Friday, 16 September 2011

Scarlett Fever

Scarlett Johansson_004The Internets are awash with excitement as naked photos of Scarlett Johansson, or what seems to be her, are going viral. It appears as if someone hacked her smartphone to get some photos Johansson herself took and released them to the obviously anticipating public.
The first comment I want to make about this affair is that I am not going to reproduce the photo here myself. Not that I have much against nudity (on the contrary); it's just that other than Johansson herself, no one has the right to publish these photos. There was a time when I was oblivious to these rules, but now I try to follow them the best I can in order to honor those who make an effort to create contents (and in order to run a legal blog). The other reason I won't publish the photos here is that I strongly suspect Johansson herself does not want me to do so; regardless of IP matters, the decent thing is to not publish the damn photos. What I will do, however, for titilization's sake, is provide a link - so here goes.
The next thing I would like to do is raise the simple question - why do people bother taking photos of themselves in the nude in the first place? The only time I get mine taken is when I go for an ultrasound, and I doubt the end result would raise as much commotion as Scarlett's lot here. Let me know if I am missing something, but also let me assure you that beyond the rare "here's a photo of this nude chick on the beach that I took while pretending to look at the dolphins" you will not find nude photos anywhere in my personal photo collection. Nudity storage and maintenance is what the rest of the Internet is for.
The last thing I want to say is perhaps the most important lesson concerning privacy. We all know that once you put something on the web it's effectively in the public domain, no matter how carefully you hide it; the only question is how fast it takes for the information to become public. Put it on Facebook and it's immediately public; put it with Sony and you'll have to wait till they're hacked again, which could even take a full fortnight.
However, the Scarlett incident teaches us that your stuff can go public not only when you publish it somewhere, but also when it is merely stored on a web enabled device. Smartphones are great devices and by now I can't see myself leaving without one, but they are a major privacy trap.


Image by GabboT, Creative Commons license

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