Monday, September 8, 2014

A rant about prudence and nude selfies

If someone breaks into my home and robs it, it is their fault and not mine. That remains true even if I didn't bother to lock my door. It also remains true if I had foolishly hidden all my life savings in gold coins in the bottom of my underwear drawer. That said, there are thieves in the world and it is stupid and irresponsible of me not to take reasonable precautions such as putting adequate locks on the door and putting things I cannot afford to lose in the bank instead of my underwear drawer.

A similar principle applies when it comes to having nude selfies on your cell phone. Once a celebrity knows that dozens of other celebrities before her have had nude selfies stolen off of their phones she should be able to conclude that storing nude selfies on her phone is a really bad idea.

That is assuming it's a reasonable thing to be taking and keeping nude selfies on your phone in the first place.

I can reasonably understand why someone might do it. Everyone knows that photographs and mirrors are different. We all tend to look better in the mirror than we do in photographs and it is reasonable to worry about what we look like naked.  I can see how, in a moment of weakness, I might break down and take a a nude selfie in the hopes that it might give me some positive assurances about what I look like naked.

I can even imagine that I might carelessly forget to erase the photograph. Perhaps some malicious person might hack their way into my phone and make me the object of ridicule by posting it on the Internet. That would be mean and mostly not my fault but a tiny bit of it would be my fault for failing to exercise proper prudence. (I suspect, however, that I would get less sympathy because I am a man.)

But let's consider this: dozens of celebrities have had nude selfies stolen off their phones! As I say, I can imagine how a person might have a nude selfie on their phone but how does it get to be that dozens of female celebrities have nude selfies on their phones? And they have to have had them there for a long time. If you took a selfie and deleted it minutes, hours or days later, the odds against a hacker getting into your phone at just the right time to find the photos there would be very long. Instead, we see that virtually every time a hacker breaks into a female celebrity's phone, they find nude selfies.

There are only two possible explanations here. One is that most female celebrities take and keep nude selfies. (There don't seem to be an awful lot of male nude selfies out there.) The second is that female celebrities take nude selfies so often that a hacker can be reasonably sure that there will always be one on their phones. I'm sorry to be so rude about it, but that is beyond narcissism.

It's also irresponsible. One of the reasons society will, quite correctly, hold me partially responsible if I don't have adequate locks on my house or if I store significant wealth there is that, by doing these things, I encourage crime. This makes life a little less secure for everyone else. Criminals will keep trying if success appears likely to them.

That is also true of having nude selfies on your phone. If a female celebrity takes and keep nude selfies on her phone she is not only taking an unreasonable risk, she is making everyone else less secure by giving hackers incentive to keep breaking into phones.

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