Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Story Could Link the Shadier Parts of the Internet to Apple's Corporate Image?

Last weekend, the news broke that nude pictures of a large number of female celebrities had been swiped from iCloud.  The list includes Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, Mary Kate Olsen, and many others.

Deadspin reported that a reader approached them weeks ago with a tale of a Facebook offer to trade nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence for similar pictures of his girlfriend.  This has led some to believe that these pictures have actually been in circulation for a long time in the nether regions of the internet.

The pictures have turned up mostly on a site called 4chan, a site dedicated to picture sharing.  According to the Washington Post, one particular area of the site known for graphic images of sex and violence hosted most of the leaked celebrity pictures.

Users of 4chan tried to use the leaked pictures to launch a campaign to get young women to pose nude in sympathy for Jennifer Lawrence and other victims of the leaked pictures.

If they are celebrity pictures.  Some of the victims have taken to social media and shown that the images are fake.  Others may be genuine.  The FBI has launched an investigation, particularly in the case of specific victims. And Kirsten Dunst, another possible target, publicly lashed out at Apple.

Another related issue for the stars does not simply come from the breach of privacy, but also comments made on the pictures themselves.  Emma Watson condemned anonymous comments that she said "lacked empathy."

Dunst's choice tweet directed at Apple, calling them a sliver of excrement, could symbolize a backlash against the ubiquitous use of that company's products.  If consumers start to question the safety and wisdom (which they should!) of putting most of their lives into the digital realm, this could take a bite out of Apple's plans to link everything, including your microwave and crockpot, to the internet.

Putting nude images in something called a cloud should seem like a bad idea to begin with.  The cloud is a digital community as safe or unsafe as a tangible one.  If you put something up there in high demand, like naked pictures or Quentin Tarentino's next script, it could very well be stolen.

It's a violation of rights to steal celebrity pictures, or anything else, from the cloud. Those who did this ought to be prosecuted. But the crime is tantamount to someone stealing a car with the keys in it.  The victim did not take sufficient care to protect his or her property.  Apple is a company that mastered the art of planned obsolescence.  It is less a moral force and more of a company that short ends its consumers in the same manner as US automakers in the 1950s. Can such a company really be trusted with your secrets?

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