Tag Archives: Serena Fleites

You thought it stung the first time?

Yes there is an interesting development. The BBC (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-62372964) gives us ‘Judge rules Visa can be sued in abuse claim’, and interesting setting to be sure. But why is it interesting? 

The setting that is given is “Serena Fleites was 13 in 2014 when, it is alleged, a boyfriend pressured her into making an explicit video which he posted to Pornhub. Ms Fleites alleges that Visa, by processing revenue from ads, conspired with Pornhub’s parent firm MindGeek to make money from videos of her abuse. Visa had sought to be removed from the case.” And it is no surprise that VISA tried to be removed from the case. They failed and now we have an interesting situation. This case gives a much larger stage. And even as we see “posted to Pornhub without her knowledge or consent, had 400,000 views by the time she discovered it”, we also get “the video was downloaded by users and re-uploaded several times, with one of the re-uploads viewed 2.7 million times” and with “While MindGeek profited from the child porn featuring Plaintiff, Plaintiff was intermittently homeless or living in her car, addicted to heroin, depressed and suicidal, and without the support of her family” even as we see the legal talk start, we see several parties hide behind “When the court can actually consider the facts, we are confident the plaintiff’s claims will be dismissed for lack of merit”. In this, I personally see that tools of exploitation have a very nasty way of biting back and that seems to be the case now. So when we are given “the Court can infer a strong possibility that Visa’s network was involved in at least some advertisement transactions relating directly to Plaintiff’s videos” and with “Visa argued that the “allegation that Visa recognised MindGeek as an authorised merchant and processed payment to its websites does not suggest that Visa agreed to participate in sex trafficking of any kind”.” Yes, they can argue all the way to that highway that goes to the city with the 666 designation. But here we see the direct application of ease versus due diligence and now it becomes a new ball of wax. Even as we see “Visa is not alleged to have simply created an incentive to commit a crime, it is alleged to have knowingly provided the tool used to complete a crime” it is a new stage, if this holds up, the amount of cases against credit organisations and fintech companies will explode in very serious ways. There is consideration that if some school shooter used his credit card to buy the gun used, there will be serious repercussions for the credit card firm used. Even as we are given “The company also said that any insinuation that it does not take the elimination of illegal material seriously is “categorically false”” I have an issue here and it is seen with “the video was downloaded by users and re-uploaded several times, with one of the re-uploads viewed 2.7 million times” as well as “A few weeks later it was removed” gives doubt to their statement. A file 2.7 million times is noticed, when it surpasses a million it is noticed, still it took a few weeks for it to be removed. Too many parties might (allegedly) have had the thought that this would blow over, it didn’t. Basically it exploded in everyones faces and now the credit card companies will have to do their due diligence on hundreds of thousands of customers who will now need checking. A stage decades overdue. Now that there is a court case, the fintech firms need to get worried and scared, because Serena Fleites has now opened a door and it is not merely VISA who will be in the hot seat and when this crosses borders into the EU there will be a whole new mess going the way of fintech. Places like Mindgeek might have moved to Luxembourg for tax brakes (speculation), but with this case Mindgeek could end up opening itself for a whole range of other issues. VISA will not take this lying down and a $460 million firm will be gotten at (whether successful or not). So this is not over, not by a long shot. I wonder what will happen next, time for a nice cuppa Joe. I might have a vanilla twist on the side. My reasoning will make sense down the road, I guarantee you that part.

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