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Last updateWed, 18 Nov 2020 1pm

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Inside The Biggest Celebrity Hacking Scandal in History

grayApple-iPhone-4-logo-silhouetteThe Internet blew up when the biggest celebrity hacking scandal in history occurred recently. Over 100 celebrities' iCloud accounts were hacked, revealing scandalous photos of starlets like Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, and Kate Upton. While some of these celebrities have denied the photos were real, others spoke out,

Jennifer Lawrence's rep stated, "This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos,"

This scandal has started a wildfire of comments, with celebrities coming to the victims' defense. Emma Watson, though not involved in the photo leak, took to Twitter to offer her support, "Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy".

Many people believe these starlets should never have taken such intimate photos in the first place.

"It's their freedom of expression, anyone should be able to take pictures of themselves and trust that no one will hack into their phone," disagrees Samantha Marella, a sophomore Marketing major.

"I feel really badly for the celebrities who were violated because we should not live in a society where people are actively trying to invade people's privacy."

Some websites, like E! and Vox, have come to the womens' defense, saying the scandal is about the fact that "women in pop culture are under attack" and reflects how "society treats women in the public eye". Yet others have lashed out.

Thousands of comments across websites made accusations like "You girls better hold on to your careers. You never know who's waiting in the shadows to destroy you, and for your sake, stop taking selfies, naked at that."

Stephanie Merlis, a sophomore business marketing major, said, "I don't see the purpose of nude photos because they're bound to end up in the wrong hands. Celebrities should be more careful about it."

Robert Scott, a specialist communication professor, points out that the scandal came at a bad time for Apple,

"The hacks occurred on the eve of Apple introducing new health monitoring technology and a new service for making purchases wirelessly via Apple devices. Now there is a spotlight on the company's ability to protect its customers' private information."

Cyber-security experts are pointing out a flaw in Apple's "Find My Phone" app that let the hacker access celebrities' data stored in the iCloud. While this overwhelming privacy breach was a shock to many Apple users, a company spokesperson, Nat Kerris, said, "None of the cases we have investigated have resulted from any breach in any of Apple's systems. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved."

Should these women be blamed for taking intimate photos? Or is the negative backlash just another way of saying women are "asking for it"? This scandal has people asking all kinds of questions about sexism and representation.

Jules Polenetsky, the executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum, an advocacy group based in Washington, argues that this scandal "should be treated like a sex crime, a privacy invasion taken to an extreme."

Professor Scott agreed that "the situation has once again raised important questions about electronic privacy and whether or not this type of theft and use of websites for distribution is comparable to a major crime such as sexual abuse, especially when there are those who profit from it".

Having a private account hacked is a very serious scare that is now a worry to many people— especially since some of the leaked photos were from years ago. One of the actresses hacked, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, took to twitter to voice her grievances.

"To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves. I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this."

Professor Scott agreed, "I believe the reason this is rapidly becoming such a hot topic has to do with growing concerns regarding our potential violation of privacy. Theft is a criminal act. Distribution of someone's privately recorded images for financial gain without their permission is also becoming a significant problem".

Peggy Drexler at "CNN" puts full blame on the perpetrator: "Certainly, the surest way to avoid ever having your most private photos shared publicly is to not take them in the first place... Trust no one. Share nothing. Even better: Take nothing. While we're at it: Don't leave the house. After all, you could get mugged, or raped. You'd better not fly on a jet, either, what with all the terrorism and overworked pilots. Swim in the ocean? No way: sharks! It's ridiculous logic."

This photo scandal has raised many questions and has people pointing fingers in every direction. Now, the world has to wait and see: will the hacker release anything further? Will Apple tighten security? And will men and women alike ever feel safe again that their private photos will remain private? Only time will tell.

PHOTO TAKEN from mybroadband.ca.za.

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