Idealism and Reality

The most recent celebrity picture hack is all over the news, and Jennifer Lawrence’s name seems to be in every headline.

Hacking is illegal, and invading someone’s expected privacy is a terrible violation of the individual. I feel for J-Law and her peers, whose private photos and whatever else have now found their way to the Internet, where, sadly, the rule of thumb is, nothing ever truly disappears.

Like words spoken then regretted, it’s impossible to retrieve what gets onto the Web. No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you wish you could go back in time and make a different decision.

That sucks, but it’s–if not a fact–at least a basic working assumption you can go on when using anything online.

Some folks want to point this out to the celebs whose privacy has been violated. When one of the celebs castigated the perpetrators and anyone going out to view those images, she got a snarky response saying, “Hey, don’t take the picture if you don’t want it seen by people online.”

Harsh and tasteless, yes.

Not the way things should be, I agree.

Victim blaming instead of putting focus on the hackers? I’m not so sure.

An op-ed (which inspired this post) called out the victim-blaming mentality on this and similar subjects. Telling young women not to pose for nude pictures, or telling them not to share or store those online by any presumed secure means–this is apparently inappropriate advice because it puts the responsibility on the woman. Not enough is being done to focus on the actual hacking, the op-ed claims. (Well, there’s an FBI investigation now, so hopefully something comes of that.)

I applaud calling out victim-blaming and condemning slut-shaming, of course. The hackers who invade privacy are to blame, like thieves who take someone’s belongings and rapists who steal someone’s innocence. These actions are absolutely the fault of the perpetrators, also known as criminals. 100% of the blame deservedly rests on their shoulders.

That doesn’t mean I don’t lock my car door.

That doesn’t mean I thoughtlessly allow my teenage daughter to put herself into dangerous situations.

I also don’t take nude pics and store them online. (No one wants that anyway, trust me. It would be an effective hacking countermeasure. They’d come looking for valuable personal information and such, and they’d flee in terror.)

I have no judgment for those who engage in risky behavior online. I wish it wasn’t risky. I reserve a great deal of judgment for those who violate another’s expectations of privacy. I hope they meet the full force of the law.

But I’ll still use this news story as a teachable moment for my children, to help them understand the risks and rewards of all things Internet. I want them to be responsible users… even if “responsibility” is considered an unpopular term.

I’ve created this helpful Venn diagram to further express my point.

The contents of your middle section may vary.
The contents of your middle section may vary.

Should we live in a world where J-Law and anyone else can take whatever pics they want, store them on whatever online service they want, and expect their private matters to be shared only with whoever they choose?

Absolutely, we should.

But we don’t.

And it’s not wrong to point that out.

6 thoughts on “Idealism and Reality”

  1. Ok, here’s my 2 cents:
    I don’t necessarily even believe it was hacking, but instead might have been a publicity stunt. It’s in between her movies being released, she wants to have her name right there at the top of everyone’s “talk about” list.

    That being said, I also don’t not believe she was hacked.
    If she was, I grieve with her. If not, I feel sorry for the life she lives where something like that would feel necessary to be remain the topic of conversation.

    I don’t care about her pictures, I purposely avoided looking at any of the links or news stories. If everyone looked at it like I do, and avoided even looking, this would pretty much be non-news.

    ‘Nuff said. 😛

  2. I was in the middle of writing a post about the very same thing, and then read yours. I’ve decided not to bother with mine anymore as I couldn’t have said it better. Great post!

  3. To be fair, I found this tweet from @fmanjoo compelling: “I’ve never heard anyone respond to financial hacking by saying, Just don’t use online banking. That’s what you get for using credit cards.”

    1. To which I’ll say I know the risks I assume by banking online, and I exercise care about what I do online to try to avoid getting hacked. Anything online can be hacked… which is totally the fault of the hackers and not the victims. Still, there’s stuff I don’t scan and store online for a reason.

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