It’s been all over the major news channels and publications. A-list celebrity and star of hit movies The Hunger Games and American Hustle Jennifer Lawrence was involved in a scandal, where nude photos were leaked out onto the internet, along with 99 other female celebrities, such as Kate Upton, Lea Michele, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. This shocked the world into a standstill, with people coming up with theories for the mass leak like an iCloud account hacking or phishing incident.
But more important than how it actually happen is the reaction. Celebrity nude photo leaks have happened before, big names like Scarlett Johanssen, Miley Cyrus, and Vanessa Hudgens have been incriminated in horrible situations when their nude pictures came out for all to see. In fact, worst have happened – privately-filmed sex tapes of A-list celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton have surfaced and been made a big hoo-ha over. But the responses to them were negative. They slammed them for taking the photos, filming their intimacy, then the baser individuals swarmed to the internet to take a look.
This time, they took a double-take, and thought about it.
Honestly, no one willingly leaks out nude photos. It’s an invasion of privacy, and a black mark on their reputation. Actresses that started as child stars, like Hudgens, took a beating for the inappropriate photos and had to apologise for taking them, even though the photo were probably stolen as well. Now, when Ricky Gervais tweets something along the lines of “Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer,” he gets a backlash of angry fans and accusations of being a ‘victim hater’. He eventually deleted the tweet.
Maybe the sheer number of people shocked the world into understanding that hacking and leaking this information online is indeed a crime. People are beginning to respect the boundary between what belongs to the victims and what belongs to the world. We might not agree with the act of taking nude photos, but really, what is the bigger fault here? It is like the boundless, wild, and untamed internet has grown a moral code that says – Unless this is in public domain, it’s not right.
To the people who ask who governs the Internet, I say to you – we do. We are the people who use, create, and explore the online world like it is our second home. We are the ones who see the beauty in the freedom online, and fight for the right to keep that freedom. But we are also the ones who choose when to say no.
Issues like piracy, cyberbullying, and creators rights are still in a very grey area, and government bodies are still struggling to find a way to draw distinct lines in the sand. Earlier this year, Singapore put into effect the Personal Data Protection Act. A year before that, 2000 people marched in protest of new internet censorship rules under #FreeMyInternet. Many have come up with strong ideas on what should be done, but no real yardstick can be decided on.
According to Newsweek, even 4Chan, the website where the photos were leaked onto, is getting slammed for providing a platform where leaks like this can occur. They are taking the matter seriously by preventing the photos from being posted again. The website is well known for its controversial and often pornographic content.
I believe that as long as conversations continue, we are still working in the right direction. This is the first step, which is small and kind of weird, but it is the first. And if it has to do with a nude photo scandal – well, I’ll take what I can get.