Everyone’s been talking about the nude photos lately. Like this guy.
See, the thing is, not all of his hyperbole can be put in the same categories with itself. “It’s your fault you were knocked out, tazed, and your shoes were stolen” is actually not a reducto ad absurdem of “you shouldn’t have put nude pictures on your phone”. It’s trying to be, to serve a rhetorical purpose, but it’s misleading– there’s no physical force involved here. “It’s your fault your bank card was stolen since you put the number on your phone” is closer. So is “It’s your fault the house was burgled; you didn’t put in an alarm system.” “This is a kind of rape” might be, but that one is actually a real argument, not a rhetorical one. (And are there laws about the model’s consent to the distribution of pornography? I kind of think there must be since Girls Gone Wild is famous among a certain crowd for requiring participants to sign their rights away, so just filming is apparently not enough.)
He’s right about the ideal world. It *should* be a crime to steal data off other people’s hard drives. As an information scientist with a law hobby, I have no idea how you’d write that law without leaving massive holes exploitable for profit, but it is a kind of theft and there should be laws against it. (Possibly there’s a copyright violation case to be had here?)
But we live in the real world, where data thieves are everywhere and this sort of thing is a fact of life. We can condemn it until the cows come home, but at the end of the day we’re not making crime go away by preaching about how immoral it is, so we need to be able to protect ourselves. And I will say this about any property crime. (The violent ones, not so much, but that’s in part because there isn’t really an effective defense against violent crimes, while with property crimes you can start by locking the door and encrypting your phone.)
I think it is a bad idea to have nude pictures on your phone. But to counterpoint his commentary, I *also* think it is a bad idea to have credit card information or anything else tempting to thieves on your phone, and even as I condemn people for stealing it I will just as much be rolling my eyes and going “why did you have that on your phone in the first place?” with a credit card as I will with nude pictures. It is a bad idea to have your phone store your Amazon password, or to purchase anything from your phone. Heck, I’m wary about leaving my phone logged into my email! Phones are small, readily stealable, and usually not encrypted. It is in fact possible to believe this is wrong, say this is wrong, and still say “And also, people need to know not to put nude pictures on their phone. Even if most people do. Especially if most people do. Because this is what you are risking happening to you when you put nude pictures on your phone.” And maybe that will drive it home to people in a way that “pornography is immoral!” won’t.
The other thing that’s wrong? The people sharing the nude photos far and wide over the internet. If you’ve seen them, you’re a participant in the crime as well. They might have been stolen by one depraved person, but they wouldn’t have been able to go viral and cause this much damage if the crowd weren’t helping them. So look to yourselves, before you start railing about how anti-feminist we are for daring to suggest that basic security measures be taken.