Celebgate leaked photos may have been part of an underground hacking and picture trading ring rather than a lone individual.
According to the FBI which has since launched an investigation into the hacked images, the leaked images may only represent a small portion of a huge collection of such explicit photographs that a group of unidentified hackers has been amassing for months.
The theory behind an underground trading ring comes after an anonymous poster on the 4chan website, where some of the photographs have been released, referred to an ‘underground celeb n00d-trading ring’ (using web slang for ‘nude’) that ‘has existed for years.’
A Deadspin report would go as far as to tell that one of its readers alerted it to the alleged existence of a large cache of stolen celebrity private photographs ‘a few weeks ago.’.
The site also established that anonymous users were last week discussing a collection of ‘explicit vids and pics‘ on a thread dedicated to Jennifer Lawrence on AnonIB, a 4chan offshoot.
An anonymous poster who claiming to be involved in the thefts wrote on anonymous image board AnonIB that the hacking had been ‘several months’ in the making.
The site has a reputation as an internet message board where anonymous users convene to share naked photographs of women without their consent.
The trail of online chatter which made its way on the message boards has since led to investigators believing the theft of photographs had been underway for months and was the work of several different hackers who were co-operating and trading the images.
Gawker reported that one 4chan poster even described a years-old “ring” of celebrity photograph traders, a group that could only be joined by providing your own nude images – effectively ‘buying your way in.’
The hacker or hackers who obtained more than 100 nude photographs of some of Hollywood’s most famous female stars may have accessed the images via a “vulnerability” in security system for Apple’s iCloud wireless data storage service, technology experts have claimed.
And then there these comments on the web that made me wonder:
To them, women—and here, it is always women—are objects to be passed around between friends and strangers
Misogyny is what allows these men to vehemently defend someone like Violent Acrez when they perceive that his privacy is violated but not affording the same rights to women whose nudes they leak. They feel they are entitled to seeing those nudes (and fapping to them). Male entitlement to women’s bodies (be it physical or virtual as the case is with photos) is one of the roots of misogyny.
The last thing we need is for this to get hijacked as an excuse to crack down on internet anonymity and freedom of speech. Not to trivialize the damage done to the people affected by this leak, but it is limited and temporary in comparison to the damage that would be done to our society by criminalizing anonymity.