A PSA About Nude Photos

I wrote that tweet yesterday in regards to the celebrity nude photo thefts.

(It’s not a leak. Nor a scandal. It was theft, kay? Kay.)

It’s had over 4500 retweets since then.

A tweet that goes that far and wide tends to get a response that is equally far and wide, and so of course I’m getting a lot of tweets from people (let’s be honest: dudes) who are like BUH BUH BUT UHH THAT’S WRONG BECAUSE SOMETHING SOMETHING FALSE ANALOGY SOMETHING SOMETHING SECURITY AND HEY REMEMBER YOU SHOULDN’T PUT NUDE PHOTOS ON YOUR PHONE IF YOU WANT THEM STOLEN.

Basically reiterating the same thing I was attempting to refute in the first fucking place.

If that is your response, may I take this moment to elucidate an academic retort:

Fuck you.

Fuuuuuuuck you.

Fuuuu-huuuu-huuuuuuuuck you.

Please: now allow me to grow multiple arms like Shiva the Destroyer, and further, do note that at the ends of each serpentine arm you will find a middle finger, thrust up so that each finger is straining in an angry, arthritic fashion to convey the telepathic disdain I have for your bullshit, hypocritical, falsely equivalent opinion.

I think people should be allowed to take nude photos of themselves.

I think nude photos are rad. I think not taking nude photos is rad. I think whatever you want to do sexually or artistically is a-okay as long as its enthusiastically consensual — stick a carrot up your ass, if you want, while banging your genitals with a tambourine. Whoever you are, however you identify yourselves, I live in a world where I want you to have both the freedom to do what you want in this manner while simultaneously possessing the privacy to do it as you see fit.

Any violation of that is just that: a violation.

It is a crime. An actual, honest-to-that-blind-lady-with-the-scales crime.

It is not rape, but it is deeply demonstrative of rape culture because it is an act that exploits a woman and her body without her consent. And then, as if to vigorously rub salt into the wound with the heel of one’s callused hand, the judgey-faced shitty-assed judgments of countless men follow in the wake of the violation: victim-blaming, slut-shaming, Puritanical finger-waggling.

“If you don’t want nude pics to get into the world…”

“Something-something security…”

“Sure, sure, it’s a crime, but still, you have to know realize that…”

Shut up.

Shut up shut up shut up shut up.

If you do that, you are on the side of evil, not the side of good.

Oh, I know. You’re pretending that you have people’s best interests at heart.

You want to remind them that the phone they carry is a vulnerable device.

It’s basically a boat with a sprung hull. Anything might leak into or out of it.

So, you think that anything you have put on your phone is suspect? Or your computer or tablet? If I steal your banking information, or your credit cards, or your e-mails, or pictures of your wife, your kids — well, hey, that’s your fault. You plugged in, bro. You shouldn’t have driven on the Information Superhighway if you don’t want to get run over by a couple joy-riding hackers, right?

And hey, driving on the actual highway is pretty dangerous, too. You shouldn’t drive because you could get hit. Sure, I mean, a drunk driver shouldn’t drive drunk — but it’s kinda your fault too because you had the audacity to leave your home. Leaving your home is dangerous. Your whole body is basically a gelatinous jellyfish, just an animated sack of bones and meat quivering its way through life. If you don’t protect yourself — guns, armor, various Mad Max-ian spikes and chains — then you can expect all kinds of violence. You’re not at all secure out there. Your flesh isn’t protected by a password. It’s your fault if you get beaten up. Oh, they stole your wallet, too? That’s what you get for putting all that vulnerable money inside a leather flappy thing ensconced within the soft downy pockets of your dumb acid wash jeans.

What’s that? I just punched you in the face?

Okay, yes, that’s a crime. Admittedly! Admittedly.

But you probably also should be wearing a helmet.

Your face is very vulnerable to the security exploit of my grumpy fist.

Of course, nobody’s saying those things.

Because nobody thinks those things.

Crimes are not a thing we deserve just because we exist in this world.

And yet, that’s what people (ahem, again, mostly dudes) are saying, here. This is the digital equivalent of, “Look at what she was wearing.” A woman is raped and we ask all kinds of questions as to what she did to engender the act — did she protect herself? Was she dressed conservatively enough to thwart the unstoppable sexual aggression of men? Was she in a place — like a seedy bar, or a Ruby Tuesday’s, or any street in America — where rape sometimes happens?

If I see a cake in a window and it’s sufficiently delicious-looking, can I take it?

And when I do take it, will someone ask the bakery: well, how did you decorate it? Was it too delicious-looking? The icing is very enticing. Too enticing, really. Can you blame the thief? How can one control such base and vital hunger? You probably should’ve locked the case. Or hidden the cake behind a secret door. It’s at least partially your fault the cake was stolen. Make uglier, less delicious cakes, next time — ?

One response read:

‘…and i know i wouldnt bank online without the numerous security checks and verification systems they use.’

Well, yes, of course, but nude photos are also protected by the numerous security checks and verification systems afforded by using your phone. They didn’t staple-gun their photos to a nearby telephone pole. The photos weren’t public.

Another said:

‘Im not ‘Blaming’ but security is your own responsibility. Do you keep your money in a bank, or hang it from a tree?’

Were the nude photos hung from a tree? No, they weren’t. So, shut up.

Another called me an SJW, which of course stands for ‘Social Justice Warrior’ — a fascinating term that I guess is somehow supposed to be bad? Like, “Ew, social justice is gross, and also being a warrior for social justice, oh, yucky, blergh, fighting for things you believe in is such a jerk move. Trying to make the world a better place for society with justice is pretty weird! I mean, unless you’re one of the Avengers, because they’re great. Especially that hot red-headeded one with the naked pictures on line — did you guys see these?”

*Tasers you*

*sighs over your twitching body*

It’s ugly out there, folks.

Can’t be a woman online. Or worse, playing games — gasp!

Can’t be a black dude in a convenient store.

Can’t be transgender… well, pretty much anywhere.

You’ll get judged. Deserving of a crime by dint of some perceived deviation.

How you’re dressed. The color of your skin. The choice of your gender identity.

When you judge someone for taking nude pictures on their phone — and you suggest that what they got was, if not deserved then at least expected — you’re a sexist shit-ferret. You’re not really making a point about security or the porousness of the Internet. You’re making a judgment based on that person’s choices. You’re judging the act of taking naked photos rather than the theft of the photos. You’re putting the onus of the crime on the victim and not the criminal because — really, this is why, I swear! — you don’t agree with their choices. Prurience must be punished. Sex is a sin. Where is their shame, you ask? Such shamelessness is provocative. It provokes a criminal response which basically makes the sinner culpable for their own victimization.

Stop it.

Cut the Puritanical crap.

A crime is a crime is a crime.

It is not invited.

You don’t deserve it because of your lack of clothes or because you chose Apple as a brand.

You don’t deserve it because you’re a celebrity.

Nobody deserves it.

If you suggest otherwise: congrats, you’re now part of a culture of rape, misogyny and sexism.

*Tasers you again*

*throws you out the airlock*

334 comments

  • I think the counter argument is made by the writer of this post, “You probably should’ve locked the case. Or hidden the cake behind a secret door.” Yes, that is exactly what I would say to someone who left out a beautiful cake where anyone could take it. By the author’s logic, if someone were to walk the streets nude and a second someone looked or possibly took a picture, that second someone would be committing rape unless they gained consent from the person walking nude.

    In addition, it is a completely false analogy to compare physical violence to digital theft, which is the foundational argument for most of the author’s rants. At least when not relying on ad hominem arguments. Comparing digital photos to the horrific brutality of rape is poor judgement at best.

    • For the record, yes, the acts are very different, but she is comparing the mentality of digital photo theft to a brutal rape ie. The exploitation of a woman’s body without her concent, because I am able, despite the legality or the damage cause to her, using excuses, including, “she deserved it” or “was asking for it”.
      In both scenarios, the girl had the pleasure of feeling exposed, violated, & the shame of being exploited, & in rape culture, that shame is coupled by people blaming & even sometimes punishing her for the said act.
      Even if you disagree with the bakery part (which the only issue you brought up is the locked door, which is often the question asked by the police & insurance agencies), your scenario of someone walking around naked isn’t what she was arguing about. It was the theft of secured photos, which in the bakery story would have been locked up & out of view. The thief would’ve known by reputation that the cake was good & went out of his way to find it. The long list of questions posed only ends at a place where you decided to make an argument. Her point was in both scenarios, rape & stolen photos, it would seem that people are more interested in finding fault in the victim than helping, asking a number of probing questions about the victim’s actions, but not about the attacker or what happened to he & how she’s handling things emotionally.
      Her argument is you shouldn’t do something to violate another’s person or security because you can or because they are vulnerable.

      Ps. There are laws against taking peoples photos without their permission. People that are walking around naked are expecting that people would at last them.

      • “Ps. There are laws against taking peoples photos without their permission.”

        Point of Order:

        Your statement is actually not true (with caveats). This would depend entirely on which country you were in at the time, obviously they all have different laws. However, if we were to limit ourselves to a very specific group of countries (pretty much all English speaking); United States, United Kingdom, a fair number of EU nations and Australia (possibly NZ as well but I can’t remember).

        In any of these countries there is generally no law against taking photographs;

        * of the general population – some restrictions may apply for certain people like police, military or spies etc.
        * in a “public place” – the definition of this may also vary regionally and “secure” locations (like military assets or energy facilities) in the background may also invite further restrictions.

        So, in the example given: A member of the general public walking around a public place in the fullness of their birthday suit (nude). They would have very little in the way of laws protecting them from being photographed.

        Of course there are caveats (there always are) on this particular situation e.g.: the age of the nude person would affect this as a very young person would then be protected by child pornography laws (but then what is a child doing walking the streets naked?).

    • I think you are missing the point. In part, he is explaining what is wrong with that mindset. As it is one which mirrors the perceptions too many have when dealing with assault cases. I believe he said it best with this: “Crimes are not a thing we deserve just because we exist in this world.”

      I cannot say more than has already been said above. I do not suggest this to be smarmy, but you might benefit from a second read.

    • Not comparing it to rape. He’s saying that people who have those views on the theft of these nude photos are part of the rape-culture in this world, and he is right. He then goes on to talk about how rape is a crime, and theft of photos is a crime, and that you wouldn’t make those comments about crimes that didn’t physically injure someone or invade their privacy in such a way, so why would you say it about these crimes that are (mostly) harming women? Did you even actually read it?

    • That’s not what the author is saying. I think your perception of the author’s arguments is clouded. Walking down the street naked is not even close to storing a photo in a private password-protected security-enabled location. She was not emailing the pictures around. She was not posting them on porn blogs or social media. Someone broke into her account plain and simple. Walking on the street is public. Social media is public. Your private security-enabled cloud space is not public. Yes, people are taking a risk of someone breaking in and stealing photos, and they have to own that decision to store the photos. But that does not make the victim at fault for the crime. You also take a risk if you buy an expensive TV and sound system and keep them in your locked house because anyone can break in and steal your stuff. But very very very few people would then say, “well you shouldn’t keep valuable things in your locked house.”

      If you want a closer analogy IRL it would be more like someone breaking into her house, taking nude photos while she sleeps and then distributing them. Right before the victim-blamers say, “Well she shouldn’t sleep naked.” Or even this: if the photos were physical prints (like any photo in the 90s or earlier) in a box with a padlock, and someone broke into her house, took an axe to the lock and stole the photos… well, there would still be people saying “don’t keep naked photos” but I think a lot more people would admit to the violation of privacy despite their opinion about whether you should or shouldn’t keep naked photos.

      I get why you think the rape comparison is out of line, but I think you need to do some research on rape culture. For the record, I also do not agree with the rape comparisons. But the victim blaming in this situation is identical to the victim blaming in many rape cases.

    • If the bakery locked its doors and didn’t allow customers to see its goods, it wouldn’t last long as a bakery. EVEN THOUGH the cake is both visible and accessible, it is still a crime to steal it. The criminal is not the person who baked the cake. That’s pretty basic. You are trying to twist what should be simple and logical to fit your own bias.

    • A crime is a crime and a violation of a person is a violation of a person. That’s the point the author is making.

      If everyone took one moment to put themselves in the other persons place, just one moment to be open minded, pretend it was they themselves who were effected and then think about how they would feel in that situation or any given situation at that moment then maybe, just maybe then will we live in a more caring world with less judgmental cold people.

      It might not be something you would do yourself but that not make it any less wrong what these theives have done or the violations being felt.

      We are gifted with empathy, its a genetic part of being human. To put oneself In the place of another and be able to understand and feel what someone else would feel. We dont have to have ever been in the situation or personally ever agree to their life choices that is not apart of the clause of our empathic ability. Only judgemental minds choose not to place oneself in to situation because they can no longer be judgemental and pretend their thoughrs are relevent.

      • Further more, there is no difference to someone breaking into your house stealing your videos and photographs finding something in them and sharing the photo and video with your community whether its a more exotic kind of thing or innocent. If a burglar stole photos of your child amd used it claiming it is there child on media sites (by scanning the photograph and putting it online) or stealing the sexy more reveiling annerversary present to your wife or husband, or a video/photo of your wife nude – a gift to you for your anniversary. Just imagine the violations that would be felt- and then to have no sympathy from any one,..and you hear people say oh well you should have realized that it could be stolen in a bulgalary you shouldn’t have anu photographs of your children anywherr and you shouldn’t spice up your marriage. It is all your fault!

        Its not other peoples right to tell people what is a violation and accepted and what’s not. A crime is a crime.

      • Actually there are many places (yes, in the US) where walking through the streets naked is not illegal. (e.g. Most of California, unless there is a local ordinance in place. You are not allowed to be touching yourself inappropriately while you do so, but being naked, in and of itself is perfectly legal, even in public.)

        • I don’t think this is true. San Francisco was one of the last places where public nudity was completely legal, and now it isn’t. (Except in parades, because nobody is brassy enough to try to ban nudity at Pride.)

    • September 6, 2014 at 7:28 AM // Reply

      I think the author had some choice words that apply to your completely idiotic babble, disguised behind the “big” words you looked up in a thesaurus, namely: “Fuck you.” Your response deserves no more than that, since the author covered your kind in the above article already.

      The streets, anywhere on earth, aren’t in a personal cellular phone.

      Your argument is invalid.

    • Technically speaking, this is exactly so. In Americatoday, you have to have the other person’s express consentto do *anything*: take their picture, take apicture iftheir property, sing a published song, etc. You can get in all kinds of terrible trouble for taking pictures of your own children if the camera happens to catch the kids bringing you your beer, or carrying an empty back to the trash. “It was cute how he took on the role of butler,” or whatever inspired you to take the picture, is no defense. Don’t try photographing them on an amusement-park water slide, especially, because, jeez, you might be stimulating yourself to abuse them later, and anyway how are we to know they’re really your own children, and you might actually be shifting the camera to the side little but and actually going for pics of *other* people’s kids, and who but a pervert would want pictures of little kids in bathing suits in the first place? And you can forget the time-honored and cherished tradition of taking pics of your kids playing innocently in the bathtub– or, as my dad did, and *won prizes for in public, professional competition*—running awsy nsked down the sidewalk. Who but a pervert…? I am not making this up: there have been actual police called on actual people in these scenarios, within the last ten or fifteen years or so. Look it up. Do yeah, you can’t legally take a picture of someone walking nude in public unless they expressly allow it: it’s the law, or may as well be.

      • Your comment regarding the legality of the situations being discussed, in particular the photography, is is not based on actual laws but more on anecdotal evidence.

        Please see my earlier comment for more details regarding the legality of photographing people in public.

        Having the police or social services attend an incident does not make it an illegal act, it just makes it something someone has complained about. In all of the situations you described (where a law might actually have been broken) the illegal act is not actually taking the photograph, it is the act being photographed which is likely the illegal bit. Or, in situations such as photographing children in a public place (or a private place in some situations), there are very specific circumstances that we’re cause for someone to complain. I would be interested to see if anyone was actually convicted of photographing their own kids at a water park as I seriously doubt it would happen! Most likely the police came and talked to the photographer, looked at the photos, and then left.

  • This. Yes! Awesome. I don’t even think I can pick a favorite point because the whole thing is brilliant.

    Be gone all you sexist shit-ferrets.

    Brilliant.

    Thank you for saying what’s been on any self-respecting and semi-intelligent person’s mind these past few days.

  • I feel like… yeah. Some peeps had their data stolen. Bummer. I’m a software developer, I’m on the white hat side of it. If you built something that gets compromised? /wrists Doesn’t negate or minimize what the people affected had to deal with, just saying; I empathize.

    Okay, so… we done here?

    oooh, right, we’re supposed to run around in arm-waving panic, or patriarchy something something, [insert other liberal cause here]. Gah, I’m a liberal and I can’t stand us sometimes. Everyone’s cause is connected to everything, and Jesus we gotta get freaked out here, I mean… JLAW, yo! Fuck, man, this is serious.

    Ahh crap. I don’t have cable. #AwkwardThatIDon’tKnowWhoThatIs? Am I trivializing something really important here? I’m thinking more like shrugging at tip of the iceberg after listening with an expression of mild concern. Hundreds of thousands of kids and women in sex trafficking, or, like, World War 3 in Ukraine/Iraq/Pacific Ocean/American Civil War pt. Duex are on both my mind a lot lately. Topical.

    I’m being really serious here, but smiling, asking for some self-examination. Why are you so upset about these pictures on the internet? These people, these tens of people, got exploited in a way that, let’s face it, is what you could describe as mildly unsettling shading to briefly enraging. My Grandmother, no shitting around, got scammed 5 times by the same fucking guy. She’s old and believes shit people say on her land line phone. It cost her thousands of dollars. My anecdote illustrates, I hope, that this kind of thing happens. It SUCKS that there are assholes, but really, are we done here?

    • I’ve got to admit forridean, I’m with you on this one.

      For the last couple of days here in the UK the papers have been covered with the story of Jihadi John, a British ISIS member who published a video of himself beheading an American journalist and threatening to follow up with more. This monster FILMED HIMSELF HACKING OFF AN INNOCENT HUMAN BEING’S HEAD. I mean, Jesus effin’ Christ… that there are people like THAT alive in this world…

      So J-LAW, Miss Downton Abbey and all the other celebs affected by this nude photo-stealing thing… sorry it happened to you, you poor things etc. I will get around to being outraged for you, I promise – but for the moment my thoughts are haunted by what that American journalist went through – and what his poor family are probably still going through.

      • “So J-LAW, Miss Downton Abbey and all the other celebs affected by this nude photo-stealing thing… sorry it happened to you, you poor things etc. I will get around to being outraged for you, I promise – but for the moment my thoughts are haunted by what that American journalist went through – and what his poor family are probably still going through.”

        Obviously people have to decide what matters to them, and I wouldn’t ask that you give this extra interest — that being said, it’s worth noting that we can be upset about many different things at the same time.

        — c.

    • It’s not a zero-sum game.

      It’s not a zero-sum game.

      It’s not a zero-sum game.

      It’s not a zero-sum game.

      It’s not a zero-sum game.

      Can I repeat that once more?

      It’s not a zero-sum game.

      Caring about one thing doesn’t limit one’s ability to care about another.

      It’s not a zero-sum game.

    • Exploitation is exploitation whether it’s your poor grandma or women celebrities. The point is that this exploitation of women, however it manifests itself, IS serious. And it’s all related … sex trafficking and rape springs from the same mindset as the theft of these photos. And THAT is the point of this brilliant article. It’s an overarching syndrome that leaks into how women are treated everywhere.

  • Funny, i had the same discussion with other people.

    I have a rule (for a long time) to never ever take nude pictures and store them in a way that there might be a possible chance, that they get leaked.

    My worst case scenario is: No nude pictures will ever be able to get leaked.

    Everyone else, who doesn’t follow the rule, has another worst case scenario:

    Leaked nude pictures.

    And we don’t need to talk about if it is wrong and whoms fault it is, the result will always be the same:

    Leaked nude pictures.

    You ca replace ‘leaked’ with ‘stolen’ and there might be someone who is going to jail for that, but that doesn’t change the result:

    Leaked nude pictures.

    Btw. in germany if you have an accident, it is possible for you to get a partly fault, even as the victim.

    • Worst case scenario is you never get your freak on with some nude pictures. And you live a joyless, risk-free life and perish sitting in a gray room somewhere.

      More seriously —

      The nude pictures were not leaked, they were stolen. I’m not saying that as some kind of artistic word choice matter, I mean — it’s really what happened. “Leaked” implies someone involved with the photo lets it slip purposefully into the public sphere for reasons X, Y, or Z.

      There is a fault — the fault of the person who stole them and shared them illegally. That’s not a moral declaration, by the way — that’s actually legal reality. The thieves are at fault, and could go to jail for 10+ years.

      In accidents here you can also share blame. But those are in accidents, not crimes. Major difference if two cars bang into each other versus someone stealing someone else’s very private property and sharing it illegally with the world.

      And, finally, the WORST CASE SCENARIO is a meaningless way to live your life, particularly when it comes to fault and blame. WENT OUTSIDE, GOT SHOT BY A SNIPER. WORST CASE SCENARIO, SO I DON’T GO OUTSIDE, WHICH MEANS MY WORST CASE SCENARIO IS DYING ALONE IN MY BED WITH MY MUSCLES ATROPHYING.

      — c.

      • Moral of the story, don’t store nude pictures or video of yourself in a medium accessible from around the globe because there are assholes out there that will abuse and exploit holes in the system and security.

        …or have you not gotten that as yet?

        Yes, yes, yes, you have the absolute right to do as you please. You have the right to expect privacy, and safety. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and all that good stuff.

        …I also have the right to consider you an idiot for acting like that.

        • Moral of the story: don’t use online or mobile phone banking or ATMs, credit cards, send emails, or visit a doctor or hospital in the USA which uses an EHR (pretty much all of them do now), or anything else in a medium accessible from around the globe, because there are assholes out there that will abuse and exploit holes in the system and security. Worst case alternative is not getting mental health care, or erectile dysfunction meds, or, you know, dying.

          Before the Internet, it was “don’t sunbathe nude on your private boat 50 miles from civilization because you never know where a photographer with a long range lens might be lurking.” Don’t dare take your top off on a private resort if you’re Princess Kate. Funny, even then I don’t recall hearing about male celebrities, kings or Presidents being humiliated in this fashion.

          You have the right to hide inside your home, fully clothed at all times. I also have the right to think you’re a complete douchecanoe for ignoring the obvious: nude theft/exploitation very rarely targets men.

  • <3 You are a bastion of sanity in a sea of bullshit; all I can really say is THANK YOU! Now whenever someone wants to drag me into a psuedo-argument of victim-shaming assholery I can just point them here and walk away like a boss.

  • It is absolutely fucked up that people, through no fault of their own, had their privacy violated.

    But let’s be honest here. Celebrities are NOT normal people. By their very job description, they have become abnormal. They don’t just go out to a bar like the rest of us. They have bodyguards and drivers. They don’t just go out for dinner to a local restaurant. They have to take a back entrance so they won’t be hounded by fans or the press. It’s arranged or they have protection. They have heightened security at their house, up to and including armed guards.

    Celebrities are made targets as a result of their celebrity. Do people target your nude pics on your phone? Hell no. Why? Because you’re normal. You might be fucking hot, but you’re not famous. They can no longer, realistically, consider themselves to be that kind of normal. They can’t enjoy the protection that kind of normality provides. How many interviews have you seen where someone famous bemoans that they just want normalcy in their life?

    The unfortunate fact is that they now have people who have an interest in invading their personal and online space. They should know better and protect against it. The fact that they don’t understand how it works is no fucking excuse. They should hire someone who CAN protect them, just like they take that bodyguard with them to the club.

    Welcome to being famous.

    Should people do this to them? Fuck no. Will they? Fuck yes. Welcome to the real world.

    You can’t be making millions of dollars a year and have a professionally crafted image and then just bury your head in the sand and claim to be ignorant when something like this comes along. In the end, we have to protect ourselves against that. 99 out of a 100 people won’t steal your car, so why do you have car keys or lock it? It’s because of that 1 person who will.

    As ugly and unfair as it is, that’s the world they live in. To claim that just because they’re celebrities that they shouldn’t be mindful of the awful people out there is idiotic.

    • Yeah, no.

      I’m gonna let the very wise, very ass-kickery Diana Rowland handle this for me:

      “Here’s the problem. Let’s say I’m a celebrity. I have a photo that I took of my boobs. It’s on a password protected phone/computer/drive what have you. But according to your line of thinking, BECAUSE I’m a celebrity I should be prepared for someone to steal that pic and post it (which is, of course why I have it behind encryption, etc.) Yet some clever soul manages to get through my encryption, steals the pic and posts it. But, hey, I should have expected that to happen because I’m a celebrity, right?

      Let’s say I’m still a celebrity. I have boobs. I keep them covered up in public, and I even have personal security. But some clever soul manages to defeat my personal security guard, rips my shirt off, and gropes my boobs. But hey, I should have expected that to happen because I’m a celebrity, right? I should keep boobs under even MORE clothing and hire MORE security or, hell, just not go out because, after all, I’m a celebrity. I should have been better prepared.

      It all boils down to this: I should be *prepared* to be assaulted, and when it happens it’s obviously because I didn’t *prepare* enough, no matter what steps I took, and I didn’t ‘recognize the reality.’

      No. That’s wrong.”

      • “It all boils down to this: I should be *prepared* to be assaulted, and when it happens it’s obviously because I didn’t *prepare* enough, no matter what steps I took, and I didn’t ‘recognize the reality.’”

        This is frustrating to me, as a man. I think in terms of solutions. If a problem presents itself, I try to fix it, the best I can. I attempt to empathize with a person’s position by putting myself in their shoes. For example,

        Me: “I’m a woman who’s going to a party where alcohol is involved. I better bring someone I trust so in case I get drunk and may either do something I’ll regret later and/or keep perverts away from me.”

        The takeaway I seem to get from women is “Why should I have to drag someone along in order to have fun? Men should stop being Rapey McRaperson.”

        Me: “I agree 100%. Rape is awful and should never happen. You shouldn’t need to have a buddy system in order to protect yourself. However, the fact remains is that there are are people out there who don’t share that viewpoint and are looking to take advantage of women who are intoxicated. By safeguarding against that, you reduce the chances of being assaulted.”

        Women: “I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DO EXTRA STUFF BECAUSE A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE ARE SHITTY! STOP BLAMING VICTIMS FOR BEING RAPED!”

        Me: “As I said before, you absolutely SHOULDN’T have to do extra stuff and I’m NOT blaming victims! But until we live in an age where sexual assault completely disappears, doesn’t it behoove you to protect yourself, just in case?”

        Women: “VICTIM BLAMER RAPE APOLOGIST MRA”

        And round and round we go.

        • You’re missing the point. By a country mile, if I measure it correctly.

          A woman who takes along a friend, great, yes, I applaud the thought at the same time I flinch at the shitty sexist asshole rape culture that makes such an act useful.

          But a woman who *does not* take along a friend is not *deserving of rape.*

          She is not deserving ANY BLAME AT ALL because somebody did not accompany her.

          Your comment further fails to realize that the woman who brings the friend along is has a chance to be raped BY THAT FRIEND and not by a total stranger. So, what happens when that’s the case? She gets NEW blame. She shouldn’t have come onto the friend. Or she trusted the wrong friend. Or she drank too much and he took the signals wrong but he can’t be blamed for that, oh no.

          It’s a fucking shit-fest out there, and we have to stop telling women that a failure to perform all the cross-checks demanded is how they get raped.

          Let’s frame it not as what-happens-to-women, but as you, Patrick-Whoever-You-Are.

          Let’s say that SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS TO YOU.

          You’re robbed. Or you get in a car accident. Or you have a housefire. Or cancer, or stabbing, or, or, or.

          You know what assholes do?

          They tell you what YOU DID WRONG to DESERVE THE SHITTY THING THAT HAPPENED.

          Well, in that housefire, you lost some important documents? Should’ve had them in a firesafe. Oh, you did? And it wasn’t rated for the heat that came off that fire? Uhh, should’ve bought a BETTER one. Oh, you did? And that didn’t help either? Well, you should’ve been more KNOWLEDGEABLE about fire safes. Oh, you read Consumer Reports? Huh. Oh, well, you should’ve backed them up on your computer? Oh, that melted, too. How about the Cloud? You did, but the Cloud failed you? The files got hacked, or corrupted? WELL IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE AND YOU SHOULD BE BETTER AND SMARTER AND IT’S YOUR OWN DUMB FAULT.

          It’s easy to kick victims for their own misfortune.

          But most people don’t do that.

          Because that’s what assholes do.

          And yet, a lot of folks DO end up doing this when, drum roll please, the violation of women is at hand. Because some men see women as a) stupid b) property c) lesser. And so begins the mansplainy sexist shit-ferret dance where men say BLAH BLAH BLAH SECURITY WHY DIDN’T YOU AND YOU SHOULD’VE AND WHAT YOU WERE WEARING AND YOU CAME ON TO THAT GUY AND NUDE PICS ONLINE DON’T YOU KNOW and the floop dee doo poop noise.

          It’s not round and round.

          It’s a straight line to sexist shit-ferret town.

          The women who had their photos stolen? Not their fault. No way it’s their fault. Legally and morally they’re good to go. As they should be because they were the ones violated — they did not violate themselves, nor did they IN ANY WAY take part in their own violation.

          Any suggestion otherwise — ANY — is what sexist shit-ferrets do.

          End of story.

          • “It’s a fucking shit-fest out there, and we have to stop telling women that a failure to perform all the cross-checks demanded is how they get raped.”

            You seem to think that I, personally, am coming from a place of malice and victim blaming when it’s really the complete opposite. I don’t want anybody to be hurt, ever. If I say to my wife for example, “I’ll be at work, but call me if shit gets weird at that party you’re going to.” I don’t think I’m looking for an opportunity to rub it in if something awful happens. I think I’m being the best husband I can be.

            My initial belief in my first post, though poorly worded, is to prepare yourself the best you can. To do otherwise because you think it’s a societal problem (and it totally is) is naive at best and dangerously idiotic at worst.

          • Patrick, you are still missing the point. You say, “Celebrities lead a life that is higher risk than others so they shouldn’t be able to complain when something happens to them.” That is not correct. The correct view is that no matter their lifestyle, they are people who should be protected by the law, not ridiculed when they have their private property stolen.

            Next you say, “It’s a shitty world and we should all do as much as we can to protect ourselves.” Fair enough, but prepared or not, should a victim ever be blamed, even a little bit, when a crime is committed against them? 1000x no. Just because we know that there are shitty people who do shitty things does not mean that we accept that as reality and shift the blame to the victim instead. That is a dangerous way to think not only because it further humiliates the victim in a trying time, but because IT EXCUSES OR AT LEAST MARGINALIZES THE SHITTY BEHAVIOUR OF THE SHITTY PERSON WHO DID THE SHITTY THING IN THE FIRST PLACE. That is the problem with that line of thinking.

            Yes it is naïve to walk this world with blinders on thinking that nothing will ever happen to you, but to find any fault in a victim is wrong no matter how you phrase it. When we start accepting shitty things as reality and stop fighting against them, that is when truly horrible things start to happen. We should always condemn the actions of the criminal and seek to comfort and help the victim. Any less and you risk becoming part of the problem not the solution.

        • A woman/man (cause they get raped as well) shouldn’t have to do all this stuff when it really boils down to DON’T PUT YOUR DICK/VAG IN/ON SOMEONE THAT SAYS NO. We are not animals driven by our basic instinct. I should not have to wear a poncho and bring an army of friends just to make sure another person doesn’t rape me. A short skirt or tight pants should not make your hormones go so insane that you go I’VE GOT TO GET ME SOME OF THAT EVEN IF ITS NOT CONSENSUAL. MAN, THAT R2D2 SHIRT GETS MY NETHERS ALL FROTHY. We are humans. Not gang raping dolphins. JFC. No one is entitled to violate someone else’s body.

        • “This is frustrating to me, as a man. I think in terms of solutions. If a problem presents itself, I try to fix it, the best I can. I attempt to empathize with a person’s position by putting myself in their shoes. ”

          That’s wonderful! We have a problem. People are breaking into private computer accounts for racy pictures.

          How do you, oh wise problem solver, propose to keep people from breaking in? Because that’s the problem I want to solve, right now. I’d appreciate some advice about that.

          Security advice is something the professional security people haven’t solved yet, so don’t be so offended when random people on the internet think you haven’t gotten your security perfect.

          Oh, and Patric, never shop at Target with a credit card. You’ll be hacked.

        • It’s clear that you’re a good man. And that you want to protect your wife and all women. And that you want to find a solution. But the problem is that the issue at hand has gone way beyond “take precautions.” Sure. That’s a great idea as far as it goes. But women simply can’t take ENOUGH precautions to fend off a rape culture and rape consciousness that is everywhere. THAT is the real problem.

          So if you want to work on a solution, work on the solution that’s actually going to change things. Are you willing, as a man, to do whatever you can do to change rape consciousness? To confront the rape culture? To not simply sit back and say
          “Yeah, there’s Rapey MacRapeperson assholes out there, so bring a buddy and a can of mace and hope for the best.”

          It’s simply not enough. And until all the good men GET that it’s not enough and try to change the culture ( which is way harder than simply trying to patch things up, case by case) nothing is ever going to get any better for women on this front. We simply can’t do it without you.

        • “I think in terms of solutions. If a problem presents itself, I try to fix it, the best I can.”

          Fixing problems doesn’t work if you are relying on incomplete data, or if you get stuck on a particular solution because you like it better or it’s easier. I’m sure that if you work in any problem-solving field, you’ve run into the issue where the real solution X is complicated, difficult and long-term, but will ACTUALLY solve the issue; whereas your team/co-workers/manager keep saying “But why can’t we do Y instead?” because they *like* Y, or because they aren’t actually listening to you when you explain why you have to do X, or because they don’t want to put in the effort it would take to do X.

          And right now, *you* are that whiny manager, complaining that mean people are getting frustrated at you for telling them to do Y over and over again when they’re trying to explain why you need to do X to fix shit.

    • I think that is largely the same argument that gets used for why sex workers should expect abuse. Not OK in that situation, not OK in this situation.

  • Could it be some are having difficulty with this issue because they see it as an either/or scenario? Yes, there is the “real world” to consider, but that does not excuse or lessen the violation. It is also not the time to have that discussion with the victim. Nor are there requisite steps to be taken which tip the level of blame to the victim.

    I don’t know. When push comes to shove, I would hope those inclined to think otherwise would get the point made here. But they seem to have difficulty understanding what kind of an impact they have whenever they press their views of what they feel are preventive measures.

  • If I put my bank details onto a computer, I am accepting the chance (read: not expecting) that they will be stolen. Luckily, banks have security measures in place to mitigate the damage given the above event occurring, but still – the point is I accept that there is a risk, and then I go and get on with my life.

    If I put pictures of myself on the internet, I am accepting the chance they will be stolen. Regardless of the security measures in place, I accept that there is a risk, and then I go and get on with my life.

    If my pictures are stolen, it’s MY FAULT for putting them on the internet in the first place, knowing the risks associated with such an act – therefore any pictures I do put on the internet I am okay with colleagues seeing. Don’t analogise this or read too much into it.

    I am not *prepared* for an event like that, but I *know* and *accept* that the risk exists; and I have gone out of my way to MITIGATE the chances of this occurring. Then I go and get on with my life. Analogise this as much as you want – but if I didn’t go out of my way to mitigate an event occurring, knowing it was a possibility, then I am not fully understanding of the domain associated with the event and I am partially to blame as a result. It shouldn’t be like this, but such is the way of the world.

    • “….such is the way of the world.”

      Man, some of you really like to use that one. Are you reading it out of a playbook?

      So, lemme ask: if I steal your bank account information and, say, rob you blind, that is YOUR fault. It isn’t the bank’s fault. It isn’t my fault. It’s yours?

      Because that’s what you’re saying here in regards to the photos.

      — c.

      • My point is – I knew the risks associated with online banking (let’s not confuse online and offline at all in our discussion) and chose to take them. I accept this risk when using the service, and must be willing to accept the consequences.

        Also, regardless of whether or not the law agrees with me, the consequences of the original act of putting images of myself on the internet were known and accepted at the time of said act occurring. Fair enough, let’s not attribute fault then. But let us at least acknowledge that the risks and consequences must be weighed before making any decision, and the risks that DO exist of putting images of ourselves on the internet should be taken into account.

        If you gamble and lose, you can’t blame the game.

        • You’re assuming they didn’t take mitigate risk.

          And the mitigation of risk — existing or not — changes little about the actual facts on the ground which is, legally speaking, those who took the photos are not in any way at all at fault. So, continuing to harp on something everyone already knows — “The Internet is porous” — is either redundant or potentially sexist.

          — c.

          • The way to mitigate the risk of personal photos being shared on the internet is not to put them on the internet. Clearly, no risk mitigation occurred.

            We’re not talking about fault any more as I previously stated. We’re simply talking about the decision to do something given a set of risks and potential consequences which (rightly, wrongly or ‘legally speaking’) may or may not occur, then choosing to ignore these (read: mitigate), having a consequence occurring and then complaining about it later. That’s not redundant, that’s just foolishness.

            If throwing out the sexist card is all you have, this conversation now becomes redundant and therefore is no longer worth my limited time. Good day.

          • Risk mitigation is not risk elimination.

            And this conversation was redundant the moment you started saying the same things this post refutes at its very fore.

            *waggles fingers* byeeee

            — c.

        • So then any crime is ultimately the fault of the victim bc there is probably always something you can do to avoid it and we assumed the risks simply by being alive.

          At what point do we say it’s enough?

          I saw a great quote today (said in my words). When we tell women that they are responsible for protecting themselves from rape (or having photos stolen or any other crime), we’re saying better the rapist go and rape someone else.

          It’s the crime that’s the problem, not the person effected by it.

        • James, even if somebody is fully aware of the risks and even goes so far as to sign a waiver by the bank saying they understand the risks, does that shift any of the blame off the criminal who steals your money? No, they chose to commit a crime so they are 100% guilty of that crime. To then argue that the victim is even 5% responsible for the crime is the same as saying the criminal is only 95% at fault for the crime they committed. Do you see the problem with that line of thinking? Why are we arguing to shift any of the blame off the criminal and onto the victim.

          Oh I know your response will be something along the lines of, “I’m not saying the criminal isn’t 100% responsible for their actions. I’m just saying the victim is at least partially to blame.” But take a second to really think about that objectively. You logic line goes:

          Internet security is bad
          Any Internet transaction is risky
          Any user should know these risks
          Crimes will be committed
          By accepting risk of crimes being committed, we must also accept partial responsibility for said crime.
          Ergo victim is at least partially responsible for said crime making criminal somewhat less responsible for said crime

          Do you see the danger in that logic?

          I get the point you are trying to make. If you don’t ever want people to see nude pictures of you, the best, most sure fire way to make sure that never happens is to never have any nude photos of you exist. The mere existence of a nude photo existing increases the risk of them being seen. These are both true statements, but to conclude that your photos being stolen and shared without your consent is your fault because you allowed them to exist is not logical.

          Let’s say, like almost every other person in the world, you choose to shower naked. You are very protective of anybody seeing you naked, so you live in an isolated area with no neighbors for miles and you have the best, state of the art security system known to man. Your bathroom has no windows. You’ve taken every measure to ensure there is no way anybody could see you naked in the shower even though you know the mere fact that for 10 minutes per day when you are actually naked, there is a higher risk that somebody will see you naked.

          Now for some reason, there is a person who is secretly fixated with the idea of seeing you naked, so they befriend you, gain your trust and secretly install a camera in your showerhead. They then take those videos and share them around the world.

          By your logic, in this scenario, you are still at fault because you knew that taking showers naked increases the potential risk that somebody will see you. Then you compounded your risk by trusting somebody and letting them into your home. Hell, you were practically begging for them to violate your privacy right? You got just what you deserved because you weren’t careful enough. And best of all, the perp who violated your trust and the law, is practically blameless, because you knew the risks. Right? Tell me how that makes any sense.

    • “If my pictures are stolen, it’s MY FAULT for putting them on the internet in the first place, knowing the risks associated with such an act – therefore any pictures I do put on the internet I am okay with colleagues seeing. Don’t analogise this or read too much into it.”

      Oh, and sidenote, the law doesn’t actually agree with you.

        • Also, going to add, while cloud-based storage goes through, and has access to the internet, it is not putting them on the internet.

          Well said Chuck and Leigh. Let’s see jerks who shared the photos (like Perez Hilton) and the thieves face the full force of those laws.

  • Yeah. It’s the whole #notallmen #notallgamers phenomenon. Because we’re talking about the trend, which is disturbing, and if someone wants to show they’re not part of the trend they need to DO something about it, not just say something.

    I think people either get it or they don’t. I’m not seeing many won over to the idea that a theft is a theft via logic.

  • A crime is a crime is a crime. Correct. Stealing is wrong and illegal and bad. Still, you don’t leave your phone in the front seat of your car on the street because some dirtbag will smash your window and swipe it. It is not the victim’s fault. It is absolutely the criminal’s fault. You should still encrypt your data and store it on drives that you own for the same reason you shouldn’t leave valuables in your car on the street. The culture needs to change, but until then protect yourself.

  • The worst thing about victim blaming: it doesn’t address the crime or the criminal. Telling a potential victim the equivalent of “don’t wear that short skirt” is basically telling them “make it hard enough so that someone else is the victim instead”. Advice on how not to be a victim never actually reduces the chance of the crime being committed, it just puts someone else in the cross-hairs.

  • This is more of a response to those that just want the discussion to be over with. Now that the pictures had been stolen, the person who stole them will be caught and charged.

    The remaining problem is that the pictures continue to be passed around. People are using a multitude of excuses to participate in the crime. They are knowingly receiving stolen goods.

    In a way though, anyone who looked at Snowden’s leaked documents were knowingly receiving stolen goods as well. No one complained about anyone looking at those.

    The question then becomes, what to do about data that is out there that might violate privacy? How does that get controlled? And how do we manage that without just giving the government more ways to prevent their own citizens from seeing data? For example, what if medical records are leaked and companies start using that data for targeted marketing?

    Those pictures could be chased after for years and still not be able to stop them from being reposted again 20 years from now.

    As I see it:
    1) person who originally stole will be caught and charge
    2) not the victim’s fault
    3) what do we do now to bring the data (pictures) back under control? This is the most important question now I think.

  • If your house is robbed, it is a crime regardless of whether you had locks and alarms on it or not.
    If it was robbed despite your locks and alarms, someone might tell you that you should have known to have better ones, but probably not most people.
    If you chose to turn the alarms off and to leave the doors open, most people will have less sympathy for you.

    So I think that people who use cloud storage are doing the equivalent of having generally adequate locks and alarms. Those who aren’t … I have less sympathy for them.

  • Interesting how many people frame their comments in terms of whether or not they have “sympathy” for these women.

    The handy thing about laws is that it doesn’t fucking matter if you sympathize; a crime is a crime.

    • “I don’t have sympathy for…” is a euphemism for “they deserved it”.

      It’s defensive attribution. Bad things happened to another person. If those things happened to them because they are stupid, then I will never need to worry about those bad things happening to me, because I am not stupid.

  • What people keep utterly missing is that these picures weren’t just floating around on some publicly accessable cloud site, friends locked on Facebook, or just sitting on some vaguely password protected webpage on ‘the internet’- these were pictures stored by Apple on internal servers.

    And even with Apple denying that iCloud was hacked, the thief(s) stole personal information which allowed them to access personal data.

    The non-digital equivilant would be someone storing their valuables in a safe deposit box at a bank, a theif stealing their access information from the bank, waltzing into the vault, and taking the stuff from the box. No one would be telling the vicitim “Well, you shouldn’t have put your stuff where someone could steal it!”, and everyone would be up in arms about how the thief was able to get access.

    If someone had their items in a safe in their home behind a security system, and things were stolen, would people be blaming the victim for not being more careful? (Sadly, if the things stolen were nudes, you would get idiots claiming “Shouldn’t take nude pics!”)

    There was absolutely a reasonable expectation of security here, and all of the wrath should be falling on Apple for not absolutely and clearly stating how these items were stolen, and what they’re doing to prevent it from happening again.

  • While I agree with most of what’s been said, I have a question for you Chuck. In your opinion, If I ALERT someone that a risky behavior they had is what has put them in a vulnerable situation which therefore is what allowed the bad scenario to take place, and then should not be repeated, or if I ALERT someone of the risks of certain act before they do it, or if after having been alerted, the person still did it anyway and suffered from the predicted consequences, and I say to that person: “I alerted you! from now on you shouldn’t do it!”, am I being sexist? Am I being part of the rape culture?
    Note: I’m not saying here things like “YOU DID WRONG to DESERVE THE SHITTY THING THAT HAPPENED.” or “WELL IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE AND YOU SHOULD BE BETTER AND SMARTER AND IT’S YOUR OWN DUMB FAULT.”
    I’m actually saying: “hey watch out, you probably shouldn’t do it”, or if it has already happened once: “hey you probably shouldn’t do it again”, or if it happens again AFTER the warning: “you know, you probably have some fault. It already happened once, I’ve warned you before and you did it anyway”.
    If you think yes, I am sexist and part of the problem, then I wholeheartedly disagree. Let’s not forget that this is completely independent of gender, bad things can happen in any scenario to any person independent of their characteristics, and I’m not separating the bad things that happen to women as something special. In fact, I think YOU can be called as part of the problem if any subsequent negative action happens due to the inexistence of warnings, be it to women or to anyone, because you thought that calling them on their mistake is wrong.

    Every action has multiple risks that can possibly derive from it. Some of these risks are higher than others, and some actions have higher risks attached to it. People usually prepare for harmful risks according to how high they are depending on the action that needs to be taken. If the risk of something bad is known as being too high, the action should not be taken whatsoever. For lesser risks, the ones with a lesser chance of happening, people usually ignore, and keep living and acting without thinking on them. Note that it is perfectly possible that a certain risk is unknown and therefore an action is taken anyway, in fact it happens all the time. I do not think that someone can be blamed for doing something for which the risk was high but unknown to them at the time of action.

    In your text you cited a number of examples:
    -Driving on the Highway is pretty dangerous. Yes it is… but people weight the risks and decide that they are not so high as to prevent them from using the highway.
    -You should not drive because you could get hit. Yes you could, but the chances are minimal, and therefore most people keep driving.
    -Leaving your home is dangerous, sure, but the action of leaving the home results in benefits that outweight the risks related to it. And so, people leave without thinking “I may die today if I leave”.
    -My wallet can get stolen and I can lose all valuables that I store in it. Yes it can, and since I live in a place where the risks of getting mugged are high, and I HAVE had my wallet stolen once with all the valuables in it, that’s why nowadays I don’t use a wallet anymore and spread my stuff on multiple pockets.
    Some other extreme examples are: If I drink water I can get intoxicated by a lethal germ and die. Yep… but the chances are slim, and I need to drink water all the time, therefore I choose to drink. If i breath, I can inhale some lethal pathogen and die. Again I can, but I do it anyway because I’m conscious of the low risk compared to my need.
    A delicious cake in my window has a higher chance of being stolen IF I live in a place where people are very very hungry, for instance. If I KNOW that I live in a place with a higher rate of cake-stealing and even then I decide to leave a cake in the open, cannot I be blamed for not considering the risks properly? Cannot I be blamed for knowingly leaving the cake exposed, even if aware of the risks?

    To me it appears that you believe in blame, fault or guilt as being an integer with no division, a zero-sum with only one type. If someone is to blame for something, then absolutely nobody else can be blamed for it or any part of it, not even a little. If a woman is raped, the guilt is solely, completely on the rapist, nobody else. And yeah, I agree that the blame for the CRIME commited can be only be placed on the rapist (or on the rapists if there is more than one). But I do believe there can be multiple faults at hand here, besides the blame for the crime itself.
    The same way that someone can be blamed for facilitating the crime, or that someone can be blamed for seeing the crime happening and not taking action against it, I do believe that the victim itself can be blamed if it was aware of the high risks and purposefully decided to expose itself to it. He/she can NOT blamed for the crime of whatever, but IMO can be blamed for failing to assess the situation properly, IF POSSIBLE, and preventing it to the best extent.

    Let me use your shoe example. If I decide to walk with a very expensive shoe in a neighbourhood that I KNOW people are poor and the crime rates are high, and then I am mugged, I do think that I can be blamed for KNOWINGLY exposing myself to the danger. The exact same way that I can blame someone that knew that that neighborhood was dangerous for someone with an expensive shoe, but failed to warn me, the victim.
    But if I somehow end up in that place by accident, or voluntarily walk there but without any knowledge of the risks, then I think I really cannot be blamed in any way shape of form for something bad that happens.

    Now let me make myself clear here. I DO NOT believe that the celebrities that had their photos stolen can be blamed IN THE SLIGHTEST here. The only guilty people here for anything are the hackers who stole them, and others who shared them. Why I think that? Because at the time of the event, it was believed that storing photos on the cloud was a very secure action. There is no way that the celebrities could have prepared against it because they had absolutely no clue of how high the risk was of their photos being stolen. Yes they knew deep down that someone somewhere working with the storage service could maybe access their photos, and they knew that if someone stole their smartphones on the street, and figure out their password, they could also have their photos stolen. But the important part here: these risks were believed by everyone to be SO LOW, that therefore they acted as if there was no risk whatsoever. They weighted the risks at hand and decided to store the photos on the cloud, and also store it on their phones, and walk with their phones on the street, just like any one of us. They cannot be blamed for the hacking of the cloud storage though.
    BUT, I do believe that from now on, everyone that decide to trust on cloud storage services to store private data, at least while no definitive trustworthy solution is presented, this victims CAN actually be blamed if they have their photos stolen AGAIN. Yes, I do believe that the victims of any subsequent hacking of private photos that were stored on a cloud service can be blamed. Not for the crime that happens, but for not preventing something that is well known to possibly happen. And this is even more true to celebrities, whose status of being known by a lot more people than the average joe, and also being famous and desired, leaves THEIR risk of being hacked in a very higher patamar. The same way that their risk of being harassed is higher, therefore they try to live a secretive life, or they risk of being assaulted/killed is higher, and therefore they use bodyguards any public place they go.

    It almost seem like to me that your opinion, Chuck, is that if I know that a certain street has had seven rape occurrences on the last two days at night, and I know that my female friend is obstinated to go there alone today at night, that:
    1) I shouldn’t say that it is better for her NOT to walk there, at least not at night or not alone, because she has the right to live free of fear and walk wherever she wants… or
    2) If I warn her, and she decides anyway to go there and them she gets raped, I have absolutely no right to say that she is the one to blame for taking the risks, the one to blame for failed prevention, for analyzing the data at hand and decide for the most secure path. (PS: She is NOT the one to blame for the act/crime of rape, I already said that I agree with this)

    And that then when she returns to me crying and saying that she got raped, that I’m supposed to say:
    “hey girl, don’t worry, you did absolutely nothing wrong, you shouldn’t change your actions by fear of something bad happening, you have the RIGHT to act as you well please, and the ONLY one to blame here is the rapist…. so you know, if you decide to go walk there again tomorrow night, I won’t stop you. You’ll probably get sexually assaulted AGAIN, but at least you are not the one to blame!!”
    I’m sorry, I refuse to do so, even If I get called sexist.

    And sorry for any english mistakes, it’s not my mother language.

  • “sexist shit-ferret” … adding to tirade vocab list with 5 stars… And thank you! From a cyber-sociological perspective, the shift in culture that is trending toward un-sanctioned virtual aggression absolutely warrants a comparison to real life deviant behavior and should be treated as such because it has very VERY real life consequences on the leniency of disruptive, aggressive, and oppressive behavior toward minority (and by minority, I mean the groups that are underrepresented economic, political, and social systems). From one SJW to another… do we get a cool badge or something?

    and as for the incredibly insightful person above who posted “so you know, if you decide to go walk there again tomorrow night, I won’t stop you. You’ll probably get sexually assaulted AGAIN, but at least you are not the one to blame!!”…. (see first three words of this comment please)

    When a person has to sit at the same bus stop in the middle of the shitty dark street because he or she can’t afford a car or a cab but has to work overnights to earn a living, she doesn’t have a choice but to return to the same circumstances where she *earned* her attack (changed pronoun for comprehension suitability, but the same applies to anyone of any gender, ethnic background, etc). Your comment presumes that the victim has a choice, but it is much more feasible that the attacker has greater liberty to make the choice not to attack. Why not focus your efforts on chiding the person, and by and large our vocal function here, the cultural MINDSET that allows, and even encourages, the attack to be made?

  • Ok, my 2 cents… Please read and learn to protect yourself and your family…

    Not all of the photos and videos floating around are stolen, There are other unintended ways to share your stuff with the world. By giving it away to charity. Goodwill is a perfect example. Lets go see…

    Go buy 5 used camera enabled phones at any Goodwill or second hand store. Expect to pay $2 to $20 per phone. Same goes for memory cards. Take them home and have a look inside them using a usb cable and your computer. You can go simple or get serious and possibly recover DELETED photos and videos on many occasions. You can tinker with working phones, or even broken ones that power up when USB is connected to them. Broken ones work more often then not. (screen broke, dead battery etc.)

    Please understand I’ll be as realistic as possible here. I’m just guestimating these averages….
    These photos could be of a total stranger, your neighbor, his wife/daughter, some sicko, a CELEBRITY, you get the idea. It could be ANYBODY…

    You will find dozens or even hundreds of photos on 5 typical cell phones with cameras. You will be able to use fairly simple freeware utilities to recover and often UNDELETE dozens or hundreds of photos that were previously removed. Unless you format a camera memory storage card, it doesn’t actually delete and reuse the memory space of deleted photos until it has FILLED UP all of the remaining space on the card and started over to write over deleted space. That’s dangerous for photos you want GONE for good.

    You can expect to find between 5 and 20 or so videos on those 5 phones. Some may be undeleted as well. Videos are much less likely to survive deletion than photos.

    NOTE: Owners CAN master reset the phone before giving it up. This is at least 95 percent likely to eliminate any chances of recovery of any photos or videos from the phone.

    If the phone was broken (usually a screen or other minor damage) owners are much more likely to end up sharing their private stuff with whoever gets their phone. The data can still be accessed, and it may be impossible to master reset the phone to clean it off.

    IMPORTANT!!! Do yourself a favor and SMASH THAT half broken BABY into little pieces before tossing it out. (Do the same with old hard drives too.)

    Now looking back to the data, you will almost certainly find some embarrassing half dressed selfies of some girl (rarely a guy) on 2 or more of those phones. You will almost certainly find fully nude photos on 1 out of 10 phones. You will occasionally find some serious masturbation or DIY amateur porn.

    Here’s the really frightening part. You’re almost as likely to find younger people as you are older people doing all of this crazy sexual stuff for a camera. For a boy/girlfriend maybe. Just for kicks perhaps. Just make sure you don’t make an even bigger mistake giving it away by accident. KILL IT.

    (parents: destroy your kids old phones. don’t donate them or sell them on Craigslist. Just don’t.)
    If you are concerned your child is doing this kind of stuff, look for yourself on their phone. You may not like what you find, but you may eternally regret missing the only likely opportunity you had to intervene and possibly save them…

    None of this involves stealing or other theft/cyber crimes. The only crime in all of this would be possession of anything with minors. Nuff said.

    I have bought and repaired electronic items for resale for years, and I thought people might consider some of this information good to know and helpful in minimizing the unintended release of personal photos and movies.. Good luck…

  • First, I loved your books.
    Then, I read your post here about why it’s wrong to spank a child, and I loved all of your writing.
    Now, I just deeply admire you as a person.
    Man. That was fantastic. I’m running off to go show this to my friends who were reluctant to admit that the photos represented a victimization.

  • I loved every thing the author said in his Rant, It is a crime and the criminals should be punished and jailed for violating the privacy and well being of his victoms

  • So I love this article. I love the cake analogy. I love the writing. I love the argument. I love the vilification of the actual bad guys instead of the victims.

    Still – as a former security professional, I can absolutely say that if you are worried about the security of highly sensitive data, you shouldn’t store it unencrypted in the cloud. That doesn’t mean the thief isn’t a thief, but it does, honestly, make me less sympathetic to the victim.

    I think a better analogy than the ones you refute so ably is, you don’t store your jewelry or electronics on your screen porch. If someone steals them off your screen porch, it’s still a B&E and they are absolutely still a thief, but your insurance also probably won’t cover it because you didn’t take reasonable precautions.

    (From not-a-dude)

    • The problem with this kind of argument is that it assumes everyone has the knowledge of a former security professional or even a net-savvy denizen of the high tech world. The large majority of people trust the security systems available to them; they did not realize that what they saw as a vault was, to some people, just a screen porch.

      So you can say that people shouldn’t store unencrypted nude photos on the cloud if they are worried about losing them, but you didn’t say it to these particular people before this happened; no-one did. And what if they had done some research, stored it in a more secure place, and encrypted it… but missed another article that showed that this new system actually had a flaw? A relative lack of knowledge shouldn’t lessen sympathy; it should heighten anger at the people who take advantage of vulnerable people – in this case, people whose ability with technology has been outpaced by technological progress…

  • Just a reminder that gender identity isn’t a choice. (Perhaps you could rephrase?) Other than that I enjoyed the article.

  • Wow. Chuck, I love you man, but sometimes you take too much responsibility. I agree, in an ideal world, theft is theft. I agree that it shouldn’t happen. I agree that some pteople have too much control over the communications mechanisms we use.

    But they do. It’s nothing new. This shit has been happening for years. I have no clue what to do about it. Now I’ll get to the bit you really won’t like.

    This kind of thing happens. It shouldn’t, and on that you’ll get me to agree, but it happens. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that it happens. So to have nude photos of yourself hosted on ‘the cloud’ is perhaps naive at very least.

    Let me be clear, I condemn the actions of profiteers and unscrupulous journalists. I don’t condemn the actions of those who choose to host their sensitive material in a potentially unsound fashion.

    What I am surprised by is your unwillingness to agree that, given the risks involved, those who place their precious documents in what could potentially become a public forum are at least to some degree culpable.

    Just one more thing that’s really bothering me. You’re acting like a petulant toddler. If people disagree with you, surely that’s okay? Is there any need to swear at people because the don’t immediately fall into line?

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for its even-handedness, so when you take a step too far, please have the good grace to acknowledge it.

  • C. Forsyth: “But they do. It’s nothing new. This shit has been happening for years.”

    Thank you so much, Captain Obvious. The problem here isn’t that Wendig or women or female celebrities don’t know this. The problem is that you think they shouldn’t give a crap about it, that they are too upset about it, that they should shut up about it and should never, ever seek to change it or how society handles it, but simply let it harm women’s lives and limit women’s choices while you go about your merry way.

    See, Wendig’s piece wasn’t about the crime. It was about society’s reaction to the crime and society’s general sexism to the women to whom the crime happened. When a woman rants about how she shouldn’t have to do various things regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape, and discrimination, she actually does not need to be made aware through patronizing, chauvinistic, whiny complaints that she somehow doesn’t understand how the real world works and that crimes happen and she has to suck them up, and when they happen to her, they are largely her fault because she didn’t take protections that you are sure she mustn’t know with her silly little brain and so must illustrate for her with increasingly ridiculous analogies about objects.

    When she rants about how she shouldn’t have to do various things that a sexist society insist she do and still won’t take her situation seriously, she’s trying to make OTHERS aware not of the crime but that society’s reaction to the crime is fucked up and deliberately makes the situation worse, everything from shrugs to calling her a slut to Time magazine stating that a definition of sexual assault that includes forced kissing is too broad. Because those social attitudes and legal issues, even more than the crimes themselves, not only cast women to the wolves, but limit what they can do, where they can go, and the opportunities they can pursue based on how they are viewed in society. How exactly is a woman supposed to be a leader politician when she has to hide in a basement, never go anywhere without a posse of men, and paint her nails with a chemical that could possibly mess up her health on the chance she’ll get drugged? How exactly does she get people to listen to her when they keep comparing her to property objects like jewelry and cars, because that’s what women are seen as in the society itself?

    When a woman rants, complains, and tells you to stop calling her a stupid slut/cake/person who has been living in a cave for years and doesn’t know what crime is, she’s trying to make people aware of the need for social change in their attitudes, not hers, because there are things we can do that change and improve things. Husbands raping their wives used to be not considered rape; now legally it is. That happened because women screamed (and sued and refused to shut up even though they were told it was meaningless,) that they shouldn’t be raped just because they were married, while others told them that, “you know, this is nothing new. Men have been forcing their wives to have sex for centuries. It’s very sad, but if you hadn’t picked the wrong man or dressed less slutty or yadda yadda, then it wouldn’t have happened to you. Just accept it.”

    The message of these claims is that society is unchanging, impossible to change and shouldn’t be changed, that women are going to be fucked over by crime and otherwise, that it is normal and should be entirely unquestioned, and they should shut up about it and certainly not object to the objectification and sexism of those who care to judge them on how much they deserved the crime and what obviously they did wrong as females (victim blaming,) to make the crime happen. And that they should also soak up the humiliation of how society, not the criminal, treats them, and know their place, which certainly isn’t calling for change. (Don’t want pictures snapped of you backstage at the fashion show when you’re a model? Tough luck, we won’t close the backstage (change,) and you can suck it up. Don’t want society to ignore the impact on your life and professional prospects when someone takes your head and puts it on the body of a naked woman, claiming it’s you? Tough luck, Ariana Grande or Sue next door, you shouldn’t be a female and no efforts should be taken to deal with it.) It’s sexism at its finest, which is to say at its most unthinking normal towards women.

    But change does happen, there are things that can be done and have worked when they’ve been done — education of males, encouraging greater intervention by bystanders, increased penalties and better prosecution of sexual assault and harassment, etc. They don’t eliminate all crime, but they do make a society in which women are less limited and constricted and harmed by it, where the social norms of what is accepted and shrugged off change. But first, the societal hurdle has to be knocked over of people telling women that really it’s their own fault, and they should not object to being called sluts or idiots, or the idea that they will always be targets and property and should get over it. Certainly, they should stop talking about it. Because the way you help repress any disadvantaged group is telling them they are unreasonably hysterical about the whole issue.

    A crime occurred. It was a sexist crime, meant to humiliate. It was caused by Apple’s failure to have adequate security of their iCloud and their strategy to upload pictures without users’ knowledge, which raised uneasiness. It got a lot of media attention because the victims were celebrities. But far worse than the crime was the social attitude that looking at and passing around the photos was okey dokey. Far worse was the social attitude that the women deserved what happened for being celebrities, some of whom had private photos that men also have but aren’t penalized for. Far worse was the social attitude that the women were clearly sluts and idiots who had to have done something wrong to have photos stolen and faked and illegally used. Far worse was the insistence that women should stop talking about these social responses and how they might be changed. Because it’s that sort of thing, rather than one crime, that deeply harms and discriminates against women.

    And if you don’t get that this is what Wendig was actually writing about, that’s exactly the social problem he’s writing about.

    • So it’s not okay for me to suggest that people ought to play by today’s rules while striving for change, but it’s fine for you to throw a bunch of bile my way because you don’t agree with my opinion?

      Nowhere did I say that people (you chose to read that as women) should ‘suck it up’. What I said was that people ought to recognise that this kind of abuse I possible. By all means strive for change, don’t accept the status quo. And no, it’s not fine that people suffer this kind of theft, or the resulting abuse.

      Please don’t ascribe a bunch of opinions to me, as though you can somehow see into my soul from a short blog comment. How about a reasonable discussion rather than venting of spleen, which is only likely to compound the problem.

      • You might want to go look up “Tone troll” before you carry on this line of discussion…

        In other words, please don’t try to shut someone up because you don’t like the “tone” they are speaking in. We have a right to be angry. We have the right to, um, vent our spleens.

        That being said, in this case, Kat’s epic response was *entirely* reasonable. There was no bile there. It was logical, well thought out and completely invective free. So can you please point out which part is not reasonable to you? Which part had a tone you think is over the top? Because I think the fact you didn’t like what it said had nothing to do with the tone in which it was said.

        And Kat? Standing ovation. Thank you.

      • C. Forsyth: “What I said was that people ought to recognise that this kind of abuse I possible.”

        Well first off, I used your comment as a jumping off point for a whole roster of comments made here, not just addressing you. That’s what you do in these things. And second, the fact that you think an obvious statement that this abuse occurs is not something people or those actresses know and therefore you must absolutely say it, is exactly the wider social problem Wendig was talking about (i.e. we’re not just talking about you, Captain Obvious.) We already know that the abuse occurs. We don’t need other people to tell us.

        What we’re talking about is the fucked up social response towards women WHEN the abuse happens, not if. Your response was that Wendig had gone overboard in his outrage over stupid social responses that insist that it’s normal, everyday abuse, not worth talking about, and is partly the female victims’ fault. You don’t think that abuse is right; you just think Wendig and everybody else should know it’s there (after he just wrote a whole piece about it existing,) and not get so upset about it. (I.e. suck it up, Wendig.) And that the actresses should feel culpable for letting it happen to them, (i.e. they should suck it up because you think they made an error and part of the blame is theirs.)

        And in this case, the fact that the victims were women is absolutely critical to the type of social responses the crime got and why those social responses absolutely need to be discussed. Because they are discriminatory towards women, place blame and responsibility on women for being women victims, and keep the status quo towards women in society in place rather than create change that might actually lessen the amount of that abuse that occurs or better deal with the damage. Wendig was looking at social sexist attitudes towards women who are victims of a gendered crime. That was the point of the piece, not the crime itself. It certainly wasn’t a case about whether the crime exists.

        Let’s take the property analogy because people love it so much. I have a car, I lock it when I park it, the trunk is locked. Which means utterly nothing. Locks don’t protect cars. My husband’s car was locked when it was stolen, and had a device to keep it from being started supposedly, was in a suburban commuter parking lot and wasn’t a particularly expensive or new car. Car theft occurs because a thief happens to be near a car, and sometimes because there are factors in society that make it easier for thieves. (Poor security at ports that smuggle cars, people sure a lone black man walking around is a car thief while ignoring a crew of white guys loading cars into a moving truck, etc.)

        But that’s too random and complicated for people to want to deal with. So they stick with asking a car theft victim, was the car locked, like a magic talisman. There are reams of sociological studies about how humans are really bad at assessing risk, at how they focus on risks that aren’t statistically important, and sometimes don’t exist, and prepare largely useless attempts to manage that risk, while ignoring and dismissing more critical and complicated risks and social changes that could help lessen them. That they try to take random events and give them order to create the false belief that individuals can always take steps to protect themselves. And they make cultural moral judgments of who deserves, has earned attacks by not doing this proper management, particularly non-white people and particularly women.

        Women, like cars, are considered easy prey for being women. That’s their role in the society, which we’re not supposed to question because it’s oh so obvious that’s the way it is and shall be. And women are given the responsibility to supposedly lessen their risks at being the individual target. So the question women get is, what were you wearing if you got attacked, street harassed, etc. And it doesn’t matter what women are wearing — that’s not why they get attacked and harassed and victimized. Sexual allure has nothing to do with it; it’s an anger/power thing towards women, from men who happen to be near them, no matter what precautions are taken. But that’s better to focus on than wider social problems that contribute to women being attacked, to men thinking it’s okay and safe to attack. It’s the only thing that people want to discuss when a woman is victimized — what was she wearing, what was she doing, what was she doing wrong — it’s her fault, because that’s our social moral judgment of women. And that’s the message we send our teenage girls.

        And female celebrities are the sports cars. They earn being attacked because they are women who dare to have a public career involving their image. So it’s up to them to minimize the risk in ways that really don’t minimize anyone’s risk. (Rather than acknowledging that we as a society have fucked up attitudes towards them that support their attackers operating.) They clearly didn’t lock their cars, people tut tut. Except that they did lock their cars and in the case of Grande, didn’t even have that particular car to lock. And Apple may have stolen the cars first for their cloud. But nonetheless, you can’t talk about social attitudes towards actresses without that being considered pointless or unfair, even though that discussion actually does create change that really lessens risks for women. (And even helps female actresses start to get more equal pay and more roles, fancy that.)

        The word culpable, which you used about the victims, Captain Obvious, means blame. As long as we keep talking about the women being to blame in part for gendered crimes against them, we’re helping the criminals who did it to them, not the victims, and keeping in place a society that supports them operating in it. We’re supporting magic fantasies about a problem, rather than real attempts at improving things. We are not treating women victims as people. So other people will keep objecting to that, to change the society and how women are viewed in it.

        Because telling women to lock their cars and change their clothes doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t work, and causes wider damage to women in the society, and calling women idiots (naive who earn their crimes,) or “sluts” (being women, actresses, daring to drink alcohol while female, and/or women having nude pictures, etc., and thus earning their crimes) doesn’t help and causes damage to women in the society over and above the crime itself. Those are lousy social responses, even if people preface it with, “I’m not saying that what happened to them wasn’t awful…” and declare stoutly that they are talking about people, not just women. You’re still hitting them with a stick after they got hit with a stick for the crime of being female. And you’re telling your female loved ones that whatever happens to them, they are at least partly to blame for it. You are telling them to suck it up and fuck off. And they often do. And they go quiet and retreat. And the world gets worse, not better.

  • I thought the article was great sums up what I’ve been saying stealing the photos was a crime, the first comment i read said that if you walk down a street naked and people takes photos its the same thing – it isn’t – if you choose to walk around in public naked you will get people taking pictures – its legal CCTV does it all the time (UK mind) – if you walk round naked in a private place like your garden then taking pictures is not legal, taking something which does not belong to you is not legal – simples.

    You can blame apple, you came blame the victim, you can improve the security, you rant all you like at a world you distrust and don’t approve of but the person(s) who stole the photos did so deliberately they went looking for a security flaw, found it , exploited it and published the resulting pictures the crime was committed by them. Once the pictures become part of the public arena which is the internet at large it becomes a different issue.

  • I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more perfect sentence than the “Shiva the Destroyer” bit.

    Just joining the chorus of “Thank you for this article”. I’ve been utterly repulsed at the response of most of the internet to the stolen photos — particularly the self-righteous back-patting of dudes who simultaneously brag about getting off to the photos whilst clucking their tongues paternalistically about how these women should have known better than to store their photos in a private, passworded place from their private, personal devices. It’s always nice to hear a voice of reason.

Speak Your Mind, Word-Nerds