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Facebook Wants Your Nude Pics

I wasn’t aware how common ‘revenge porn’ has been until I saw an article in the LA Times this morning. According to a study mentioned in the article, 4% of U.S internet users have been victims of revenge porn and 10% of women under 30 have had someone threaten to post explicit photos of them on the internet against their will.

My first question is why are so many people stupid enough to either take nude photos of themselves or allow them to be taken? It’s not possible to be a victim of revenge porn unless you’ve got some nude photos of yourself out there in the digital world.

But, never fear, Facebook is here to save the day!

Let’s say you have a spiteful ex who decides to embarrass you by posting a nude photo that was supposed to be private. Facebook Inc. says if you send a copy of the photo to it first, it will make sure the picture never shows up on its site.

But can you trust Facebook? The company says it won’t store the photos but will instead create a digital footprint so that its image-matching technology can prevent any future uploading of a copy of the photograph.

The one caveat is that the image file needs to be uploaded first to create the digital footprint, the Verge reported.

That’s where the system can backfire, according to digital forensics expert Lesley Carhart, who said it’s not that simple to completely delete a digital photograph.

“Yes, they’re not storing a copy, but the image is still being transmitted and processed. Leaving forensic evidence in memory and potentially on disk,” Carhart told Motherboard. “My specialty is digital forensics, and I literally recover deleted images from computer systems all day — off disk and out of system memory. It’s not trivial to destroy all trace of files, including metadata and thumbnails.”

Facebook is piloting the program in Australia in partnership with the country’s Office of the eSafety Commissioner, a government agency dedicated to online safety. Next, it’ll be tested in the United States, Britain and Canada, the Times of London reported.

Yes, you read that right. Facebook wants your nude pics.

I would say it’s hard to understand how so many people could be so foolish, but these days it isn’t hard at all.

On the way to work this morning, I heard a news story about a now-former high school principal who was sentenced to prison on child porn charges. He was caught after a girl at the school learned nude pics of her were on a website and it was discovered that the principal had posted them after copying the photos from her cell phone, which he had at one time confiscated for an unknown reason. She said the photos were on her phone because she had sent them to her boyfriend. Apparently, she was not the only student to have photos copied from her phone by the former principal.

While this girl was certainly a victim of this deviant, would this have happened if she hadn’t taken nude pics of herself? No, it most certainly would not have happened.

All the Hollywood-types whose stories about hacked cell phone accounts and nude pics being spread online, would that have happened if they hadn’t taken nude pics of themselves? No, it most certainly would not have happened.

If it sounds like I’m victim-blaming, I am, to a degree. In the digital age, people who take nude pics of themselves on their phones are just as careless as people at the beach who think shoving their wallet into their shoe while swimming will be an iron barrier against thieves.

And don’t forget the parents. Parents who give their kids smartphones and then don’t monitor what they’re doing with them should share in the blame.

But, parents don’t do their jobs, kids with phones make stupid decisions, and adults who take pics of themselves should know better but obviously don’t. Thank goodness Facebook is there to protect the dignity they didn’t care about when taking the photos. I would say the vast majority of the ‘revenge porn’ problem could be solved if people would just exercise some common sense, but it’s plainly obvious that there are scores of people out there who have none.

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