Hanging up the phone is not the answer

Hanging up the phone is not the answer

In this era of social networks and over-sharing, on any given day, I know what my friends are reading, watching, shopping, thinking, feeling, and wanting. Is it any wonder that people are getting hacked and that their most intimate thoughts are being published for all the world to see. The answer is no, it isn’t surprising. But it doesn’t make it right. When the latest celebrity hacking came to light last week, I was one of the many people who felt that if celebs didn’t want their private photos to be leaked, then they shouldn’t be taking them in the first place. But a wise friend prompted me to explore the situation further, and see that this situation in not as black and white as I originally thought, but that there are many shades of grey. Maybe as many as fifty.

Have you ever been the victim of a rumour or gossip? Some mean girl in the 10th grade likes your boyfriend, and spreads a lie about the kind of girl you are. An hour later the entire school is talking about your reputation. Life as you know it has changed forever. I don’t know about you, but I would have an extremely hard time trusting anyone. In fact, something like that might stop me from ever letting someone get too close. Your life for the next couple of years has changed. You may not have done anything to cause this to happen, except date a boy that someone else was lusting over – and now you are going to pay.

Now imagine, that there are “people” out there that make their living off of seeing you suffer. They follow your every move. They record phone conversations, they follow you when you are out on a date, or they photograph you when you are taking out the garbage (and not looking your best). Or they hack the cloud where your most intimate photos are stored, because you haven’t fully read the terms of service or understood your settings on your device. And the next thing you know, the photos that were meant for one person and one person only are available for billions of people to see. This is mean girls x infinity. These photos were not on display, they were not just hanging around waiting for someone to pick up. They were securely (or so you thought) stored, where no one else could find them. What this means is that someone stole those photographs/private conversation etc and published them to humiliate you. Published them in a way to make money off of them. They whored you out without your knowledge.

“Your privacy or your private life belongs to you. Some of it you may choose to make available, some of it should be made available, because it’s in the public interest to make it known. The rest should be yours alone. And if anyone takes it from you, that’s theft and it’s the same as the theft of property.” – Max Mosely (From the News of the World scandal)

Now explain to me why you wouldn’t be furious. Tell me why you wouldn’t go after everybody involved. Why are we blaming the people in the photographs? A momentary misjudgement should not equal this much humiliation. No one may care if you take naked photos of yourself. But then again, you are not the most sought after actress in the english speaking world.

So how do we fix this? Do we take control, and be like Kim Kardashian, and use instagram to publish scantily clothed photos of ourself. At least then we know what we are putting out there. Or do we come to terms that there are despicable people out there, and that we need to start protecting ourselves – and stop taking private photos? Do we ask for assistance from Apple and Facebook and other companies that we use to share our thoughts and photos?

Responsibility needs to be taken. And while I think that we need to stand up for ourselves and take some responsibility, I think that something needs to be done to the whoever is stealing our property (and identity).

It frightens me to know that we have arrived in the future. If our photos and documents aren’t safe, then it won’t be too long before our thoughts are broadcast everywhere as well. Oops! That has already happened because of Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

**Photo Source – flickr – Eddi