With regard to the recent leaks of private celebrity photos, the moral and sociological dimensions have already been addressed by people more intelligent and eloquent than myself, and I defer to their statements. Additionally, the examination of the technology and subculture from which the breach came has been adroitly handled as well. Personally, I think the whole thing is gross — and frustratingly typical.
If you take anything away from this mess, I hope it is this: Everyone is at risk. The people who want to destroy your privacy and security have lots of powerful, easily obtainable tools at their disposal, and your protection from them is practically nil. If you have never been the victim of data or identity theft, it’s only because there are so many other potential victims out there that the crooks just haven’t gotten around to you yet. (Or you never had an angry ex-boyfriend.)
How does security technology get better? By responding to the last intrusion when it’s already too late for the poor victims. The victims are collateral damage, sucks to be them, and the rest of us get to download a new Windows or iTunes (or whatever) update, which is pointless because the crackers have moved on. Thus, the cracker will always be a step ahead of the target.
Yes, of course there are things you can do to mitigate the risks of being online, but the bad guys know exactly what people are doing to protect themselves (they’re probably doing the same things themselves, and a lot more besides), and they’re working every minute of every day on making those protections useless.
Is the answer to go completely offline, then? Good luck with that. Some countries are talking about classifying Internet access as a basic right — a good sign that such access is pretty difficult to do without. And while this might keep your naughty bits from showing up on the web, your bank, your realtor, your employer, your phone company, your insurance company — all of these business have loads of information about you that’s worth stealing, and all of them are online with it even if you smashed up your laptop with a hammer.
There needs to be a paradigm shift in privacy protection and security. I don’t know what it should be or what it should look like, but something tells me that if we can’t rely on prevention, we need to get a whole lot better at recovery. How do that I don’t know, and is probably a different hasty rant in any case.
PS: Excuse the obfuscation of a normally innocuous word in the title there, but if you track top search terms at all, you’ll understand. There’s certain kinds of traffic that I don’t want.