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Nude Photos, or Why *Did* You Put That There?

Everyone Needs to Read Jennifer Lawrence’s Powerful Statement on Her Nude Photos

I read the article.  I think you should read it too.  And I agree with most everything she says, though technically I don’t agree that intentionally looking at the photos is a “sexual offense”.  At worse I think it would fall under general Peeping Tom laws, which is usually a class 1 misdemeanor and does not require the guilty party to be registered as a sex offender.   If you seek out these photos with knowledge of their contents it’s 100% creepy, 100% invasion of privacy, and 100% exploitation of stolen property, but I don’t think it’s a sex crime against Jennifer Lawrence.  No, I don’t buy the defense that because someone got off on looking at her nude qualifies, because there are people out there (you know there are) who will get off from looking at pictures/videos from her fully clothed (like from the Hunger Games).

Yeah, it’s creepy, but if we persecuted everyone who got off on a picture/video of someone who didn’t want their picture used that way, half the population would be on the registered sex offenders list (and a good part of the other half wouldn’t be on the list because they are too young to understand what that really means).  Unless you are getting your jollies on (or off; phrasing) at pictures/videos of porn stars in a porn magazine/video/etc., it’s very likely the Hollywood or other star you are using in your fantasy didn’t intend for their image to be used that way, and you are just as guilty as if you looked at Jennifer Lawrence’s nude pics.  Yes, really.  It may be slightly better since it’s only in your head, but you are doing something you didn’t get approval for, it’s still creepy, it’s still exploiting that person for your own physical pleasure (and treating them like an object, too), and just because you don’t have a real pic of them naked doesn’t make it any better.  If you want to take it that far, if you don’t have their approval it’s technically rape fantasy; many rapists use the defense that at least in their own mind the other person wanted it, and most in-mind fantasies involve a person imagining the other person wants them.

But really, what I wanted to talk about more than anything is this: people, use this as a warning.  If you have anything, anything that you really don’t want someone to get their hands on, do not put it on any digital device that stays connected to the internet or automatically syncs to, well, anywhere, unless you put your own strong encryption on it.  These photos were leaked because Jennifer Lawrence stored them on a device that synced to Apple’s servers, placing them out of her full control.  Unless you have knowledge otherwise, treat everything put on the internet like something stored in a cardboard box in a dark alley.  A wet cardboard box.  Unless you take your own measures to encrypt the data (a.k.a. like putting a safe inside the cardboard box), your data can be compromised.  The reason most people won’t be compromised is simply because they aren’t in the spotlight and nobody cares to put in the effort.

But if someone cares enough to put in the effort….  They are likely to get through somewhere, and the more the person knows you the easier it will be for them to crack in.  But you can do things to help.  My recommendations?

  1. Use a password vault from a well known source with a long un-guessable password (length matters far more than complexity).  Your browser does not count as a good source, with the sole exception of Safari on Mac.  Safari on a Mac uses Keychain, so that’s fine.  Personally I use a locally hosted version of Clipperz, but you can just do a Google search for “best password vaults” (hint: ignore the ads).
  2. Use said vault to generate separate passwords for everything.  Yes, everything.  That’s why you have a password vault, so you can generate random character passwords and you don’t have to remember them.
  3. For anything that supports it, use two factor authentication.  That can be a huge deterrent to data hackers, as they usually won’t have physical access to your phone/etc.
  4. For security questions, lie.  What is your favorite book?  How about “Spitfire vs. B-52”.  It may be a book, I don’t know (and no, I never used that).  The trick is, make up the answers as something completely different, and store the answers in your password vault along with everything else.  That way for systems that require security questions, simply knowing you and your history won’t get them past it.
  5. And finally, don’t store anything unencrypted (explicitly by you) in an area that syncs to the internet unless you don’t mind other people seeing it.  If you don’t know if that area syncs or not, find out.  Frankly, if it’s something you don’t want people to see, encrypt it anyway.  There are many, many ways to encrypt files and such to protect you, but note: whole disk encryption will not protect you from sync-based hacks.  Whole disk protects you if your device is stolen; you have to encrypt your file itself if you want that protected.

There are many digital things out there that we either have to have or feel that we do, but we don’t want others to access.  Protect them and your data.  In the war against data theft, be a Victor, not a Victim.


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