You’d almost have to be living under a rock in the western world at the moment to not be aware of the furore regarding leaked images of naked female celebrities, seemingly hacked from their iCloud accounts.
This morning I overheard a conversation about it, which was primarily focused on the titillation of seeing a good looking female actors posing naked, and was astounded by at first by the general consensus that it was perfectly fine to look, and then the summary:
I figure she got nude and took the photo. It’s open-slather now.
It’s open-slather now. Seemingly, if you take a nude picture of yourself, you’re implicitly giving anyone in the world permission to observe your nakedness, particularly if you’re a good looking female celebrity.
There’s a deeper, nastier lesson in this though. Such images weren’t distributed, as they are so often in the case of conservative anti-gay politicians, by sending them to potential same-sex hook-ups, wherein the individual who took the photo actually sent the photo to someone, but these images were stolen. In electronic parlance, a series of celebrities had their houses broken into and naked photos they’d stored in their homes in a safe were stolen and distributed.
It’s open-slather now.
The TV series Absolute Power reflects on privacy of the famous in a court case where a judge remarks (paraphrasing):
There’s a difference between the in the public interest and that which the public may be interested in.
Seemingly – particularly when it comes to the ‘right’ to experience titillation at seeing a naked celebrity, right-to-privacy only exists for that which you can keep private. If someone can circumvent your privacy, then you’ve lost the right to it.
Some would argue that it’s a slippery-slope argument to counter, If someone can rip your clothes off and rape you, then you lost the right to not be raped, but particularly in the scenario of leaked naked images, there is, like it or not, an unpleasant parallel.
Sophistically claiming that someone has given up their right to privacy by the act of their privacy being forcibly removed is entirely odious at best.
We are at a point in society where people are naturally sharing more about themselves than perhaps they’ve ever been willing to share before. It often makes for more relaxed discourse and better understanding, but the cost should not, must not be the arbitrary deletion of personal privacy where that privacy is expected. That would be an ugly future indeed.