It’s an all too familiar situation seeing “____’s nudes leaked”, when venturing online in this technological age, with personal photos being taken from iClouds and angry ex’s. As a world that shares so much online, it’s still an extreme issue to see both celebrities and non-celebrities alike have such an intrusion on their privacy.
Lucy Hale, one of the principle characters in the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars, is only the latest victim of what is not only an intrusion, but a crime against her. In Lucy’s case, it appears the photos have been stolen from a text sent to a friend; illegally obtained through her phone through means of hacking. Nowadays many celebrities who have to face personal photos appearing online go on to attempt to sue the websites and have them removed, and it appears Lucy is no different, her lawyer writing a letter to the website.
Emma Watson was in fact a victim of the same website, which posted personal photos of her earlier this year. Fortunately for Emma, after her legal team took action against them, they did in fact take them down. But getting the photos taken down doesn’t erase the damage of them originally being posted, with what we can only expect to be thousands of downloads and shares, the photos will no doubt be around for years to come.
Although illegally obtaining these images is quite clearly a crime, what about viewing and sharing? Well by viewing the images, you are supporting the crime against the person in the photos; pure and simple. And for a society that supposedly supports consent, anyone that then views and shares those private images should be considered as part of the problem. Those that share the photos for a profit can in fact be sued for damages by the celebrity, but could those in possession of the photos then be charged with theft? In many cases, those that download and view the images go relatively unpunished, with only those caught distributing or stealing the images being fined or in some extreme cases jailed. In today’s world, this should change, with all those that illegally access and share the files being punished.
In the end, regardless of who it is, how many sexual partners that person has had or whether you like them or not, the subjects of these photos are people too and their privacy and consent is just as valid as yours. We shouldn’t support websites that use these photos without the consent of the subject, however, we should fully support the rights of notable figures and their privacy.