Taking naked photos isn't illegal. Stealing them and publishing online is.
Yesterday, pictures of women posing naked were stolen from their phones and posted on image sharing forum 4chan
by an anonymous hacker, supposedly in exchange for Bitcoins. He claims he has more to come. The photos are intensely private, taken in intimate situations by trusted partners, and have now been shared millions of times, viewed by hordes of salivating strangers across the globe.
Why? Because the images are of celebrities
. Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Kate Bosworth, Kate Upton: talented, beautiful women whose only mistake was to choose a career which erroneously gives the public a belief that we own their bodies.
I can understand the temptation to perform a speedy search. Just to see what the fuss is about, obviously. You're not a bad person: you abhor the man who leaked them, but the pictures are already out there, so the damage has been done. One extra person quickly flicking through isn't going to add to the hurt and humiliation. You aren't even going to masturbate over them, just 'inform' yourself, and it's not as if you haven't seen almost all of it before - Kate Upton's swimwear shoots? Rihanna's mesh dress? These women aren't known for their modesty; they use their bodies to sell their brand. Plus if they were stupid enough to take explicit pictures and leave them lying around on the iCloud where any half-decent hacker with the inclination could access them then, frankly, they deserve everything they get. They knew the risks.
But this is utterly, breathtakingly, wrong. Taking naked photos isn't illegal. Stealing them is. Searching out these images is to be complicit in the crime. Lawrence's spokesperson has already released a scathing statement, warning that the authorities will "prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos". And rightly so. These women had a reasonable expectation of privacy from Apple's iCloud
. Serious questions need to be answered about how their protection was breached so disastrously, and what is being done to ensure the safety of other users.