into taking the vaccine. After all, who isn’t desperate for some return to a normal life? If there aren’t enough to go around, doesn’t that create artificial scarcity?

    Covid internment camps are a conspiracy theory. Those “mandatory isolation centres” are not at all the same thing, and people need to stop misrepresenting the truth.

    No one is trying to trick citizens into taking the vaccine. Instead, they are just conducting research into ways to overcome “hesitancy”. See Part #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5.

    Regarding hope for the future: an astute person will note that Canada has ANNOUNCED a program to compensate people for injury or death caused by vaccines. However, there have been no DETAILS of what it will look like. It could be the Government falling behind, or it could be tat they have no intention of implementing anything.

    Some Thoughts On Leslyn Lewis’ Pro-Paris Accord PhD Dissertation

    Leslyn Lewis finished her PhD dissertation in May 2019 from York University, in Toronto. It covered a number of legal areas around climate change, the Paris Accord, intellectual property, and trade agreements. Months after finishing, she ran for the leadership of the CPC, as Andrew Scheer had been forced out.

    1. About Leslyn Lewis’ PhD Dissertation

    To start out: the quality of the writing is very good. The content is well organized and the paper well cited. This wasn’t just some mess hastily thrown together. This is not to question her reading or writing abilities — which are impressive — but to ask ideologically what she stands for.

    However, the concern now starts to creep in. This wasn’t some undergraduate paper written 20 or 30 years ago, but Lewis’ PhD dissertation. She finished it in 2019, at the age of 48.

    From the content of the paper, it seems clear that Lewis fully embraces the climate change scam as a reality. She supports the Paris Agreement, despite its explicit and repeated focus on “climate finance, and its focus on “alternative energy sources”. She appears to have bought into the green agenda. The paper itself discusses (among other things), how trade agreements and intellectual property disputes can impede efforts to fight climate change.

    Less than a year later, Lewis, (a political unknown), would be running for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership. She finished 3rd. Like most “conservatives”, she sings the praises of the UNSDA and Paris Accord, only objecting to a Carbon tax.

    Lewis also calls herself a “social conservative”, but was once a Director at LEAF, the Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund. LEAF is a pro-death, anti-family organization.

    2. Offshoring, Globalization, Free Trade

    The other posts on outsourcing/offshoring are available here. It focuses on the hidden costs and trade offs society as a whole has to make. Contrary to what many politicians and figures in the media claim, there are always costs to these kinds of agreement. These include: (a) job losses; (b) wages being driven down; (c) undercutting of local companies; (d) legal action by foreign entities; (e) industries being outsourced; (f) losses to communities when major employers leave; and (g) loss of sovereignty to foreign corporations and governments. Intellectual property also becomes a tricky issue. Don’t believe the lies that these agreements are overwhelmingly beneficial to all.

    3. Debunking The Climate Change Scam

    The entire climate change industry, (and yes, it is an industry) is a hoax perpetrated by the people in power, run by international bankers. Plenty has also been covered on the climate scam, the propaganda machine in action, and some of the court documents in Canada. Carbon taxes are just a small part of the picture, and conservatives are intentionally sabotaging their court cases.

    4. Quotes From Lewis’ 2019 Dissertation

    The dissertation consists of several chapters, each with its own abstract. The document itself is large enough to stand alone as a book. This review doesn’t really do justice to the volume of writing, but outlines the more interesting parts.

    (screenshots from the dissertation)

    [Page 112]
    ABSTRACT
    Climate change abatement strategies are intrinsically linked to policies that encourage the use of alternative energy sources such as renewable energies. The importance of these strategies has been entrenched in various World Trade Organization (WTO) treaties including the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (“SCM Agreement”), Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”), Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (“TRIMs”), as well as pre-WTO treaties like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (“GATT”). The issue of environmental subsides, specifically renewable energy subsidies, have resurfaced in a number of disputes before the WTO Dispute Settlement Body since its first green subsidy case, brought in 2010 by Japan against Canada’s Feed-In Tariff Program (“FIT Program”). In the initial case, Japan alleged that the Ontario FIT Program’s local content requirement was discriminatory against foreign renewable energy products. Moreover, discrimination amounted to a prohibited subsidy under the SCM Agreement and was simultaneously contrary to the most favourable nation status (“MFN”) under the GATT. This decision raises concern about whether the SCM Agreement poses a barrier to governmental policies promoting FIT Programs to encourage renewable energy usage and its impact on the developing world. Specifically, do treaties like the SCM Agreement impede the development of government climate change abatement policies by requiring these programs to meet a minimum standard of trade compliance? Should WTO treaties like the SCM Agreement be amended to include flexibilities to combat climate change, especially in light of the goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change? This paper will review the WTO subsidy rules and query whether flexibilities need to be entertained within the area of nonactionable subsidies. This mode of inquiry questions whether FIT Programs be classified as subsidies under the SCM Agreement. If FIT Programs are properly classified as subsidies, should these initiatives be granted an exemption under the SCM Agreement on the basis of public policy— with the goal of facilitating affordable renewable energy and climate change abatement in the developing world?

    For better or for worse, there are a number of trade regulations, such as those imposed by the World Trade Organization. These set out guidelines for international trade. Lewis makes an argument that perhaps exceptions should be put into such rules in certain circumstances. In this case, she specifically refers to climate change and complying with the Paris Agreement.

    [Page 171]
    ABSTRACT
    Intellectual property law was constructed to facilitate innovation and development by granting a limited monopoly in exchange for the public’s right to use an invention after the period of exclusivity expires. The trade-off of granting intellectual property protections in reward for the investment in an invention is intended to be a temporary benefit. Trade secrets have been thought of as the weakest form of intellectual property, because non-disclosure is the only form of protection. In other words, infringement of a trade secret occurs upon the unauthorized disclosure of the secret. However, absent reverse engineering and/or legitimate disclosure, protection over trade secrets may arguably extend the exclusivity rights in perpetuity. The debate on “evergreening” has focused largely on extending the life cycle of pharmaceutical patents to the omission of other forms of intellectual property, like trade secrets. The concept has also been widely ignored in relation to climate change abatement technologies. In this regard, considerations around evergreening and trade secrets have been substantially neglected. The loophole in international intellectual property treaties, like Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”), may lead to inequalities between industrial nations and developing ones, especially for products like photovoltaic solar panels that rely heavily on trade-secret protection. In addition, this non-disclosure may also impact on green technology transfer and may impede climate change abatement strategies in the developing world. This paper will explore the practice of evergreening as it relates to the prospect that trade secret protection may extend beyond the 20-year limit, as prescribed in TRIPS, and the implications of this practice for developing countries that seek to meet climate change commitments as outlined in the 2016 Paris Climate Change Agreement (the “Paris Agreement”). Arguably, the absence of a fixed statutory period for trade secrets may enable patent owners to participate in creative ways to “evergreen” their products or processes, with the result of extending the life-cycle. The practice of evergreening through trade secrets may have a negative impact on the ability of developing nations to meet their national climate change objectives. Specifically, international treaties like TRIPS, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1994 (“GATT”), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the “UNFCCC”), and the Paris Agreement, have attempted to incorporate climate change flexibilities that assist developing countries in meeting their climate change goals. The efficacy of technology transfer provisions in international law will be examined within the context of how the lack of a fixed term for trade secrets impacts on actual green technology transfer. It will canvass whether trade secret protection of off-patent green technologies acts as an inadvertent barrier to technology transfer within the developing world.

    Intellectual property is what it sounds like. When a person creates or discovers things, they have certain rights to it. This makes sense. Patents prevent others from scooping and using another’s inventions, at least for a number of years. Trademarks or copyright prevent others from using creations or designs (subject to fair dealing limitations).

    Lewis raises the argument of making exceptions to these IP laws if they were used for a “greater good”, such as combatting climate change.

    [Page 245]
    ABSTRACT
    A number of Conference of Parties (“COP”) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (“the UNFCCC”) have addressed the issue of climate change and its effect on the developing world. Energy insecurity must be addressed as a precondition to sustainable development, along with the regional factors that pose legal and institutional barriers to implementing of green energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Many sub-Saharan African nations have enacted renewable energy laws and regulations to increase investor confidence in green energy projects. Despite current regulatory enhancements, investors are still reluctant to invest in the region due to financing and political risks. Climate financing could potentially address investor concerns, however, initiatives like the Green Climate Fund (“GC Fund”) and the African Climate Change Fund need to be implemented in a manner that promotes confidence among investors in these high capital projects. Arguably, for climate financing to achieve its full potential in sub-Saharan Africa it must be implemented in an innovative fashion that contemplates the infrastructure, environment and social governance for investments as well as fulfilling the dual goal of development and balancing national commitments under the Paris Climate Change Agreement (COP 21).

    In this chapter Lewis goes on to make the argument that “climate financing”, (which really means a variety of Carbon taxes), should be implemented in order to fulfill the Paris Agreement and promote development in the 3rd World.

    Lewis doesn’t seem to have an issue with intellectual property or trade regulations on principle. She just argues that exceptions should be made for fighting climate change.

    These, of course, are just abstracts of a few chapters, not the entire dissertation. The whole document is quite long, nearly 400 pages when all the references and citations are added in.

    5. Paris Accord Will Kill Oil & Gas Industry

    Just read Article #9…..

    Article 9
    1. Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.

    2. Other Parties are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.

    3. As part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds, through a variety of actions, including supporting country-driven strategies, and taking into account the needs and priorities of developing country Parties. Such mobilization of climate finance should represent a progression beyond previous efforts.

    4. The provision of scaled-up financial resources should aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation, taking into account country-driven strategies, and the priorities and needs of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and have significant capacity constraints, such as the least developed countries and small island developing States, considering the need for public and grant-based resources for adaptation.

    5. Developed country Parties shall biennially communicate indicative quantitative and qualitative information related to paragraphs 1 and 3 of this Article, as applicable, including, as available, projected levels of public financial resources to be provided to developing country Parties. Other Parties providing resources are encouraged to communicate biennially such information on a voluntary basis.

    6. The global stocktake referred to in Article 14 shall take into account the relevant information provided by developed country Parties and/or Agreement bodies on efforts related to climate finance.

    7. Developed country Parties shall provide transparent and consistent information on support for developing country Parties provided and mobilized through public interventions biennially in accordance with the modalities, procedures and guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement, at its first session, as stipulated in Article 13, paragraph 13. Other Parties are encouraged to do so.

    8. The Financial Mechanism of the Convention, including its operating entities, shall serve as the financial mechanism of this Agreement.

    9. The institutions serving this Agreement, including the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, shall aim to ensure efficient access to financial resources through simplified approval procedures and enhanced readiness support for developing country Parties, in particular for the least developed countries and small island developing States, in the context of their national climate strategies and plans.

    Paris Agreement Full Text

    That is, of course, just Article 9. Here is an earlier review. Claiming to be able to implement the Paris Accord without Carbon taxes is disingenuous, as large parts of the Agreement specifically refer to climate finance.

    While many could claim that they never actually read the Agreement, Lewis’ dissertation revolves around this and the Sustainable Development Agenda. She quotes it at length. She has clearly read and understood what is going on. The dissertation is very well written, and it’s clear a lot of work went into it.

    So what does Leslyn Lewis actually believe when it comes to climate change, the Paris Agreement, and various UN taxes? Who knows?

    Note: Since Lewis did run to become head of the CPC (and official Opposition Leader), and since she is still running for office, she is a public figure.

    As an side: Alberta MP Garnett Genuis tried to defend voting for the Paris Agreement in 2017. It didn’t go well. Here is a clip of him with Ezra Levant from Rebel News.