Jennifer Lawrence, nude selfies and glass houses

I have been amazed at the media coverage and clamour around the stealing and dissemination of nude selfies of celebrities. A boon for their publicists tasked with keeping them in the public eye. But, I find Jennifer Lawrences’s indignation and outrage quite unconvincing. She believes that those who look at her naked pictures are committing a “sex-crime”. She claims that she uploaded nude pictures of herself to the internet for private viewing by her boyfriend as an alternative to the pornography that he might otherwise have resorted to. But whether or not her selfies were in themselves some type of pornography (albeit for private viewing) does not really interest me.

The point is that she – and all the other celebrities – now displaying righteous indignation, chose the material to be stored and chose the medium of storage themselves.

Anybody who believes that the internet and especially the cloud is some secure, opaque, impregnable storage container is just plain stupid.

Hacking or leaking or stealing of nude pictures is just as – but not more or less – reprehensible than the hacking or leaking or stealing of any private material stored in the cloud. For that the internet or cloud storage provider must take responsibility – especially if they have claimed a greater level of security than they can actually provide. If a crime has been committed the nature of the material hacked or leaked or stolen does not make the crime any more or less heinous. But the type of material stored and the choice of storage provider is the responsibility of the individual.

Any householder would bear some responsibility for his house being burgled if he left the windows open and the doors unlocked. He would also bear some responsibility if sensitive or valuable material he stupidly chose to keep in an unsafe storage place was stolen.  And so with nude selfies stored in the cloud. The apparently narcissistic individuals who chose to upload the “alternative-to-pornography” pictures of themselves, and also chose the storage place for the material cannot avoid some share of responsibility for the subsequent theft and dissemination of the pictures.

The “right” to privacy of an individual cannot apply if that individual releases  – or by carelessness facilitates  the release –  of material into the public domain. And whether hacked or not, the cloud is a pretty public place. Not only is it a public storage place it is a container with glass walls.

Suppose you built a house of glass where the glass manufacturer claimed that it was one way glass and nobody could see in. Suppose further that the glass was in fact transparent and somebody took pictures of you as you danced naked inside. You might have a claim against the glass manufacturer, but you would have no claim against the peeping Tom. Only if the voyeur had broken the glass to look in would you have a claim against him but not against the crowd that gathered to gawp at you cavorting naked within your glass house with a broken window.

Stupidity does not excuse the crime but the “victims” here are not without some culpability

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One Response to “Jennifer Lawrence, nude selfies and glass houses”

  1. Jonathan Caswell Says:

    Reminds me rather of Jennifer aniston’s complaint about the papparazzi catching her in a private back yard sunning in the nude. She didn’t have control…and THEY DIDN’T PAY!

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