Pop-Culture | Posted by Magda K on 08/11/2011

Hacked Photos Being Used On Adult Websites

is YOUR profile safe?

is YOUR profile safe?

A couple of weeks ago, an article on Mookychick highlighted an issue of hacked photos on adult websites. It’s a practice that’s going on for a little while, but it’s starting to trend, and it’s misogynist and tantamount to abuse.

Essentially, a crop of websites are hacking into photos uploaded to social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Tumblr – websites that most of us use, and many of us upload photos to.

Pictures of women and teenage girls are being hacked into and published entirely without the girls’ knowledge or consent – on adult websites. It appears to be a legal practice, as it largely keeps within the privacy terms and conditions of social network sites.

For teenage girls and women, it’s a nasty catch 22. No one likes the thought of their images being used for titillation without consent. But how are we meant to know about it, unless we frequent the sites in question?

So these sites are getting away scot-free. Even worse, if you look at their promotional imagery and advertising, they are actively boasting about the fact that their photos are stolen.

Obviously, we have a choice in what images we choose to upload to social network sites. We also have a personal responsibility to ourselves to check privacy policies. However, it’s no guarantee that our images won’t be used if they are always fully-clothed. The sites in question promote fully-clothed hacked photos as well as ones where the unwitting models are in a state of undress.

There have been cases of women and girls taking a stand against this unnerving trend, most prominently the case of Lara Jade who successfully sued for damages against an adult website found to be using her photo without her permission. But it was a gruelling process, and success stories like this are few and far between.

At the moment, the law does not appear to be on our side. All we can do is take care with our choice of photos to upload, and check the privacy policies of social network sites.

When I’ve talked about this with others, I’ve been surprised by the number of people who have shrugged sagely and essentially said, “It happens. Deal with it.” Personally, I’m uncomfortable with that. I get that it’s technically possible to hack photos for use elsewhere. I get, also, that it appears to be legal. What I’m uncomfortable with is the “lie down and take it” ethos. If people don’t show their awareness and condemnation of this trend, how is it ever going to get into the public eye? Why would the adult websites in question ever choose to stop this practice?

A woman – or girl – has the right to upload any photo she pleases. Realistically, one can accept that an individual here or there might steal a photo for their personal titillation. Not nice, but it happens. But that’s a far cry from organised outfits doing it on a large scale, for commercial gain, and boasting about it.

That’s a worrying trend indeed.

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