For my neglected news topic story I chose the NPR Podcast “Don’t Blame the Naked Celebrities” featuring Alex Goldman and Forbes reporter Kashmir Hill which discusses the mass celebrity photo leaks that occurred a couple months ago. While the story of the leaked photos was featured on major news sources, this podcast goes beyond and dives into a bigger issue that has remained ignored: how to prevent these leaks from occurring again and who to blame for the privacy violations. Hill has covered multiple stories like this, but over time her view has changed. Originally she blamed the celebrities for having nude photos of themselves on their computers and phones, but as it has happened time and time again she is starting to shift the blame towards three factors: our culture, the technology companies, and the legal system.
In regard to culture, Hill preaches for a shift in culture to change their views on inappropriate leaked photos. She says that society, like herself originally, initially would place the blame on the celebrities for sharing these photos. However, in a shift that Hill says she has already started to see, social mores are being created that are now changing cultural attitudes towards these photos. People now see the photos as a violation of someone’s privacy, and instead of the actual photos being shared the story of these leaks is shared with the tone of how the celebrity was victimized.For technology companies, Hill believes that there needs to be greater privacy software for photos. She wishes that there was an “privacy browser” for photos, meaning that there was a place people could take private photos and store them that was not backed up on a computer or on a cloud. Finally, Hill discusses the legal issue that keeps allowing these photo leaks to happen. After discussing with FBI agents who investigate these crimes, Hill believes that in order to truly punish these photo leaks the crime itself has to change from “a violation of privacy” to a “digital sexual assault”.
I chose this news story after reading so many interesting blog posts last week that focussed on the topic of privacy. What I found most interesting about this story was that according to Hill, violating privacy has become so common place that it is no longer enough of a crime to punish people on. As people create greater (and often more intimate) online presences, they are already losing their privacy and so it is no surprise when sometimes private information is leaked. Now as a response, a push for the creation of the punishments that mirror real-life crimes is happening. As Hill discusses, illegally taking and sharing content that shows a person’s body could be seen in the future as an attack on a person and/or their sexuality. What do you think? As people become more transparent online can violations of their online presences be equated with real-life crimes?