On nude photos and information security

On+nude+photos+and+information+security

Earlier this year, nude celebrity photos were leaked onto sites like Imgur, Reddit, and Tumblr. They were originally posted on 4chan, an imageboard website where users can post pictures anonymously. A second batch of nude photos was released in late September. The pictures were reportedly taken from celebrities’ iCloud’s, along with other confidential information like address books, phone logs, and more. There isn’t just one person behind the leaks: it was an infiltration of Apple’s iCloud service conducted by many hackers.

The hackers haven’t made clear their intentions for leaking the photos, whether it was to expose, humiliate, and victimize countless female celebrities, expose Apple’s weak security by using these women, or just to share nude pictures for pure enjoyment. To me, it seems like a bit of all three.

Singers Ariana Grande and Jill Scott have called out the authenticity of some of the photos. Others, like Jennifer Lawrence, Gabrielle Union and Kate Upton have sought legal action. Lawrence’s lawyer has threatened to prosecute any person or organization that shares these pictures online. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney was underage in her leaked photos, and her images were eventually removed from the Internet.

According to reports, the FBI said it was “aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter.”

It was rumored that 4Chan users were threatening to release nude photos of Emma Watson after her speech on gender equality at the United Nations. It was later confirmed that this was a marketing ploy for a website called SocialVevo.

At the height of the leak, blogger Perez Hilton posted the nude photos on his own website, and tweeted a link to the post on his Twitter. He later deleted the post and tweeted, “Upon further reflection and just sitting with my actions, I don’t feel comfortable even keeping the censored photos up. I am removing them.” He followed up with, “At work we often have to make quick decisions. I made a really bad one today and then made it worse. I feel awful and am truly sorry.”

Actress, Producer, Screenwriter, and Director Lena Dunham tweeted, “The way you share your body must be a choice. Support these women and do not look at these pictures.”

I agree with Dunham. I understand curiosity. I know we’re all wondering if Jennifer Lawrence does in fact have limbs and a torso and breasts. Suprise, suprise! She does.

But, I also agree with consent. On Twitter, there has been mixed reaction. Some people are saying that these women shouldn’t have taken these pictures in the first place if they didn’t want their pictures leaked, and others are saying that they can take pictures, but their privacy shouldn’t have been violated.

Anyone of any age and gender should be able to take nude photos of themselves if they want to, but they should be aware that we live in an age of heightened information sharing. Sharing photos, or even keeping them for yourself, makes you susceptible to a leak. Moreover, these hackers should’ve had more basic respect for celebrities’ privacy.

Regardless of the issue of information security, these women should not have been targeted. It’s a massive sex crime made on the basis of gender inequality. Only women’s bodies are this scandalized.

They didn’t consent to these images being stolen, and I can’t even imagine how most, if not all, of them feel right now. People should stop acting like they’ve never taken a nude, or would never take one, and start thinking about just how safe their own financial information, text messages, and photos are from being leaked or stolen. Saying that these women consented to having their nudes leaked just because they took them, is comparable to saying that a woman wants to be raped because … [insert irrelevant reason here.] I don’t think that these images should continue to be shared or looked at. Websites like Reddit have already taken the subreddit, “The Fappening,” which is a portmanteau of the Internet slang for masturbate, “fap,” and “the happening.”

“We’ve always recommended that our clients use two-step [password] authentication, but I don’t think anybody necessarily understood what that was until this weekend,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with TheWrap. “People need to be smarter about what their passwords are; I’m sure clients of ours have passwords that are their dog’s name plus 1-2-3-4-5, and if you’re famous, it’s easier for some to guess those things since all your information is out there.”

There are many takeaways from this massive leak. First, I wonder why women’s bodies have to be treated this way. Their bodies have been used as a weapon against their reputations. Secondly, improving information security should be a top priority for institutions that are involved in this scandal like Apple, the FBI, and others who are shaping the new age of information technology.

Until then, we should all be careful with what we store on the Cloud, whether it’s nude photos or a picture of a list of passwords to all of your accounts.